Thursday, December 23, 2004

Peace On Straight Earth, Good Will Toward Straight Men

At this joyous time of year, as you spend time with your friends, loved ones, and family, it's important to spend a few minutes, at least, thinking about your fellow man, and why, for a completely different reason than yesterday, they suck so very much.
Let's check in with our friends at Team Selfish Hedonism, shall we? The gay marriage debate has not gone swimmingly of late in the United States, with eleven state constitutions gone homophobic on Election Day. As, supposedly, the only nation on Earth capable of exporting freedom, you would think we would be ahead of the curve on this issue. You would at least think we would be ahead of South Africa, which recently legally recognized its first lesbian marriage, or Canada, whose courts just paved the way for same-sex marriage laws.
Somehow, "America: Less Progressive than South Africa!" doesn't have that patriotic ring to it, you know? But we have Massachussets, where gays can still, even as we speak, legally "destroy traditional marriage" whenever they want. And we have a number of individual communities that bucked the system, albeit briefly, this year in an attempt to take a stand on injustice.
But every silver lining comes with bureaucratic, bigoted tarnish. In Massachussets, you can be legallyi married until the cows come home but that doesn't mean your employer has to consider you're married if it doesn't want to. Meanwhile, the federal government is inexplicably screwing over HETEROSEXUAL couples who had the bad fortune to get married in communities that married gays last year.
Let's start in Massachussetts. General Dynamics, striving to become the number one most moral manufacturer of SHIT THAT KILLS YOU DEAD, has said it determines its benefits policy on a national basis, and defines "dependent spouse" in accordance with the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Also denying health benefits is Caritas Christi, an affiliate of the Catholic Church that runs some hospitals in Boston.
And let's face it, if we can't turn to the Boston Archdiocese of the Catholic Church for our moral guidance, who CAN we turn to?
These companies can get away with it because they "self-insure", meaning that health benefits aren't handled through an outside insurer. Since self-insurance is covered by federal law, they can claim DOMA applies. But many companies, including Gillette (great for when you finally decide to get rid of your beard!), have treated their married gay employees as if they were actually married. Which they are. The only real holdouts are the bomb-makers, the child-fuckers, and strangely, FedEx.
You would think FedEx, which recently bought out KINKOS, would be a bit more open-minded, but the only way they'll consider two of the same thing joined is if their copier-jockeys staple them together. If you want your health benefits, then you absolutely, positively, have to be straight overnight.
Not that being straight helps you if you live in New Paltz, NY; Asbury Park, NJ; Multnomah County, OR; or Sandoval County, NM. All four of those communities bucked legal restrictions and issued marriage licenses to gay couples. And when you buck the system, the system bucks you, and your neighbors, and anybody within the city limits.
The Social Security Administration, in what is most likely a desperate plea to suck up to Bush so they don't get privatized into oblivion, has, without comment or explanation, refused to honor ANY marriage licenses, gay OR straight, from those four communities during the time gay marriages were being certified. They dusted off and nuked the site from orbit, as it were.
So if you're gay, and you're legally married, an organization can decide arbitrarily that you're not legally married, and get away with it. And if you're straight, and legally married, and got married near gays who got illegally married, an organization can decide arbitrarily that you're not married either.
The model for "protecting traditional marriage" from gays in the 21st century seems to be the strategy for "protecting traditional country clubs" from blacks in the 20th. Better hope you're the right kind of people, and associate with the right kind of people, if you want your marriage to be recognized. I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know a few folks over there are free.