American Pioneer Sally Ride died yesterday, which totally sucks. You know what else sucks? Sally Rides partner of 27 years cannot receive federal benefits because of the Fucking Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as the “Ewww, Gay People!” Act.
Now Tam O’shaugnessy, Ride’s partner for over two and a half decades is a very accomplished in her own right and is not in need or anything like that. But of course that’s not the point, she was by Ride’s partner in life and the only difference between her and someone else is stupid DOMA, which completely sucks. Ride was a hero and a role model for this country and yet she isnot afforded the same benefits any other American would have, provided they are straight.
I’ve heard more than one bigot say that the only reason gays want to marry is so that they can “manipulate the system” and get benefits through their partner. For some reason, when straights get benefits through their partners, they’re not manipulating the system.
This made me giggle. My first marriage was entered into precisely because The Army provided several hundred extra bucks/month (like $500 or so if I recall correctly) as Basic Allowance for Quarters to married soldiers. Nevermind I was living in barracks in Monterrey, CA and she was in college in WallaWalla, Wa (no really). We were pals, she needed the money and we figured we’d probably end up getting married someday anyway so what the hell… Being non-gay straight up rocks.
If I were a believer I’d express thanks to my god every day that I am an American, I am a White, and that I am not a woman. But I’m not and I don’t. Still…freaking awesome.
ETA: just cuz I’m happy with my lot, don’t go thinking I feel the need to keep others out of the game. I wish it was awesome to just be a human being–but I clearly recognize this is unjustly not the case.
The first one is: the commentary above assumes, without saying, that Ride and O’Shaugnessy would have married, if they could, and it was only the lack of a legal marriage option that prevented them from marrying.
In other words, consider Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, who have been together since 1983, in a clear committed and serious relationship. If one of them were entitled to federal benefits, the other would not be, notwithstanding their relationship. They were not married, and so that would be the end of the inquiry.
In Russell / Hawn’s case, of course, it’s obvious that no matter where they live, they could marry.
So that brings me to my second point: I assume Ride and O’Shaugnessy lived in California. This is a unique situation; I suppose they could have married, if they wanted to, between June and November of 2008. But perhaps they did want to, and didn’t have time to finalize plans before the rug was yanked out from under them due to Prop 8.
So I guess I’d share the sentiment of the OP that Ride and O’Shaugnessy were screwed by DOMA if I were to learn that they wished to be married, but could not be because the law prevented it. If I learned that they had no intention of marrying, a la Russell / Hawn, then I would not agree that they were screwed by DOMA.
Even if they had been married in California, would the federal government recognize that marriage as a basis for survivor benefits? I was under the impression that DOMA explicitly barred the Feds from doing exactly that - was I wrong?
No, no, quite right. My point is that if they didn’t want to marry, they’d have no reason to complain at not getting DOMA benefits. If they did want to marry but were forbidden from doing so, THEN they were screwed by DOMA.
See what I mean? No one would rail about a long-term opposite-sex unmarried couple being screwed by DOMA, because they had every chance to marry and thus receive federal benefits.
It’s like saying you were screwed by Netflix because they stopped doing DVD and streaming services together, and my pointing out you weren’t a Netflix subscriber anyway.