Thoughts After an Emergency Room Visit

Wednesday evening, Tawn called me.  He had just left dinner with a friend and a severe rash had appeared on his torso, so he decided to head directly for the emergency room.  He asked me to meet him there.

In the end, the doctor was able to treat the rash and suspects it may be a previously unrecognized food allergy.  Tawn is fine.  But while I was sitting in the emergency room, I realized that we’ve got to get serious about completing powers of attorney for each other as well as our wills.  Had a hospital stay been necessary or decisions of medical care been required, our marriage would not be recognized and we could not make decisions on behalf of the other person.

One more of those little details, little insults almost, that remind me on a regular basis how far we have left to go to be treated equally.

At the end of January, the Iowa House passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Thankfully, the Iowa Senate is Democrat-controlled and is unlikely to pass the bill, but in the state where Tawn and I were married in August 2009, our legal right to marriage is under attack. 

Not a week later, the Iowa House started kicking around the idea of a bill that would open the door for businesses, organizations, and individuals to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. But this legislation would go far beyond gays and lesbians, opening the door for discrimination against any married couples, including interfaith and interracial couples!  Thankfully, enough furor was kicked up that the lead sponsor of the bill tabled it, citing concerns raised about the bill.

Forgive me if sometimes I seem a little defensive about my rights.

rollingstoneuganda Kato

At the same time, perspective is needed.  On January 26th, gay Ugandan human rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered.  Uganda is a country where the level of homophobia and hatred is extreme.  Homosexual acts are punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment and members of the government have recently lobbied to have the punishment increased to the death penalty in some cases.  While the Ugandan supreme court has ruled that homosexuals have a right to privacy, that didn’t stop one major newspaper from publishing pictures of several people including Mr. Kato and saying they were gay, along with the headline “Hang them!” 

Keeping all this in mind helps give me more appreciation for what rights I do have, or at least for where I am in the world.  Being beaten to death for being gay is an unlikely outcome in my life. 

But don’t think for a minute I’m going to wave that around like some flag of victory.  I still expect equality.

0 thoughts on “Thoughts After an Emergency Room Visit

  1. I cannot even pretend to know the things that you  and Tawn have gone through because I have absolutely nothing to compare it too. All I can say is that I am sorry. And I do hope that Tawn feels better and will be able to pinpoint what it was that caused the reaction so he can avoid it from now on!! Ruth Ann

  2. I’m glad Tawn is okay. Regarding Uganda, I never knew that they have such extreme and morbid punishments. I’m glad we live in democratic countries where we are free to have our own choices.

  3. I’m glad he’s OK… I think ER visits and the like always tend to bring our sense of mortality a bit closer to home. I honestly avoid politics, so I deliberately try to stay ignorant of the issues you’re referring to, but I thought I’d ask… Even though you were married, in the US, is it legal where you are currently? Or no? I would think having to work all those “loopholes” out around legalities would be incredibly frustrating and I’m sorry for that… I hope you find the peace you’re searching for, in this situation.

  4. And Indiana is going backwards as well…bill to ban same-sex marriage passed House last week, now goes to Senate, but has to pass vote as well. It may take three-four years for it all to pass. What is aggravating to me is that there are already bills on the books banning this. This bill goes farther in banning anything that can be construed as “marriage”.

  5. I’m glad to hear that Tawn is fine :)I’m very proud to live in an area where everybody has the same rights. I’m hopeful that more places will wake up and realize that everybody, regardless of who they love, is worthy of having what really is a basic human right. Maryland, my home state and where we will probably eventually move back to once we’re ready to have a family, is in the middle of getting ready to pass a gay marriage bill. It’s passed the House and is getting ready to go before the State Senate (Democrat controlled) and the governor has made his intentions clear that he will sign the bill if (and when) it gets to him. It makes me really happy! Hopefully places like Uganda will one day wake up!

  6. I am glad Tawn is fine. Power of attorney is a good idea whether your marriage is recognized or not. I have been a proponent of gay rights for years. I live in Florida which welcomes the gay money in Lauderdale but that is about it. We don’t have a right to work law and forget about marriage. The town I live in is not large but we have a gay bar mixed in with the so called “straight” bars. I don’t know how long it will take for the laws to catch up with reality but at this rate it will not me in my lifetime!

