The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

What Rights Should Same-Sex Couples Have?

I posed this question in the comments on another post, but it occurred to me that it might be interesting to lift the discussion out of the comments and open it up to everyone who reads here. Here’s what I asked in that comment thread.

What rights and protections do you think same-sex couples should have? Which do you think they shouldn’t have?

Were it in your power, which would you grant them? Which would you withhold?

List them by category. (“should have”/’shouldn’t have”)

Are there rights that same-sex couples don’t need, but that heterosexuals do? Or are there equivalent needs in same-sex couples as in heterosexual couples? Are there rights and protections that same-sex couples simply shouldn’t have? I thought it would be interesting to hear what everyone had to say in answer to those questions. But first, it might be a good idea to review what’s already out there.

This is about the best summary I’ve seen thus far of the rights and protections that same sex couples are currently denied. Broadly, they include:

  • Hospital Visitation Rights – Married couples have the automatic right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions. Same sex couples can be denied the right to visit a sick or injured partner in the hospital.
  • Health insurance – Same-sex couples have no automatic right to visit one another in the hospital or make medical decisions for one another. Having medical power of attorney documents may help, but there’s no guarantee and hospital will recognize those documents.
  • Spousal Privilege – Same-sex couples have no right to refuse to testify against one another. So everything you say, write, email, fax, etc. to your partner is admissible in court and can be used against. you.
  • Inheritance rights – Same-sex couples have no automatic rights to inheritance in the absence of a will.
  • Family leave – Same-sex couples have no legally protected right to unpaid leave to care for an ill spouse.
  • Pensions – Most pension plans only pay survivor benefits to a legal spouse. Same-sex partners get no pension support for surviving partners.
  • Nursing homes – Same-sex couples have no legal right to live together in a nursing home and spend their final years together.
  • Home protection – The laws that protect married couples from being forced to sell their homes to cover high nursing home bills don’t apply to same-sex couples. A same-sex partner can be forced to sell, and forced out of the home to satisfy nursing home bills if he/she lives in the home but does not own it.
  • Retirement savings – Married people can roll over a deceased spouses 401(k) into an IRA without paying taxes. Same-sex partners must withdraw everything, pay income taxes on it, and lose the tax deferral benefits.
  • Taxes – Marries spouses may inherit unlimited property from a deceased spouse, tax free. Same-sex partners pay taxes on any amount over set state and federal limits.
  • Social Security benefits – Unless you’re married, you get no Social Security from a dead spouse. If you have kids, they will get it and you may be custodian of it until they’re adults.

Beyond that, as I’ve said before, the government’s General Accounting office tallied up 1,049 rights and protections based on marital status. It will take longer to detail what all of those are, and just how they might or might not apply to same sex couples. But in the time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve posted about some stories that underscore just how this stuff shakes out in real life.

