Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –
Today’s New York Times tells the story of Lisa Pond, who collapsed on a cruise ship and was taken to the ER in Florida. Her Domestic Partner Janice Langbehn and their three adopted kids followed the ambulance. They were denied access to see Lisa for hours despite the fact that all the appropriate medical and legal forms were faxed to the hospital within 30 minutes. Lisa Pond died alone.
This family did everything that they were told to do: they had their lawyers provide partnership agreements, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. But they lacked the one thing that would have allowed Lisa Pound to see her three children and her life partner before she died: the dignity and documentation that only the time-tested legal structure of marriage can provide.
As a gay dad in California, I know how important family is in these kinds of situations. I do not sleep well at night knowing that this kind of family disaster will occur over and over again until every couple is able to access the same institution, full legal marriage.
My kids know I’m married, my parents know I’m married. My Church and congregation know that I’m married. In this kind of situation, the only thing that matters is if my Government considers that I’m married. Or can you assure me otherwise?