One day to the United States of America’s presidential election, I would like to share with you a personal story written by a friend of mine and posted today on his Facebook timeline (Public post).
Please think about me tomorrow when you vote:
Seven years ago my life changed forever when I met Giuseppe. I couldn’t have imagined another person making me as happy as I’ve become. We’ve battled through nearly insurmountable hurdles and are incredibly blessed to be fortunate enough to carve out a life together. But it shouldn’t have had to be this hard.
Four years ago we decided to move to Canada because we legally couldn’t be together in the United States, our home. Unlike straight couples in our situation, I couldn’t sponsor Giuseppe for a Green Card. State and federal marriage laws prevented us. Against impossible odds Giuseppe got a job in Vancouver and started a path to Canadian citizenship. After two agonizing and heartbreaking years I was finally able to join him.
With tear-filled goodbyes, we left our careers, our homes, our city, our friends and our family just to be together. It was the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. We were incredibly lucky, but I still get angry that we had to leave our home to be together. Then I think about all of the things that prevent us from returning home some day.
As the law stands right now our ability to make healthcare decisions for each other in an emergency in the United States is in jeopardy. As is our right to visit each other in the hospital. We’re taxed on health insurance benefits that straight couples receive as part of their employment packages. We’re taxed on income we share with each other and aren’t allowed the same inheritance benefits that straight couples get when one spouse passes away. And in some states we’re not allowed to adopt children.
The list of benefits we are excluded from is over 1,000 items long. But for us, the most painful reminder of our inequality is that I can’t sponsor Giuseppe to stay with me, in my country, like my straight friends could if they had met a foreign spouse.
On most days I can move forward and go about my business because I am filled with love. I share my life with Giuseppe and we live in a beautiful city surrounded by new friends and rebuilt careers. I force myself not to think about the thousands upon thousands of dollars we’ve lost to be together. Instead I think about the sound Giuseppe’s keys make each night when he comes home from work. They remind me that home is wherever I am with him.
Tomorrow, I’m asking you to think about our story when you vote. Barrack Obama has endorsed my right to be with Giuseppe. Mitt Romney has said he wants a constitutional amendment to forever ban gay marriage. At every opportunity he has had to display compassion and extend an olive branch for equality, he has refused or been shamefully misleading or silent. It couldn’t be more stark.
The candidates can argue about taxes, deficits, military spending, Israel and God only knows what else for days and we’d all be hard pressed to figure out what they really mean, or what’s actually best for our country. But on this issue it couldn’t be clearer. I want to be able to come home at some point. I want to be treated equally. So please think of me when you vote tomorrow and return Barack Obama to the White House.
If you live in Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota please think of us when you decide if same sex couples deserve equal rights.
No one should have to endure the road Giuseppe and I have been forced to take. Thank you.
Now you can go back to looking at cat pictures.
Little can I say about this topic after Brian’s insightful, and inspiring story. All our eyes on tomorrow’s election as it will not only change American lives, but probably the lives of people from across the globe especially with the different approaches president Barack Hussein Obama and candidate Mitt Romney have when it comes to foreign policies.
Of note, Canada is one of 11 countries in the world that allows all their citizens, with no discrimination, to marry. The other 10 countries are:
Canada remains the only country in the world that allows two foreigners (non-Canadian citizens or residents) of the same sex to visit Canada and get legally married. By Canadian law, if you live with your partner in the same household for at least a year, you are considered “common-law” and granted most of the rights granted to married couples.
In Lebanon homosexuality is still illegal. Article 534 of the Lebanese penal code criminalizes any “sexual act against nature” with up to one year in prison. Even though in 2009 a judge in Batroun ruled against the use of article 534 to prosecute homosexuals, the article is still used in other jurisdictions and by police to marginalized and often blackmail LGBT individuals.