This is what I want to say whenever I speak to anyone in the billing departments of hospitals and even moreso when I speak to the people at the insurance companies. Because really, I do honestly believe that they don’t care *at all* about us. And it’s really frustrating to be on the phone trying to figure out why your bills are so high when you have a full-time job. Or in my case a full-time job and part-time school. Why do I have to spend 40+ hours trying to figure out why I was billed this way and why this is even a valid bill to begin with. Granted at some point you even start wondering if it is worth spending this much time trying to work out your bill or if you could be spending your time on other things. I mean if I calculated the amount of time I’ve spent trying to get this figured out and how much that would cost my company that bills me out by the hour, I’m pretty sure it’d be a tiny fraction of what my time could be used for. Yet, for me that sum of money is actually legitimate and it makes a difference whether I have it or not so here I am on the phone with like 8 million different health care professionals trying to figure out what to do.
Sometimes I really wonder who works there. I mean honestly how can you just sit there and tell someone that well I’m sorry you just have to make that choice, which is what I heard on the other end of the phone today for a procedure that I’ve been “strongly advised” to get. For something that could be a life or death illness that has yet to be diagnosed. But what incentive do I have to spend this money when I’ve been told that I’m not sick for the past 5 years. However, there is a chance that it could all go horribly wrong and so now I have to make a choice between what my doctors think I should do and what I can afford to do. I don’t even have much of a choice about what I *want* to do.
And don’t get me started on the bills that Congress are looking at. I mean what kind of a cruel joke is that. You are giving the insurance companies essentially complete power over the masses and requiring all of us “little people” to buy into plans that perhaps we can’t afford and in fact may even be detrimental for us. Honestly if you can’t come up with legislation that is somewhat decent don’t even bother. I’d rather have people stick to what is right than try to pass something that really only makes sense for the bottom line of hospitals and insurance companies. I’m sorry supporting insurance companies and hospitals is really not my concern. Nor do I think it’s something my tax dollars should be paying you to help!
So I was just asked the question: “What do you think about dating a married man?” I know that the normal gut reaction answer is NEVER, it only ends in heartbreak!. But humor me because I’m going to actually look at it from a less traditional perspective. Then again, I’m not exactly a traditional girl so what else would you expect.
So firstly, I’d like to mention that my perspective on marriage is a little skewed being part of the queer community because I know more than a few people who are in “Marriages of Convenience”. And quite frankly if I don’t have the right to get married regardless of how valid my relationship with my partner is I simply don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in something that isn’t a reality for me or for a good number of people that I love.
That being said, I don’t think dating a married man (or woman for that matter) is necessarily the greatest idea. I’m not one to judge, I clearly lead a life of chaos and mayhem, I just think there’s enough heartbreak in this world that getting involved with someone who is already attached (especially in a legal way) is just asking for trouble, especially in the straight world. Yes, love makes us do crazy things and no I don’t believe that one can have absolute control over your emotions. You fall for who you fall for and it sucks/is awesome all the same, but you do have control over getting into something that could be complicated and messy. What it really comes down to is whether you think it’s a good idea for you. I generally believe all is fair in love and war and have acted as such most of my life. I mean I really can’t judge since I met one of my exes while she was on a date with a boy. That being said thus far I haven’t dated anyone that I knew was actually attached (legally or otherwise) at the time. Part of it for me (especially in a heterosexual context) is that if the person I want to date made a commitment to someone else and is stepping out on them, then what makes it so different that I think they won’t step out on me? I mean I’d like to think that I’m fabulous and unforgettable and no one could ever bear to step out on me but at the same time, isn’t that what the other woman (or man) thought?
Certainly I’ll give pause for the situation that I was recently introduced to where a friend of mine was dating this man who was married to a woman because of his family but he was in reality quite gay. This complicates matters because the way he lived with his “wife” was essentially as roommates. So my friend ended up dating him. In essence, I guess what I’m getting at is that it isn’t a black and white issue. None of these things are. Whenever emotions are involved things get messy and weird. And when social norms get mixed up with civil rights and morals and whatnot it gets even more confusing. I’ve even encountered the well what if they’re only married for the visa question before. And you know what, it really comes down to what you are ok with. You have to consider what it will do to you and if you’re ok with the consequences. I think most of it comes from being really honest with yourself and knowing what you want and what you can or can’t live with.
Thing is I’m a little out of my element talking about any of this because I’ve never been in a relationship where I’ve had a lover outside of my relationship or to my knowledge where one of my partners has done so to me. So I don’t really know what it entails. Nor have I been in a situation where I am with someone out of convenience or necessity. I’ve always been very much infatuated if not actually in love with my partner at the time so that’s the standpoint where I’m coming from. And when I’m in love with someone, I don’t step out on them. No matter how angry I am or how much I would like to prove a point and be a bitch because I’m mad. (Yes, I’ve thought about it and had opportunity to act. But No, I’ve never been able to or even wanted to follow through.)
