Same Sex Couples Demand Equal Rights

Marriage benefits exclude gays and lesbians

Legalize Gay

I want my 1,138—

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) grants 1,138 benefits to married couples, but Section three—the black mark on Clinton’s record I can’t forget—identifies marriage as the union between a man and a woman, denying such benefits to married gays and lesbians.

I plan to tie the knot someday, and when I do, it won’t even matter if I live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Federal law would still prohibit me from reaping the same financial, medical, and parental joys as opposite-sex couples.

According to Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), some of these 1,138 include: Social Security benefits, immunity from federal tax on family insurance policies, the option to file joint federal income tax forms, medical leave from work to care for an ill spouse, leaving untaxed assets to a spouse, and hospital visitation rights for a sick spouse or dependent child—to name a handful.

Last March, GLAD filed a lawsuit in Boston in defense of eight married homosexual couples and three others who survived their spouses, because they were fed up with the government’s denial of their legal protections.

And right here at Syracuse University, a school that offers (and taxes) benefits for same-sex married couples and domestic partners, the LGBT employees continue to stomp through University Senate doors, arguing against the unequal taxation.

But many heterosexual couples still don’t get it.

“My girlfriend and I have a domestic partnership,” I overheard a straight classmate bitching. “While applying for jobs, we found that we meet all the requirements for domestic partner benefits, except we’re not gay.”

Well boo-fucking-hoo. Get married. For me, it’s not so simple.

Gay and straight must bond together and demand more equal rights for all families, not just the ones fitting into the 1950s nuclear ideal. Professor Thomas Keck has an opposite-sex partnership, yet he’s representing the University Senate’s LGBT Concerns Committee in a group that formed last semester to address employee benefits.

I want more Thomas Kecks in the world to fight at my side to change the federal definition of marriage. I want the ability to adopt children with my future wife. I want her to have the medical decision-making authority over my life should I turn vegetable. I want equality, and I want respect.

I want my 1,138.

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Meghan Russell is a regular web contributor to Pride Fever