Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

Elephant in the Room: I Can Only Be With My Boyfriend If He Proposes

Gay-MarriageDear Cora,

I have been with my boyfriend for nearly 5 years.  I am 23 and he’s is 30. I am from a religious family so my mum and dad won’t allow me to live with him without being married. He lives quite a few miles away from me and works a lot so I only see him once a week and being away from him is breaking my heart. After  five years I want him with me every day and not just to see him 1 day a week for a few hours. I feel as though all I have done for 5 years is miss him. Do you think he will ever propose? He has been married before and maybe that is putting him off.  I don’t know where I stand, please help. 

Sincerely, 

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Oh, babe. We have a lot going on here and I think we need to break it down step by step to see what we can come up with.

The first thing that pops out at me is that you’re 23, stop talking about marriageYou especially shouldn’t be talking about it when you approach it as a method to see your boyfriend more often. That’s not what it’s about. Marriage is a serious commitment – it is promising to spend the rest of your life with someone. That means when things aren’t fun, when they aren’t paying attention to you, for better and for worse. Real marriage is about accepting that making a life together is hard work, and that you’re willing to commit to sticking it out together. It’s not a quick fix for missing someone. It’s a life-long, very serious, situation. If your boyfriend has already been married and it ended then he probably knows this better than anyone and his hesitation may be because he knows you two aren’t ready for that level of commitment.

Speaking of your boyfriend, let’s talk about him for a moment. Actually, no. Let’s talk about you, and your feelings for him. I agree that a few hours a week isn’t enough to maintain a serious relationship – especially after five years. How well do you two really know each other? How do you build something solid and lasting on mere glimpses of time? That is a conversation you need to have with him instead of asking when is he going to propose or if he wants to get married. You need to ask what do we need to do to make this really work? Your words and emotions are serious but the level of the relationship seems casual and I think it would behoove you to make sure that you are both on the same page before you continue on writing the rest of the novel.

Now here’s the tough part, but I think if you are able to take advantage of this last piece of advice you’ll find that the rest of it gets easier. It seems the deepest root of your troubles comes from the rules of your parents. While I think you may be too young to be thinking about marriage (at least in your current situation) you are old enough to be making your own decisions. I have no doubts that your parents want the best for you as only they know how – however, they can’t live your life for you. You are old enough to be making your own decisions about how you want to live your life. The hard part of that is finding a way to make your parents accept that, or having the strength to move on by yourself even if they don’t. What I think you need Anonymous is to start thinking about moving out on your own instead of with your boyfriend. You need to learn to stand on your own two feet – that’s what your 20s are for! To figure out who you really are as a person by making your own decisions and your own mistakes. With your own place you not only get the chance to figure out for yourself what you believe but it should allow you more time to see your boyfriend. You two can get to know each other on a serious level, figure out how you work as a couple that has to function with the rest of the world and whether it really does work.

Don’t sell yourself short of this opportunity to grow into your own skin by moving from your parents to your boyfriend. You need time to grow, lovely. Unburden yourself from those shackles. It’s a tough world out there and you have to dig deep to find the strength to choose and hold on to your own happiness. I’m afraid if you keep sitting around waiting for your parents or your boyfriend to hand it to you that you’re going to miss out on the wonderful things you deserve.

Best wishes,

Cora

Beautiful Proposal in Home Depot – Hooray for Marriage Equality!

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 11.29.50 AMThere have been a lot of sweet and elaborate marriage proposals circling the Internet in the last few years. Someone got the idea at one point that a highly public and choreographed proposal would be the best way to snag their sweetie, and the trend caught on.

If you feel like you’ve seen enough marriage proposals to last a lifetime, then you probably haven’t seen this one yet. This is one of the most adorable and meaningful proposal videos we’ve seen – not because of some intricate choreography or big dazzling moment – but because of two key qualities. First, the depth and strength of love between the partners is palpable. And second, the lovers happen to be two men, and the proposal of marriage means so much in our slowly-but-finally changing world. DOMA was repealed this summer; same sex marriage is becoming legal in more and more states and countries. These two sweethearts are going to have a long and happy life together, we can feel it.

Next time your honey takes you out for a harmless trip to Home Depot, watch out for a surprise marriage proposal!

Just kidding.

