Pray For A Miracle

The new Atkins diet: read about these despicable people and completely lose your appetite. 

This story, highlighted around the web, has me shaking with fury:

Patrick Atkins and Brett Conrad met in 1978 and remained together until fate and Patrick’s family separated the life partners.

While on a business trip in 2005, Patrick suffered an aneurysm and then a stroke. Hospitalized in Atlanta, Georgia, Brett went to be with Patrick; however, to say that Brett’s presence at the hospital was displeasing to Patrick’s mother, Jeanne Atkins (as in Atkins Elegant Desserts and Atkins Cheesecake) is an understatement. . .

“Patrick’s brother testified that Brett’s mere presence in the hospital was “hurting” Jeanne and offending her religions beliefs. Jeanne told Brett that if Patrick was going to return to his life with Brett after recovering from the stroke, she would prefer that he not recover at all.”

Jesus wept.  This wench would prefer that her son suffer the debilitating aftereffects of stroke in perpetuity than return to the arms of someone who loves him . . . because that someone happens to be a man. 

Remember to say a prayer tonight for this couple to come through this without having to suffer these fools and their bile.  To spend twenty-five years with someone and still have your family treat that person like total (excuse my french) SHIT is abominable. 

I hope her tits fall off and she grows hair on her chest, she gets mistaken for a sasquatch and dies of old age in some experimental government laboratory. 

I cannot emphasize how lucky Norm & I are to have such loving families who are aware of our wishes should one of us unexpectedly fall ill or, God forbid, die.  Life insurance and mortgage carefully spell out beneficiaries, and though we’re not “civil unioned,” we’ve been together for 14 years and everyone is clear on who gets what under what circumstances. 

You bigots wonder why we want the rights of civil marriage.  It’s so our lives and our loved ones aren’t wiped out by bigoted families when something bad happens to us and we’re no longer in control.  Oh-so-often nominally “Christian” families are anything but Christ-like in their attitudes:

Without such (marriage) protection, says the Rev. Jeff Miner, a pastor at Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, a gay-affirming congregation in Indianapolis, “you’re thrown upon the mercy of the family, and in some cases they’re not merciful.”

Many like to profess that there are “other routes” via various legal arrangements that allow gay couples to prepare for any eventuality.  “HA!” I laugh in scorn at the idea.  Legal arrangements such as hospital visitation are no friggin good when the hospital chooses not to honor them.  As in the case of Bill Flanagan and his partner, Daniel:

(From Republic of T):

In October 2000, Bill Flanigan’s longtime partner, Robert Daniel, was admitted to the University of Maryland Medical System’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He was suffering complications from AIDS. The men, who resided in California, were on their way to visit Flanigan’s sister when Daniel became seriously ill.

When Flanigan asked to see his partner and confer with his doctors, the hospital staff allegedly told him that only family members were allowed to do so, and he was not what they considered family, according to Flanigan.

In California, the two men were signed up with that state’s domestic partnership registry. Flanigan also had durable power of attorney that gave him authority to express Daniel’s wishes for medical treatment, including Daniel’s request not to have any life-sustaining procedures performed.

But neither of these facts allegedly made any difference.

Flanigan was finally allowed to see Daniel once Daniel’s mother and other family members arrived, he says. By then, Daniel had a breathing tube inserted, which contravened his wish to not have any life-sustaining procedures, Flanigan charges. His eyes were also taped closed, he says.

Daniel died without having a chance to say goodbye to his partner.

‘Scuse me.  I have to go punch something.

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45 thoughts on “Pray For A Miracle

  1. Yes, that mother’s attitude certainly makes one think perhaps she is unfit to care for her child. Still, there are indeed things one can do to ensure that one’s partner is making the decisions for one’s life in times of crisis. Those things are as legally binding as a marriage certificate, in as much as if everyone’s okay with it, it will be unchallenged, but any legal document is always open for attack, at least to some extent.

    Get Your Ducks In A Row is a website purporting to help gay and lesbian couples plan for legal eventualities such as this. It’s only one resource of many to help establish clear lines of intent. The trouble is, in many cases, people don’t want to think about bad things happening and plan for them. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, frankly. If you have a long-time partnership with someone but no legal protections of any kind, even straight couples are finding out that they have little or no right to the life they’ve built with this person. Being married doesn’t even necessarily mean that you will get to make decisions for an incapacitated spouse if someone else has even a ghost of a legal claim.

    In our current legal system, no legal agreement is protected from challenge. Thus, it’s important to have as many legal documents on record as possible indicating one’s desires should one become unable to vocalize them oneself. The parents in this case are acting abysmally, but the couple in question had the responsibility to be proactive in their relationship, particularly since there is no legally recognized same-sex marriage in their case.

