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Pre-2008 Posts

Promising

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A bill is pending in the Washington state legislature which would extend domestic partnership benefits to both same-sex couples and to unmarried het couples if one of the partners is at least 62.   The bill would create a domestic partner registry with the state and would provide enhanced rights, including hospital visitation, the ability to consent to autopsies and authorize organ and tissue donation, and inheritance rights where there is no will.

Opponents of the bill, mostly conservative Christians, of course, believe it is a slippery slope to approval of lesbian and gay marriage.   

I like the way this bill creates an alliance between het senior citizens and lesbian and gay people, and in the way it begins to open the discussion of married person/domestic partner benefits to all people, het, lesbian or gay.   My own view is that all people, no matter who they love, whether they are single or married, should enjoy the same rights married persons now enjoy.   I don’t think married persons should enjoy any privileges or benefits because they are married.  An important feminist goal is ending the privileging of heterosexual marriage.

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Heart

Discussion

10 thoughts on “Promising

  1. If it’s possible to get a sex change on official documents, is it possible to get an age change? For old souls and whatnot?

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2007, 3:49 pm
  2. 🙂

    This bill poses interesting questions. If the only people who can’t get domestic partner benefits are unmarried het people between the ages of 18 and 62, well… why is that? Honestly. I guess the official reasoning would be that het people between the ages of 18 and 62 are able to work and so they somehow don’t need domestic partner benefits? Well… then why would lesbian/gay people need domestic partner benefits between the ages of 18 and 62? Why do married het couples between 18 and 62 where both are gainfully employed get domestic partner benefits and not old people in the first place, given that they are in a situation in which these benefits are likely going to mean much more to them than someone much younger and less likely to become seriously ill, have a partner who becomes seriously ill, be unable to find work, etc.? It shines a light on the real reasons for privileging het marriage, which are to, once again, enforce and police gender.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 11, 2007, 4:32 pm
  3. This is very close to home… *sigh*

    I would like to be able to live in New York with my female partner, and am currently waiting on the Uniting American Families Act to be passed under immigration reform. Perhaps by the time I’M 62, it will be.

    In the UK, we are married and entitled to all the rights of heterosexual couples – but our union remains unrecognized by U.S. federal law. It’s ludicrous when countries like Brazil and South Africa do so – land of freedom and liberty for who?

    Posted by morgan | February 11, 2007, 4:47 pm
  4. Eh, why shouldn’t I be able to declare myself a UK citizen then? Your partner’s “progressive” country discriminates against me as a non partnered individual, having separate and unequal determinates for work and entry.

    Why should people have to fuck their way into citizenship, period?

    I think that sort of marriage talk is often pure nationalism and is appalling when it comes from us in the so-called First-World. I mean, as tough as it is for luvvers in luv, I imagine there’s more immediate and vital reasons for border crossing out there.

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2007, 5:13 pm
  5. In case it’s not perfectly clear: I think using expanded marriage rights (which are seen as an inherently Progressive, Big P, issue) in that way legitimizes and defends the ideals of nationalism and borders. Which isn’t progressive in any which way.

    “We tied the knot so we’re entitled to live here or there” necessitates the fact that someone else, well, isn’t.

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2007, 5:31 pm
  6. I agree, Rich, and Heart. While I think anything that extends benefits, or privileges that all should enjoy, is probably a good thing, I also think that the privileging of relationships over the non-related (hah, isn’t that a weird idea) is not something I want to spend my time working for. EVERYONE should have access to health care. EVERYONE should be able to live where they want. Etc. Etc. Having someone who is willing to marry you, or sign up with the state with you, shouldn’t make a difference.

    Here’s the article I always cite when this topic comes up:
    A Radical Dyke Experiment for the Next Century: 5 Things to work for Instead of Same-Sex Marriage by Betsy Brown
    http://www.offourbacks.org/MorFeat.htm#ARadical

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 11, 2007, 6:22 pm
  7. Yeah, I love that article too, Amy.

    The other thing I always think about is, it’s not that unusual for married women not to want their husbands to be next of kin because they are married to them with all of the various prerogatives attendant to being next of kin. Someone who has been stuck with an abuser forever, thinking of the woman who posted recently to the full quiver thread, doesn’t want her abuser to enjoy all of the privileges the fact of being legally married to her gives him.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 11, 2007, 6:39 pm
  8. It isn’t about marriage or domestic rights. It’s about who the owner of the benefits and ‘rights’ is fucking. I lost all I had spent almost 25 years to build when my husband died seventeen months after moving in with another woman. We were not divorced or legally separated. The law here says the estate goes to the domestic partner who is deemed that after one year of cohabiting. Just to cement it he named her beneficiary and executor of his will, and beneficiary of his life insurance, thereby cutting out his children too.

    I learned of another case where the man left all to his new, male cohabiting partner. His legal wife of a couple decades and teenaged children were completely cut out by new, progressive laws.

    Posted by Left | February 11, 2007, 6:43 pm
  9. “EVERYONE should have access to health care. EVERYONE should be able to live where they want. Etc. Etc. Having someone who is willing to marry you, or sign up with the state with you, shouldn’t make a difference.”

    Yep.

    There’s a long list of reasons my male life partner and I don’t marry, and one of them is that we don’t want the benefits the government wants to give us for heterosexual coupling privilege. Marrying for the government and social benefits would feel to me like drinking from the white fountain when I know others are unfairly denied a chance to slake their thirst there. Because heterosexualism confers some privileges I can refuse, I refuse them where I can.

    Posted by Sam | February 11, 2007, 8:25 pm
  10. All the benefits of marriage ought to be given to everyone, regardless of partnership status or sexual orientation or what have you. Make marriage something that churches or synagogues do and leave the government out of it. It shouldn’t mean anything, except in the eyes of whatver deity you do or don’t believe in.

    Posted by Metal Prophet | February 12, 2007, 5:38 am

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