Monday, January 4, 2010

NOM...Rhode Island, and Grief

Gay, lesbian, matter what label you claim, the one you will not be allowed loved one. The right to marry seems lightyears away when the ones we love die. All we would want in such a moment is the right to honor our spouses and partners, to grieve, and to heal. but there are those out there that are too frightened to even allow that.

Case in point: the veto of a bill in Rhode Island that would have added Domestic partnership to the list of names of those allowed to make funerall arrangments for their loved ones. This bill was recently placed before Governor Donald Carcieri who promptly veto'd the bill with the reasoning that doing so would be taking the rights of domestic partners outside of the realm of what was reasonable for the institution of civil partnerships and bringing it perilously close to giving way to gay marriage.....???! Does anyone else see this connection because I sure don't.

The bill itself was inspired by stories like Mark Goldberg, from this Providence Journal article. Goldberg, after the death of his parner, was not allowed to claim his body for four weeks! According to Goldberg:

...he tried to show the police and the state medical examiner's office "our wills, living wills, power of attorney and marriage certificate" from Connecticut, but "no one was willing to see these documents."
I can't get passed the sense of sadness and futility I hear in his words as he brandishes his papers before state workers who could not have cared less. Its no wonder with stories like these, that an overide of the Governors veto is scheduled to be brought before Rhode Islands legislature.......but....guess what monster crawled out of the closet to reat its ugly head?

Running rampant all over the blogs this morning [GAY] [PHB]and going around the the internet like a bad virus is this email from NOM Director Christopher Plante: (emphasis mine)

31 December 2009

Re: Domestic Partners/Funeral Arrangements (SB 195/HB5294)

Dear Representative Ferri,

It has come to the understanding of The National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island that the House has scheduled a vote to override the Governor's veto of SB 195 and HB 5294. NOM - Rhode Island urges you to vote to sustain this veto.

NOM - Rhode Island recognizes that the situation that befell Mr. Goldberg was indeed tragic. NOM - RI also trusts that the mistakes that led to this heartbreaking story will never be repeated.

However, the proposed legislation simply is not necessary to avoid such a repetition.

The right of any person, without regard to sexual preference or relationship to the decedent, to serve as a designated funeral-planning agent is already expressly guaranteed by Rhode Island Law 5-33.1-4. That statute only requires a simple notarized form naming an agent. By law, that agent's designation must be honored by medical examiners, funeral homes and presumably even the obituary page of The Providence Journal.

Rather than being compassionate, the legislation in question is actually an exploitation of Mr. Goldberg's tragedy by the homosexual-marriage activists in Rhode Island. Despite their claims to the contrary, these bills serve simply as "Trojan Horses" for homosexual-marriage. In California and Connecticut similar strategies were followed by the homosexual-marriage agenda in achieving court ordered decrees that those states fully recognize homosexual-marriage. Those courts found that when rights of domestic partners, under either that nomenclature or as "civil-unions," were expanded beyond the already accepted realm of State and Municipal employees and their benefit arrangements, that the State must by extension fully recognize homosexual marriage. Legal analysis to support this statement has been provided to Speaker of the House Murphy and is available from NOM - Rhode Island upon request.

As such, NOM - Rhode Island respectfully requests that you vote to sustain the Governor's veto both to avoid creating unnecessary law and to not move Rhode Island closer to recognizing homosexual-marriage.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at [401- redacted] over the holiday weekend.

With warm regards for a Happy New Year,

Christopher C. Plante

Executive Director

National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island
10 Dorrence Street, Suite 809
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Now I may not be understanding the issue correctly but I thought the topic at hand was the ability to bury your loved one? I would think that is pretty clear to just about anyone reading this. To assert that this is used as a issue to baby step into allowing same-sex marriage is not only clueless...its cruel.

How many Mark Goldberg's or Lisa Pond's do we have to read about before we get the picture that all anyone is asking for is equal and humane treatment? This story infuriates me...not only in the injustice of it but also because of NOM's callous argument against allowing this very basic and humane right on the basis that it may bring us one stop closer to "gay marriage". How would they feel if it was themb eing denied the right to do this for their husbands or wives? I think the response would be righteous anger...and rightly so.

And who the hell is NOM anyway? To listen to their self description, their mission is constrained to "Protect the traditional istitution of marriage." But this is where they are either misrepresenting themselves or deluding themselves about their purpose. Believe me...they are the only ones who are being fooled about the motivations of an attempt like this one to block something so linked to basic human dignity and the pain of loss. In taking a stand on this issue they have revealed themselves not as marriage defenders...but to be the same as every other anti-gay, homophobic establishment that can be mentioned. They don't want to stop same-sex marriage....they want to stop US....But, no matter what idignities they can subject us to or what they feel they can keep us from, they will never take away the love that we share or the memories we made with our loved ones...that is one thing they can never take away.


  1. It is unspeakable to treat people with the power of attorney this way. No one is under the illusion that it is not because these people are gay. Unfortunately, even when same-sex marriage will be in place in the USA, even on the federal level, we still would have to read about such occasions because no law can change people's minds. We can amend laws and even the Constitution, but not the Bible.

    Real NOM agenda exposed!