  • There was the friend I wrote about recently who was turned away from from the emergency room, where his partner had been taken after suddenly collapsing at work, and told he could not be given any information because he was not next of kin. He had to leave the hospital and retrieve their legal documents before he could gain admittance to see his partner when a married spouse would have been waved through without question.
  • My friend was luckier than Bill Flanigan. When his partner Robert Daniel was hospitalized in Baltimore, the couple had their legal documents with them, including durable power of attorney and documentation that they were registered as domestic partners in California. But those documents were ignored by hospital staff and Flanigan was kept from seeing his partner until Daniel’s mother and sister arrived and by then Daniel was unconscious, with his eyes taped shut and hooked to a breathing tube; something Daniel had not wanted.
  • Even having a will didn’t help Sam Beaumont when his partner of 23 years, Earl, died. Oklahoma requires a will to have two witnesses, but Earl didn’t know that and his will leaving everything to Sam had only one. So Earl’s cousins, who disapproved of his relationship and most of whom never spoke to the couple or even came to Earl’s funeral, successfully sued to take away the home and ranch Sam an Earl had shared for 23 years. A married spouse, even in the event of a will lacking enough witnesses, would’ve had the right to automatically inherit at least some of the estate.
  • Laurel Hester gave 23 years of service as a investigator for the county prosecutor’s office, only to be denied justice when she requested that the county government to provide domestic partnership benefits as permitted (but not required) by New Jersey state law. Hester was dying of cancer and wished to leave her pension to her partner, Stacee Andree, so that Andree could keep their home after Hester’s death. Her request was denied. It wasn’t until the story attracted media attention, caused people to rally in support of Hester, and eventually drew threats to boycott the tourism-dependent county that the county government finally granted Hester’s request shortly before she died.
  • Having a domestic partnership didn’t spare Crispin Hollings any trouble when his partner Eric Rofes died recently. While making funeral arrangements, Crispin had to mount a legal challenge against a funeral home director who refused to recognize their relationship and refused to let Hollings proceed with the funeral arrangements. The funeral home director eventually relented, but no heterosexual spouse would’ve had to face that challenge in the midst of mourning and carrying out a spouse’s last wishes.
  • Having a civil union won’t help Robert Scanlon and Jay Baker, even after 30 years together. With Robert facing inevitable decline and death from ALS, the couple will likely have to liquidate all of their belongings to pay for the necessary care. A married spouse, as mentioned before, would at least be able to keep the house.

And let’s not forget that there are states already trying to outlaw not just same-sex marriage but also domestic partnerships, civil unions, and legal arrangements that resemble marriage, ultimately stripping same-sex couples of any rights or protections.

So, considering all the rights and protections granted married couples, which ones should gay couples get? Which ones shouldn’t we get? Should my friend have been barred from his partner’s hospital bed? Should Bill Flanigan have been kept from his partner’s side? Should Laurel Hester have been able to leave her pension to her partner as she desired? Should Cripsin Hollings have been allowed to say goodbye to his partner in peace and honor his partner’s last wishes unimpeded? Should Robert and Jay have to lose everything, including their house?

If it were up to you to decide what rights and protections same-sex couples have, what would you decide?

27 Comments

  1. I believe the big sticking point for me would be that some benefits or rights conferred to married couples involve, either directly or indirectly, the burden of raising children. This is a major point since it is very expensive, especially in the District (private schools are a must!). Anything outside of that, I would have no problem with many of the things you discussed above (visiting rights, executor of sorts etc.), and I consider myself staunchly conservative.

  2. Being a gay dad, it’s a big sticking point for me. After all, do gays with children need less resources for their families than heterosexuals? Do they deserve less?

  3. We shouldn’t have to choose between any fricking rights.

    I want the same fucking rights that the fucking, selfish str8s have.

    We shouldn’t have to justify or qualify them either.

  4. If it were up to me, the law would make no distinction between gay and straight marriage. There would be only one set of rights, privileges and obligations and it would be available equally to all.

    But you knew that. :-)

  5. In our time, when the gender restrictions between spouses has been eliminated, there is no legal way to legislate the role of gender in marriage, nor enforcement of the vows of marriage.

    When any couple applies for marriage there are ONLY four rules that apply to get a license to marry.

    1. you’re not related
    2. you’re not already married
    3. you’re of legal age
    4. it’s a mutual (consentual) decision

    NOW, all of a sudden, marriage equality strictly for gay couples has rules that aren’t a part of the marriage consent form.
    1. Fertility
    2. Fecundity
    3. Intention to have children
    4. The ability to have children
    5. Not having the ability to have children excludes homosexuals from the ability to marry for the right reason.
    6. Being a male/female couple ALONE presumes fitness for parenthood
    7. Accidental conception happens, so male/female couples are best served by being the ONLY people who can marry.
    8. Biological children are best served by only their biological parents.

    These are variations on the rulings that ultimately were the majority in every court case for litigating gay couples.
    These are also the common rationales for legislative votes against gay couples and their children.

    Somehow the courts ruled on laws, that aren’t on the books or applied for basic marriage.
    What’s the definition of ‘activist’ again?

