Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh no! It's a Valentines Soap Box

I tried.

I really tried.

I fought long and hard to put myself in a romantic state of mind. To write on my Wednesday blog about romance and Valentine’s Day and all that wonderful lovey-dovey, flowers, hearts, candy, and gushy-mushy sentiment stuff.

But, I can’t.

Why not? After all, I am a GLBT romantic suspense author. Surely if I can write hot man romance in stories, I could write on the subject for this weeks topic?


Because nothing puts me in a snit quicker than to remember my love and my commitment isn’t good enough to be validated in the eyes of our government.

In other words, Valentine’s Day pains me because many of us are denied the right to marry the ones we love.

What was that? You want a little Valentines Day “whine” with my cheese? Funny. Let’s see how you would react if you couldn’t get married. If you were denied marriage, based solely on the fact of the way your body is wired to desire sex.

As a matter of fact, let’s take it one step further. How would you feel if you were married, but the state you live in, or your countries government, won’t ‘recognize’ your love, your commitment, your union?

Even if it outlasts most of those marriages around you.

And what if you were in a committed relationship for years and was not granted the rights as those married, or in some states, a common law marriage? Like claiming your partner on insurance, taxes, other benefits, the family medical leave act, or be ‘recognized’ as a family, even if there were children involved?

I bet you would be having fits. You wouldn’t like it, you would seethe in the injustice of it all, and you would be as crabby as hell on Valentines Day.

But, do take note. I believe, within my lifetime, I will be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day, taking comfort in the fact that ALL Americans will have the human right to marry who they want, regardless of the current discriminations against the GLBT folks.

An AP-NCC poll conducted in September 2010 showed that 58% of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage. In the same month, CNN did their own poll showing 52% in favor, with 2% having no opinion.

Five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) plus the District of Columbia have the freedom to marry for gay couples, and there are three more states (Maryland, Rhode Island and New York) who are so close to voting for same-sex marriage it’s not even an issue. They already officially pledge non-discrimination against marriages between same-sex couples from other states. It’s just a matter of time before they jump the broom, as well.

Various states now offer broad protections short of marriage, including civil union in Illinois and New Jersey, and broad domestic partnership in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California. Smaller packages of protections for same-sex couples are available in Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
And we are getting closer in Wyoming and in New Mexico.

With these advances, nearly 14% of the US population lives in a state that either has the freedom for gay couples to marry or honors out-of-state marriages of gay couples. About 25% live in a state with either gay marriage or a broad legal status such as civil union/partnership. With the Illinois Civil Union Act now law, more than 40% of the US population (over 125 million Americans) live in a state which provides some form of protections for gay couples.
And that’s not all.

Let’s take into account that 12 countries now embrace same sex marriages as being equal heterosexual marriages. They include the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina.

Already with civil unions, the following countries are up for debating/voting on same-sex marriage in the next couple years are the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Demark, Finland, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

So, if you have read this far in my post, I bet you are wondering what does all this have to do with romance, Valentine’s Day and a blog devoted to writing?

Glad you asked!

Don’t you think it’s ironic that as a GLBT romantic suspense writer – someone who makes a living out of weaving love-sloppy and erotic romantic stories with happily-ever-afters – that in my own state of Michigan, in my own country, and in this day and age…

I am not qualified – not considered equal enough – to have a marriage of my own?

And until the GLBT marriage equality is rectified, and the US government allows gays to be treated respectfully with the same rights, privileges and benefits my heterosexual friends have,  I doubt I will ever celebrate another Valentines day again.

I look at this declaration as a another step further away from the closet door. Of claiming who I am. I refuse to be treated like I don’t matter, like I don’t count. I am a human being, and the last time I looked at the constitution, an equal in all ways.  

Fighting for marriage equality on Valentines Day might mean jack-squat to you. But for me, it’s all about love. And that’s the most important gift I can give to myself and future generations of gays and lesbians.


  1. Sweetie I may not be gay but I"ve alway's believed with my whole heart & being that all people were created equal no matter sexual preferance, color or religon my daughters & I stand behind you 100 %

  2. Thanks Denise!

    Like I mentioned, I truly believe I will witness a change within my life time. I mean, when I graduated HS back in 1983, never in my wildest dreams did I think gays could marry. But now, the possibilities are endless, as not only are we allowed to marry in some states, but are able to adopt, have children vetro, and *GASP* become grandparents (which is freaking alot of the older gay men out.)

    It's thrilling to see it all unfold, and yet at the same time, I feel so impatient. Go fig.

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  4. I believe michigan has provision for same sex partners to have equal visitation rights at hospitals. A small step. one which Texas will never have

  5. Marsha - that is right - something that JUST happened recently - within the last couple months. AND it was achieved after a NASTY court battle, born of tragedy, concerning a lesbian couple - together 23 years, who raised four children together (all born by one of the women.)

    - then one day, there was a car accident, a drunk driver I believe. As the one woman lay in a coma for two weeks, her partner and her children were REFUSED admitance to the room.

    They weren't allowed see her - to hold her hand, to sit with her and say their good byes...


    23 YEARS these ladies were together.

    Now tell me their rights weren't violated.

    Just because they weren't married by the government standards - standards that the government needs to change in order to stop treating GLBTs as second class citizens...

    If this had been a heterosexual couple (married or common law recognized) - there would have been no problem.

    I can't see how ANYONE or ANY organization could do that -- but it happens all the time (and worse) to the GLBT community.

    We need our equality. We need our rights. We need to protect the ones we love.

  6. This just in: The Indiana House on Tuesday evening voted 70-26 to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the Hoosier State.

    Rep. Eric Turner, a Republican and author of the amendment, was quoted as saying passing the measure was necessary to maintain the current definition of family.

    “The basic unit of society is the family, and the cornerstone of the family is marriage,” Turner was quoted as saying. ”Marriage is, and should be, the union of one man and one woman.”

    ----> Okay, people. Is it just me, or shouldn't the government be in support of ALL families? What about single parent families? What about gay and lesbian families? If they are not families, what are they? <------

    Statute currently prohibits same-sex marriage in Indiana. Passage of the constitutional amendment would prevent courts from overturning the ban or the Legislature from legalizing same-sex marriage in the future.

    The Senate, also controlled by the GOP, is expected to approve the amendment. After both chambers pass the proposal, it would have to pass again in 2013 or 2014 in order to get on the ballot in 2014.

  7. I tend to be a fiscal conservative, but a liberal when it comes to social issues, and that makes me a rare bird indeed.

    But I think marriage is a sacred word, not set aside for one group of people to the exclusion of others, unless they be uncommitted. I think it's a word that was meant to signify a committed relationship, two people wanting the recognition, declaring themselves to the world. That, in my view, takes care of the breakdown of the "family" issue. I've never understood how it is a bad thing to have partners willing to share their lives and be committed to a relationship that hopefully lasts a lifetime.

    George, it has been changing, albeit, not as fast as we would want it. But it is changing, and will change. I look forward to the day when we can focus on the relationship, and not the societal values that are none of anyone else's business.

    Great, provocative post, as usual, buddy. :)

  8. Well said. I love my GLBT friends and family members and I seriously do not understand any "reasons" why you guys should not have the same rights. What is this, the dark ages? A single woman can support herself and her children, but two men can't have a happy marriage?? Nope, I'll never understand it. I stand behind equal rights 100 percent.

  9. Denise said it so eloquently - we're all created equal and I, too, stand behind abolishing all sexual discriminations. To do anything less seems inhumane and arrogant on the part of any governing body.