    NOM never made much sense to me (I don't understand why people should worship the Bible, declare they believe every word of it, and then spread hatred which goes against the most important ideas of the Bible, the ones that are much more important than this little issue of homosexuality which is barely mentioned in several passages clearly written by the same people who justified slavery and racism). Anyway, now NOM makes even less sense. Basically, in that letter they say (my comments in square brackets): “See what happened in other states? Supreme Courts of those states decided that homosexual people are, in fact, people who have the same rights as we do [wow! we do? really?], so they deserve to be treated equally, and their unions deserve to be equally recognized, just without calling them «marriages.» [OK, since the state is divided from the church, there's no secular reason not to recognize same-sex unions themselves if gay people form loving, committed, stable sexual couples, much like married couples.] The recognition of same-sex couples led to introduction of additional laws to mimic opposite-sex marriage by giving them the most important rights and benefits married couples enjoy. [Makes sense, right? There's no reason not to do so.] And after expanding all those rights to the point when civil unions factually became equal to marriages in the eyes of those states [legally there were no major differences between civil unions and marriages when it comes to rights and benefits provided by the state only], those courts decided there is no secular reason not to declare them the same thing under the same name. Period. [Again, makes sense! Why the heck would we have to deal with 2 institutions creating 2 sets of laws if legally those institutions are identical and were created for the same purpose? The answer is RELIGION. But, wait, the state is divided from the church, so Legislature should be blind to religious issues, after all we're talking about CIVIL MARRIAGE, not the religious one!].”

    In short, NOM says, “We don't like this chain of events!” Well, this is called LOGIC. And every human being with the proper sense of what logic is knows that logic is supreme, you can't fight it, this is the major principal we live by. So, if NOM says, “The hell with your logic, the hell with everything that leads to gay marriage!”, it only means NOM rejects the aforementioned logical construct (with all premises and conclusions) every step of the way, declaring homosexual people not worthy of any rights and proclaiming gays second-class citizens — something we have been talking about ALL ALONG. And I find it ridiculous if people don't see it or refuse to see it only because it serves their religious believes or just the general understanding of nature (and I already explored the misconceptions of both points earlier in comments of this blog).

    So, since NOM-thumpers speak out against creating unnecessary law, I suggest them to realize it's easy to avoid — by expanding the definition of civil marriage to include same-sex couples, and we see that some states already did so after going through the whole “creating of unnecessary law” phase. Now is the time to learn from them and stop pretending that we can treat homosexuals equally to heterosexuals but deny the former their basic right to enjoy marriage — logic says it's impossible to have both!

  2. And another issue I wanted to address a little.

    I understand the importance of fight for marriage equality, I'm right there with you, guys, but while we're still fighting we realize how far we are from the moment of truth in the United States, from the moment when same-sex marriage will be available in every US state and when it would be recognized by the federal government. So, while we wait time flies and things happen, life happens. I say why not try to collect some pertinent information on what we already can do in every state to provide ourselves with the rights we would be entitled to anyway were we legally married to our life partners with the whole package of rights and benefits?

    We've heard things like power of attorney, medical proxy, living will, designated funeral-planning agent, and whatnot... I'm sure there are lots of legal mumbo jumbo stuff we don't even know, but all that stuff states you shouldn't be turned away when usually only family members are allowed to be present somewhere, to make decisions about their loved ones, etc.

    So, if anybody knows good websites dedicated specifically to explaining legal ways to substitute some rights and benefits with legal agreements that give people these rights, I think it would be a great addition to the set of links on Gay Family Values website to recommend your readers who may decide to consider it. But if there is no such website, maybe we should try to gather some of this information ourselves, like you did about adoption in different states? After all, it's also a family issue, as important as adoption.

    Mayhaps you should even make a video request about that? Maybe people who had a real experience with this kind of legal issues could share their stories / links / any info? Maybe there are lawyers who subscribe to depfox channel, they could really help us with that stuff? All it takes is a list of things that could be done to ensure some specific rights, at least the essentials like power of attorney and medical proxy (I'm not really familiar with the US legislation, so, probably I'm using the wrong words).

    Just a suggestion.

  3. Vetoing or blocking by other means measures like the one in Rhode island is petty.

    These politicians must do it because they see it is a cheap vote winner. An easy way to make them selves more popular with a large part of the electorate.

    I wonder if they are right? I have been to Rhode Island. It seemed like the people were pretty liberal.

  4. When my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007 we became very worried about the possible problems, such as these you noted, so I rushed to the Secretary of State office here in San Francisco. At the time we were living together, but had not registered our partnership. When California opened the door to marriage, we were able to legally wed. Yet while on our honeymoon we learned about the outcome of Prop 8, and began to worry again. We had an attorney draw up all possible legal documents that would assist us.

    My husband died on September 13, 2009. Because our marriage remained in tact, I was able to proceed with all arrangements without question. It is difficult enough to lose the love of your life without having to be questioned, and turned away, at every turn.

    Thank you for writing about this subject. Obviously, it is something close to my heart.

  5. Dan..I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad all of the legal nonsense did not affect you.

  6. We are also very sorry for your loss Dan. I don't even like to imagine the possibility that one of us could pass. I go into emotional overload just THINKING about it. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you....thank you for taking the time to tell your story here...