In response to “Civil-union bill to hit PA House,” April 2-8:
Civil unions, although unequal to full marriage, are a logical step toward basic equality for all.
I live in New Hampshire. My (same-sex) husband and I, together for 15 years, were married in Massachusetts, which became fully recognized in N.H. as of Jan. 1, 2010. We had civil unions in N.H. before this, which allowed our out-of-state marriage license to be recognized automatically.
My husband died last May, after a long illness. Without marriage rights and protections, I would still be struggling with comprehensive details, while feeling emotionally crippled by loss.
Just seeing the word “spouse” next to my name on his official death certificate was like seeing a “bright” spot in the midst of my devastating pain and grief.
For gay people who simply need to live our lives like everybody else, we do not deserve to be inundated with an avalanche of conflicts and additional hardships in times of emergency.
Also, we are typically very isolated from mainstream supports, and don’t receive any of the traditional support systems that straight people take for granted in times of loss, such as support from the deceased’s family, neighbors, co-workers, clergy, etc.
In fact, often there is hostility and ridiculously insensitive demands placed upon the surviving spouse of a same-sex relationship — even legal action to acquire property of the deceased’s despite clearly written wills, even slanderous and defamatory allegations against the survivor, just to fortify the unjust legal action(s).
Although usually unsuccessful, these acts of hate leave scars, on both victim(s) and perpetrators.
People who act out in hatred toward a suffering soul must one day face the reality of their own actions when life shall, inevitably, show them an example of what hate feels like.
Having the marriage license or at least civil-union license helps tremendously by providing a level of certification and validation to the relationship, which cannot be achieved in any other single form.
Perhaps we should all look at ourselves, our loved one(s), and think carefully about what kind of world we really want for ourselves. Let your conscience and your true soul be your guide to your ultimate level of humanity.
With peace and respect,
— Bill in NH