At the recommendation of our pastor, we rented Tying The Knot, a documentary that deals with the debate over same-sex marriage. It was enlightening and disturbing at the same time.
The film dealt with the history of marriage, with the opening of marriage to gays and lesbians around the world, and with the twisted arguments of conservatives who oppose it.
I’m more convinced than ever that James Dobson from Focus On The Family is insane. They showed footage from his appearance on Larry King Live, where he stated that homosexuals really don’t want to get married, they just want to destroy marriage.
My heart broke for the two couples that were profiled in the film. One was a pair of lesbian police officers from Tampa, Florida. They had been “married” for ten years and everyone around them, including family and coworkers, knew that they were a couple and supported them. When Lois was killed in a bank robbery, the city folded and placed the flag in Mickie’s arms at the funeral, but denied her the pension normally given to surviving spouses. She sued, lost, and the pension was awarded to her partner’s family. The city is now suing her for the legal fees that they incurred as a result of her lawsuit.
Sam, a very brave older man from Oklahoma, recounted his 23 year relationship with his partner who had recently died. Although the partner has signed a will leaving him everything (including the house they had built together), the court ruled that they should have had two notary signatures instead of only one, and gave all of the property to the estranged sister of the deceased. The sister admitted that it was her brother’s signature on the will, but fought for the property anyway. She also made it clear that once she gained ownership of the home, that she would immediately place it on the market.
The court ruled in the sister’s favor, whereupon she immediately evicted Sam from his home, forcing him to move into a rundown shack that had been partially burned. She is now trying to get possession of that home, claiming that he owes back taxes.
Both cases reveal the paranoia that we must live with knowing that our relationships carry no legal weight. I often worry about how my partner would be treated by my family in the event of my passing. Would they allow religious views to get in the way of doing the right thing, or would they consider what I might have wanted? I certainly pray it will be the latter.