    As a straight person, I don’t especially like being spoken to as if I’m stupid.
    I’m also infertile, and chose NOT to be a parent.
    And nobody, NOBODY gave a crap at the licensing office.
    This is plumbing from the depths of the cesspool for this excuse against gay people.
    What rights DO gay couples have?

    Well, every citizen, human being has the right to CARE for a significant other and their children.
    It’s the COUNTRY that can’t implement laws to KEEP THEM FROM DOING SO!

  6. I’m cross posting here, as I was the one Terrance was origionally asking. Any reference to the “above” means the discussion Terrance and I had up to that point. The link is provided by Terrance in this article post.

    Terrance,

    Thanks for the invitation. I’ve appreciate the question as I’ve asked what rights and priveledges you are asking for your family so such a conversation can happen. I have wanted to engage in such a discussion for a long time. The most I’ve seen from anyone who wishes to render marriage gender-neutral is a pointing to a survey of 1,000 legal incidents regarding marriage. I looked into the legal incidents and found them, item for item, to be not equatable to the points you are wishing to discuss. Some were, some weren’t.

    Were you to provide such a list I’d appreciate it quite a bit. Much of what I will note in this post is just a summary of what I’ve already outlined above.

    I have brought up one point, presumed paternity, which is something that doesn’t make sense for lesbian or even gay couples. But beyond that I’ve stated other rights and priveledges not neccissarily for hetero v homosexual couples, but certainly have an impact on our assessment of this debate. In fact, that is my main argument, that we need to approach this debate not by drawing a line between two points (hetero v homo) creating some divisive war between them. We need to look at this more circumspectly, we need to look at other groups and classifications and see their interest in the outcome of marriage.

    I’m thinking about children when I think of marriage. I’m for preserving their link to their parents wherever possible. There are many medical, cultural and humanitarian reasons to preserve these links. Because of that I’m against turning birth certificates into ownership reciepts, reflecting a legal composition of parenthood and completely dissolving the biological and cultural reality. This argument was one that convinced me about neutering marriage, and was provided by Prof Velleman of NYU. He takes it more in depth here.

    I’ve also noted how I am for protecting the priveledged status of the disabled. People who are disabled have a condition where they cannot do what we normally expect from a person. As a society we try to give them extra resources so that they can, for their own life, achieve everything that others can. This is discriminatory in their favor but it is humanitarian. It is homogenization, but I believe in their case for it, and I’ve outlined its humanitarian needs above. It is a special pleading, and one that I see abused in the argumentation to neuter marriage. Again that is outlined above.

    As far as the rights that should be given? I believe the state might have an interest in a relationship of mutual trust that two people might engage in. When I say “might” it is my believe there is but I await the public debate on this point before declaring what the state has interest in or doesn’t have interest in.

    But looking at homosexual couples I see that two people can form a reciprocally beneficial relationship with someone they trust to make decisions for them on matters of mutual interest. That is a freedom they can express, a freedom of association on personal matters of interest. They are people who share a dependancy and trust between them. So hospital visits, even making medical decisions for each other, etc… I believe that matters of sharing pensions, health insurance, are a problem that should be better addressed. It should be addressed in such a way that people can choose who they assign their benefits without anything but their own desire to do so. I don’t believe forcing companies to do so is the way to do that, I believe a new economic model is the absolute best way to achieve that kind of freedom. But that gets into Dan Morgan’s “No Speed Bumps” advocacy.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I am very happy to see you wish to discuss nuts and bolts rights and priveledges. Lets get real, not vague. I believe that although not exhaustive I’ve already laid the foundation for this discussion in my posts above.

    I am interested in, before discussing your take on my points, your answer to your own question. I’ve only taken on a few specific points and others I feel can be generally addressed.

    I see some people who are asking for equality at all costs. That is fine, I believe in equality. There is, however, a problem in equalization as a heavy handed government enforcement. The ability to draw a line between any two points or classes of people and demand the government make that line horizontal is a fruitless and myopic enterprise.

