Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Grim doesn't care if you're gay

Mortality is everywhere, part of everything.  In some ways it seems fair in the sense that I know that nothing, even the universe itself, can opt out of irreversible change and ultimately a loss of existence.  Death is ugly, but it doesn't discriminate.

Everyone deals with this in their own way.  There's science, religion, willful or intellectual or emotional ignorance, spirituality, medicine (both as a science and a religion,) philosophy, artistic achievement, fame, pouring hope into progeny ... all kinds of ways to look at the ticking clock or avoid looking at it or ways to defer it to the future.   When all the seconds are gone in a human life, though, the next of kin are presented with questions and problems that society has too-often shielded from them.  Singing la la la will not make these things go away.

One set of questions and problems connects with same sex marriage or the lack thereof.  I think the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is as good a day as any to look at this inequality in a land where supposedly all men are created equal.  We're still working on that, apparently.  It was written in part in defiance of the Divine Right of Kings.  Now I think we need to examine laws that are establishing the Divine Right of Christian Heterosexual Fundamentalists.

When it comes to organ donation, there's no time to take things to court.  This beautiful livejournal entry snagged from this post on David Levine's livejournal says it far more eloquently than I can, and the comments are just as enlightening.  It seems that the last moments of life and the first moments after death make the tragedy of inequality even more clear.  These kinds of decisions belong with the spouse.  The law agrees, but the law doesn't agree about who is and isn't a spouse, and therein lies the major problem.  There's no 'escape clause' or 'domestic partner equivalent' to get around this problem, either, so don't go blathering on about how it's all taken care of.  It's not.

BTW, this is yet another good reason to get out, and get out fast, of a marriage where you don't have a trusting, understanding relationship.  People get married and stay married for so many strange reasons.  I wonder if they question why marriage is important to them.  Do they think that signing a paper will magically turn their infatuation or drama into a loving partnership and their family into a working, healthy one?  Anyway.   Chances are that your life, and your death, will be in the hands of your spouse if you have one.  Is that what you want?  

Philosophically, spiritually, morally, is it right to deny that right and responsibility from gay and lesbian couples?  To me, it seems that it's even more important that these decisions stay with their chosen partners, not their parents, and not their kids.  

For example, although I get along great with my mother, she never has understood nor will she ever understand my pagan beliefs, my love of history, the emotional connection I have with romantic notions of knighthood, codes of honor, or how important writing is to me, and so on. She would not think to put a sailing ship or a sword or dagger in my coffin with me or coins over my eyes.  If asked to, she'd be at a loss as to why, and it would cause her a lot of pain and anguish at a very hard time in her life.  My sister would do it, but she wouldn't believe.  It would be a senseless, strange thing to her.

My DH doesn't have identical believes and loves, but he knows mine very well.  My children are closer to the mark, but I'm too much of a puzzle to my kids for them to work out what my wishes may or may not be.  They're too busy trying to figure themselves out.  I think they could manage, but they're not on the same footing with me as my DH.

My spouse and I are on equal terms.  We're the same generation, together by choice, and we have a resonance that even our most beloved blood kin doesn't share.  If I was in a same-sex relationship, the gap between my beliefs and lifestyle choices and those of my remaining parent would be even wider.  She wouldn't condemn me, and she would likely accept my partner, but I know it would be hard for her.  She wouldn't understand.  I would need understanding, as total as possible, just before my death, and my spirit, such as it is, would rest easier afterward in the hands of someone who not only knew me well, but celebrated me for who I was, as I was, and found that beautiful.

The law recognizes this.  Though many marriages are abusive, unequal, badly patched affairs, even these often are (scarily) improvements on the blood kin relationships that surround them.  One way or another, spouses are chosen, and unchosen, in the fullness of a lifetime.  Free people are allowed to make those choices, even if they're bad choices, and free to live with the consequences.

Domestic partnerships aren't the same legal animal.  They aren't up to the task in many legal areas.  Organ donation is one of those areas.  At least my entire family is in agreement in the matter of organ donation.  Many, many families are not.

I don't think marriage should be a legal institution at all.  But it is, therefore, everyone should have access to it legally and at the exact same level.  Everyone.  I hope that this administration makes the changes necessary to finally bring this ridiculous inequality to an end.  It could save many lives, and soften the pain of many, many deaths.  

Death doesn't discriminate, but alas, human beings still do, even in America, land of the free and home of the *brave.  

*If we're so brave, why are so many Americans afraid of same sex marriage anyway?  It's not like the USA needs more 'breeding pairs' like some people claim marriages are supposed to be all about.  Yikes.  Marriage is a partnership, not a people farm!  If it was, then I guess infertile marriages should be broken up too.

Oops, I think I said that with my outside voice.


Melissa said...

I think that your arguement is very well stated! Ouch on the infertile couples though! I guess that James and I wouldn't be married if that was the took too long! LOL

Kami said...

Yeah, no kidding! People who think that marriage is meant for people to get together and have children really don't think it through, do they?

The Moody Minstrel said...

What does the word "marriage" really mean, anyway?

Kami said...

It's a contract to some, an oath to others. Between my DH and myself, it's definitely in the oath department and the government has no business in it. We're sworn to each other. That oath can't be broken.

To others it's a very floofy, indistinct idea associated with rings and moving in together, even though it's mainly a business contract between you and someone else. The government serves as a notary public--you married this person, and now you share stuff and unless a pre-nup says otherwise, if you split you have to split everything 'fairly' in court. Scarily the people going into marriage are fully aware that the 'oaths' they make, their wedding vows, can be broken at any time by the process of divorce.

Incidentally, for my DH and me, a legal divorce wouldn't affect the oath we've taken--we'd still be oathbound. There's not really any such thing as a divorce from our oath. If we decided to divorce it would be for financial reasons or legal reasons--a divorce of convenience--and it wouldn't affect our oaths. We would still be partners in life.