    It is all very sad.

  2. Geez, man, I must’ve hit publish instead of save & edit—cause I was still working on this and finish it to find there’s already a comment!

    Which I’ll gladly read after this pause for a cigarette.

  3. The parents in this case are acting abysmally, but the couple in question had the responsibility to be proactive in their relationship, particularly since there is no legally recognized same-sex marriage in their case.

    Very, VERY well-put, QJ.

    And Jamie, I would point to the juxtaposition of this:

    You bigots wonder why we want the rights of civil marriage. It’s so our lives and our loved ones aren’t wiped out by bigoted families when something bad happens to us and we’re no longer in control.

    with this:

    Life insurance and mortgage carefully spell out beneficiaries, and though we’re not “civil unioned,” we’ve been together for 14 years and everyone is clear on who gets what under what circumstances.

    So, in other words, even though you have access to a state-recognized and marriage-like legal protection, you don’t use it — despite arguing that it’s a necessity to have it to protect yourself.

  4. We choose not to use it because I will not recognize a separate-but-equal institution as equal. We are waiting for state-recognized marriage. I believe I’ve stated that here and elsewhere before. It’s a matter of principle.

  5. I think everyone knows that while I don’t think Religious marriage sacraments should be intermingled with civil marriage ceremonies, IF a church wished to MARRY the two of us, the state should have no right to restrict that act or the title of Religious Marriage.

    Does that help clarify NDT?

  6. We choose not to use it because I will not recognize a separate-but-equal institution as equal.

    So, even though you have access to all the benefits and protections of marriage, which you claim you desperately need, you refuse to access them as a matter of “principle”.

    Sort of like the kid at the daycare center who complains about how he’s starving, but throws a fit because he gets store-brand instead of name-brand.

    Simply put, if you have the luxury of refusing things on “principle”, it’s very difficult to argue that you have any compelling need for them in the first place.

    And finally, the state doesn’t restrict religious marriage in the least. It merely exercises the right not to recognize it or perpetuate it, just as it does with the polygamous unions perpetuated by the erstwhile Peoples’ Temple or the FLDS Church, and requires that you have a civil license before you can make permanent in the eyes of the law the religious.

  7. Yegads, did you take an obstinate pill today or what?

    First of all, it’s not at all like “brand-name” foods. That’s petty and a matter of taste and snobbishness, not rights or principle. I can’t believe you think that’s an adequate metaphor. I mean, really.

    Secondly, the fact that we do not partake in the C.U. ceremony is not a luxury, it is a sacrifice that we make knowing that we are leaving ourselves in legal limbo, but hoping that our small sacrifice in this manner may serve as an example of principled belief in equality.

    Thirdly, I did not say that the state restricted religious marriage. I said the state should not have the right to do so. The point is that while the state calls both religious and civil ceremonies “marriage,” they are indeed separate things. And if our church chooses to eventually marry us, then the state should recognize our church marriage just as it would a straight couple’s. It would not do to have a religious “marriage” and a civil “civil union.”
    Since polygamous unions are not recognized by any state I fail to see the relevance of your example.

  8. Jamie,

    Your post also made me livid! I am also thankful that my family is as accepting as they are, even though I think some of them still have a long way to go. Even so, I can’t imagine anyone in my family preventing my partner visitation rights or the like.

    BTW, I understand what your saying with the whole civil union/marriage thing, though I will admit that I would jump on the c.u. wagon if it ever came rolling through my state.

    I already know that I can have a religious ceremony in my church, but it would carry no legal weight. If I could have legal rights and the religious ceremony, then I feel I’d have no right to complain.

    Kudos to you and your partner!

  9. It is a totally valid metaphor, Jamie.

    Store-brand foods are, in virtually all cases, quite equal in taste and nutritional value to their brand-name counterparts; indeed, many of them are made in the same plants. The only real difference is what they say to the people who make it their business to look into your grocery cart and pass value judgments based on that.

    Similarly, you yourself have admitted that civil unions in Vermont are equal to marriage; you just don’t like the fact that they are called different things and run separately.

    It makes no sense that one would on one hand demand equal benefits, protection, and legal recognition of their relationship as absolutely necessary to their survival…..and then in the next paragraph, casually give them up as a “small sacrifice” because of what amounts to a name difference.

    Unless, of course, one prioritizes their own definition of “equality” over legal protection of their relationship.

    Next:

    Since polygamous unions are not recognized by any state I fail to see the relevance of your example.

    May I remind you of your own statement?

    And if our church chooses to eventually marry us, then the state should recognize our church marriage just as it would a straight couple’s.