But truly, have you ever seen something so sweet? After all, what could be more staggeringly beautiful than the love between two individuals, declaring their devotion to one another for all to see?

How would you stage a marriage proposal? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

8 Breathtaking Rainbows to Celebrate the Supreme Courts’ Rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA!

Following Tuesday’s controversial ruling on the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court may have won a few hearts back today by overturning California’s Proposition 8 and thus allowing same-sex couples in that state to be legally wed. The ruling doesn’t extend beyond the state’s borders, and other bans on same-sex marriage around the country will remain in tact – for now. But the Court simultaneously struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which until now inhibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by individual states. So if you’re in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage (welcome to the ranks, California!) then your marriage will also be recognized by the federal government. If you’re not, then keep working and rallying your energies because the general tide has shifted, and total equality is where we’re headed.

President Obama called the plaintiffs and lawyers who worked on overturning Prop 8 to congratulate them – a heartening gesture that shows the president truly is on the side of equal rights. In the spirit of equality, here are eight breathtaking rainbows to celebrate the Supreme Courts overturning of Prop 8 and DOMA:

If you’re in a same-sex relationship in California, are you planning on getting hitched? Does the Court’s ruling on Prop 8 impact your decision? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

5-Year-Old’s “Lemonade for Peace” Sale Gets a Slap in the Face From Westboro Baptist Church

Jayden is five years old, and she’s the merchant of a lemonade stand right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church’s Kansas headquarters. That would be all well and good, except for the fact that this particular lemonade stand has a special mission. Jayden’s “Lemonade for Peace” is situated on the grounds of The Equality House, a rainbow-painted edifice run by the nonprofit, Planting Peace.

One might wonder how a child so young would know about, let alone comprehend, the complexities of this figurative and literal face off between the two organizations. Jayden does come from a special family – her father is Jon Sink, founder of FRESHCASSETTE/Creative Compassion, a multifaceted art, music, and humanitarian organization. When Jon explained to his daughter the WBC’s message of hate and exclusion, Jayden got the idea to start a project to raise money that would go toward spreading the opposite kind of message. Thus, “Pink Lemonade for Peace: $1 Suggested Donation” was born, and now over $1,000 have been donated to Jayden’s cause, both in person and online.

When you think about it, Jayden’s reaction to Westboro Baptist Church isn’t hard to understand. Children that young aren’t inclined toward meanness and discrimination, even if they quickly learn those things by modeling adults and media. In general, though, kids are inclined to be forgiving, accepting, and overall to promote accord and happiness. Why take sides when we could be friends? Why fight and sulk when we could play and explore?

As might be expected, the WBC responded to the Lemonade for Peace stand with almost enough venom to match Jayden’s love.

o-WESTBORO-BAPTIST-CHURCH-RESPONDS-570

But we all know which is the strongest of the two…

 

Photo credit: Megan Rogers

Texas Judge Orders Lesbian Couple to Split “for the Sake of the Children”

url4No, you didn’t read that headline wrong. Judge John Roach Jr. of Collin County, Texas has ordered Page Price to move out of her house where she lives with her partner, Carolyn Compton, and Compton’s two children. Is that even legal, you may be wondering?

Technically, yes. Roach’s ruling calls upon a “morality clause” that Compton signed as a part of her divorce settlement two years ago. The clause states that anyone with a “dating or intimate relationship” with the parent, not related by blood or marriage, is not allowed in the house after 9pm when the children are present. Though neutral-seeming enough, many are accusing the ruling, and morality clauses in general, of particularly targeting LGBT families.This is made all the more insidious and problematic in a state like Texas where homosexual couples can’t even nullify morality clauses by getting married. Their only options? Split up, move to another state, or maintain a solely daytime relationship.

In response, Price and Compton are complying with the order while simultaneously launching a Facebook campaign to spread awareness around this issue and raise money for their appeal. Price writes:

Carolyn Lang Compton and I have been together almost three years and have a very happy and healthy home. Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home. Said Judge offered further information to our attorneys that if he could throw her in jail for being gay he would…

Judge Roach Jr. placed this “Morality Clause ” in their divorce papers with no end date at his will during their final divorce hearing stating that he did not like Carolyn’s “lifestyle”…

Now I realize there are those of you who don’t agree with my “lifestyle”, but the fact is that I wasn’t given a choice. I also know that those of you who know me know that I am a good person and would never hurt a child in any way. Tell me how this is just. Equal rights?

