Saturday, July 7, 2012

Equal Love Equal Rights...not too much to ask for.

I've been reminded in the last few days how precious it really is to find someone that you truly love and know you will spend the rest of your life with. It's hard enough to find people to surround yourself with that love and support you, let alone the one person to share everything with. We all want that person that we can be a total goof around and also feel safe enough to cry with them when life takes a turn for the worse. But I'm constantly reminded of how unfair and unjust this great country of ours truly is.

Yesterday morning I spent some time out in the garden weeding, and planting flowers along the brick wall and I heard a noise. I stood up and turned around and there, eye-level, was a green hummingbird. It hovered in front of me for about twenty seconds and I just stood there in awe of this little creature that is so beautiful, that can move like lightning. And just as quickly as it came, it was gone. I felt special that I had that little moment in the morning, it started my day off on a good note and I smiled for most of the morning.

While checking facebook, one of my friends messaged me and told me to watch a video. Please, I ask this one thing of this video, then continue reading my blog post.

My heart aches still thinking about this video. I sat there in front of the computer tears rolling down my cheeks onto my lap. This video is a shocking reminder that life is short and can be fleeting. Shane and Tom were building their life together, despite the hardships placed on them by Tom's parents. These two men, against societies "norms", were doing what they knew how to each other. In this day and age, you wouldn't think that anyone would want to stop someone from finding their one true love, their soul mate. But it's an ever present reality for many gay people that their families and friends don't support their "lifestyle." (I put that in quotes because no one EVER talks about being straight as a "lifestyle," and I find it demeaning when being gay is labeled as such.)

On October 8, 2010, I was out country dancing with my gaggle of lesbians when I saw across the dance floor the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I had just gotten out of a relationship (literally...I was dumped the Friday before!), so I was out with my friends not looking for anyone or anything. But the stars lined up and presented me with the opportunity to be introduced to Michael. We still talk about how funny it is, how the circumstances were that brought us together that night, it was all so random...yet it feels like it was meant to happen.

After that night we started seeing each other every day, and it wasn't long before I ended my lease and moved to Mukilteo to build a home with Michael. Our time together was great, and it was full of happy times and sad any relationship is. My sister welcomed Mike into her home and into the lives of her children. My nephews LOVE and ADORE Michael and always ask me, "Where's Uncle Mike?" It's funny that even though we hadn't been together very long at that point, it seemed like we had known each other for years. My mother has always been very accepting and supportive of me throughout my life, and it doesn't surprise me that she loves Mike as much as I do.

Michael and I didn't have an easy time with my father or his parents. I'd struggled for years to gain my father's acceptance and love, but finally came to a point where loving and accepting myself became the priority. Mike's parents had a very hard time with accepting the fact that he is gay and that he is in a relationship...especially when we "dropped the next bomb on them."

As our lives became more and more intertwined we talked about registering as Domestic Partners that way if anything ever happened to one of us, the other would be taken care of. In the state of Washington, gays are afforded the right to become Domestic Partners. In essence, we are a corporation in the eyes of the state. Every time we go on a trip, we take documentation with us in case anything happens. We also have Domestic Partnership Cards that we carry in our wallets. We gave each other Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and carry those notarized documents with us when we travel in case something happens to one of us and we are in a state that does not recognize our union.

Does any of this seem odd to any of you reading this? We live in a country where a straight couple isn't even questioned in a hospital when they say, I'm his wife, or I'm her husband. But if I were to say, that's my husband...not only would I get strange looks, but I would NOT be afforded the right to be by my husband's side. We are forced to prove our "status" by carrying cards with us and notarized documentation. But our hands are tied because without these things we are nothing in the eyes of the government. Washington state has provided us with the some of the rights we deserve, while the federal government is still turning a blind eye to this discrimination.

This fall the residents of Washington get to vote on whether or not I can marry the man I love. They get to decide if I'm afforded the right to say "this is my husband." How can anyone think this is right? Would anyone tolerate a public vote on whether or not Asians, Hispanics or African Americans should be allowed to marry? Why is it that civil rights are being put to a vote? I'm still at a loss.

No matter the outcome of the vote this fall, I know that Mike is my husband. I know that I love him, and that we share a beautiful home, two dogs, three chickens, and a lifetime worth of memories together. No vote can take that away.

My heart aches for Shane and his family. Tom was taken from them very suddenly by this accident and Shane is now forced to fight for his right to be known as Tom's partner. They shared their lives with one another, and watching that video I am reminded of how lucky I am to have found Michael. I was in the backyard yesterday afternoon and I stopped in my tracks when I saw this...

To you this probably just looks like two patio chairs and you are what? But I'll tell you what this is. This is where my husband and I sit after a long day, sipping on wine and talking about everything under the sun. This is where we sit and talk about the improvements we want to make to our backyard, where we are going to put our greenhouse, what we are going to plant in the garden the next year, how big the chickens are getting. And this is where every day, we realize how much we love each other.

Support Equal Rights...Take a moment to watch that video, and share it with everyone you know. I've said this before...I don't want tolerance...I want acceptance. Go to Shane's facebook page , they are trying to get funding for the documentary they want to do. Even if you can't give money, give support to this cause. Shane is brave enough to share his story, the least you could do is share the video.

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