2003-11-18 - 7:44 p.m.
"The plaintiffs are members of our community, our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends. We share a common humanity ....Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiffs, and to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance, and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do." -- Mass. SJC Justice John M. Greaney
I want to just sit with that a minute. To just *feel* it. I know that there are fights to come. I am cynical enough to doubt that I ever will be able to get married in my own state, even though my state Supreme Court said that I should be able to. But I want to sit with it.
I found out this morning at 9:30 a.m. that the courts would be handing down the decision at 10 a.m. I click/refreshed wbur.org and boston.com obsessively. Nothing came up. At 10:04 a.m., Riot718 called from Denver to ask me if I had set a date yet.
The 2000 Census estimated there were about 19,000 gay couples in Mass., and about 659,000 nationwide, or less than 1 percent of households. Provincetown is the community in Mass. with the highest rate of gay partners, about 15 percent of households. -- Boston.com
Riot718 asking me that was confusing. Because just last night The Girl and I. Not knowing that the court decision would be coming out any time soon... had actually set a date. Half jokingly. Half pretty serious. We decided on June 20, 2009. We even looked it up on a calendar to make sure it was a Saturday. There are a half-dozen good, emotional reasons to pick that as a date. All of which are too convoluted to go into online. But. Go ahead and mark it in your calendars. I predict sunshine.
There are at least 1,049 protections, benefits and responsibilities extended to married couples under federal law, according to a 1997 study by the General Accounting Office. Gay and lesbian couples in lifelong relationships pay higher taxes and are denied basic protections under the law. They receive no Social Security survivor benefits upon the death of a partner, despite paying payroll taxes. They must pay federal income taxes on their employer’s contributions toward their domestic partner’s health insurance, while married employees do not have to pay such taxes for their spouses. They must pay all estate taxes when a partner dies. They often pay significant tax penalties when they inherit a 401(k) from their partner. They are denied family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. All American families deserve these crucial protections. -- Human Rights Campaign
So once I figured out what Riot718 was saying, and my obsessive click/refreshing of Boston.com revealed that she was actually right. And not just delusional from having been in Denver and gotten a pedicure at Wal-Mart (insert standard :::boggle:::: at the idea of a pedicure in a Wal-Mart.) I didn't know if I really wanted to get married. I didn't know if this meant that I might now HAVE to get married. Or something. And I asked Riot718 about it and she said.
You don't have to do anything.
But now you get to choose.
The state's failure to recognize these marriages also could deprive the federal government of additional tax revenue. The impact of marriage on a couple's tax obligations depends on whether both spouses work and how similar their earnings are. By paying more taxes as a married couple than they would as single individuals, couples with similar earnings suffer a "marriage penalty" that averaged $1244 in 1994.11 The traditional married couple, with the wife working in the home and the husband in the workforce, receive a marriage benefit (averaging $1399 in 1994) since they pay less in taxes than they would pay separately if single. The total increase in tax revenues will depend on whether the marriage penalty discourages some couples from marrying. Results of recent studies imply that 10-15% of two earner couples might decide not to marry because of the marriage penalty. That means that 85-90% of such couples would still marry, contributing an additional $1,244 in federal taxes. California's failure to recognize the marriages of 10,000 two-earner gay couples, for instance, could cost the federal government over $12 million. -- IGLSS
I actually started crying. I started crying because someone said it out loud. Someone said out loud that I'm equal. That I can choose whether or not I want to get to get married. That it's ok. That I can be in love. That the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should recognize my partnership the same way they recognize my neighbors. That it's not a morality issue. That it's an equal rights issue. I started crying because someone said.
That my love.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow the fight starts. But for today?
For today it's ok.