Today’s letter – social security short of world-class

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document raises the issue of social security and the responsibilities of the state in caring for its people.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

So the irony of being stuck in this silly limbo between marriage and singlehood is that, without marriage, my partner and I cannot pool our social security benefits from the state. Both of us have worked hard and contributed dutifully to this fund, Now, while we are compelled to contribute, we are banned from receiving, for the state considers us “legal strangers.”

This is bad for us and for our kids; it is not going to change until somebody like you stands up and leads the people to what is right. If you don’t, it will only get worse. And that is a travesty that goes beyond our national borders.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Domestic Partnerships are bad for Heterosexuals too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve written to you in the past about AB 43 which would allow same-sex couples to choose between marriage and Domestic Partnership, but today I want to write to you about a reciprocal bill – SB 11 – which would give all opposite-sex couples the option to choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage.

Heterosexuals couples over 62 years old can already choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage but SB 11 would remove the age restriction and let anybody who can get married get Domestic Partnered instead.

I actually agree with Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and an infamous Opponent of Equality, who said “Awarding marriage rights to people who shack up but refuse to get married is completely ridiculous. Why get married if you can get all the legal rights and benefits of marriage without being committed? This bad bill severely weakens the institution of marriage and will motivate unwed parents to remain uncommitted.”

SB 11 is a reciprocal bill to AB 43, and the reciprocal truth applies: why ban people who are “shacking up” from the commitment of marriage? Why would you motivate (or force) unwed parents to remain uncommitted? Just as SB 11 weakens marriage, AB 43 strengthens it by allowing committed couples to commit to each other.

My California Domestic Partner and I have been “shacked up” and “uncommitted” for way too long. I wish you would let us access the safety and security of marriage just like everybody else: please sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – gays can’t marry but straights can domestic partner

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Did you know that in California, same-sex couples cannot be married, but opposite-sex couples can be domestic partners?

Apparently by Federal law, if you are being paid your dead spouse’s Social Security and remarry, you lose your deceased partner’s benefits. Our domestic partnership law has a carve-out for straight people over the age of 62 so they can keep their former spouse’s social security benefits, yet enjoy survivorship, inheritance and hospital visitation with their new partner.

I think that stinks. I’ve been in a domestic partnership since 2000; I pay MORE than the same taxes, but I can’t get my partner’s Social Security at all. If I were in a heterosexual relationship, I would not only be able to get my husband’s benefits, but also defraud the government in my next relationship.

California should have one word for marriage: “marriage.” Please sign AB 43 and get rid of this nonsense.

Offended, but still yours,