Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Contemplations: A Civil Union Rant

At 12am today, gay and lesbians were lined up at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office to get their civil union licenses. Parties were being held, organizations were offering free officiating of civil union ceremonies, our friends were there to celebrate, even my straight Rabbi was there in support of us queer couples. But we weren’t there.

While YES, this is big news for Colorado -- which in the past has been named, (by the glbtq community), “the-great-hate-state", I still have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth about it.

At first I thought I was just being cynical because we don’t get enough sleep in this house, so not wanting to stay up until midnight just makes me feel old. And tired. Then I thought it was because of the rollercoaster ride that our relationship has been on since the birth of our son. Everyone says it changes everything, but you can NEVER know how it will change. And shit… has it changed. 

And then I thought my cynicism was because we are sometimes on the same page about baby number two and then in the blink of an eye, we are shelved in different library systems.  And then I thought it was because what we did to ensure that we had medical power of attorney, parental rights, and other protections costing us thousands of dollars to our lawyer, case worker, and court fees,  now gay and lesbian couples can get for $20 and a few signatures. But it’s not even that. I’m thrilled to be a shoulder that younger glbtq folks can stand on to get closer to having equal rights. God knows I stood on the shoulders of thousands millions of glbtq folks who endured the unspeakable so that I may live in relative safety and comfort as an OUT queer family in our liberal crunchy town. The fact is that civil union is still SEPARATE AND STILL NOT EQUAL.

We do gain some rights, lots of rights…. And they are important rights. But we do not gain ALL of the more than 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities automatically granted to married heterosexual couples. The law says that we can adopt children as a couple now, but it doesn’t clearly state anything about parental rights. My understand is … that if we continue to live in Colorado, then Jenn will have rights to any additional children we have (without needing to do another 2nd parent adoption). But if we cross the state line, then our rights go right out the window. How is that fair?

And… we already got “married”/”commitmented” or whatever you want to call it…. FIVE AND 1/2 Years ago. And there is no way my size 10 butt will fit into my size 6 wedding dress. (DAMN, I did love that dress)! So if I’m not thrilled about this civil union thing, you may understand why. 

And Jenn and I are having a hard enough time coming together to plan a date night, so the thought of planning a civil union ceremony (even if it is just us with or without a handful of family/friends) feels daunting.

Okay, so maybe I’m a bit cynical. Maybe I do need more sleep and need to get to the gym more often to get rid of the grumps.... But I don’t think it’s all without reason. 


  1. First, a big, big hug to you dear friend. I'm sorry you have the grumbles. And I totally agree with you, the Civil Unions thing is a bit of a farce. It's like saying "sure you can vote, but only in your local election." We have a long way to go in granting all of our citizens equal treatment and we're here, voting and standing up for it as well. Some day.

    And baby number two. Sigh. I'm sorry to hear that you're still going 'round with this discussion. I hope you two find clarity soon. From this side of two kids I'll add that the marriage changes again with another child. Completely. All of the changes your marriage has endured since the birth of the first are quite mild in comparison to how it gets shaken up after the second. Holy. Hell.

    Come see us soon! Big love to all three of you.

  2. first off: hugs! being parents is daunting no matter what. i hope you both can get some more sleep and more date nights.. they are oh so important.
    and #2: grrrr. i feel civil unions are like the separate but equal schools or two different water fountains. it is stupid, plain and simple. and frustrating. and embarrassing. my dd has come out as bi this last year and it chaps my ass that it is so hard for her to be able to have what we have (in whatever way she wishes to have this) here in AZ lgbtq have nothing. it is sickening. all people who wish to get married should have the same rights to do so. i mean if all these straight people can marry, divorce, remarry, divorce and remarry than why can't a same sex couple do the same? what is the fear?
    many many hugs.
    and btw your photos are stunning. you are a beautiful couple.

  3. I agree. Thanks but no thanks for Civil Unions. Equal rights means EQUAL. Ohhhhhh, our lawmakers are coming around, but much to slowly for my tastes.

    I know what you mean about too little sleep. All issues, important or trivial start to provoke my cynicism when I haven't been getting enough rest. I hope there are more Zzzzzzzzz's in your future! Or at least when baby #2 goes to college! HA!

  4. I forgot to say, Beautiful wedding photos! And such a sweet baby pic too!

  5. Whenever I read you, things happen in my body. You swirl up every emotion because I have felt it before or feel it now or...
    Timing and time and sleep deprivation and love and the leaks that emit from love and I hear all your words. Growing up, I never thought I'd have to fight for ANY right. I guess I just "assumed" they were given because all the people before me had done the work. Oh, how wrong I was. So we fight and we love and we fight for our love and WITH our love. Funny, how that goes. I may never get married, but that doesn't matter. I just want my love to be free like the ones around me.

  6. absolutely right! Now, my partner and I live in NM...a state without any specific law that states that marriage is between a man and a woman. NM also (technically) recognizes marriages from other states. This is cool because it is opening the door to conversations and lawsuits and Mayors and District Attorneys standing up and saying, "Hey, let's do this! Equal rights for everyone!" even though they're being met by other citizens who are saying, "Oh, hell no." Ugh...I am hopeful for my city and my state, but now unrealistic. My partner, the love of my life, is expecting our first baby and I am over the moon about it all (hell, after two years of trying all I want to do is a Happy dance every damn day)...and I am also terrified about all that you mentioned above...the lawyers and adoptions and fees and...injustices!!!...and it makes me angry (and sad and scared). Never before have we talked marriage, but we are most definitely talking it now.

    And yes, there are all of those who came before us...and yes, we've come a long way and I'm excited for the next generation because, truly, they will rule the world...but I am still frustrated and tired right now...and I'm not even sleep deprived because of a baby yet ;-)


  7. By the way...the shot of the two of you with all of your loved ones behind you is absolutely breathtaking! Love, love, love all the love and support literally and figuratively behind you two lovely ladies.


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