It’s been a long fight for the queer community. In some ways, we have won, but in a lot of other aspects, there still is a really long way to go. While people are accepting us more as individuals with basic human rights, they are still not all convinced or ready to understand why gay marriage should be legal.
It is important to take up the topic of the legalization of same-sex marriage and look into why it is so important to the queer community in the first place. It is not only about securing equal rights but also a means to something much larger. That something is our happiness and simple desire to be able to solemnize a relationship we cherish so dearly.
Why Gay Marriage Should Be Legal
As a gay man of 32 years and having spent 5 years in a committed relationship, which my partner and I call “marriage”, I still feel that the entire world should know about our relationship. The gay marriage law does not allow us to actually marry but we like to call ourselves each other’s husbands anyway. Not that it will change things between the two of us, but it will surely change things the way society looks at us.
Again, when I say society, it’s not that we are seeking approvals or acceptance from “people”, yet there soon will be circumstances in our lives where either of us will be asked the question, “How is he related to you?” We are tired of having to explain ourselves. Do we really need to spell out reasons why you love someone? I’m sure straight people and their love is never scrutinized in this manner.
Even as the progressive generation of millennials has started losing its faith and belief in marriage, as a gay couple, we both have an even stronger belief in the institution of marriage as we grow older. It is ironic that society that seems to be losing its faith in “marriage” is also opposing the legal union of two people in love who belong to the same gender, suggesting that it could be a threat to the institution of marriage itself.
Is gay marriage legal in the US? Yes! And that was a historic win. If the most progressive country in the world has this beautiful stance, why can’t other countries follow in the same steps? Little do they care that the increasing number of divorces between the so-called heterosexual couples is an even bigger threat, as they dilute their vows made to one another.
Related Reading: 8 things that straight and gay couples do differently
Why we want to be legally married
One of the reasons why my partner and I have a growing need and belief in marriage (at least for the outside world) and gay marriage rights is because we want to secure each other’s life after one of us is no more. This was not our thought process until last year when my mother died suddenly at the age of 56.
Life is unpredictable and one does not know what things it will throw at you to deal with. Three months later my grandmother also passed away. I was left with only my father and my partner. I know that my father will not be with me in my older days. As I build my life with my partner in a live-in relationship, I fear that if we are not married (in the eyes of society) I will be asked how I am related to him. That might leave us both in a very uncomfortable spot.
The legal requirements for a partner
When my mother was ailing, I was asked to make a decision if we would like to do an invasive treatment that would cause her more suffering and pain or if we wanted to avoid it. The hospital authorities asked me to sign the consent form for not providing her an invasive treatment, a decision that my father, my brother (who is married with 2 daughters) and I took. The hospital did not question us once they got to know the relationship we had with the patient. We had to do the same thing for my grandmother 3 months later.
That year after their deaths, I had to deal with a series of financial institutions and insurance companies where I was a nominee and where either my mother or grandmother were nominees to my accounts/investments. I got everything they both left for me easily. And I was able to change the nomination to my father easily for all my savings and investments after producing a death certificate.
However, I feel that I should leave everything for my partner in case I die before him. But these institutions ask for the relationship I share with the nominee and they have no option for our relationship. This is where support for gay marriage comes in. Why should I be denied the basic opportunity to practice these little things that other people are able to? This is why gay marriage should be legal, for genuine logistical reasons, if not anything else.
We want to be able to take important decisions for each other
Just imagine if we were to not secure each other after building a life together for let’s say 50 + years. It would be shameful. Or even worse, when I am on my deathbed and if my partner has to take a decision to not provide invasive treatment or take me off a ventilator and give his consent, and if he gets questioned about how he is related to me, he would be shattered.
Despite having a healthy gay relationship, my partner can still not be there for me in a capacity that I would like him to be. When I am in such a condition, I would only want my partner to take a call, but how can I make sure that the doctors will accept his decision?
Today, while I work hard, earn money, save and invest, I am not able to name my partner as a nominee. This is why gay marriage should be legal. I would not want my hard-earned money to go to anyone else but him. It will be rightfully his. The only question is, will it be legally his in this country ever? Gay marriage law needs to change so that partners have the right to secure each other’s futures.
I know I can write a will and get it registered, etc., but what if I fail to do so and get killed in an unforeseen event? We are married (in our relationship) but society is not allowing us to be married financially yet.
We’re not seeking the approval of society, but the right to equality
Is it a threat to the institution of marriage if I am able to secure my partner’s life when I am no more? Is it a threat if he can take a call to reduce my suffering when I am ailing? If it is, then, it is also a threat if heterosexuals get married. I think I have made a very solid case for why gay marriage should be legal. When it is not, a host of problems can occur for our community, putting us at a great disadvantage.
I have always felt that I do not need anyone’s approval to live my life, but in a much sad yet ironic state of affairs in our country, I do feel the need for this approval when I am taking my last breaths.
I am gay, married and I seek no approval from society. But I seek my right to equality.
This beautiful and historic thing happened in 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal in all all 50 states.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage and acknowledged gay marriage rights in all fifty states, in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.