One big issue around the country this week has been the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the issue of marriage equality. I’m assuming that my fellow Offenders join me in supporting the right of gay couples to marry. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been fortunate to have had both straight and gay friends. As we all got older, most found partners and began pairing up for the long term. Except those who were gay couldn’t get married, which always struck me as unfair.
The issue really hit home for me, however, about seven or eight years ago. The partner of a good friend suddenly suffered a heart attack and went into the hospital. Even though they’d been together ten years at that point, my friend didn’t have any legal standing to visit his partner, nor would he be able to make medical decisions should this become necessary. Thankfully, President Obama mandated in 2010 that the partners of gay patients were entitled to equal rights of visitation and medical consultation, but this example really made me conscious of the many ways — small and large — that the inability of gay couples to marry relegated them to second-class citizenship.
Was there a particular moment or incident in your experience that brought home the issue of marriage equality for you?