I go to sleep every night filled with anxiety. We all know this is not an ordinary election -- but for me and my family, it's downright terrifying. Making America Great Again is something I desperately do not want, because to us it means going back to a time when our marriage was not legal, and our kids could be taken away from us because we are gay. I get that everyone is a bit scared this election season -- but really think about it... is your family structure in danger?
Because it's not. The economy may be better or worse, health care options could be a mess, but at the end of the day, no one will question your marriage or your kids. For us, that is a very real possibility. A vote for Trump/Pence brings us one step closer to their vision, one which does not include equal rights for my family, or families like mine.
Let me back it up a little.
A little over a year ago, my marriage to my wife Kendra was not recognized throughout the country. Even now, my relationship with my three kids (Addison, Evan, and Kate) is not always recognized outside of our state of Massachusetts. When we travel to South Carolina to visit Kendra's family, I carry the extra burden of knowing that if something were to happen to Kendra, Evan and Kate would be taken by social services because I haven't gotten around to adopting them yet.
(Yes, I have to adopt my own kids. I guess I should be grateful that it's cheaper than a typical adoption -- only $1500 per kid -- but it's still a financial burden. Try to imagine that -- adopting your own kids.)
Two years ago, when Evan was facing open-heart surgery, a nurse practitioner called me for a pre-op survey. After realizing I was not Evan's biological mom, he went on a tirade about how it wasn't fair that I was allowed to answer medical questions for him when step-parents aren't allowed to answer for their step-kids. He might as well have just said outright that I wasn't Evan's "real" mom.
Three years ago we celebrated when DOMA was struck down, and we no longer had to pay taxes on our health insurance (it was considered income for Kendra to be on my family plan); we could now collect each other's social security and not have to pay inheritance tax in the unfortunate event that one of us passed. We even filed our first joint tax return!
Almost ten years ago, Kendra and I got "married" in South Carolina. It was awesome, but totally not legal. We picked the venue not because it was beautiful, but because it was the ONLY place in the area that would allow a same-sex wedding. Here are a few more tidbits that helped put a damper on what should have been the happiest day of our lives...
Only two local photographers would agree to take our wedding photos. Many others told us we were an abomination to God, and refused to provide their services.
The bus driver who transported our guests from the hotel to the backyard BBQ the night before the wedding cornered Kendra in an isolated part of her parent's five-acre garden and demanded to know where the groom was. He continued to harass her until luckily someone else came by and she was able to make an escape.
On the afternoon of our wedding, the limo driver, upon realizing we were marrying each other, refused make eye contact or open doors for any of us.
The happiest day of my life was tainted by the outright, COMPLETELY LEGAL, prejudice of others.
Twelve years ago, Kendra and I went to the doctor together. I had a hearing test. Quite frankly, all I wanted was to get the hearing test over with so I could go home. I was tired and had a lot to get done. Instead, I had to listen to a ten-minute diatribe about gay marriage and how it would never fly in this country. I had to listen to a rant about how if we'd just call it something other than marriage (he suggested "Purple Fuzzy thing," which I don't think does the whole lifetime commitment thing justice), no politician could deny us our rights. At this point, I was ready to cry.
Meanwhile, the Kendra was having a difficult time with the receptionist. When she handed the unfriendly woman our insurance card (which had my name on it, as I was the primary insured), the woman didn't quite know what to do with herself, or the card for that matter.
"Wait, don't you have a card with your own name on it?"
"No, I am covered under my wife's insurance. That's her name on the card."
At first, Kendra just thought that perhaps the receptionist wasn't too bright. Unfortunately, that idea was squashed when another woman walked up to the counter and told the receptionist that she was on her husband's insurance plan and asked if they needed to see the card.
"Oh no, you're all set. We already have a copy of the card from him -- it's the same information on each card."
Funny how she perked up for the straight lady... and didn't seem so confounded by the insurance card issue.
These are just SOME of the things we've faced. Never mind the number of people who've asked us who the "real mom" is, or people who insisted to Addison that she cannot possibly have two moms. So I am pleading with you, before you cast your ballot, think about how your decision could affect families like mine.
- Both Trump and Pence are against gay marriage, and plan to appoint judges to the Supreme Court to overturn marriage equality.
- Trump supports the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow federal government employees to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
- As Indiana governor, Pence signed a bill to allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ patrons.