Ten Years of Marriage Equality
Good Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times [via Towleroad] on the experience of ten years of marriage equality in the Netherlands.
Civilization as we know it did not end. And, as far as I can tell, God did not punish the Netherlands.
With their 1400 same-sex marriages per year for ten years, they’re almost up to the 18,000 that were performed in California in 2008, our own included. Hopefully California will still be around in seven years as well.
Interesting post at Joe.My.God on preparations in some quarters for quick rushes to the altar should a gap come between stays in the appellate process for Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
I know people who’ve planned their weddings for years. We took a month (and then four more for the reception). Strange to now be thinking about windows of opportunity for couples lasting only hours or days. Stranger still is that I keep flashing to the titular scene in The Great Escape, and wondering how many more we can get through the tunnel before the goons catch on.
Doing The Happy Dance
Maybe I’ve been neglectful of y’all, truth be told I’ve been having a great time and was just a tad busy to drop back by. I tried to do a ComicCon post, but I think I’ll let the photos and their captions tell the story for me. We had a great time and the photos prove it.
Since then there’s been lots of work. And a new living room set, with photos forthcoming once the lamps arrive and the new print gets back from the framer. And Randy starts school again next week, which has left me crashing on the website his kids use for homework and collaborative projects (their very own little child-safe wiki), bringing it up to spec from last year’s feedback and expanding into a few new areas.
Then today a very nice federal judge all the way up in San Francisco said some very nice things. Lots of them actually, written down on 138 pages. Hopefully that will lead to us being able to attend more fabulous gay weddings at some point in the future. Everyone should have the right to be a Party B.
So yes, even though Randy’s up at UCLA for the week, Diego and I are doing the happy dance tonight. We’re having a good life.
The traditional gift for the second anniversary of a marriage seems to be cotton. This year may be unique though with Judge Walker setting closing arguments in the Proposition 8 trial for June 16, one day before the second anniversary of hundreds (thousands?) of same-sex couples in California, and two days before our own anniversary.
Even though paper is supposed to be for the first anniversary, I’d overlook the faux pas if Judge Walker’s planning on issuing a favorable order for the big day. Who would I be to say no? Would I return it doesn’t come printed on something cottony, say big fluffy beach towels? No, that would be rude. Not quite as rude as the people who tried to end our marriage, but rude none the less, and we couldn’t have that mar our celebrating.
If anyone else wants to help us celebrate, or drop a copy of the order by while wearing something cottony, we’ll be back at The Cliffs celebrating our anniversary. Look for us poolside or follow the sounds of a fluffy little dog complaining he’s not getting enough attention.
What Kind Of A Planet Do We Live On?
Neither of us are even in AARP yet, much less ready for Social Security. I have to admit I’m not really expecting much to be left of Social Security by the time I get there, if I get there, in 20 years or so.
It’s not just about that particular benefit though – it’s all the benefits of marriage and equal treatment under the law for everyone.
Flashing Back On The Party
One year ago, almost to the minute, I was bouncing off the walls, stressed almost to my limits. It was the day of our wedding reception. The caterer had just called to tell us someone had poached our spot at Crown Point, and because of that we needed to find tables and chairs for about 80 people. Spinner was off hunting down the cake. Diego was probably being a pain – nothing unusual – he just gets that way when he thinks he’s being ignored or abandoned.
Everything worked out though, and it was a wonderful day. Hands down one of the best days of my life. The June wedding’s right up there too, and it’s hard to put one over the other. Yes, I’m still proud to be a June Party B but always love a good party.
Small, intimate, peaceful ceremony to express our commitment versus large, public, and just plain FUN party to celebrate that commitment. Tough call.
For years, assuming we’d never get “married”, we celebrated the anniversary of our first date. Since then we’ve celebrated that and the anniversary of the June wedding. We’re both remembering today, but there’s nothing special planned. Two anniversaries per year is enough for any couple.
I don’t think this last year has been easy on anyone. The fabulousness was so much that the H8ers felt they had to step in and try to end our marriage, and the most fabulous cake shop around was a victim of the recession. But I’m definitely happy we’ve taken this route and appreciate everyone who came out a year ago to help us celebrate. Now back to meeting Diego’s need for attention.
