Skip

It Could Happen to You!
May 10, 2012 9:36 AM   Subscribe

"Had Tom and I had the right to marry, many things would have been different. Losing a loved one is devastating enough, but to then be rendered legally insignificant only makes the pain worse."
"Shane Bitney Crone has marked the one-year anniversary of his boyfriend of six years, Tom Bridegroom, with a devastating video, 'It Could happen To You,' chronicling what happened to him after Tom's sudden death."*
Why same-sex marriage matters: Equal Love Equal Rights.
posted by ericb (36 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Project 1138 is designed to increase public awareness of the 1,138 federal marital benefits and protections denied to same-sex couples as the result of marriage inequality."

And here's a small subset of the 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law.
"Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

Creating a 'family partnership' under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.

Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.

Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.

Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

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

Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.

Receiving public assistance benefits.

Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.

Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.

Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.

Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.

Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.

Making burial or other final arrangements.

Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.

Applying for joint foster care rights.

Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.

Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

Living in neighborhoods zoned for 'families only.'

Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.

Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.

Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).

Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).

Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.

Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.

Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
posted by ericb at 9:37 AM on May 10, 2012 [28 favorites]


"Crone recently sat down with the team from OutCast to discuss Tom and their relationship, including why they waited to marry, Tom's family's reaction to their relationship and how he's dedicated to honoring his late boyfriend's life. He also clarifies his motivations for making the initial video: 'I did not make this video to attack his family ... I hope that instead of getting angry about the video, they change.'

You can download the OutCast podcast at iTunes."*
posted by ericb at 9:44 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Living in neighborhoods zoned for 'families only.'
Such a thing exists?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:51 AM on May 10, 2012




His name is Bridegroom?
posted by michaelh at 9:57 AM on May 10, 2012




1. Thank you Obama and Biden for standing up.
2. I'm so sorry he had to go through this---not only the death of someone he loved, but the rejection and lies by Tom's parents, the blockage of info when it appears his mom could care less.
3. I will never, ever understand how parents can reject their own over sexuality. You want a kid bad enough yet if it doesn't go your way, you reject them? That isn't parenting. You don't deserve that kid.

As an aside, laws are very strange about giving out deceased person's info, even to their own children. In my recent experience, I received power of attorny for my dad. So in essence, I act as him. Yet for the cremation--they wanted his signature. Not mine. Even my mom put me as power of attorney for her healthcare directives. One would think if she said "for all decisions, make my daughter have a say." Well she died. Health and loss of such = death so let me have a say in signing my dad's name for him. He is devatstated too do it.

Even shitty Bank of America gave me a friggen hard time with the POA on getting a list of my mom's accounts so we can do a trust for my dad. They said when she died, any POA for her is also dead. My dad's POA means nothing (lawyer said differently because my dad is listed as beneficiary).

I lost it and started crying. I guess tears of pain and frustration are more powerful than a POA.
posted by stormpooper at 10:01 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I sometimes hear arguments from the left that gay marriage isn't as important as other economic or social issues. Or that people feel conflicted about supporting gay marriage because they're conflicted about the institution of marriage (it's patriarchal, or they don't need the state to define their relationship). I think this is a powerful testimony for why gay marriage IS important, economically and socially.

Marriage, at its most fundamental, legally creates a family. Thankfully, many adults may not need this extra protection (because they have a community of friends and family who recognize their relationship), but Tom and Shane did need a that protection, and we (as a society) failed them.
posted by muddgirl at 10:05 AM on May 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


For those who, like me, may be puzzled by "criminal conversation" and "alienation of affection" on the list of rights and benefits, Wikipedia says that
The tort of criminal conversation seeks damages for the act of sexual intercourse outside marriage, between the spouse and a third party… It is similar to breach of promise, a former tort involving a broken engagement against the betrothed, and alienation of affections, a tort action brought by a deserted spouse against a third party.
They're apparently in use in North Carolina in particular.
posted by Nomyte at 10:13 AM on May 10, 2012


1. Thank you Obama and Biden for standing up.

Yep, the gesture needs to be recognized. But before we get ourselves tied up in a knot of jubilation, let's examine what Obama's support of gay marriage really adds up to.

The main issue I have with his interview is his use of the phrase, "For me, personally." Yes, it's good for him to admit to a personal viewpoint that runs contrary to many people in Main Street USA. But let's not forget that the words "For me, personally" mean, essentially, "For me as a private citizen, independent of the government or the executive administration." Tacitly, it's a statement that withdraws support for gay marriage. It's equivalent to saying, "In the White House, we don't publicly support, or desire to legislate in favor of, gay marriage." It's a clever sidestep, but one that carries immense baggage.