    You have stated that it doesn’t matter whether or not a state wishes to recognize a marriage; if a religious group performs it, they should automatically be required to recognize it.

    Which would include the FLDS and numerous cults that wish to practice plural marriage.

  10. While I don’t generate my own sense of worth from others’ opinions, I can’t help but recognize the differences between marriage and civil unions. Let me just state the most obvious for you: there are no federal benefits. As state, and not federal, unions, they are inherently inequal.

    You have stated that it doesn’t matter whether or not a state wishes to recognize a marriage; if a religious group performs it, they should automatically be required to recognize it.

    That’s not accurate. What I said was that if the state chooses to recognize one religious marriage between two people then they must recognize another religious marriage between two other people. Otherwise the state is sanctioning one religion over another. I’m talking actual recognized religions, not Phelpsian cults with under 1,000 members. Don’t be disingenuous. Polygamy is not marriage by any measure. THAT most straights and gays agree upon.

    And despite all of our previous arguments and bantering semantics, I must tell you that I deeply and personally resent your assertion that we have somehow “casually” arrived at the decision to not have a ceremony. We have discussed it ad nauseum but feel that giving the C.U. ceremony validity by participating validates those who feel we should be second-class citizens. It is not an easy sacrifice. But since we are in a fairly safe state it is a smaller sacrifice than those who have gone before us have made.

    As to the polygamy argument, that’s completely irrational in my opinion. Marriage is between two people.

  11. Similarly, you yourself have admitted that civil unions in Vermont are equal to marriage; you just don’t like the fact that they are called different things and run separately.

    It’s so much more than that. Besides the lack of legal prerogative at the federal level there is the societal impact to consider. If today’s children grow up to know same-sex couples as “married” instead of “civil unioned,” then the societal bias against gays gets dis-institutionalized (for lack of a better word).

    You of all people, I would think, would agree with me on this. You are constantly arguing that to be recognized as a legitimate part of society we must strive to conform to norms as much as possible. This goes along those very lines. It’s not an “usurpation” of marriage, but rather the adaptation of a civil ceremony to include all types of loving couples and not just opposite-sex ones.

  12. Again, Jamie, an amusing juxtaposition.

    We have discussed it ad nauseum but feel that giving the C.U. ceremony validity by participating validates those who feel we should be second-class citizens.

    Which was preceded by:

    While I don’t generate my own sense of worth from others’ opinions, I can’t help but recognize the differences between marriage and civil unions.

    So you claim not to be governed by other peoples’ opinions, but you are deliberately denying yourself something important because of what you think others might think.

    Next:

    What I said was that if the state chooses to recognize one religious marriage between two people then they must recognize another religious marriage between two other people. Otherwise the state is sanctioning one religion over another.

    As they are also doing if they disallow marriages by other religious traditions that allow polygamy, child marriage, or incestuous relationships. If one religion gets freebies, they must all get freebies.

    I’m talking actual recognized religions, not Phelpsian cults with under 1,000 members.

    Doesn’t matter. The First Amendment states ALL religious beliefs are protected, regardless of size or organization.

    Polygamy is not marriage by any measure. THAT most straights and gays agree upon.

    But not all, and you have stated that people should not be allowed to oppose the marriage of OTHER people based on THEIR religious beliefs or moral principles.

    And despite all of our previous arguments and bantering semantics, I must tell you that I deeply and personally resent your assertion that we have somehow “casually” arrived at the decision to not have a ceremony.

    Jamie, stories like these get my blood boiling for one simple reason; I would be willing to bet significant coin that these men received umpteen mailers, emails, flyers, and whatnot insisting that they go protest for “marriage equality” and pump money support so-called “supportive” politicians — but not one that told them about the importance of legal documentation and healthcare proxies.

    And do you know what? If they had done that one simple thing, this wouldn’t be a problem. Instead, they more than likely were coerced into pissing away more time, money, and whatnot into these leftist organizations and their “supportive” politicians than they would have spent on those simple legal documents. Millions of dollars, hours, and oxygen molecules wasted on something that didn’t do a damn bit of good for either of them.

    Furthermore, it is a triumph of these organizations and their propaganda about “gay unity” that queers can be persuaded to forego things that will maximize their legal protections, benefits, and recognition of their lifetime relationships because they’re afraid of “validating the opinion” of people whose opinions they think are crap in the first place. As Garrison Keillor put it so wryly in Lake Wobegon Days and the 95 Theses 95 therein:

    30. You taught me not to be “unusual” for fear of what the neighbors would say. They were omniscient, able to see through walls. We knew they’d talk, because we always talked about them. We thought they were nuts, but still we shouldn’t offend them.

