Monday, March 8, 2010

Jim and Don

We've been together for 33 years with all the ups and downs of any long-term relationship, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation. We were plaintiffs along with a dozen other couples, gay and straight, who participated in the attempt by our ACLU of Oklahoma chapter to stop State Question 711 from being put to a vote of the people in November of 2004. The ballot question was placed on the ballot by a majority vote of both Houses of our Legislature with equal support from both political parties. This was the Oklahoma constitutional amendment making marriage legal only between one man and one woman. It also outlawed common-law marriages, but some haven't figured that one out yet. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that our lawsuit had been filed too late to be considered and that was the end of any legal avenues in Oklahoma.

The amendment passed with the voters condoning discrimination and continuing the momentum we've seen across the rest of the country that says our gay/lesbian civil rights are a prize to be handed out like raffle tickets to the voters of any state, be it red, blue, or purple. Only in this case, there was more than one winner: every hate voter was a winner, all 76% of them.

As Don and I get older we are bumping up against the discriminatory wall that separates our relationship from our civil rights as taxpaying citizens. As we need to make decisions about property distribution, inheritance, health and hospital coverage and denial, we realize we're looked at by the law as no more than close friends who have no legal responsibility toward the other. It's very discouraging as we look at the time being wasted by this supposedly gay-friendly Washington administration even as the religious wingnuts continue to throw verbal and physical rocks at our movement and even gain in strength as the denial of civil rights continues in allegedly blue states such as New York and New Jersey and the successful repeal actions in California and Maine.

Living here in red-dusted and red-minded Oklahoma it's hard sometimes to think we're making any progress or having any positive influence. Your website is a big morale booster to those who live in the smaller areas of the country, at least for Don and me.

Click to see the Supreme Court of Oklahoma document

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