Also, let's put a stop to lionizing Obama's "evolving" to place in which he understands the importance of gay marriage. This is a bizarre mis-use of the word "evolve," which implies progress or positive change. What's really going on is, he's divested himself of an unethical, unconstitutional, homophobic viewpoint--one that he should be ashamed of having held in the first place. It's not evolution, it's waking up. He deserves condemnation, not a gold star.
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:22 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, nomyte, I thought those torts had been abolished in all states. Good to remember when on the prowl in NC?
posted by resurrexit at 10:22 AM on May 10, 2012


But let's not forget that the words "For me, personally" mean, essentially, "For me as a private citizen, independent of the government or the executive administration." Tacitly, it's a statement that withdraws support for gay marriage. It's equivalent to saying, "In the White House, we don't publicly support, or desire to legislate in favor of, gay marriage." It's a clever sidestep, but one that carries immense baggage.

Well sure, if you take away the context of declining to support DOMA and willingness to sign its repeal and any of a number of recognitions of same-sex couples Obama has taken action in. That, and the ability of the executive branch to legislate.

Also, let's put a stop to lionizing Obama's "evolving" to place in which he understands the importance of gay marriage. This is a bizarre mis-use of the word "evolve," which implies progress or positive change. What's really going on is, he's divested himself of an unethical, unconstitutional, homophobic viewpoint--one that he should be ashamed of having held in the first place. It's not evolution, it's waking up. He deserves condemnation, not a gold star.

Sure. Let's condemn everybody who's come around to our point of view. That'll learn 'em. Screw the NAACP for supporting Robert Byrd. They should know that once a bigot, always a bigot.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


... and any of a number of recognitions of same-sex couples Obama has taken action in.

What is this about?
posted by odinsdream at 10:39 AM on May 10, 2012


Repeal of DADT, extending medical and legal coverages for gay federal employees and their partners, support of upcoming protections for gays such as ENDA and VAWA reauthorization.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:46 AM on May 10, 2012


"In the White House, we don't publicly support, or desire to legislate in favor of, gay marriage." It's a clever sidestep, but one that carries immense baggage.

I dont' see it as a sidestep. I see it as a human being recognizing that he is ok with gay marriage. Something that is controversial, something that can cost him his job (and who knows with wackjobs--his life).

I see it as an admittance that the White House and the people who run it---the House/Senate--NOT THE POTUS---is one big messed up system which has no ethics that boils down to personal views. There could be way more people supporting Obama's view yet they're too coward to put their job on the line.

To me, the example of standing up for something that is right starts with the one person on a personal level.

The government is on all sorts of fucked up/crazy/wrong platform. However, Obama, as a man, on this issue, is saying he is not. (so don't kill the messenger).

I see what you're saying and it's valid. But for me, personally, I am ok with what he had to say. It had to start somewhere.
posted by stormpooper at 10:47 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank God for Canada, and thank God my partner and I, immigrants both, a same-sex couple married since 2003, live here instead of the fucked up nightmare that is the US for same-sex couples.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:49 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The main issue I have with his interview is his use of the phrase, "For me, personally."

Out of context it sounds like a hedge, but the full statement was "I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married." When he's saying for me personally in context, it looks like it refers to the importance to his conscience to make the affirmation public, not that it's dividing his private from his official opinion.
posted by psoas at 10:57 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What an absolutely heartbreaking story.

I attended Vassar at the same time as Tom (and yes, his last name really is Bridegroom), and he was a sweet and funny guy, though I didn't know him well. My heart goes out to his partner - I can't imagine facing the sudden death of a partner, let alone being completely shut out by his family and having absolutely no recourse.

This is also a useful reminded that as much as it's a downer, the gay marriage issue isn't just about happy sunshine-y weddings that make good photographs, but about giving your partner the right to be by your side when the chips are down.
posted by foodmapper at 11:23 AM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I... I don't think I can watch this. Just reading the executive summary puts me on the edge of tears.
posted by Theta States at 11:29 AM on May 10, 2012


How far can people be pushed around before violence becomes an acceptable option? Asking nicely is not working.
posted by Renoroc at 11:45 AM on May 10, 2012


Well my heart has been successfully broken. Wish I could just reach through my screen to hug Shane and hold him forever.
posted by pyrex at 12:22 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


He deserves condemnation, not a gold star.