  13. You of all people, I would think, would agree with me on this. You are constantly arguing that to be recognized as a legitimate part of society we must strive to conform to norms as much as possible.

    But the problem is, Jamie, you aren’t.

    When you get the opportunity to codify your relationship and actually take meaningful, binding, legal vows, just like straight people do, you turn up your nose at it and come up with an excuse of why not to do it.

    Despite their high-falutin’ rhetoric about how “we won’t marry until everyone can”, everyone knows why Brad and Angelina Jolie are not getting married; both of them have figured out that the game of musical mattresses is much more difficult when things are legally binding. They are exploiting “marriage equality” as an excuse for their own selfishness and unwillingness to commit to each other.

    In a similar fashion, I have no patience for gays who agitate for “marriage equality”, but refuse to take advantage of that which already exists.

  14. And to clarify, I do not think that you and Norm are motivated by the same reasons (selfishness and unwillingness to commit) as is Brangelina.

    I think instead that you are expressing a rather-misguided willingness to sacrifice yourself unnecessarily for people whose interest is not your relationship, but their political and antireligious motivations.

  15. First of all, those people are disgusting.

    Secondly, Jamie, I understand why you and your partner have chosen not to contract a civil union and I admire you for it. As you’ve explained to NDT already, the civil union you can contract is not equal to marriage and does not carry all the same rights and benefits because you are deprived of all the federal rights and benefits of marriage. Moreover, if you were to cross state lines and if something similar to that which happened to the two men in this story were to happen, another state would not recognize your civil union contract.

    It’s a matter of choosing not to sit at the back of the bus, even if those seats might be almost as comfortable as the ones at the front. I don’t know if I would make the same choice you and your partner have, but I understand why you’ve made it and I admire the stand you’ve taken.

  16. And also, Nate, that way when something bad happens, Jamie can bitch and whine and cry about how marriage would have saved him — even though, like the men in this story, he couldn’t be bothered to take advantage of the legal benefits and protections he did have because it wasn’t “good enough” for him.

    I’m sure you can satisfy yourself in the hospital with thoughts of how you stood up for “marriage equality” rather than doing something selfish like protecting your partner.

  17. As I said, we have taken care of those matters in other ways as best possible. We have had other ways of handling most legal matters here for a while before Civil Unions came along.

    Some things are worth standing up for. It’s our choice, our marriage, and our sacrifice. If you wouldn’t make the same choice, so be it. You can disagree all you like, but I’ll not stand here and be mocked for a decision that has taken us years to arrive at simply because you are too thick in the skull to get it. And if you can’t keep a civil tone then you are more than welcome to leave.

    Some of us don’t accept scraps with a “thank you, massa.”

  18. I find it very revealing, NDT, how you think it’s appropriate to stand on principle no matter what when they’re YOUR principles, but if someone else does it you find it appropriate to mock them.

    Job 17:2: Surely mockers surround me;
    my eyes must dwell on their hostility

  19. I’m not mocking you for standing on your principles, Jamie.

    I’m pointing out the fact that your principles involve putting marriage “equality” and the opinions of other people who you consider to be idiots ahead of maximizing the benefits and protections that you can currently receive.

    Perhaps if you worked in a situation as I do, where I see daily the effects of “Well, I never thought of that” or “But I’m too young for that to happen”, you’d see that chasing abstract things are all fine and dandy, but that it does nothing when it comes to crunch time and you have to deal with illness, legal entanglements, and property distribution.

    One of the first maxims known to those who study the strategy and tactics of warfare is that very little bad can come of consolidating your forces — and nothing good can come of overextending them. The former provides you both maximum offensive and defensive power, since your soldiers are all in one spot; the latter provides your enemies with numerous thin spots and chances to divide, isolate, and destroy your forces.

    You and your fellows put marriage “equality” — a vast overextension at best — as a priority, rather than focusing efforts on maximizing what gays can already access.

    As a result, you’re treated to this sort of spectacle: no marriage in virtually all states and a Federal ban, plus a gay person broken apart for want of a simple legal document that they could have obtained at any time and for a fee a fraction of the amount you wasted on “marriage campaigns”.

    This case was wholly preventable without gay marriage. But I can only hypothesize that, like you, this couple was too “proud” to accept “scraps” and were making the “sacrifice” to not take advantage of the maximum available legal protections because it wasn’t “marriage equality”.

    I wonder if Jeff Conrad still values that “pride” as much now.

  20. That’s what makes it a sacrifice. If it was easy it wouldn’t be one.

    But I also think of the future children we hope to raise, and I want them to know that I have stood up for what I believe in even when it would be more expedient to do otherwise.

