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...before it's too late.

I'm having trouble working out how to say this without sounding preachy, or overbearing, or otherwise turning people off. As such, I hope that you'll trust in me for a little while, and bear with me while I try to make a statement that I think is important.

Many people don't know the legal definition of "domestic partnership". This means that when one member of a same-sex couple goes into hospital, their partner may not be allowed in to see them, to hold their hand, to know every decision made about their treatment, to influence those decisions, because the hospitals don't know what it means to be a "domestic partner". However you feel about same-sex coupling, I think few people would consider that God would support marriage being defined as only between a man and a woman if it meant that people could not care for their loved ones in what might be their final hours of need. Same-sex marriage isn't about the "sex" part. It's about people who care about each other having the right to support each other in this crazy mixed-up world, and everybody being able to recognise that. It's not enough to wait until people understand the concept of domestic partnership. People go into hospital every day. Couples need protection now.

I'm personally terrified of this happening to me. If I had a same-sex partner in hospital and I wasn't allowed to see them, or give directions as to their treatment, when I knew it was me they wanted to make the decisions, me they wanted by their side, I'd go spare. Illness amongst family members is horrible enough as it is without adding yet more stress to people. Allow same-sex partners the chance to live, and sometimes, sadly, die, in dignity.

That's the reason I think Prop 8 is a big deal. Everything else... yes, it's discriminatory, but what really makes the case for me is the real difference it makes in people's personal lives. If you can't vote no on Prop 8, please donate something to the No On Prop 8 campaign if you live in the US. Even if it's just ten dollars, I don't care; unless you're so broke you can't afford to eat (yep, I know that's some of you, and you're excused), you can do a little something to make the lives of a lot of people easier. Advertising is really making a difference in this campaign; the no vote previously had the lead, but an advertising blitz by the Yes side has threatened that. If you care about marriage... no, even if you don't give a stuff about marriage, but if you care about people not suffering more than they have to during the worst times of their lives... it really is important to support the advertising initiative, even if just a little. I have. And with that I guilt-trip you, because I think you should put the guilt you feel to use if you're able to.

Fun fact, also: apparently if Prop 8 is passed, the status of heterosexual marriages will become questionable. I don't know too much about this, but apparently it's something like... the state currently has equal-rights laws that say that things like marriage must be accessible to everyone. If marriage between same-sex couples is simultaneously outlawed, this will create a contradiction wherein marriage itself, because it isn't equal rights, is not supported under California law. I really need some more clarification on how this works, but it's definitely an interesting factoid. The sacrament of marriage that many religious people value so much could be being threatened in its entirety by Prop 8.

[EDIT: luinied commented with some information I didn't know: Florida and Arizona are experiencing similar difficulties this election. As he said, "California's been getting more attention because it did recently permit same-sex marriage (and because it's California, and people are always paying attention to California), but defeating the other amendments is important, too."]

And yes, you may link this around. In fact, please do.

Comments

( 16hp damage — Attack! )
5tone
Oct. 23rd, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
Well, the way it's worked thus far in America is that everyone (or, rather, everyone who's really stressed out about queers settlin' down) just ignores the hypocrisy of that last bit.
arkofeden
Oct. 23rd, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh man, I could not possibly agree with you more. Although I am one of those people who would like for everyone to stop using the term "marriage" and trade it for "civil union" or somesuch; "marriage" has a connection to religious ceremony, which could be why it's such a big-deal issue for so many people (and besides, if it's religious, it's up to the religion/church whether its officials are authorized by their divinity to marry certain people to each other--the state can't force their hand on that).

What I do know, though, is that it's possible for people to put sections into their living wills that detail things like which person should make decisions for them in case of incapacitation and who gets notified first in such cases. The default for people who have no such clause would generally be their nuclear family (not sure where it falls to if their family is all dead, say), which would leave same-sex partners out of the loop... But as far as I know, specifically putting your partner's info in your will with directions saying that they should make all decisions and be notified of disasters first would fix some parts of the problem if things do have to continue as they are.

All the more reason for people to make out wills now instead of waiting until they expect to die. :)

--E.G.
eclective
Oct. 23rd, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
Hmm, that's something. Do living wills cover more minor injuries, though, or cases when the person is conscious and able to make decisions but in a serious condition?
arkofeden
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I'm only aware of such things coming into effect when a person is incapacitated and unable to make any decisions on their own. I could see how the line between able and unable might be blurry, though, like if a person was conscious but had to go into emergency surgery right away in order to be saved. I'd hope that the staff would look at one's emergency instructions in those cases, since being under anaesthetic would seem pretty incapacitating. :/

In cases where one's fully awake and able to decide things for themselves, I'd imagine that they'd be able to give the staff orders as to exactly what to do (or call their partners from the hospital themselves, etc.). But this might be the kind of question that I'd actually have to ask a lawyer about, since hospitals sometimes operate using non-Earth logic. ^^

--E.G.
luinied
Oct. 23rd, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
Also, even if you prepare legal documents for the cases you anticipate - and always have them on hand - there are always things you won't think of until they happen. For example, Dan Savage (who is sometimes a jerk, yes) writes about not being able to check in on his son's seriously injured dog because his partner was the one to bring the dog to the vet. Whereas marriage gets to be "default allow" in these cases.

