Friday, January 20, 2006

Why it matters

This is another one of those stories that makes my blood boil. A couple in Oklahoma fell in love. They lived together for twenty-two years, sharing a ranch. One of them had children from a previous marriage and the other became the kids' step-parent. When one of them died, the other lost everything because a court decided someone else was the legal next-of-kin because the couple happened to both be men and were not allowed any kind of civil recognition of their relationship.

How can this not be wrong?

I get that people think same-sex relationships are sinful. I get that the concept is squicky. But if two people decide to share a life together, they shouldn't have to go through legal hoops to try and protect their relationship only to have it thrown out because of a technicality just because someone else thinks it's icky. They loved each other. No one else's opinion should matter.

"They took the estate away from me," said Beaumont, who said he put about $200,000 of his own money into the ranch. "Everything that had Earl's name on it, they took. They took it all and didn't bat an eye."

Every state has common-law marriage rules that protect heterosexual couples. If someone dies without a will, or with a faulty one, his or her live-in partner is treated as the rightful inheritor.


This is why domestic partnerships and civil unions matter. This is why same-sex couples need to have the right to have their relationship legally recognized with all the same rights and obligations as marriage. This is why constitutional amendments that seek to deny these rights are so horrific. They hurt real people.

This is wrong and no amount of sugarcoating can make treating people this way the good and decent thing to do.

9 Comments:

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a certain sense, "social vision," if there is such a thing, will necessarily exclude some people--what "works" will be foisted upon others as a model and template.

It's about cultural values. Some take solace in a social structure that works for them, and assume it will or should work for everyone. I used to think people would be happier if they were more like me, maybe if they were "free" and democratic, within the norm, and so on.

What we need to represent is a vision that makes tolerance its vision. --adam s

 
At 1:13 AM, Anonymous REALITY said...

Je ne parle pas très bien l'anglais ... mais je voulais vous donnez mon amitié et dire bonne chance à votre blog.
Je suis acteur, français et parisien.
In Christi

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Left Right Out said...

Did you see that they are also suing him for back rent for the time he lived on the farm?

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Oh, that's just obnoxious. How can people live with themselves?

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Questing Parson said...

As a pastor who once served in a community with a high percentage of gays, I can attest that this is not an isolated incident. It is fairly common place. What is so striking is this goes beyond any theological position. It's just mean.

 
At 4:19 AM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

I am completely dumfounded that people who claim to live with "WWJD" as a guide can come up with the answer that THIS is what Jesus would do. It is so completely contradictary to EVERYTHING he did in his life.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger the-unintentional-blogger said...

Just a point of clarification. Wouldn't Beaumont have still been able to keep the ranch if the will would have been done legally? It seems that that has some bearing on the issue as well.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Possibly. Challenges are always possible. But it was a technicality. What if your marriage could be thrown out on a technicality?

The question is, why should he have to go to such extremes? All I had to do to make sure I was guaranteed to be next of kin to my partner is to get a marriage license. It isn't right for the government to decide for individuals who does and doesn't deserve to be their family. How is that not Big Brother government?

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger Left Right Out said...

I understand that they ned to have standards for the writing of wills. What I don't understand is why the intention of the writer isn't the strongest factor?

And let's face it: if this guy was a woman the law would do a lot more to automatically protect his interest after a 25 year long relationship.

 

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