Jo Rabb and Takia Foskey

Takia, 30, is an administrative assistant for a hospital laundry services company. Jo, 38, is a Baltimore city bus driver for the Maryland Transit Authority. Takia and Jo live in Baltimore and have been together for over two years. They had a commitment ceremony in June and are raising two children, a twelve-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.

As an employee of the State of Maryland, Jo cannot enroll Takia or the children in the state health plan. Until recently, Takia and the kids were forced to go without insurance because she was working part-time. Now that she is a full-time employee, she and their children are covered, but the insurance is inferior to the coverage Jo receives from the state. Being without insurance took its toll on the family. Their son has asthma, which forced Takia and Jo to struggle with whether they could afford medical care for their son or not.

In 2003, Jo had an emergency gallbladder operation at a Baltimore hospital, and Takia was barred from seeing Jo or receiving any information about Jo's condition. Takia was forced to sit in the waiting room and worry about Jo's well-being. Had they been married, Takia could have participated in discussions with hospital staff about Jo's care.