Friday, January 28, 2011

My Issue with Our Leaders’ Response to Uganda.

After the news of the brutal killing of LGBT activist David Kato, President Obama and Hillary Clinton made these comments.
Obama: "LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all." - President Barack Obama, via White House press release.
Clinton: “...And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.”
While their words are kind and try to make the USA appear we are all free and happy, they lie.
Yes, we are not as bad off as the nation of Uganda in many ways but we are not all equal.
As a legally married lesbian, I am not protected and receive no benefits. Maryland says they recognize our marriage as they would other legal marriages from outside the state but it is very limited in benefits and make filing taxes a pain. We are not recognized by the federal government so we are screwed out of over 1300 benefits which include tax breaks, Social Security, and insurance.
For over 40 years we have tried to pass an Equal Rights Amendment that would make females equal to males in pay scale, housing, and loans.
DADT is still not over and may not be for some time.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are still sitting dormant.
If we were truly equal in this country, the LGBT population would not have to jump thru hoops and expensive lawyer fees to cover each other.  Even as a legally married couple, we have to make sure when one of us dies, that the other is not going to lose everything because of the lack of the same protections. The spouse automatically gets the estate without taxes, makes arrangements for the deceased, and collects SS benefits. NOT IF YOU ARE A SAME SEX COUPLE.
Even with wills and power of attorney, other family members and the government can take away everything left by the deceased including the kids. Children can lose both parents. Some families have been torn apart and gone broke while grieving for a lost loved one just because they are the same gender.
I am still a legal stranger to my wife.
So  When I hear Obama state, “My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad.”, it grinds me.
I wish he would use his power to make our nation the example of how LGBT people ARE equal, not just working on it.

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