So the short answer is I think there’s also a lot of grey areas when your emotions are involved. I don’t think it’s an ideal situation and I would be fairly hesitant and quite cautious. However, I think what is right is on an individual basis and you have to figure that out for yourself.
At the moment, I certainly do. I realize this may seem a bit random but this morning I was just reading this article in Newsweek where Ted Olsen makes the Conservative Case for Gay Marriage. I cannot express just how well written his thoughts are on this topic. It’s also very heartening to have someone who identifies as straight and conservative (not even just straight and conservative, he served in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations) to make the case for equal rights for gay and lesbian couples is just amazing. So today, I believe in magic. I believe that some day there will truly be equal rights for all and that we can work to make this country better for everyone. The world is a miraculous place. And people will surprise you if you just give them a chance. I hope for a brighter future for America and all those who live here.
I am truly disappointed with the latest ruling from the California Supreme Court. It’s amazing that even the Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, supports gay marriage and yet it got struck down. What I find so fascinating is that in the weeks leading up to this decision there are quite a few states that have begun to allow same-sex marriages. In fact, New England has been trying to become the first “region” to allow same-sex marriages everywhere. It appears that they seem to think of it a bit like a challenge of who can be the most open-minded though I’m not sure the rest of the country got that memo.
And the idea has been raised that there were 3 states that have either passed legislation or court decisions that allow same-sex marriages or have submitted legislation that is very likely to pass may raise the question, “What if the religious right doesn’t have so much power?” It’s an interesting position but I’m not sure I believe it completely. This article at slate really made me consider this seriously and I think it would have held more ground had it not been for the fact that the California Supreme Court sided in favor of Proposition 8.
Also, why is it that this is such a new concept? I mean ok, I’ll admit that transsexuals are not the most commonly discussed topic but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So what happens when a man marries a woman but then one of the two decide to undergo a sex change and they are still together. Does that mean that their marriage is no longer legal? Or is it legal? Or can they even get divorced at that point? It really raises a lot of very valid questions. This op-ed piece really made me think about it a lot. I’ll admit I hadn’t considered the argument before I read this but I think it’s a very valid one. And surely makes life so much more complicated.
I think the part that I don’t understand the most is how anyone can view this as anything but inequality.
I remember the first time I heard Catie Curtis sing Honest World, I thought it was a great song but it didn’t really hit home for me. I mean it was great for my older wiser gay friends who had partners and were serious about life but I was 19 and not quite there yet (to put it mildly). As I’ve grown up (and I’ll put a disclaimer here: I’m not that grown up – I’m barely 26 and certainly not ready to discuss marriage) I’ve found that the song rings more and more truly with me. Perhaps it’s just because I live in the real world now and not the cocoon of a wonderful liberal arts women’s college set in the valley of progressive Western Massachusetts.
I have been meaning to write something like this since I heard about Iowa’s Supreme Court decision to allow same sex marriages. I think it is truly significant because it finally means that accepting gay marriage is not just something that those trendy liberal east/west coast progressives do. Surely Iowa is different and has been for quite some time. In fact I was reading this fab editorial in the Times about how they had some landmark cases about slavery and segregation as well. But it really makes me proud that somewhere in the mid-west where it’s not “cool” to be progressive, it’s not “cool” to have gay friends, it’s not “cool” to be a hippie but apparently it is “cool” to believe in equality. So thank you Iowa for that.
Also I couldn’t be more pleased about Vermont actually voting in legislation to allow gay marriages. Sometimes, I do miss the progressiveness of the New England countryside, even if it does mean that I’d have to give up living in a real city. Alas, I can only hope that Illinois and Chicago won’t be too far behind all these people.
Also I’d like to know what’s up with California and New York? I mean really aren’t they supposed to be our beacons of liberalism? Why are they so behind the 8 ball, I mean MA, CT, IA and VT are already light years ahead of them. Shame on you California, you call yourself the bastion of liberals and yet you actually managed to pass Prop 8. And New York hasn’t even tried, that’s almost equally if not more upsetting. Ok I’ll stop giving those two a hard time now. It’s a tough battle anywhere, I do realize that. But it would be nice if two of the largest democratic states could jump on the bandwagon. It’s a good one to be on in my opinion.
Now, I’d be even happier if one of the southern states *cough*Texas*cough* would jump on the bandwagon because I think that would really be putting equality for all to the test. (Yes, I am still holding out for Texas to surprise us all and support gay marriage or at least do something similar to what Iowa has, I still have faith that my home state can be and is progressive). I have hope and faith that it will happen eventually all over the US. But I believe that will take some more time. And one of my friends actually found this cool little blog that maps out the time-line for knocking down bans on same sex marriages. Welcome to progress my friends.