    Two posts I’d like everyone to read that express the fallacy of this false equality (which is really a oppressive homogenization) is the following:

    No Goal but Equality: The Parable of the School Zone
    Marriage Equality Now! The Fatal Shift to Oppression

    Given that I’ll read Terrances points and post specifically on them.

  7. In looking at Terrances list there are three questions that keep coming up. Is this really in federal law? Is there a deeper problem that causes this?

    And most importantly we need to consider if neutering marriage is required to accomodate these items. As noted in the previous conversation, neutering marriage in and of itself causes humanitarian problems that would best be avoided if at all possible. Terrance will point to certain CU’s and DP’s as being inadequate to provide such benefits, and that points to two things

    1) It isn’t regulated by law, and so neutering marriage will do nothing that will solve these problems.
    2) Setting up RB’s and establising rights for them is a matter of legislation and democracy. Trust the process, you are involved and making a difference. As Terrance noted in a previous article the country is very willing to afford rights and priveledges, don’t fear the democratic conversation on these topics.

    Married couples have the automatic right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions. Same sex couples can be denied the right to visit a sick or injured partner in the hospital.

    This one, I can guarantee you from personal experience, is false.

    I happen to have a wife that has some serious medical issues. I’ve dealt with hospital visitation and medical decisions numerous times. No where has my marriage given me any sway whatsoever.

    On numerous occasions both emergency and planned medical procedures I have been locked out from seeing her, against both of our will. The item that would have prevented this was her own listing of who she allowed to see or talk to her or make medical decisions for her, and she can include whomever she wants on that list. We’ve since wisened up and ask for such paperwork immediately on entrance.

    Also I have to point out that this “right” and benefit is not a government regulated one.

    Same-sex couples have no right to refuse to testify against one another. So everything you say, write, email, fax, etc. to your partner is admissible in court and can be used against. you.

    This doesn’t require neutering marriage to obtain.

    Same-sex couples have no legally protected right to unpaid leave to care for an ill spouse.

    Ibid.

    Most pension plans only pay survivor benefits to a legal spouse. Same-sex partners get no pension support for surviving partners.

    As I alluded to in the post above, this is a product of a fault in the pension program. Their economic model does not afford the freedom that we wish from it, and should be examined. Dan Morgan’s “No Speed Bumps” blog points out a better more free economic model to build pensions on.

    Also, this isn’t federally regulated or mandated. This is something that requires petitioning the corporations providing the pensions, and does not require neutering marriage to provide.

    Same-sex couples have no legal right to live together in a nursing home and spend their final years together.

    I’m suprised to see this here. In the free-market nursing home enterprise accomodating the customer is hardly questioned as a right.

    The laws that protect married couples from being forced to sell their homes to cover high nursing home bills don’t apply to same-sex couples. A same-sex partner can be forced to sell, and forced out of the home to satisfy nursing home bills if he/she lives in the home but does not own it.

    This is another way to point to bankruptcy law, IIUC. Medical costs are a large reason people go bankrupt, and that is something I understand from my own experience. This instance is unfortunate, and married couples have lost their house to pay for medical bills also. This makes me unsure if the federal protection that Terrance points to here has much force.

    Married people can roll over a deceased spouses 401(k) into an IRA without paying taxes.

    This advocated alteration to the tax code can come without neutering marriage.

    Marries spouses may inherit unlimited property from a deceased spouse, tax free.

    This befuddles me. I know that my decision to list my wife on the our home was motivated by how tax laws would have caused her pay the government upon inheriting our house.

    Unless you’re married, you get no Social Security from a dead spouse.

    Same as pension plans and 401k’s above.

  8. Pingback: The Opine Editorials

  9. Pingback: Meriblog: Meri Williams’ Weblog » links for 2006-08-07

  10. While it may be helpful to build a with a wishlist of “rights and protections”, it would be reasonable to ground that list on the societal purpose of the proposed relationship status.

