There is one very important thing that I have learned in the short time I have been running this blog: Unmarried couples are summarily fucked in more ways than I can count. Granted, there are some states (California and New Jersey to name a couple) that are friendly to unmarried couples, but once a couple crosses state lines (or even county lines or city limits) their rights can change dramatically. This is a risk that my partner and I are not willing to take.
First, there is the issue of medical decisions. Yes, there are advanced health directives and DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate orders), but would a hospital even recognize these in an emergency? Would I have to run home for certified copies or call my lawyer? Would the hospital staff even acknowledge me? My partner does not get along well with his mother and his brother is a drug addict. In addition, we are a mixed race couple and many people in his family have a serious problem with this. We do not want these people making medical decisions for him.
The second issue is health insurance. Currently only a handful of state and local governments and more recently the federal government (but only in certain instances) have allowed domestic partners to have access to health benefits. It is not mandated in private industry and even at companies where benefits are available to domestic partners, it often excludes heterosexual partners. I recently had surgery and may need follow-up treatment. My partner’s job may transfer him out of state soon and I may not be able to find a job right away. I am trying to arrange to work remotely at my current job, but nothing is guaranteed. I cannot afford to go without health insurance and I cannot afford to purchase private insurance. It is too dangerous for me. I am also contemplating a career as a freelance writer, which will leave me without insurance.
There is a third, less tangible reason to marry this man: I love him madly. Seriously. This is like Movie Love, and I don’t mean that Nora Ephron chick flick romantic comedy love – that’s for lightweights. I mean real love. Think Dr. Zhivago. Think Thorn Birds. Think Katie and Hubble in The Way We Were…hopefully it will work out better for us than it did for our protagonists in the aforementioned films, but you get the idea.
So one night on the phone I proposed to my partner. A week or so later, he agreed to get married.
I can’t help feeling guilty – like I am betraying the Unmarried Rights community or the feminist community or something. My rational mind knows that’s ridiculous, but feelings are rarely rational. I thought about shutting down the blog. However, I spoke with some people and have decided that I can still blog about the discrimination that unmarried people face. The consensus was that I still have credibility on this issue, both as a lawyer and a person who has spent my entire adult life single. If some of my readers disagree, I completely understand. I would hope that I can serve as a kind of Pied Piper to the other side. A person who can educate the smug married types on how life is at the bottom of the totem pole.
So there it is. I am coming out of the closet…as a Bride.
I’ll conclude with another Barbara Streisand number (I know, I know…but I’m a white middle-aged gay man trapped in the body of a 31 year old black woman). This is a bit silly, but stick with it – it’s funny!