In the immortal words of Catie Curtis: Some day, I trust
Love will make an honest world for us
You know people talk about the law as if it were a black and white issue when in reality there are so many varying shades of gray that it is sometimes impossible to fathom all the possible outcomes of any one case. Just last week I was reading an article about the pressure that our lovely new fearless leader is facing because he doesn’t know who to support on an issue of partner benefits for federal employees. Well, the state of California recognizes these couples as legally married same-sex couples who should be able to have benefits for their partners but because of DOMA that isn’t true federally. Now I’m not a lawyer and I don’t necessarily understand all of the legal jargon that goes with this but I will say that I think it is problematic when states are allowed a certain type of behaviour while the federal government will go and contradict them. This is not to say that I agree with the federal government (in this case… and come to think of it most cases, I tend to favor what they are doing in California) but it still causes problems within the legal system of this country. Even if the law is not black and white it is still supposed to provide some sort of guideline to allow for equal rights for our citizens. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is doing such a great job of that right now.
I sincerely hope that President Obama will take this seriously enough to understand that he did campaign on some very serious promises for change and I understand that the financial crisis may be taking precedent right now that does not mean that this is something that can be avoided or left unaddressed. Personally I am thrilled that there are some judges who are willing to say what Judge Reinhardt did. This one bit of the article really struck me as something I wish more people would consider:
Judge Reinhardt confronted the question differently, and concluded that the Defense of Marriage Act, as applied to Mr. Levenson’s request, was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment guarantee of “due process of law.”
“A bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot provide a rational basis for governmental discrimination,” Judge Reinhardt wrote.
In adopting the Defense of Marriage Act, Congress said the government had a legitimate interest in “defending and nurturing the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage.”
But Judge Reinhardt said the denial of benefits to same-sex spouses would not encourage gay men and lesbians to marry members of the opposite sex or discourage same-sex marriages.
“So the denial cannot be said to nurture or defend the institution of heterosexual marriage,” the judge wrote.
I was just reading one of my friend’s blogs when I ran across this video. And I couldn’t say it better than she did:
I struggled to find the words to express the helplessness, the disappointment, and most of all the hope that I feel in California’s struggle to protect the rights of its people and to set a standard for the rest of the country.
In my personal opinion the “War on Terror” in the United States was possibly one of the stupidest things I had ever heard of. And now to hear things like that coming out of India. To hear about how the Mumbai bombings were India’s 9/11. Well, frankly, they were not. The circumstances were entirely different and certainly the impetus behind it were not even close to being the same. Surely there are radicals everywhere but a War on Terror and “trying to keep the country safe” by essentially creating hysteria within the people is dumb. I know that may be a bit much to take for some people but let’s face it how much has this “War on Terror” really done for us? We (the US) are successfully in the middle of two miserably failing wars and on the brink of starting something up with Pakistan that I have no doubt will be equally as ineffective if we try that route. These wars have caused the rest of the world to lose almost all their respect for us, if it weren’t for the fact that world has simply become too globally intertwined I do believe most of it would have turned it’s back on the mighty US a long time ago. In the modern world that is not possible so they simply whisper behind our backs about what fools we are.
This brings me to India. Now why on earth would anyone want to follow such a failing model? I recently read a beautiful article by Arundhati Roy on her thoughts about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. It is truly a well thought out and eloquent piece on the complications of naming the Mumbai bombings “India’s 9/11”. And if anyone needs some historical background on the complexities of India it also illuminates many of the reasons why it can never be “India’s 9/11”. It saddens me to think that such a great democracy is leaning towards becoming a police state.
And I find it atrocious that we only seem to be able to blame Muslims for acts of terror. Wake up, world, there are terrorists of every nationality, religion, race, ethnicity, you name it there is probably one out there. The scale may be different in what they have been able to accomplish but they are out there. I do not think any people should be persecuted simply because of their beliefs. Perhaps we should try to understand the context, understand why they are so angry and try to fix the problem diplomatically instead of by creating more war, more terror, more hurt, more pain and more anger. Perhaps creating a little understanding might be a better way than to keep on increasing radical beliefs.
While the rest of the country is bemoaning California passing Proposition 8, which I still find extremely depressing, let’s discuss what just happened in Arkansas. What you may not have known and what I did not know until very recently was that they just passed a motion to ban people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children. I have to say I was horrified to see that in my op-ed page of the Times!
I find it quite disturbing that there are now laws being passed about the marital status of an individual’s ability to raise a child. I was raised by a single parent and in our case it was because she was widowed rather early in life but what if someone had deemed her unfit. I don’t believe the state can determine what is best for the child simply by the marital status of an individual. For example, in college one of the religious advisers at the school refused to marry her “partner” (who is a man) because she is morally opposed to marriage if it isn’t equal for all people. What would Arkansas say about her children, would they be taken away simply because she opposes the institution of marriage?
Anyway reading that just horrified me. First California goes and passes a law that protects the rights of chickens over the rights of their gay residents and now this. Really, what is this country coming to? And since when did we want the government to come knock down our doors and take a peek into our bedrooms? I thought America was all about freedom, what ever happened to that? I thought conservatives were really about small government, somehow this does not sound like small government to me. And Little Cog made a fabulous point in this article about how there should be “Marriage for none, Civil Unions for all” and I completely agree with that sentiment.