    Legal elevation and various legal incidents accorded the relationship type would flow from that purpose. Some more explicitly than others, perhaps.

    A proposed relationship status must stand, or fall, on its merits and its demerits. When society understands what is to be protected, lawmakers can work on the criteria for qualification (and disqualification) of formal recognition, for example.

    Why would the State create, or maintain, a legal relationship that is elevated, and preferred, above other private relationships?

  11. I’m not interested in wasting my time. I come across this nonsense…

    2) You are saying that homosexuals are incapble of loving a segment of society, thus they should be allowed their segregationist tendancies (from On Lawn’s first response to the post where this started)

    …and I notice that no one calls him on it. So why keep reading. This is a lie that is fundamental to On Lawn’s bigotry.

    HERE IT IS AGAIN ON LAWN: Gay men do not need to be “integrated” with someone of the opposite sex in a marriage. They are very capable of loving the female population without wanting to have sex with one of them. Gay men are usually better, actually, at understanding women than straight men are. Gay men do not limit themselves, nor do they harm women (like whites used to harm blacks with segragation–this is really the dumbest part of your argument) by not marrying one.

    And while we’re talking about the dumb things you say. “Neuter marriage”? That is as dumb as calling heterosexual marriage “breeder marriage.”

  12. I have to agree with you arturo fernandez, because it appears that “gay men are better than straight men,” as you had said. Sure gay men can be friends with women, almost become like a brother to them. Gay men and straight men could have some common things within life. Like they could love their partners just as much as straight men love their wives and children. If two gay men adopt a child then they can love their child just like any heterosexual couple.

    If a gay man couldn’t understand a woman then there would be something wrong because they wouldn’t be no better than the straight man. For example, my friend Zachary Yuy is gay. He understands the kind of things I do, and knows that if I ask for his help then he should help me with any problems that come through my life. Zack isn’t the type of gay guy that would try to do anything to hurt me, we’ve been friends to long for him to do anything like that. Zack’s kinda like a brother, always wanting to help his sister out or trying to comfort her when she’s sad, depressed, or just having a bad day. He keeps his priorities in order. Even though he’s gay, he’s still my best friend who never betrays his friends or family.

    Another thing that I’ve also noticed is that gay men can always go and hang out with their female friends when they want to. They shouldn’t be afraid of what other people think because they’re entitled to be in public places just as much as straight men.

    Anyway, as for “Neuter Marriage?” On Lawn, I think you may be wasting peoples’ time with your ridiculous nonsense because arturo fernandez has made it very clear that the things you have posted are nothing but “nonsense” and “bigotry.”

    Also while we’re on the subject that’s kind of like saying that “the internet is making people gay.” I mean come on, it’s obvious that such a thing is even possible. The internet doesn’t make people gay, people fall in love with each other everyday.

    You can’t help who you fall in love with. -Hiroshi Nakano, Gravitation

    Needless to say, this quote must be true if a guy ends up falling in love with his best friend, who happens to be another guy then it can’t be helped.

  13. Even though I am straight, I believe that homosexuals, bisexuals,transsexuals, and heterosexuals should have all the same rights and protections available to them

  14. On Lawn has brought up a lot of good points – it is very worthwhile to take a look at what the government’s actual power concerning the rights of homosexual couples is. He made a very good point about visitation rights in a hospital – and about the power of medical proxy. However, what he does not address, is why homosexual marriage should not be allowed.

    Many of the rights afforded by current marriage laws could be achieved for homosexual couples without sanctioning same-sex marriage, and many of the rights that we associate with marriage don’t actually come from the institution, but are regulated by something different entirely – but this doesn’t address why same-sex marriage should not be legal.

    If marriage were not important from a legal standpoint, then the current marriage institution wouldn’t be legally necessary either; couples straight of gay could just go about getting these rights by other legal means. What On Lawn is also leaving out is the symbolic importance of marriage. Although it is a legal institution – it is also important for a lot of people beyond its legal ramifications. Ask most people why they married, and it isn’t about inheritance or turning over 401(k)s. If marriage truly doesn’t afford any of the important rights that same-sex marriage advocates claim (which is a weak position to start with), and marriage is a legally meaningless union, then why shouldn’t homosexual couples be allowed to participate? If it doesn’t overly change the legal landscape, why not?