On a vaguely related note, it may be worth noting that California is not the only state with such measures up for a vote this election: Florida and Arizona are also being targeted. California's been getting more attention because it did recently permit same-sex marriage (and because it's California, and people are always paying attention to California), but defeating the other amendments is important, too.
eclective
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
California's been getting more attention because it did recently permit same-sex marriage (and because it's California, and people are always paying attention to California), but defeating the other amendments is important, too.

Thanks for this info. I didn't personally know about this at all, but yes, I definitely do consider all measures on this topic equally worthy of consideration.

I'll edit this into the main post, in case people are still reading.
seika
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
I really need some more clarification on how this works, but it's definitely an interesting factoid.

The Supreme Court ruled that because of the equal-rights clause, either everyone had a right to be married or everyone had a right to a domestic partnership. Because Prop 8 doesn't nullify the clause that was the basis of that ruling, it will still stand even if Prop 8 is passed. And because of that ruling, if there are people who don't have a right to be married, then no one has the right to be married (although everyone can have a domestic partnership).

So, if people want to preserve marriage in California, they need to vote no, or else no one will have a legal right to get married. And that goes for the conservative straight traditional church-going folks every bit as much as the gays.

Of course, it seems obvious to me that if people truly value marriage, they should not make rules that say that certain people can't get married. In fact, I would think the conservatives would be glad to find out that lots of gay people want to have traditional nuclear families just like they do, rather than being promiscuous sinners or anything. But I suppose that would make them start thinking about gay couples as being normal human beings who are just like them, and that would be uncomfortable, wouldn't it?
eclective
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Yay, that was what I wanted to know. Thanks for this. I know you'd told me about it, I just didn't have enough of the details down to give a coherent description back.

Also, icon? Oddly appropriate.
heron61
Oct. 23rd, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
Well said, well said indeed.
nightbluesprite
Oct. 23rd, 2008 07:53 am (UTC)
As someone who will be voting no on prop. 8 - thank you. You bring up really good points about which more people should be aware.
eclective
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
Really, it's the least I can do. Thank you.
electrictroy999
Oct. 23rd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
While we're legalizing same-sex marriage, let's also legalize the ability to have as many wives as you want.

Yes I'm serious.
eclective
Oct. 23rd, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Personally, I agree (husbands, too; I'm in support of polyamory and, basically, whatever familial arrangements people choose to construct). Pushing that issue now, however, would probably only cause damage to the whole idea of progressive/non-standard family units, given the current climate.

So I agree, but I don't think it's doable right now, sadly. The very fact that the right to gay marriage is being contested proves this.
luinied
Oct. 23rd, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
I want to phrase this in terms of datatype constructors, but that would be unhelpful.
An additional problem in this situation is that the idea of "one spouse" is very hard-coded into the way a lot of things are run: employers aren't prepared to offer health insurance to (in theory) more spouses than they have employees, and "the spouse decides if what to do if they're in a coma" is no longer a deterministic solution. Of course, it's not like there aren't problems in these areas already - some employers offer benefits to children, and not everyone in a coma has a spouse (or even if they do, other family members may interfere), but people are resistant to things that make the world more complicated.

What we really need, in my opinion, is a legal framework that defines broad relations between people that will be treated as "family" (to one degree or another) by law. Conventional monogamous marriage will be one way to set a certain default sort of family relations, and people will have certain default relations to their parents, but they can also set things up however they want later. The legal framework would make sure (as best as laws can, anyway) that decision-making rights and the like are always well-defined, and things life employer benefits would be defined in terms of what the framework offered, not particular ways (marriage, children, etc.) of creating families.

...of course, I have no idea what the right framework would be, but I've never claimed to be an expert. Also, it would sure help if basic things like health insurance weren't something people depending on employers for in the first place, but that's a separate issue.
electrictroy999
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Well, I think people would be more willing to accept polygamy than same-sex marriage. Religious folks (who are the main objectors) are well-aware that most of the patriarchs in the bible like Abraham had multiple wives.

It's similar to how people are more-willing to accept a black man as president than a white woman, or give blacks the vote first, rather than women.

Some progressive ideas are easier to swallow than others.

BTW, even though I talk progressively, I'm actually a Republican. "libertarian-Republican" would be the most accurate description. Or just Jeffersonian for short.



seika
Oct. 23rd, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
One step at a time, I think. If you ask for a whole lot of things that most people aren't used to the idea of at all, they'll just think "that's confusing and ridiculous". If you ask for something that's just one little step beyond what we have, the average person is more likely to be open to it.
( 16hp damage — Attack! )

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