The golden rule
April 26, 2011
I was brought up to believe in the Golden Rule: you should treat others as you want to be treated.
So you can imagine my shock when I heard that my Uncle Ron may have to give up the home he shared with my Uncle Tom, who died in March. Ron and Tom were together for 58 years and they married in California in 2008.
But because the Defense of Marriage Act denies gay spouses the Social Security survivor benefits that would be paid to heterosexual widows and widowers, Ron is not getting the Social Security survivor benefits his husband, Tom, earned.
Freedom to Marry has put together a video to highlight this heartbreaking story. Please take a moment to watch:
For as long as I can remember, Ron and Tom were together. It wasn't until I had gotten to be a bit older that I suddenly put two and two together and asked my father if Uncle Ron and Tom were gay. "Yes. Do you have any questions?" my father asked. "No," I responded. Looking back, I realize the exchange was remarkable in how unremarkable it was.
The conversation took place in the '70s, when there was very little access to information about same-sex couples. Only now do I realize that I had access to the best possible information -- my relationship with my two uncles.
They provided me with a real sense of love and commitment within my family. The marriage discrimination imposed by DOMA contradicts everything I was brought up to believe in.
You can help Freedom to Marry shed light on how DOMA harms same-sex couples and their families. Watch the video and sign the petition asking Congress to overturn DOMA and end the "gay tax."
Through all the struggles of a committed relationship, my uncles' love for each other triumphed -- for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
I only hope that, with your support, no other committed couple faces the same challenges as my Uncles Ron and Tom.
Shari Wallen Taylor