  15. Question was what rights Should same-sex couples have or not have? Here’s what I think about this!!

    Hello,
    Wow!! How do I even start this? I have read all of the comments on this and In a nut shell I would say that the last comment was closer to how I feel about this. I’m from a small town in Va and myself and my partner of three years reside in Nc. This actually scares me even about the future of marriage in general,whether for straight,gay,bi,trans,etc. This is because think about it I have been engaged to a man before and he was nice but the love just wasn’t there like it should be in a marriage. I’m a person that looks at this as If I ever marry its only because that person is my soulmate and I would love them for eternity and that person is the ONE for me not so I can have any type of rights to them. I don’t want a marriage if its all politcal,I was raised in a home with parents that also feel that gays/lesbians should not be able to marry because of the bible,they say just be together for ever and as I think of it marriage nor partnership should be as politcal anyway, isn’t it suppose too be about love anyway people,whether your straight,gay,lesbian.etc. Yeah, I fell in Love with someone who happens to be a girl and I would love to marry her but I wouldn’t fight for it. Yeah,the common rights of people should just be the same for being people(man,woman,black,white,gay,straight,etc..) Its the same critisizm that people that don’t like anything outside of what they are or how they feel thats bein going on for years and years. We should all just protect each other and yes you can’t change someone’s beliefs and that can’t change your everyone is different that what makes the world great but what we can do is be ourselves and not be brainwashed by anyone else,just be you,yanno. For example,I don’t date guys anylonger but I have girlfriends of mine that do and thats there thing and we joke about it but I don’t try to make them a lesbian or anything just because thats what I am now,because Love and respect is so much powerful than any law,state,gov.etc..Basically what im saying is that marrage should be beautiful without hippocrites of anyform and it should be done for the right reasons (momogamy,love,human connnection,etc)and not wrong (preganancy,alterior motives,just beause you can(gay or straight)etc..) I think anyone old enough to serve for this country should be able to make there on decisions if able to(not disabled to make decisions) as far as something like marriage that binds or connects people to love and cherish one another and if not there are consequences(like if one or other person commit adultry,etc. )because I think if two people marry that shouldn’t be taking lightly because it should be for the right reason and it should weed out all the people that marry for wrong reasons because I believe in god and think that honest people play on words and I think if I went to god and said god I love this other woman and I want to treat her well and be faithful and treasure her forever, and I have been told that I will burn in hell for loving her,god do you want me to be miserable by making myself wed a man only because he can make me conceive of a seed(child),I mean yes god I want children but this world of judgemental people,would you be made if a had a child with a male friend or a good male that just wanted to help me conceive my love seed(child)? I think he/she would say my child “thou shall not judge” and if its love its from the heart and follow it and never decieve and be a good person (do onto others as they do you)and you will know what is right and wrong. So gals/guys I know I have written alot but in my heart if two people love each other and want children and they have ways of getting to love and make it possible to have children whether gay/lesbian or straight they should be able to have a wonderful wedding and marraige and if you don’t like it just don’t come to the weddings or don’t be friends with us because we are human beings and we don’t have to accept everything someone else believes but you should not try to stop something that is out of moral and that does not involve us or hurt us from living our own lives whether straight,gay,or lesbian.
    We are People and we like diversity(equality should have always been)

    Tabitha
    Concerned Citizen
    Lesbian Future Business Owner
    Accepts All People

  16. If it doesn’t overly change the legal landscape

    Except that, of course, it does. There are umpty-ump laws that refer to “marriage”, and trying to create a parallel track for same-sex couples that has everything except the M-word is a full-employment act for a generation of lawyers.

    I apologize if this was mentioned previously, but married couples also have the legal right to sue for loss of consortium. Same-sex couples do not.

