As you all know, my sister is amazing and is married to an amazing woman. Yes- two women got married. It was a wonderful wedding - both wore big white frocks and looked stunning.
I meant to post about this on Valentines Day - K and her wife went down to City Hall, along with around 15 other gay couples and requested a marriage license. Of course they were politely turned down. It was their way of peacefully protesting against the fact that purely due to their same sex gender, they have no legal way of cementing and protecting their union.
It makes me really angry. If my sister had married a man, she'd have a green card and be safe and happy - resident in the country that she loves with the person she chose to spend the rest of her life with. Because she happened to fall in love with a woman, she has no legal position in the USA and could be deported at any time - her residency is purely based on her job and she had to wait nearly 8 years to get her qualifications over here (yes, my sis the PHD) so she could get a job in America.
Anyway - I'm probably getting all the details wrong (sorry sis) but it is still a fact that she cannot apply for a green card even though she and her partner have been together for 10 years.
I got a great email today from the Human Rights Campaign and I'm going to reproduce it here - I hope you (and they) don't mind.
"ALERT: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), has announced that the discriminatory "Marriage Protection Amendment" banning same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution will come up for a vote on June 5, 2006. Your support is needed today.
There's a moment in the film Brokeback Mountain that moved me very much: it's when Jack Twist says to Ennis Del Mar, "Listen, I'm thinking, tell you what, if you and me had a little ranch together - little cow and calf operation, your horses - it'd be some sweet life."
They never did realize their dream. And for real-life gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples - the dream of a life together may be possible, but protecting their relationships is still a distant hope.
I recently read about two real-life cowboys who did realize their dream. They met, fell in love, and settled down for a quarter century on a ranch in Bristow, Oklahoma. Together, they raised three sons and tended 50 head of cattle.
But when one of the men passed away, his will, which left everything to his life partner, was challenged in court by a distant cousin and declared invalid. Everything was taken away - the land, the cattle, and all the personal belongings that made up their life together. Their dream was broken.
I don't have to tell you the obvious: if they had been a man and a woman, this never could have happened. Only seven states currently give gay couples inheritance rights through marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. Oklahoma isn't one of those states - in fact, Oklahoma recently amended its state constitution to ensure that neither marriage nor any similar arrangement is extended to same-sex couples. "
I just wanted to share that with you. It moved me very much. I'm very proud of my sister for making her peaceful protest on Valentines Day. I'm very proud that she's proud of who she is and who she loves. I cannot bear discrimination in any form and homophobic legislation hits me close to home (obviously).
In London we have civil partnerships for gay couples. (Elton and David proudly married the other week). I can't imagine this ever happening in a country where religion and politics seem (even though that's "unconstitutional") inextricably linked. Where the "Bible Belt" will never allow equality.
I don't believe it's anyone's business who you love or share your life with. I don't understand why you could be discriminated against because of this. It's incomprehensible to me. We're all PEOPLE. We all deserve to be equal.
I know. I think like a 7 year old and I'm a naive idealist. But I don't care. This is how I'm feeling today. Excuse the rant!