    I’m pointing out the fact that your principles involve putting marriage “equality” and the opinions of other people who you consider to be idiots ahead of maximizing the benefits and protections that you can currently receive.

    If I had no other recourse but Civil Unions then we would probably get one. But the partial steps we have taken outside of CU are what we consider a safe compromise . . . for now.

    Perhaps if you worked in a situation as I do, where I see daily the effects of “Well, I never thought of that” or “But I’m too young for that to happen”, you’d see that chasing abstract things are all fine and dandy, but that it does nothing when it comes to crunch time and you have to deal with illness, legal entanglements, and property distribution.

    Amusing how you’re making my previous argument against “ideals” for me.

    One of the first maxims known to those who study the strategy and tactics of warfare is that very little bad can come of consolidating your forces

    Pearl Harbor ring a bell?

  21. I see both sides of the issue. I’m still just flabbergasted these two didn’t have a power of attorney. All of this could have been avoided. Lack of gay marriage may be injustice, but the two men unfortunately bear some responsibility in not having the foresight to provide one another with the most basic protections. (Just some. Like, 2%).

    Certainly they must have known how the family felt. Believe you me, should the day ever come when I’m in a serious long-term relationship where assets are involved (say, a shared mortgage) the very first thing I’m going to do is pop on over to the lawyers office for some legal protection. Common sense.

    Of course the family is monstrous, and of course the legal situation is heinous. But, if people know there’s going to be rain, an umbrella is a thought. While the article is an argument for civil unions or marriage, I think it’s even more powerful as a cautionary tale for gays who think they can get along just fine without taking a few hours to sign a couple papers.

    Perhaps it’s because of my line of work that I’m willing to tut the couple just a little bit. Every single day, I have some couple come in who have made no financial plans whatsoever for retirement or to provide for their families should something happen to them. People, for whatever reason, just aren’t planning for their futures or, god forbid, the possibility something might happen to their partner. Why this is, I have no idea. But it’s something I see over and over again, and I always just want to say, “Well what did you think would happen when you gave your family’s well-being no thought whatsoever?”

    Of course, I don’t say that. But lord, some days I really want to.

  22. I’ve often thought, when the lack of savings and retirement planning in America is brought up on various TV shows, that at least some of these people just didn’t bother because they thought the rapture would be here by now. Gay couples who don’t plan ahead–well, that just goes part and parcel with the “eternal teenager” mentality that we see in the “gay community.”

    As for myself, Norm & I have a couple of essential legal protections in place in case of catastrophe, and our families are both very clear on our wishes, and I have no doubt they’ll honor them.

  23. But I also think of the future children we hope to raise, and I want them to know that I have stood up for what I believe in even when it would be more expedient to do otherwise.

    And I’m sure they’ll be just as comforted by that fact when the situation a civil union or whatnot could have prevented comes up and nails them to the wall, too.

    “Thanks, Dad. I’m so glad you and Dad thought of marriage ‘equality’ first and us second.”

    But the partial steps we have taken outside of CU are what we consider a safe compromise . . . for now.

    Um…no, wait a minute here. You implied anything less than marriage was settling for “scraps” and made derogatory remarks about “thank you, massa”.

    Seems that you’re giving in and accepting seats at the back of the bus out of convenience. What happened to principles?

    Pearl Harbor ring a bell?

    The lesson of Pearl Harbor has much less to do with the dangers of consolidating one’s forces than it does of being unprepared and unready for a very likely eventuality — and too arrogant to accept it.

    People, for whatever reason, just aren’t planning for their futures or, god forbid, the possibility something might happen to their partner. Why this is, I have no idea.

    Death and catastrophic health situations are rather big downers, and most people would prefer not to think about them.

    In the case of gay couples, I think it’s the fact that most gays have learned the lesson of most celebrities; when you can measure the average length of a relationship in fractions of a year, it doesn’t make much sense to pay for or be constrained by legal documentation.

  24. And I’m sure they’ll be just as comforted by that fact when the situation a civil union or whatnot could have prevented comes up and nails them to the wall, too.

    As our legal heirs they will be entitled to our assets regardless of our marital status. And should we be so fortunate as to have children then we will take appropriate legal measures to ensure their rights at that time. Your argument is neither here nor there.

    Um…no, wait a minute here. You implied anything less than marriage was settling for “scraps” and made derogatory remarks about “thank you, massa”.

    Oh, do stop with the straw men. You know full well that making a conscious decision to wait for full marriage and taking protective legal measures to cover our asses in the meantime–out of prudence and neccessity while maintaining our principles–is nothing like settling. Settling would be getting the Civil Union.

