Some Of The Benefits Of Marriage- A Story of Privilege
As you folks might have noticed, my blogging has been very light the past few days- not my usual 25 or 30 ZOMG HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN MAINE!!!11!! posts a day pattern…
And by the way? Many thanks for all of the support and for NOT saying “Geez Louise Enough Already!”… 😉
Anyways… Friday was the ultimate day from Hell here and while I am not going to talk about all of the events, let me lay out below the fold what I realized later in the day about legally recognized marital relationships, family, and emergency medical situations across state lines.
But before I forget- a HUGE “Thank YOU” to my fellow baristas, Blenders and bloggers who send us dozens of cheerful notes and good wishes the past few days.
Yesterday was one of the most physically and emotionally difficult I’ve faced for quite awhile, in large part to what I’m NOT writing about, and we here all appreciate your kindness greatly… As I was busily tickety-typing on Friday morning, having already popped up my first diary “I Support Gay Rights And All…”, we got a phone call that Mary’s routine physical was being cancelled for next week and the doctor could see her TODAY instead.
At NOON. A couple of hours away.
Thinking quickly I wrangled an appointment for BOTH daughters at the same time (Jean’s was originally scheduled late next month, so to combine on a Friday was GREAT!), called both schools to notify them I’d pick the girls up at 11:45 and got the email regarding SFMM’s latest ad.
And upon watching it, realized they had stolen the content from US here at the Blend!
So more tickety-typing up a diary as well as emails to notify Pam, etc.
While I’m working on this second diary (and cancelling my scheduled shift of working with the Kennebec County No On 1 campaign due to kids’ appointment change), Charlie got a phone call from his estranged brother Bill in DC. THAT was quite a shock!
Bill told Charlie that their widowed mother had fallen down and broken her hip in Massachusetts, and was scheduled for emergency surgery- and that Bill was not going to drive up.
(Don’t ask me about Bill. Please. It’s just better that I not discuss the bastard more than I have to…)
Anyways… so Charlie then started to make phone calls to the hospital to make sure his mother was okay (she has many, MANY other health issues including some that will eventually kill her), to ensure her dog was being cared for etc. I pushed him to just pack a bag and GO, as to handle the gazillion details that come later on- closing up the house for the month or two or who knows how long, as she recovers in a rehab nursing home, etc:
1. Forwarding her mail.
2. Informing her neighbors.
3. Locking all windows and doors of the house.
4. Emptying perishables from the refrigerator.
5. Shutting off unnecessary electricity/ unplugging.
6. Giving out his business card/ our home emergency contact info to the neighbors, hospital, nursing home, her friends, the vet clinic where her dog is boarding, etc etc.
(THAT ONE bothers me most; it should have been in place YEARS ago! Family politics with my in-laws SUCKS… oh well.)
I left while he was still scribbling down notes and on the phone, went to the schools and got the girls, explained to the teachers about their grandmother/ dad being gone awhile, and went to the doctor’s office.
There I was met with the “usual 5 or 6 forms per daughter on its own clipboard” paper nightmare that occurs every year. Filled all of them out, showed the insurance cards, and the girls were put in adjoining rooms so I could bounce back and forth between the two.
Charlie called my cell phone, having decided I was right and that he HAD to go down there, so I passed my cell phone back and forth to each daughter so he could say goodbye to his daughters.
All went well; Jean has grown over 4 inches this year and it now looks like my younger will be the taller kiddo; Mary is slowing down and will be a petite 5’2″ or so like so many women in my family.
And be one inch shorter than me- HA!
Later in the afternoon, I spoke with Charlie- he had gotten stuck in Friday afternoon Boston traffic resulting in an HOUR in the tunnel under the city!
A 3-4 hour trip easily doubled for him with most of his time stuck in gridlock…
So I called the hospital, explained that I was Mrs —‘s daughter-in-law, married to her son Charlie Different Last Name, who was stuck in traffic and trying to get updates for him.
With no hesitation whatsoever and no verifying/ checking my claim, I was forwarded through 2 nursing stations and spoke with her nurse in a minute.
My mother-in-law will be alright; we’re going to be bouncing back and forth between here and the Cape for probably all winter. But later on I realized a few things:
1. No one at the school questioned my authority/ legal guardianship to sign out either daughter.
2. No one at the doctor’s office questioned whether I had the right to sign forms for the girls.
3. ALL of our family insurance policies cover ALL of the members of our family, simply on our “say so”- I have never had to provide proof that we are married or that legally we are the parents of the girls.
4. Even though I have a different last name and am not blood related to my mother-in-law, just SAYING I was who I am was good enough for me to get forwarded 3 times to the correct nurse and obtain information.
Heck, I could have SPOKEN with my mother-in-law, but knew she needed to rest so declined the offer!
5. Charlie was allowed to visit later that evening; he did not have to prove she was his mother.
He did not have to jump through the “she’s my mother’s partner and RAISED me as her own son” barrier, which would have resulted in him not being able to see her at all.
Neither did I- do you think I would have even heard she was safely out of surgery, let alone be asked if I wanted to TALK to her, had that been the case?
6. Charlie found that when he spoke with everyone on his list of “People/ Business to Contact” and exchanged info, not ONE person questioned his right to do so.
He was able to forward her mail to the nursing home by simply filling out a change of address card at the post office- he did not have to prove who he was at all.
Stopping by the police station, to inform them of the house being empty for awhile- again, no questions asked.
There’s more I’m forgetting or overlooking, but off the top of my head, here are some quick examples of how our legally recognized marriage benefits us, as well as how our legally recognized status as a FAMILY benefits my in-laws living 2 states away.
That every single married person in America does NOT realize their own dozens, no, HUNDREDS, of rights over those couples and families of same-sex relationships in this country is disgusting and disgraceful.
THIS IS WHY I WORK AND FIGHT FOR MAINE.
THIS IS WHY I WILL NOT STOP AFTER NOVEMBER 3RD.
I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY HAS THE SAME LEGAL RIGHTS, PROTECTIONS AND BENEFITS THAT I HAVE.