gavelbang_320x245Price goes on to describe Compton’s tenuous relationship with her ex-husband, which involves him having been charged with 3rd degree felony stalking, hiring a private investigator to gather evidence for his case against them, and visiting his children just “12 times in 3 years.” The unsettling ruling may have uprooted the Price/Compton family environment, but it seems to have at least galvanized their efforts in the name of a cause for non-discrimination and equal rights. Price writes:

We didn’t want to be the face for this movement, but it looks like God has bigger plans for us. We will stand up and fight this for our family and hope that it helps pave the way for marriage equality in Texas! The support we’ve felt has been incredible and has given us the hope and strength to push forward and hopefully put an end to this type of discrimination. We are strong and we will get through this TOGETHER!

Morality clauses are a tricky subject, in general. The idea is that a court, company, or agency has the right to dictate people’s behavior and lifestyle choices for the sake of propriety, children’s well-being, brand image, etc. But when “morality” presents such a hazy, variable standard for living, does the court have any right to legislate it?

What do you think? Do morality clauses seem acceptable to you, and, if so, what kinds of lifestyle habits should or shouldn’t be regulated? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

10 Rights Granted by Marriage…but Not by Civil Unions

Waltzing CoupleAside from the basic principles of equal rights, there are many pragmatic, even commonplace issues spurring on the campaign for same-sex marriage. How do same-sex couples pay taxes? What happens to shared property when one partner dies? And in recent news, how do you get around hospitals’ traditional visitation rights, extended to blood relatives or spouses?

In 2010, President Obama issued a mandate requiring hospitals to allow visitation rights, as well as medical power of attorney, to same-sex partners. It was a big step in the cause for equal rights, but one that perhaps hasn’t played out as well as was intended, as evidenced by last week’s news.

Roger Gorley was arrested last Tuesday for allegedly behaving in a “disruptive and belligerent” manner while visiting his partner, Allen, in the hospital. Authorities asked him to leave; he refused; they threw him out. At least that’s what hospital authorities reported. Gorley’s 26-year-old daughter, Amanda, gave quite a different account of the events.

According to Amanda, it was Allen’s brother who initially didn’t want Roger in the hospital and tried to get him to leave. The two began arguing, which escalated until the police arrived. Amanda described the police hitting her father’s wrists as he held onto the rail of the gurney and wrestling him to the ground before handcuffing him.

Hospital and police representatives maintain that no sexual discrimination came into play in the scuffle. Either way, discrimination is still the word on everyone’s tongue. It just goes to show that even with mandates, bills, and increasing visibility of homosexuality in media and culture, equal rights are not a given, and acceptance of same-sex couples in society at large is still tenuous, at best.

Here are 10 rights (out of more than 1,000 benefits) married couples enjoy but which are denied to same-sex couples:

1. Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses

2. Family leave to care for your spouse during illness

3. Making burial or other final arrangements if your partner passes away

4. Spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation rights if you divorce

5. Living in neighborhoods designated for “families only”

6. Veterans’ and military benefits for spouses, such as for education, medical care, or certain loans

7. Filing joint federal and state income tax returns

8. Taking bereavement leave from work if your spouse dies

9. Making medical decisions if your partner becomes incapacitated and cannot express wishes for treatment

10. Family rates for health, homeowners’, and auto insurance

photo by: CarbonNYC

Deepak Chopra: How to Build Teamwork When We’re Divided

With the country so divided this week over the Supreme Court’s deliberation on same sex marriage, let’s consider what it takes to build strong, cohesive teams. Despite heightened individualism in the age of computers and iPods, teamwork is critical today, especially as we face mounting global issues. In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses the key ingredients to building successful teams.

Team building is an essential component of leadership, which Deepak explores at length in his book The Soul of Leadership, as well as in his course on leadership at the Kellogg School of Management. Deepak idenfies three key attributes of strong teams:

1. They have a shared vision

2. They are emotionally bonded.

3. Every member of the team complements the strengths of every other member.

Consider this next time you find yourself building a team to collaborate on a mutual vision, whether it’s for work, leisure, or activism.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well, and check out Deepak Chopra’s book on The Soul of Leadership!