I'm not sure how you travel from "Yep, the gesture needs to be recognized" to "He deserves condemnation, not a gold star." Which is it? Obama has no authority over what states decide with respect to gay marriage one way or the other, so how would his saying that states should not have the right to decide the matter have made any difference? He is doing what he can do, for the most part, on the federal level, in an area where and during a time when there isn't much room to maneuver without a Congress and a Supreme Court that have a majority thinking the same way.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney has made it clear -- and he's not known for clarity on much of anything -- that he opposes not only same-sex marriage, but civil unions. And he has made it unclear what he would support in the arena of gay rights, other than a dismissive hand-wavey statement about "domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like." What does "and the like" include? Would it have included Shane being able to visit Tom in the hospital without being barred by Tom's parents? Would it have included the ability for Shane to override Tom's parents' wishes as to the disposition of Tom's remains? Would it have included the ability to get a restraining order against Tom's mother when she tried to ransack Shane and Tom's house for Tom's possessions? In all likelihood, the answer to all of those questions is no, with the possible exception of the hospital visitation.

I'm not jubilant that Obama's not done more, but I'm also cognizant that his room to do more is severely constrained by current political circumstances. Anyone who can achieve anything -- or say anything -- remotely controversial in this partisan environment deserves something more than condemnation.

To me, what's more important than Obama's motivations, or even Obama himself, is not that Obama said something, but that someone in his position -- with his influence and his ability to gather attention -- said it. I really don't give a shit about the other particulars at this point. I'm thinking that pioneers like Harry Hay and Frank Kameny wouldn't have much given a shit either, were they still alive to see this moment.
posted by blucevalo at 12:34 PM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


No wonder so many LGBT couples are moving abroad.
posted by lotusmish at 3:11 PM on May 10, 2012


A Colorado civil unions bill finally made it through all the legislative committees this session (it's been stymied for two years), but rather than allow it to come up for debate and a vote (all indications are that it would have passed), the Republican speaker of the house pulled a filibuster and a recess to allow the session to expire Tuesday night. This also killed about 30 other bills that were up for debate and a vote.

Governor Hickenlooper (you can call him Hick, it's OK) has called for a special session to take place Monday, to address this bill and a few others that got killed.

If all goes well, Colorado could be the next state to allow civil unions. It's not marriage, but it's a long way from the way it was 20 years ago when Colorado was known as the "hate state" for passing Amendment 2.

Extra added irony: among the bills that will be considered in the special session is one that asks voters to amend the state constitution by repealing provisions deemed obsolete, including Amendment 2, which barred local governments from prohibiting discrimination against gays.
posted by caryatid at 4:22 PM on May 10, 2012


This makes me so happy to be on good terms with my SO's parents.
posted by wierdo at 4:35 PM on May 10, 2012


I really wish there was some way to take the word marriage out of the definition of legal partnership. It's so much of a trigger word that instantly shuts down communication. I have several friends that are adamant against "gay marriage" being legalized, but can agree that same sex partners should have most, if not all, rights under law as listed under Project 1138. For some reason, the term same sex partnership doesn't seem to rile as many people.

Stupid, I know, but if it furthers the cause...
posted by BlueHorse at 6:46 PM on May 10, 2012


BlueHorse, I wonder which of the 1180 rights your friends would want to leave out. And why those in particular?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:54 PM on May 10, 2012


Stupid, I know, but if it furthers the cause...

No. Enough is enough.

Stand the fuck up to these people and ask them to tell you why the hell shouldn't gay people be married. There's no goddamn reason except bigotry and hatred. The religious angle is completely irrelevant, as there are plenty of religions that do observe and support same-sex marriage.
posted by odinsdream at 7:02 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm in a same-sex relationship, this is pretty relevant to me at the moment, and it scares me to death. But so do the people who insist that this needs to be an all-or-nothing push at the moment. That's not how the legislative process works, it's not how the legal process works, and it's not how people work. I don't require everyone to be either 100% in my camp or else they're my enemy. If we're going to ask for changes to the status quo, we're going to have to have some patience in letting the general population get used to those changes, and in allowing the process to take place to enact those changes as law. It doesn't have to wait for unanimous support, but the alternative to that is not a black-and-white world view. "You're a horrible person for not supporting this wholeheartedly from the moment it came up" is not how civil rights have been achieved for any group at any point in history.