  17. I agree with you meriblog. I just think that if two people want we call marriage then let them do it,if it were only on a religious stand point then there would be no state laws to begin with in a marriage between a man and a woman,so it seems to be alot of branwashing anyway,so why not just have all people come together and be able to have the same type of marriage if they want to, no matter what sex they are,alot of people don’t like the idea of interracial marriage,and people have even turned couples away and will not marry them because of this,isn’t it the same concept,they still marry out of love,why not let the lesbian’s/gays do the same,this thing to me seems to be just someone in an higher-power trying to have some sort of control of people or are trying to benefit from this and I think its ridiculous because don’t we also have freedom of religion also so not everyone even believes the same way so it has to be separate (state/religion).

  18. I have been following this case now for close to 4 years. I know both of the parties and find it not only absurd but a waste of tax payers money not to speak of all the anguish subjected to them and there families.

    Were talking about a 20 year relationship they shared, It would seem that over 600k each, should be enough to make either party happy.

    So guys stop the insanity and settle!!!!!

    Gay breakup heads to court in Paulding County

    Original Article Published by the Southern Voice:

    Lack of marriage rights hurts gay couples when they split, attorney says
    By DYANA BAGBY
    Friday, October 14, 2005
    For 20 years, Mark Bengtson shared his life with Timothy Quinn and said he believed they would be together forever.
    The two settled in Paulding County and purchased a home together in Acworth in 1998.
    But three years ago, their long-term relationship soured, and the two split. On Dec. 10, 2002, a month following the breakup, their house and much of what they owned was destroyed by fire.
    Now the former couple is battling in court over what remains of their assets, without the benefit of divorce procedures available when heterosexual marriages dissolve.
    Quinn filed a civil lawsuit against Bengtson in January 2004 in Paulding County Superior Court, and Bengtson countersued in March 2004. The case is scheduled for trial Nov. 14.

    Dyana Bagby can be reached at dbagby@sovo.com.

    For the full story: http://sovo.com/2005/10-14/news/localnews/localnews_breakup.cfm

  19. Pingback: Give me equal rights…. « Political Musings from a College Freshman

  20. Seems to me there are a couple of sides to this. I am not gay and I am realizing the tendency of those who are not to want to preserve the heterosexual marriage tradition, what’s ‘biologically’ right, etc..

    Unfortunately the tradition is simply that. There are lesbian lizards, and indeed all kinds of homosexual behavior can be seen in most other genuses(genii?) of the animal kingdom. (45% of sexual encounters between elephants in captivity are female/female or male/male). How could we be any different? How could gay be any less biologically right than straight?

    A gay couple I’m friends with refer to each other as ‘spouse.’ I think this name is accurate.

    And yet we need to know that there are very real feelings against gay marriage and that we cannot dismiss offhand these feelings; or if we do, we do so at our (legislative etc.) peril.

    I am watching this debate with the hope that all sides can be taken in, heard & seen clearly and that ultimately we as a society will give the rights to people who, due to their status and living situation – whatever it may be – deserve them.

  21. To the straight gentleman above who has had trouble in the past being with his wife during emergency or planned procedures who says that this is not a Federally mandated problem is wrong. This falls under HIPAA regulations, a statute entered by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2003. I work in a hospital doing massage therapy, and we are subject to these very restrictive and at times bizarre regulations. HIPAA is why the who-can-be-with-me list exists.

  22. I’m glad I live in Ohio, its a Super-DOMA state, gays have absolutely NO RIGHTS WHAT SO EVER. Gays shouldn’t have the right to anything in any state. In Ohio I can fire you or kick evict you for being gay and gays can’t do anything about it it. They have NO Insurance rights, NO spousal rights, NO SS, NO pension, NO hospital rights, NO retirement, NO home protection, and most of all NO gay marriage. All of that is due to Ohio voters. No one wants gays in Ohio, some don’t even want them in the US, including me, ship them to France.