  25. As our legal heirs they will be entitled to our assets regardless of our marital status.

    So you DON’T need marriage to ensure your childrens’ inheritance.

    There’s one lie HRC and NGLTF are telling.

    And should we be so fortunate as to have children then we will take appropriate legal measures to ensure their rights at that time.

    Unless it’s a civil union, because that would be “settling”. After all, we can’t EVER prioritize the needs of our family over our devotion to “equality”, can we? It just wouldn’t be gay.

    And along those lines:

    Settling would be getting the Civil Union.

    Why?

    Does the civil union say you can’t ever, under any circumstances, no matter what happens, get married, if and when the laws change?

    Does it say that you can’t advocate for full marriage equality?

    Is there a line on the license that says you sign away any and all rights throughout perpetuity to do anything of the sort?

    Nope.

    All it does is give you an enormous chunk of the rights and benefits, plus demonstrating your willingness to make a binding commitment and have your relationship recognized by the state — all of which you claim to want — right now, no waiting.

    But then again, that really knocks a prop out from under your argument about how awful it is that you’re being denied all these things, doesn’t it?

  26. Didn’t I just say that we would take appropriate measures once and if we had a child? Where did I say that excluded Civil Unions? The welfare of my kid would obviously override my wish to wait for full equality. At that point.

    But until then I’ll keep my integrity intact.

  27. I pretty much agree with Robbie’s point. The couple in question should have had some kind of legal arrangement in place, especially with the hostility of one of the couple’s family. But that, in no way, excuses the family’s behavior. The fact is, that all Patrick’s mother had to do to get all the legal protections she needed was to marry his father. That’s it. No other thinking or planning, so if her husband suffered the same fate as her son, her in-laws couldn’t have pulled the same crap that she did to prevent her from visiting her husband, even if she and her husband were also otherwise unprepared for the future.

    NDT, I swear that a year or so ago when we debated marriage/civil unions that you were against civil unions, because it was “separate but unequal” and that codifying it would be a hindrance to obtaining full equality. In fact, I even asked you once that even if everything was exactly the same except the name, you would be opposed to it, because it still wasn’t marriage. It seemed that your position then was essentially Jamie’s position. I had (and still do) favor full equality, but am willing to have these stepping stones to reach the final goal. (To jog your memory, I remember you and Demesne Lord actually being on the same side of this position, with both of you opposed to my position.) My memory plays tricks on me, but I’m pretty certain on this. If you simply changed your position, I’m still surprised that you wouldn’t at least understand Jamie’s stand on this issue.

    Jamie, I admire your principals here, even if I would do things a little differently. And I think you are wise to still protect yourself and your family (your partner and any children).

    And we do see how civil unions in NJ and other states are not only separate, but also unequal. Recently, UPS was not affording their employees with civil unions the same benefits as married couples because “they were not married.” They have relented. But what about other companies? I’m guessing that the NJ Supreme Court is going to have to revisit this issue.

    As for Brad and Angelina, that’s their choice. Yes, they have the choice.

  28. What I think you have confused, Pat, is the fact that I have consistently blasted gay leftist organizations who insist that civil unions are unequal and homophobic and that gays should only support marriage, but then turn around and support candidates who oppose marriage and push civil unions.

    I have no problem with civil unions. In fact, I think that they make more sense philosophically than “marriage equality” does since they acknowledge — gasp! — that gay and straight couples are different in several respects and have different needs.

    And if you wanted my ideal in the universe, I support putting more emphasis on practical dispensation of legal instruments for numerous types of relationships. It would cost very little and be far easier to provide a 50-state method of establishing health care proxy, wills and estate transfers, and the numerous other impedimenta that are useful for a multiplicity of relationships that need legal protection.

    Next up:

    Recently, UPS was not affording their employees with civil unions the same benefits as married couples because “they were not married.”

    Well, Pat, as it turns out, Lambda and the lefty gay movement pretty much lied through their teeth on that one.

    As a point of fact, UPS has provided domestic partner benefits to all of its employees since 2004, civil unioned or not — unless they are under a union contract that supersedes the company’s benefits plan.

    Such as the New Jersey employees in question had with the Teamsters.

    What I might suggest you do in that case is, instead of hammering UPS, go after the union leaders who were more than willing to siphon off gay money and who in public attempt to pay lip service to “gay rights”, but who in private were fully supportive of denying the employees they represented what any other employee at UPS that wasn’t represented by the union could have gotten.

    Of course, the reasons Lambda lied and smeared UPS rather than tell the truth are obvious:

    1) It neatly explodes their argument that gays need “civil unions” to get employer benefits.

    2) It exposes the homophobia of their union and Democrat “supporters”.

    3) It ruins their leftist narrative that big companies are evil.

