A day I have long awaited finally arrived. I attended a meeting last week regarding benefits at work. We were told that Domestic Partners were now able to be added to insurance policies. I rejoiced! My partner and I have been together for 16 years. We have two amazing children. We own everything together. And yet, we have no rights within the United States government.
But, today changed that. I work for the county and the county recognized that we do mean something! That I can now take care of my loved one in the same way that married couples do. Well, almost…..
I got the application and the instructions that come along with it. My coworkers who are married must provide a copy of their marriage license for their spouse to be covered. I must:
1)Provide a copy of the certificate that I receive from the city that I have registered my union (more on that in a minute); 2)Provide a copy of a Durable Power of Attorney in which my partner is named; 3)Provide a copy of my Will in which my partner is named; 4)Provide documentation that we own a home and/or vehicle together; 5)Provide documentation that we are financially dependent on each other (i.e. joint checking)
I think I missed the part where they asked for my first born too…..
All things considered I was actually happy to provide all documentation. The thought of being treated like my friends and coworkers who can provide benefits for their entire family was just the dangling carrot that I needed. I quickly went to work gathering the information (mind you I had exactly 2 working days plus the holiday weekend to do so). Then I realized that we still needed to register our “partnership” with the city.
Finding the application was a nightmare to say the least! Once I did find it I realized that we would have to find time together (also a nightmare!) and get with a Notary at the same time to sign the application to return to the city. Glad banks are open on Saturdays!
Today I drove myself down to the city clerk’s office to turn in my signed, notarized application and my $25. I felt a little odd about it but my partner reminded me that it’s just like getting a marriage license. I turned in my application and my fee. What I got was a cheesy certificate (that I could have printed out on my own HP Photosmart) with the city’s seal and two wallet cards stating that we were “Registered Domestic Partners”. Oh, and we were #131 in the city to register.
I left the city clerk’s office feeling an intense need to go to the swarmy part of town and get a barcode tatoo on my forearm. I felt so very defeated – like I’d given in to the system that has tried for so long to keep me from the rights I have not only as an American citizen but also as a human being. Being a homosexual is not a choice. Like Rosa Parks was born with brown skin, I was born a homosexual. It is part of who I am and the cheap little piece of paper makes me feel like I ignored that part today.
I weigh the good and bad of the choice we made to register with the city. It was certainly the right decision for my family. I was certainly a big step in standing up for my rights within the agency that I work. It was a huge reminder that our nation still has so far to go in providing equal rights to all of its citizens.
As you read this please remind yourself of all of the rights that you have and all of the little things that you take for granted. Remember that there is always someone out there with less than you – someone who has to fight a little bit harder to get what comes so easily to you. If you are one of those less fortunate, know that you are not alone.
I’m off my soapbox now. Thanks for taking the journey with me.