bittersweet victory

NY Gay Marriage: Bittersweet Victory

Of course what happened in NY is something to celebrate. It’s a step toward something positive, and it’s a step closer toward equality. But I don’t think everyone gets the complete picture. In a way, this is like tossing the LGBT community a bone. And it won’t affect me in Pennsylvania; it won’t affect my friends in NJ. So there are a lot of gays who aren’t exactly celebrating right now.

From a legal standpoint, there’s still a long way to go. And the only way to achieve true equality is on a federal level, not on a state level, Mr. President.

Here’s one example of inequality you won’t see mentioned much in the mainstream media. You’ll see documentaries about homeless gay people and stories they can sensationalize. You’ll see stories about bullying and stories about the most flamboyant. But you won’t see stories about the millions of hard working gay people living their lives just like everyone else. I’ve written about the inheritance taxes gay couples are required to pay in my novels, especially in Gay Pride and Prejudice. If a gay couple has been together for thirty years (the number of years doesn’t really matter) and have shared home ownership and one passes away, the survivor is required to pay steep inheritance taxes on his or her own property. I know gay couples who’ve actually taken out life insurance policies just to pay these taxes. I know other gay couples who’ve found other ways to get around this, including legally adopting each other. I also know gay people who’ve been financially wiped out by these taxes. As a homeowner, it scares the hell out of me.

A lesbian friend of mine from NY sent me an interesting e-mail this morning…she writes in all caps because she’s older and it’s easier, not because she’s shouting. She’s been with her partner for many years, and they’ve been married in several states where it’s legal for gays to marry, so she knows first hand what she’s talking about.

I KNOW I’M SUPPOSED TO BE JUMPING FOR JOY OVER THIS BUT I’M NOT.
HAVING ALREADY MARRIED IN CALIFORNIA IN 2008, I CAN TELL YOU THAT MARRIAGE, WHEN DONE BY THE STATES, MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. NOTHING CHANGED FOR US AND AS A MATTER OF FACT IT JUST UNDERSCORED WHAT WE DID NOT ACHIEVE FOR ME: REAL EQUALITY AND NOT THE PIECE WORK MARRIAGES HELD STATE BY STATE, THAT’S JUST TO PLACATE THE GAYS.

I’M STILL WAITING TO BE TRULY EQUAL AND I DO REMEMBER “SEPARATE BUT EQUAL” BACK WHEN AND DIDN’T APPLAUD THAT EITHER. AND I WON’T NOW.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY WILL BE OURS WHEN SOMEONE LIFTS THE BAN FEDERALLY. UNTIL THEN WE’RE NOT EQUALS AND I’M NOT GOING TO GET ALL TEARY EYED OVER YET ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO MOLLIFY GAYS WITH LESS THAN WE DESERVE.

As you can see, what happened in NY is a step forward, but until something’s done on a federal level, it’s just not enough.