    I have an email into Lambda explaining the problem and requiring them to publicly admit that it was not New Jersey’s law, but the union contract, that was causing the problem — and that UPS had in fact been allowing its employees to access domestic partner benefits for years WITHOUT having to have civil unions.

    I expect an answer about the same time that hell freezes over.

  29. But until then I’ll keep my integrity intact.

    Again, Jamie, I repeat my questions.

    Why?

    Does the civil union say you can’t ever, under any circumstances, no matter what happens, get married, if and when the laws change?

    Does it say that you can’t advocate for full marriage equality?

    Is there a line on the license that says you sign away any and all rights throughout perpetuity to do anything of the sort?

    Nope.

    All it does is give you an enormous chunk of the rights and benefits, plus demonstrating your willingness to make a binding commitment and have your relationship recognized by the state — all of which you claim to want — right now, no waiting.

    But then again, that really knocks a prop out from under your argument about how awful it is that you’re being denied all these things, doesn’t it?

  30. But then again, that really knocks a prop out from under your argument about how awful it is that you’re being denied all these things, doesn’t it?

    Only if you’re only capable of one-dimensional thought. You keep making the same argument, and it doesn’t “knock a prop out” in the slightest.

    Participation would be a tacit endorsement of secondary status and I will not do that. I appreciate that it’s a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. So I acknowledge it as progress and still work for further progress. Don’ t know why that’s so hard for you to understand.

    I want my relationship acknowledged as equal. In many respects, it’s far superior to many marriages I’ve seen. And it has lasted longer. So why the denial of the title? Prejudice, whether you personally like that answer or not. And I’m going to continue fighting that prejudice.

    Now, I’m certainly no Rosa Parks, but couldn’t she have gotten transportation on the bus to the same destination as everyone else? Couldn’t she just sit in the back? Well she didn’t like where she was made to sit, and neither do I. It’s that simple. No matter how much you try to reduce the situation to pedantic arguments, it really is Just. That. Simple.

    I can get some, not all, but some of the rights of marriage by a Civil Union. Rosa could get some, not all, of the rights of a White person by riding in the back.

    But some doesn’t mean equal. And some things are worth Standing for. No matter how much other people deride you for your beliefs.

  31. Just because there’s something “almost” as good doesn’t mean one should accept it.

    People tell me tofu-burgers are almost as good. Try getting me to eat one. I dare you.

  32. Oh jeez, the oldest of old chestnut arguments.

    The key difference between you and Rosa Parks, Jamie, is that she actually got on the bus and rode it.

    You’re bitching about where you sit on the bus when you won’t even take it.

    Rosa Parks had a valid point: she rode the bus, didn’t matter much where she sat on it, so why shouldn’t she be able to sit wherever she liked?

    You’re sitting outside whining about where you sit on the bus when you think it’s too “second-class” to even ride it in the first place.

    And again, who thinks you’re giving “secondary status” a tacit endorsement? Certainly not I, who would be hailing you for your willingness to put your money where your mouth is and make such a legal commitment.

  33. NDT, the difference between Jamie and Rosa Parks are the circumstances. First, they both took a stand. They both say they are not going to tolerate second-class status anymore. But Rosa Parks was able to physically sit in the front of the bus. So she could say, “Hey, look at me, I’m sitting in the front of bus, just like any white person can.” And the others on the bus would see that she, in fact, is actually sitting in the front of the bus. This is not possible with civil unions. Yes, Jamie could get a civil union and say, “Hey, look at me, I’m married just like any heterosexual.” But, in fact, it’s still not marriage, and he still does not have the rights as married people have. Further, absolutely nothing has to be done to change that. With Rosa Parks, in order for her to lose her seat, she would have to be physically removed from it. May not seem like much, but that’s a huge difference to me. If Jamie and Norm could somehow be really married today, then let’s see who would physically try to take it away from them.

  34. What I think you have confused, Pat, is the fact that I have consistently blasted gay leftist organizations who insist that civil unions are unequal and homophobic and that gays should only support marriage, but then turn around and support candidates who oppose marriage and push civil unions.

    I am definitely aware of your position here, but I am definitely not confusing it with what my recollection is. My recollection is that by enacting civil unions, identical with marriage except for name, would be codifying discrimination in law. Further, by doing so, marriage would less likely happen because people would get comfortable with it, and not see the need to change it to marriage. It’s not that I don’t believe you, but my recollection seems clear that, if I had time to find the posts in question, I would like to see how memory screwed this one up. But anyway…

    As for UPS, I don’t doubt that there were shenanigans of some form. And my point was not to hammer UPS. I have checked some of the articles, and it appears that it was in the union language regarding the benefits to civil union couples, like you said. So that’s my point. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the company, the union, or some other entity. I wonder how many letters Gov. Corzine is going to have to write. And what happens when one of the responses comes back and says, “Well our attorneys say that they are not the same.”?