  7. you know what I love of gays – because they have more open, sensitive, creative and loving heart than a normal male…I am a hetro and I always support the cause of the same-sex oriented people…don’t know when people get over this to take personal gains…

  8. What a frustrating situation. I can’t pretend to understand what it is like for you and Tawn. Living here in Western Canada, gay marriage is completely recognized. However, this doesn’t mean that the people residing here all agree.I live in the Fraser Valley, the bible-belt of British Columbia (maybe even of Canada? lol) One of the Anglican churches has a Gay priest and although it took a bit for people to get over it, (most Anglicans here are seniors) they have warmed up to him. However, although it might be okay for a gay couple to walk down the street holding hands and showing affection an hour and a half away in Vancouver (where I’m from) I’m guessing out here it would not go over so well. It’s really crappy to have to worry about loving your partner. How sad is that?A friend in the states who is a teacher lost his job because they found out he was gay. Another friend lost the rights to see his children. Apparently being gay was detrimental to his children’s development.Much love and blessings to you and Tawn.

  9. @Passionflwr86 –  The entire reason I need to get a power of attorney is precisely because our marriage is not recognized in Thailand. If it was recognized, a copy of the marriage certificate would be enough. And at a federal level (where immigration and a thousand other things are handled), the US doesn’t recognize our marriage, either. That’s the thing with politics. While it is a messy business that most of us would rather not dirty ourselves with, politics has an impact on the lives of real people. As an example, some states are going beyond simply outlawing same-sex marriage to denying any sort of legal recognition of the relationship at all. In those cases, a person couldn’t make legal decisions for his or her partner or even visit the partner in the hospital. Seems like that goes well beyond “protecting marriage” and is simply a mean-spirited and vindictive way to make some people suffer.@godisinthewind –  Thanks for your kind words. Canada is certainly leading the way in North America on this issue. We’ve considered the possibility of immigrating to Canada, a country I really like, but I’m not ready to give up the fight for my rights in my country. To do that would be tantamount to surrender.@TheCheshireGrins –  I didn’t realize that Maryland is moving ahead with that legislation. Good for them!@jandsschultz –  As I mentioned in an earlier response, it seems like people are interested in going beyond “protecting marriage” and are just being vindictive at this point.@Redlegsix –  Thanks for the kind words Ruth Ann.@CurryPuffy – @YNOTswim – @yang1815 –  The food allergy diagnosis is odd from the standpoint that the doctor thinks it is shrimp, although Tawn eats shrimp all the time and has never had a reaction like this. Perhaps something unique to that particular meal?@alwateen –  Well, I know more than a few gay men who don’t fit that stereotype, but point well-taken. Thanks!@Roadlesstaken – @icapillas –  When I first heard the news about Uganda’s proposed death penalty for gays – before the murder of David Kato – I was amazed. Really, people, are we still in the stone age?@Fatcat723 –  You make a good point, Rob. Marriage or not, recognized or not, a power of attorney is still a useful document to have. Florida has been an interesting battleground over the years on the issue of gay rights, all the way back to the Anita Bryant days.

  10. I have been hearing about this on Racheal Maddow which I am a fan of. I pray all people would make peace with all humans. Everyone deserves Equal rights.

  11. hopefully the doctors figured out what he’s allergic to so that he won’t go through that again!on the up side, hawaii just legalized civil unions, and maryland’s close to passing a gay marriage law.

  12. I’m glad that Tawn is feeling better. Food allergy reactions can be pretty scary in and of themselves but the idea of them becoming a life threatening condition, coupled with being unprepared for it relationship-wise can be horrifying. Make sure that when you sit down with a lawyer to draw up the papers, that the person is familiar with both Thai and U.S. law regarding this matter. It’s something that I’ve had to deal with in regards to Wit and I.I would also ask your readers, who feel as strongly as I believe many of them do, about the rights of LGBT couples, please contact your government officials in support of legislation in your area to recognize us. LGBT couples don’t live in a vacuum and we can use all the help we can get.

  13. I’ve begun following the issues of gay rights in america since moving to Korea and the whole situation really bothers me to no end. It just… sometimes when I hear about the openness of people’s hate for gay people, I just feel so weak and powerless before their endless stupidity and prejudice.

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