The scarier the alternative is--and I have one extremely homophobic parent who I believe would absolutely attempt, if I were incapacitated, to deny my partner any rights whatsoever, so there are few things in this world that terrify me more--the more necessary a graduated approach is. We can't afford to lose a war just to win a battle of moral superiority with the people who happen to be not quite as progressive as we are.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:13 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, let's put a stop to lionizing Obama's "evolving" to place in which he understands the importance of gay marriage. This is a bizarre mis-use of the word "evolve," which implies progress or positive change. What's really going on is, he's divested himself of an unethical, unconstitutional, homophobic viewpoint--one that he should be ashamed of having held in the first place. It's not evolution, it's waking up. He deserves condemnation, not a gold star.

Meh.

Don't get too hung up on the question of whether Obama deserves a cookie for this or not: it doesn't matter whether or not he personally believes everybody should be able to marry the partner of their choice, what matters is the political stance he has taken with this. It's important not just because for the first time ever a sitting president affirmed the idea of equal rights for gay people, but also because it indicates how far the average voter has swung on this issue, that it's more important to keep gay voters happy than appease a mythical middle America that might be uncomfortable with gay marriage.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:13 PM on May 10, 2012


I can't watch this right now. Maybe I'll be more capable later in the day.

When my stepmother lay dying a slow, painful, too-early death in the hospital, my mother, who had been my stepmother's partner for over 13 years, was allowed to visit only at the whim of whatever nurse was on duty.

When my stepmother died, my mother was denied the right to take custody of my stepmother's body, denied control of the memorial, and denied the right to pursue any form of justice in the wake of obvious and appalling acts of medical negligence by hospital staff that even a head surgeon at the hospital openly admitted were the most likely cause of my stepmother's death.

When my mother and my sister and my brother and I showed up at the memorial, certain relatives of my stepmother who had deliberately not seen or spoken to her in years actually said, out loud, "What are you doing here? This is for family."

I was a teenager when this happened. My brother was six years old at the time.

This is what marriage inequality means to me: a six-year-old boy being told that he is not welcome at his own mother's memorial.
posted by BlueJae at 7:29 AM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


BlueHorse, yours is a valid idea and theoretically would allow gay couples (and straight and other couples) to have all 1180 rights--while noone is being recognized as "married" by the government. Then certain churches could define who is "truly" married and who is not just like now they define which is the "true" communion/Eucharist. Theoretically the reason some people are against the terminology is that they feel like it is tantamount to the government telling them how to baptise or to whom to serve the bread and wine.

Unfortunately, I've never heard anyone against gay marriage express this distinction--rather we hear them wanting to restrict rights--either as in NC where they won't even allow for civil unions, or like Mitt Romney, who insists that gay couples should not be allowed a legal union that is different from marriage in name only. In order for him to be happy, there must be some rights not enjoyed by the gays. (It does seem hard to pin down which rights those are.) It seems that those against gay marriage are not just against the words; they are actually against the rights.

I wonder if there is a precedent for a course of action that keeps the anti-homosexual churches happy, perhaps in the way in which the secular public school system was created.
posted by TreeRooster at 6:12 PM on May 11, 2012


(Not to say that anyone who wants to perpetuate a cruel system in order to make their moral point deserves to have their beliefs given a safe zone; just in the interest of a) avoiding bloodshed and b) removing any obstacle that could be labelled "religious freedom.")
posted by TreeRooster at 6:20 PM on May 11, 2012


Rather than take this chance to opine on the rottenness of human-unkind, I'll just hope that this example gets through to those who might be affected by the present situation

... so that they'll do whatever they can to take advantage of these changing times and avoid the deliberate attempts to cause them unnecessary grief and suffering. Moving to join places where others have carved out a little compassion and make it a bigger one.
posted by Twang at 12:05 AM on May 13, 2012


Theoretically the reason some people are against the terminology is that they feel like it is tantamount to the government telling them how to baptise or to whom to serve the bread and wine.

But they're mistaken. It's a civil institution. It's not like a baptism, it's like getting a birth certificate. You can choose after getting a birth certificate to go to a church and do a ceremony within your own religion and baptize the child with that name, but the name is chosen on a legal, civil level when it is put on the birth certificate.

If it is required of a church to do a ceremony for anyone with a marriage license, that's different, but I doubt that's the case. People choose the minister or priest or court appointee to handle their vows who best suits them. Some churches would be happy to marry gay couples; others would not. But that's something to fight about within different religious organizations, and really has no legal bearing. This is just about the government providing marriage licenses at city hall, since that's where rights are conferred.
posted by mdn at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]




« Older Nazis. I hate these guys.   |   Circles all the way down Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post