    And good luck with your letter. I’ve written to HRC two months ago, and the New York Red Bulls two weeks ago, and still no reply. I’m learning that “I look forward to your prompt reply” doesn’t always work.

  35. This is not possible with civil unions. Yes, Jamie could get a civil union and say, “Hey, look at me, I’m married just like any heterosexual.” But, in fact, it’s still not marriage, and he still does not have the rights as married people have.

    Or he could say, “Hey, look at me, I’m willing to sign on the dotted line and make the best legal commitment and responsibility to my relationship, even though it isn’t exactly the same and isn’t exactly what I wanted, because I value and want to protect myself and my partner.”

    Then see how that message plays out.

  36. In other words, continue to sit in the back of the bus. Fine. Many people, including me, still do. But Rosa Parks took a stand and said enough. Jamie’s doing the same.

  37. Here’s a question, though. Is it right to expect all gays and lesbians to be trail blazers like Rosa Parks? While I respect what she did and she’s certainly a watershed moment for the civil rights movement, it’s not like that bus protest was just a happy accident. She was well aware of what she was going to do that day and, according to something I read somewhere so take it as it is, was even coached on what she should say and do for maximum effectiveness. Again, I’m not arguing with her intentions or their effects, but she willingly went into the frey fully informed and ready to fight. For every Rosa Parks, I would imagine there were ten black people who weren’t in a position they felt allowed them to agitate in that way. They just wanted to ride the bus period.

    My own views on gay marriage being somewhat nebulous (I sort of belong to the whole “The government should never have been involved in the first place, gay or straight” school…and yeah, I also voted for Perot), I don’t want to minimize the viewpoint and struggles of those who are demanding full marriage equality in name as well as law. However, it seems that many gay couples who just want an additional level of legal protection for the joint homes they have created are being turned upon because they’re not so interested in what it’s called.

    Let me also just completely run the Rosa Parks analogy into the ground. Even though Rosa insisted on making a statement that day and sat in the front of the bus, there are still to this day racial equality issues in this country. It’s quite possible there will always be those issues. It’s not as if, by that one act, Rosa made everything okay. She got to ride in the front of the bus one day, but so many others didn’t and wouldn’t get to for years. So perhaps the more reasonable, attainable goal is the middle of the bus with a definite plan to keep moving forward, row by row, until one day we’re actually driving the bus?

  38. You’re bitching about where you sit on the bus when you won’t even take it.

    Because I’m being told that taking a taxi is “just as good.” I’m still trying to get on the damned bus.

  39. Because I’m being told that taking a taxi is “just as good.” I’m still trying to get on the damned bus.

    Here are the directions.

    So perhaps the more reasonable, attainable goal is the middle of the bus with a definite plan to keep moving forward, row by row, until one day we’re actually driving the bus?

    Yes.

    And, if this couple had done so, we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place.

  40. Those are directions for the taxi. Do not presume that I’m not aware of how to get a Civil Union. You completely miss the metaphor–as usual.

    I maintain my position. We have made a reasoned, conscious decision on facts and principle, and taken those steps which we can outside of a ceremony that will protects us somewhat. You simply do not get it, and I’m not going to waste any more time explaining it to you.

  41. Oh, I get it, Jamie.

    You, despite constantly complaining about how you lack benefits and protections for your relationship, are refusing to take advantage of a means of getting them.

    Furthermore, you insist that by doing so, you will never ever be able to agitate for marriage again, although you have resolutely avoided explaining how, and that you will validate the opinions of other people, although you have stated before that the opinions of other people have no bearing on your decisions.

    And bluntly put, the “marriage equality before common sense” is why this couple mentioned is so screwed in the first place — which is why I am so against it.

  42. “Furthermore, you insist that by doing so, you will never ever be able to agitate for marriage again”

    No, you said that. I have never said that. What I said was that I did not wish to legitimize inequality. I did not say taking part would prevent me from doing one single thing. Except looking myself in the mirror.

    So, as I said: you don’t get it.

  43. And yet, oddly enough, your other “steps that you can take outside a ceremony” don’t seem to cause you any moral qualms whatsoever or interfere with your ability to look at yourself in a mirror.

    Why so the civil union?

  44. MAX AND ERMA”S sells her cheese cakes. Send them and email and tell them to stop. Before you order when you go out to eat, ask what brand of cheese cake and desserts they sell. Walk out if they sell Atkins brand.

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