A gay California man, whose partner died in the September 11 terrorist attacks has become “legally vulnerable in ways (he) could never imagine”(Urges 1). Keith Brodowski lost his life partner, Jeff Coleman, to American Airlines flight 11, which was the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Coleman was a flight attendant. Brodowski is now battling the state and the nation for survivors’ benefits, granted to the widows of those who died. It took the powerful words of Brodowski’s testimony to move legislation to grant partial inheritance rights for registered domestic partners in California(Lambda 1). Married couples had to go through nothing of this caliper for their benefits.
Marcye and Karen Nicholson-McFadden have a child. When the baby was born, they faced a hospital full of staff who refused to acknowledge them as a couple. Now, two years later, they are expecting another child and do not want to face the same trials again. Marital rights would protect their children, their jointly owned business, and their hospital care. Marcye asks “How do we let our children know that our family is as valuable as traditional families even though the government doesn’t think so?” (Staiton 1).
These are only two examples of troubles facing homosexuals today. In a survey conducted by Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples, over fifty percent of lesbians and forty percent of gay men had faced problems obtaining employment benefits, lower tax rates, and insurance breaks because civil unions are not recognized as a legal marriage. Other discriminations included employment, housing, hotels, hospital visitation, adoption, and many more. (Partners 3) These problems could have been eliminated if the couple had been legally recognized as married. In their own eyes, 88% of the women and 56% of the men considered themselves married (Partners 7). Their relationships need to be recognized in the eyes of the law!
When a married person dies, his or her spouse is considered the next of kin. This A homosexual’s surviving partner does not have that right. Even in cases where wills are present, family members have sued for burial rights, property etc., on grounds of dementia or undue influence (Demian 2). This is the same policy at a hospital. A partner has no more importance regarding medical decisions than a total stranger.
Another problem with gay couples is the subject of children. Opponents of same-sex marriages claim that children need parents of both sexes as role models. This has been proven false. Children of gay and lesbian parents develop just as well as children raised by heterosexual parents. Studies show that children raised by homosexual parents are not “disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to the children of heterosexual parents…none of the studies support the claims that children …will have serious emotional, intellectual, or social development problems because of their parent’s sexual orientation (Wald 5-7).
Currently, Vermont is the only state doing anything about the inability of homosexuals to wed. The state has granted full equal rights to married couples regardless of gender (Landmark 2). Hawaii has also taken small steps to legalize homosexual marriage by granting some rights (Rights 2). The rest of the United States need to open their conservative eyes and realize that they are keeping families from forming. They are stopping children from having caring stable homes. They are keeping from the American people, the freedom to pursue happiness.