16 Sep 09

Was that title confusing? At first I wrote “Political Statement to Follow”, but then decided political statements generally DO require apologies on blogs where they are COMPLETELY off topic, but I think every blog should dedicate a bit of space to human rights, feeding hungry children, fighting world malaria, and LOTS more worthy causes.

So, I’m gay.  I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this in previous posts.  My partner and I have been together for 9.5 years.  Earlier this spring the Washington State Senate, House of Representatives, and Governor Christine Gregoire signed part 3 of the Domestic Partnership Rights.  This last part is casually known as the “Everything but Marriage” bill.  Normally, that would have meant that it would go into law 90 days after signed by the Governor.  However, a group of concerned citizens gathered enough voter signatures forcing the bill to go to a public vote in November.  So, you’ll be hearing more about Referendum 71.  In order for the original bill, passed by our state legislators and governor, the citizens must vote APPROVE.

So, blah blah blah… let’s put this really simple.  There are a handful of VERY important rights for domestic partners (gay couples and heterosexual couples with one partner over 62, it’s NOT just a gay thing):

  1. Death benefits for partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty – currently, they are simply abandoned by the government to not only mourn, but also to fend for themselves.
  2. Right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner – doesn’t this sound like a basic right? Currently, I can’t take sick leave to take care of my ailing partner??? Crazy.
  3. Pension benefits for partners of teachers and other public employees – similar to the death benefit for police and firefighters, currently any state pension can’t be passed on to a domestic partner.
  4. Victim’s rights – I’m a little unclear about this one.  Please leave your comments to help me understand this one.
  5. Right to workers’ compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment – I had never considered this point in the past.  I had never realized that if I were killed at work, my partner would receive nothing.  But if a straight married colleague lost her life while at work, workers’ comp would pay benefits to her husband.

Anyway, hope this helps clarify some of the issues.  I was warned that I would get emotional about this topic, but I think it’s worth expressing the reality of the situation.

PLEASE give me some feedback here.  Particularly on the Victim’s Rights issue.  And, I really want to hear some sort of legitimate opposing views.  All I’ve heard so far is the same lies that were spread in California about Prop. 8 that “this bill would force schools to teach homosexuality”… whatever that means!  Got a valid argument? Do share!

Filed under: Cultural

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