Back in June, I attended my first-ever Pride rally, Southern Maine Pride in Portland. It would not be an exaggeration to say I had an utter blast; it was a fabulous crowd and a great day!
But for me, it was also a “work” day- I used the opportunity to snap some photos, take videos of EQME’s Betsy Smith and Grand Marshall/ State Senator Dennis Damon, meet and visit with friends, make new ones, and LEARN.
I went to every table and exhibit, meeting people and asking questions, gathering every bit of information, sheet of paper, leaflet and pamphlet I could get.
And was struck by the sheer kindness and friendliness, as well as instant and complete acceptance of someone who admittedly knew she didn’t know as much as she should and was working to fill the gaps.
Well, over the course of the past 3 months since, I have read every bit of that information and it has helped tremendously. Some I have shared already and some I will be sharing in the weeks still to come.
Today I share this- a simple long white page, about 4″ by 11″. Here’s what the first side says:
Congratulations on your marriage!
In your honor the U.S. Government happily presents to you:
1. Access to social security security after a spouse’s death.
2. Access to health insurance through a spouse’s workplace.
3. The right to custody of children after a divorce.
4. Visitation rights for nonbiological children.
5. Joint parenting rights such as access to children’s school records.
6. Bereavement leave after the death of a spouse.
7. Burial determination after the death of a spouse.
8. Domestic violence intervention.
9. Sick leave to care for a spouse or nonbiological child.
10. Legal validation of a long-term relationship.
11. Ability to live in neighborhoods deemed “families only”.
12. Access to life insurance in a spouse’s workplace.
13. Access to survivor benefits in case of emergency.
14. Access to spouse’s benefits in case of emergency.
15. Ability to dile wrongful death claims.
16. Right to shared propertu, child support and alimony after divorce.
17. Ability to file joint home and auto insurance policies.
18. Joint rental leases with automatic renewable rights if spouse dies or leaves.
19. Automatic inheritance of retirement savings tax free after spouse’s death.
20. Automatic exemption of property tax increases on shared assets gained after spouse’s death.
21. Ability to file joint tax returns.
22. Access to tax breaks for married couples.
23. Veterans’ discounts based on spouse’s armed forces status.
24. Assumption of spouse’s pension after death.
25. Ability to file joint bankruptcy.
26. Ability to collect unemployment benefits after leaving a job to relocate because of spouse’s job move.
27. Ability to transfer property from one spouse to another without transfer tax consequences.
28. Access to fostering children.
29. Automatic next of kin status for emergency medical decisions and hospital visitation status.
30 Immigration and residency priority for spouses from other countries.
31. Ability to invoke spousal privilege in a court of law.
32. Access to reduced-rate memberships at health clubs, social clubs, and other organizations.
33. Prison visitation rights.
NOTE: ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE RESERVED ONLY FOR UNIONS THAT CONSIST OF ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN.
THE RIGHTS OF SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE LISTED ON THE BACK OF THIS CARD.
Below the fold is what it says on the back of the paper.
No, I didn’t forget to fill in the blockquote- the other side of the paper is completely blank.
And of all of the literature I received, the simplicity of this one piece hit me like a ton of bricks personally; it forced me to completely and irrevocably understand and acknowledge my privilege as a straight and legally married woman in Maine.
In the United States.
And it solidified for me so much more: that we HAVE to win in Maine, in Washington, in every state and on a federal level, as soon as possible.
So! That now said, I’m going to turn this into an open thread, with a few questions to start it rolling (h/t to bigjeff):
What has happened to you that would NOT have happened if you been legally married?
Can you think of other rights to add to this laundry list?