From Bedroom to Courtroom: Same-Sex Marriage Before U.S. Supreme Court

Tell Me AgainThe Prop 8 debate continues today as the United States Supreme Court begins to hear oral argument on the second significant case in the debate over same-sex marriage.

Yesterday the justices heard arguments on the Prop 8 case Hollingsworth v. Perry, and today they will hear argument on United States v. Windsor, to determine the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

United States v. Windsor is a 2007 case out of New York, where Edith “Edie” Windsor and Thea Spyer were married in Canada after 40 years of romantic partnership by Canada’s first openly gay judge.  When Spyer died in 2009, her widowed wife was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes upon inheriting her wife’s estate, since federal law did not accord their marriage the same tax-free status as different-sex marriages.

The questions the high court has posed to the attorneys on all sides is largely one of jurisdiction and standing. Does the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to decide the case, and do the proponent parties have the legal right to bring the case in the first place.

A second highly anticipated question the attorneys will argue is “whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.”

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act defines the term “marriage” for all purposes under federal law, including the provision of federal benefits, as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” It similarly defines the term “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

The Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996, under then-president Clinton. Since that time both Clinton and key legislators have changed their mind and advocated for the repeal of DOMA.

While many senators have decided to go with the strong flow that is pushing for the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, as of yesterday there were still 10 Democratic senators refusing to budge.

In 2011, The Obama administration took a firm stand, declaring Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional.

This 2011 statement from the Department of Justice rings true today:

Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA. The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law. But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

Expedited audio recordings and transcripts of the oral arguments are available on the official site of the Supreme Court here.

photo by: CarbonNYC

Dawn of a New Day for Marriage Equality

“Freedom, justice, and human dignity have always guided our journey for a more perfect union. With historic victories for marriage, we’ve delivered a mandate for full equality. The wind is at our back, but the journey has just begun.”

Let’s face it, everything sounds better when it is narrated by Morgan Freeman.

The Academy Award winner is lending his iconic voice for a national television ad by the Human Rights Campaign for nationwide marriage equality. The ad celebrates the victories for same-sex marriage in states such as Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington but points out that we have a long way to go. With images of our fight for freedom, women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement, it reminds us of our nation’s tradition of choosing dignity and equality over injustice.

The ad also comes at an important time. On November 30th, the Supreme Court will consider cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8.

Are tech tycoons poised to reform the government?

photo: chedder
Gay marriage may stand a better chance at legalization with the persuasive backing of tech giants and celebrities – not to mention the support of their checkbooks.

Amazon Founder Casts a Vote

The latest vote on the issue comes from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie. The Bezos have joined the likes of Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates in donating money – $2.5 million, to be precise – to support a pro-gay marriage law recently passed in Washington state.

Same sex marriage is legal in eight states in the US. Washington is one of several facing a referendum on the issue in the November elections. The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 7, 2012, but opponents issued a petition at the last minute. Officials were forced to schedule a referendum for the law, which will now appear on the ballot for the general election on November 6.

‘Game-Changer

As reported by BBC News, the Bezos’ contribution may prove to be a “tipping point” for the issue:

A campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage called the Bezos donation a “game-changer” in their fight to keep the law in place.

“They understand what’s at stake for Washington families and what’s at stake for the country,” Zach Silk told the Associated Press.

“We’re at a tipping point, and they really understand this is an historic moment, and they want to be on the right side of history and want to make history.”

With Obama’s pledge of support for same sex marriage earlier this year, might 2012 mark the beginning of a speedy road to equal rights?

Tech Giants as Policy Makers?

Bezos’ support of same-sex marriage in Washington comes at a critical moment. Web giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay, among others, have recently announced their formation of a lobbying organization, scheduled to launch in September. The ‘Internet Association,’ as the organization will be called, brings some of the most powerful cultural influencers together to strategically discuss and shape political issues.

Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Lobbying by tech companies is nothing new. As reported by Al Jazeera, Facebook has favored online privacy and immigration reform with donations in recent quarters; eBay focused on counterfeiting and air pollution. Who knows what they’ll focus on as a team, but I hope their hearts are in the right place. Or the left place, that is…

Many of these tech gurus are young, liberal, and extremely rich. And now they are entering the political arena. Forgive the cliche, but I do believe the winds of change are a-blowin’. What do you think? Is this a good thing? A bad thing? A non-thing? Leave your comments below!

 

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