Or someone you know. I’m speaking of tangible harm, not things like ‘the joy of being married’ or some such. I thought of this while reading the various debates and other discussions regarding same-sex marriage. We can debate the legal, religious and other aspects of the situation in those threads, but I want to hear about the people that are being negatively affected by the current laws as they stand now.
For my own example, the one thing I can think of right off is that it costs me at least $1000 a year. I can cover my partner under my health insurance but because the federal government doesn’t recognize our relationship, I have to pay income tax on the market value of his coverage.
Friends of mine have two kids-- they biologically belong to one of them, and her deadbeat jobless ex (she’s bi). Said mom lost her job, and insurance, and could go on her partner’s insurance. But they can’t put the kids on, even though insurance could cover step-children, they can’t get married. So now they have to pay for private insurance for the kids, despite their other Mom having perfectly serviceable health insurance. And they’re now a single income family, with the income-earner being unable to actually claim any of her dependents on her taxes.
Also, according to other friends, when you travel you have to pay extra for your partner to be able to drive the rental car-- spouses are included.
I don’t know anyone who’s run into problems with being treated differently by medical professionals, but this is San Francisco. I know it’s different elsewhere.
I know someone who was denied bereavement leave for the death of her partner’s parent, because the company policy specified “Mother-in-law or father-in-law” and they were not legally married.
When my sister died her partner was not permitted to identify the body as she was not considered a relative and… well, the police were bigots (this was 20 years ago now). They insisted that our parents travel a couple hundred miles to identify the body, even though our parents were willing and gave their permission and actively expressed a desire that my sister’s partner take this on if she was willing to do so. No, not good enough. So my mother, who was recovering from heart surgery and very weak, enough so that my father could not leave her alone, was forced to travel a couple hundred miles in a wheelchair (she was too weak to stand more than a few minutes or walk more than a few steps) so my parents could do all the official crap that under other circumstances could have been done by my sister’s spouse except, of course, that those two women could not legally marry. The bullshit didn’t stop there, and I really don’t want to revisit it. Suffice to say it was burden to the family, against the express wishes of both the immediate and extended families (who had mostly accepted that these two were lesbians on both sides), and certainly added to the trauma of sudden death.
Would that meet your definition of harm?
My should-have-been-sister-in-law was fortunate - my family did and continues to treat her as the widowed spouse of my sister.
Without a doubt it does. I’m really sorry to hear about that.
My point in this question was to get past all of the other things that normally come up in SSM threads and focus more on the things that could be made better for gay couples and those that know them. Real people are suffering real harm, both financial and otherwise, because of the lack of marriage access and that seems to get ignored.
I have a friend who lost her kid. Her partner and her had a child - the biological child of her partner, but conceived and born when they were together. When her partner decided not to be her partner any longer, my friend had no rights to the child.
With out domestic partnership, we get to pay the marriage taxes but don’t get any marriage benefits. Our health benefits cost more because of the pre-tax/post-tax discrepancy. We cannot visit each other in many state’s hospital ICUs. We have to spend time re-doing the paperwork on the refinance because it describes us as single, which contradicts the survivorship papers. I could go on.
Under Spanish law, someone who’s married gets automatic paid bereavement time off to go to the funerals of relatives up to second-degree, whether they be by blood or in-laws.
In Navarra and Euskadi it is traditional to grant the same courtesy to engaged couples; because of the weight of Tradition in our special legal system (1), this means that if you’re living with someone and your employer refuses to give you bereavement time that would be due to someone married, you can legally kick up a fuss and get compensation.
But I know people in other regions who weren’t allowed two hours off to go to a parent-in-law funeral’s because they weren’t married, therefore the written law did not grant them that time off, and their employers were gits: they had no recourse. Now with SSM, this second situation can happen to couples of any gender combination who “don’t have papers,” but if you’re married you’re married, whatever the gender combination.
1: Foral Law. Navarra’s laws didn’t get written down until the XIII century, when we changed dynasties and the imported king almost had a heart attack hearing that the only things written down were foundational papers of towns (normally, granting them temporary tax exemptions so people would move there). He called Parliament and proposed that writing “how things are done” on paper could be helpful both for immigrants like himself and for when you get a case that’s very unusual, you can look it up and see if something like that happened before and how it’s normally been solved, rather than have to chase down a Wise Man who remembers having heard about a similar case. So basically, in Navarra Tradition comes before Law and any Law that doesn’t have a link to Tradition is kind of suspect.
My best friend has to go to another state to get married and I will not be able to go there and see it. And then I will have to see them when they come back and be “married” but no one in this state give a shit because our state will not recognize it.
I manufacturechip and dipsets and weddings are one of our mainstays. Queers I know have told me they love to get one of our sets as wedding presents, but SSM laws are keeping the opportunities for gift giving at a minimum.
My wife was a surrogate for a gay couple. They live in New York, and we live in New Jersey – but we had to deliver the baby in Pennsylvania because that was where we found a judge willing to sign an order allowing both fathers to appear on the birth certificate.
My rabbi could not be legally wed in the state she lived in. Because of this, there were issues over what should happen should her partner have medical issues. When they decided to have a child, she was told that she would not be allowed to keep said child should her partner die. This precipitated her moving to the state she currently lives in; a benefit to us, but I can only imagine how it must feel to know that, heaven forbid, something should go wrong, you’d not see your own child because people think homosexuality is icky.
A couple grand per couple in legal fees to set up some of the basics covered by my $27 marriage license–power of attorney, wills, that sort of thing. And that’s for the couples who didn’t have any kids and so didn’t have to do anything extra to give the non-birth parent legal rights to the kid(s).
I had to drive all the way to Canada so my lesbian friends could get married (legally married THERE but not where they live.) Not that this part was harmful, it was joyous and beautiful, but they could have had a ginormous wedding here instead and more people could have attended and such.
Of course, they are the ones dealing with all of the crap - and this is the “harm” part. They are adopting the "world’s cutest little boy"™. I say “they” but instead one of them will have to adopt as his sole parent and he gets cheated out of a whole side of his family. And all of his health care and everything will have to be covered by one mom. Argh.
Oh yes, also. It’s going to cost me $1000 in plane fare and hotel to travel to another state for good friends of mine to get married, since it’s not legal in California. Destination weddings are a pain, but really, what choice do they have?