The Cost of Being Gay
Fascinating article in the New York Times on the financial aspects of the legal discrimination against being gay. I wish this information had been available during the debate on Proposition 8, and certainly hope it will be used to inspire some rational debate on real, legal issues during the upcoming campaigns in Maine, Washington and elsewhere.
I thought the discussion on tax consequences was particularly illuminating. Income taxes were the one area where straight couples were financially disadvantaged, but only if you looked at the raw amount of taxes paid. But if you look at why they pay more taxes, the reason is quite clearly the extra taxable benefits provided by government programs that prefer their marital status.
Though the gay and heterosexual married couple had identical salaries, the married couple collected more income in retirement — a direct result of their marriage status — and thus owed more in taxes (though they still benefited from the marriage bonus). For instance, the married couple collected higher Social Security spousal benefits and survivor benefits, pension income and income derived from a spousal I.R.A. The gay couples weren’t entitled to any of these benefits.
One issue the authors didn’t directly address that I would have liked to see covered in one of the hypothetical families are the dependents of military and other federal personnel who can’t disclose their true relationships. Extra housing costs, extra healthcare costs, added relocation costs (if relocation is even an option) and drastically reduced pension and employment opportunities are the issues that easily come to mind.
I do wonder though if the opponents of marriage equality are going to come back with a study of their own showing the financial impact of having no decorating skills, no fashion sense, and the inability to recognize bad music and theatrical flops. I’m sure some economist will be happy to quantify the lifetime costs of having bought avocado-colored appliances and shag carpeting.
Where The Gays Go From Here
One of the self-appointed gay leaders shot me a fundraising e-mail this afternoon (one of at least a dozen similar messages received since the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 decision was announced). He used words like courage and fearless to try and guilt a donation supporting a 2010 ballot initiative. Then of course he caved, and despite being the leader of a well-positioned, well-intentioned and well-funded group promised that the final decision to actually do something would only be made “in collaboration with our partner organizations and allies in the growing California movement for marriage equality.”
Tired of consensus builders and do-gooders who want to use the Supreme Court’s ruling to pad their coffers. Their focus groups lost us the battle in November. While I want Prop. 8 repealed now, and want to see something on every ballot until it is repealed, I’ll wait until an actual leader emerges before I give again. Hopefully it will be someone like these people: Good gays willing to work hard and take personal risks, not just liberals with a spam bot at their disposal.
Waiting Is The Hardest Part
So, what does one do with a shade over 88 hours to kill before finding out whether your marriage is going to be terminated against your will? Waiting to find out if a bunch of wingnuts really did divorce us and 18,000 other couples they’ve never met can make one a tad anxious. At least since the wait’s over the Memorial Day weekend the grilling of flesh will most certainly be involved. Someone’s probably going to tie that thought to fire though, and our self-proclaimed leadership would say that’s bad and sentence me to ten choruses of Kumbaya. They’d make me go hug some Mormon missionaries if I admitted I’d probably vent a lot of frustrations this weekend by blowing up crap in video games. Probably should’ve shut up two sentences ago, but I tend to ramble when I get anxious, and am really past caring what some people think. Anyone want to help me relax? We’ve got a spare Wii remote and countless minions of evil to defeat.
Marriage and Money
As we plan for our first anniversary in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, it’s been interesting reading all the marriage stuff in the news lately. Maine! New Hampshire, maybe! Of course, we’re still waiting for the big story: California’s ruling on the validity of Prop 8, if any.
But it is interesting seeing the fallout continue from the Prop 8 battle itself. At least one boycott seems to be working. Pain is being felt, and attitudes, at least publicly if not in some people’s black little hearts, are changing. For me though I have to admit the thought of balancing donations ($125,000 to gay groups to balance his $125,000 promoting H8) isn’t the goal and isn’t enough. The goal has to be to ensure that when the issue comes up again, and it will, not one dime of money spent at that hotel finds it’s way to the anti-equality groups. Letting him finance both sides to get favorable publicity across the board would never be enough to get me to spend my money at his, or any of the similarly-situated businesses again.