Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where Will You Move?

As a Chicago-based LesbiFriend, I figured it was my duty to report that the Civil Unions Bill has recently been passed in Illinois. Civil unions provide legal recognition of gay couples and gives them some of the same benefits automatically available to married couples. This is awesome and amazing because 1) living in Chicago, it's easy to forget that Illinois is country as shit... so kudos to our fine state for being so progressive so quickly (not even 10 states in the union recognize gay marriage or any of its derivatives) and 2) this bill gives us the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital, control disposition of a deceased loved one's remains and make decisions about a loved one's medical care.

And now a quick pause for the cause...
Can you imagine what it must feel like to go through the trauma and the stress and the grief of watching your life partner deteriorate from, say, cancer... to be with her in the hospital night and day... to worry... to hope for the best... to have that hope not be enough... and then to have to step aside and let someone else handle the business of the way in which she departs this life because they, and not you, happen to be "her closest living relative?" Oh and by the way that relative is some asshole who doesn't respect your lifestyles, offered hardly any support, doesn't even really KNOW your partner because they were estranged, doesn't know her last wishes, doesn't fuck with YOU... but they get to pick when to pull the plug, if she will be buried or cremated, and how your name will appear in the obituary - if at all?

So good for Illinois for saving us from THAT drama. But lowkey, this bill wasn't passed only on the merit of doing what's right for gays. Senators stood up and argued for all unmarried couples in general. For senior citizens who didn't want to re-marry because it would disrupt their retirement/pension. For straight couples who love each other and co-habitate but that man just hasn't bothered to put a ring on it yet. I mean... everybody knows this is a big thing for gay people but in order to get the shit passed, that concern had to play the background. So, in this state, civil unions are an option for everyone - and they still don't afford the same rights as marriage.

Nor are they recognized everywhere. New York will respect your union no matter where it was created. But get married in Canada and it's completely worthless in Idaho. Or Kentucky. Or Florida. Or Indiana. Or Texas. Or...!

So moves need to be made. Literally and figuratively. What's your plan?

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