  23. In my opinion the government should only be able to legalize “civil unions” for any couple…gay, straight or purple. Then marriages could be a strictly religious covenent. It would be the same as now…you get your marriage lic. and take it to your priest, judge, or shaman and when it is FILED the state acknowledges your ‘union’. As far as the “gay people will ruin the institution”, wake up heteros have already wrecked it.
    The children of gay couples need the protection of the state in the event of a breakup. I believe that “common law” distinctions should also cover gay relationships.
    Our government is here to govern people. God will sort souls without help from us.
    Straight, white, mother, meat eating, Christian,

  24. I haven’t seen mention that the state you die in decides your estate distribution, not your state of residence. So, your partner whom you legally wed in California, dies while traveling through Utah, and Utah doesn’t recognize your legal relationship in California. Seems messed up to me! That’s a reason to hold other states to the full faith and credit clause of our constitution.

  25. Love is love, and marriage should be marriage.
    Even though I’m Canadian and gay marriage is legal everywhere here, I still can’t help but get into these gay rights debates.

    Gay couples and straight couples, black, whites, and overall, people in general, should all have the same rights! We’re all human beings? Just because our skin is a different colour, or the one we love is the same gender does not make us any less human. We still feel, think, and live the same way everyone else does.

    We all have our differences, and many times we don’t like every person we come across. But what happened to judging a person for who they were? I’m sorry, but when I meet someone I don’t want to hand them a survey asking their religion, political views, sexual orientation, etc. It’s absolutely ridiculous!

    A gay couple is still a couple, and should be allowed the same basic right as any other couple; the right to marry.

    Gay couples should not be offered any rights that are different from that of a straight couple! If your wife/husband is in the hospital, do you want to shift through a bunch of paper work to say, yes you can see your loved one? Do you want to have to drive back home to get the proper papers while your loved one is possibly on their death bed? I’m sorry, but I should be able to walk in, holding my loved one’s hand, without the need to worry if I’m allowed to be there or not!

    Gays and lesbians shouldn’t be treated any differently then anyone else. Love shouldn’t be a crime, nor should it make you any different in the eyes of society, or anyone for that matter. You shouldn’t have to hide who you are from your closest friends and family for fear of whether they will accept you. You being gay, or someone else being gay, doesn’t hurt anyone! They’re still people, and it’s still a family…. we should still be allowed our human rights, even if someone doesn’t agree with our idea of love.

  26. American law must realise it’s about basic rights. I think everyone in America that protests basic rights of a gay person would feel differently if we took away their basic rights! I’m lucky I have dual citizenship with the EU because at least I can protect my future relationship on the most part through the EU where gay people have these basic rights.

    The EU has come so far that the EU union says gay couples have rights right across Europe, America needs to look to EU and follow their lead.

    America has to remember that black people had no rights not so long ago and were considered less than 1st class citizens and look now we have a Black President but where does the American law get off to think gay people are 2nd class and we deserve no basic rights.

    Well I just hope now the obama in progess will be made.. America needs to catch up with the rest of the gay world!!!!

  27. I lost my soul mate my love my life June 23rd 2008 and because of these stupid rules I had no rights to my lover! I had no rights to defend how he wanted to be put to rest, location, style of funeral, etc. But the major thing is he died in custody of the law and its been 6 months and no grand jury has been pooled, I have no right to the ” ” wedding band i bought him. I was able keep most of his things due to the fact when he was arrested his family had nothing to do with his property it was all up to me . I was the one to go to court every single day and try to fight to get him home. I have no rights and that’s no right. This is the man that made my life complete feel sweet and right, I put my life in his hands every time we were joined as one, yet under str8 mans law its dirty its wrong and I cant have it. well think way back when marriage started… it was to bind wife to husband like property. Well i want to be my sweet loves property! but hes with god and i cant wait till i can be by his side again cause no law can tell you how to love and who to love. God gave us all that right no mortal man can rape that away from my soul. what do str8 couples have to fear from gay couples? with same rights?

%d bloggers like this: