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.