Why Marriage Matters

May 22 2012 @ 12:38pm

In one brutal story of a love interrupted and then erased from existence:

The video hit a nerve for Michael Fleck:

[Tom Bridegroom] [yes, that's his actual name!] had been with his partner, Shane Bitney Crone, for six years. They traveled together, lived together and started a business together. They lived in California, yet had never been married.  

Unfortunately, Tom’s parents were not accepting of their child’s homosexuality or his relationship with Shane. When he died, all of Tom’s assets passed to his parents, even though to any outsider looking in, Shane was clearly his closest survivor. However, neither one of them had end-of-life documents. Shane had no legal right to any of Tom’s possessions, not even the ones with little monetary value, but exceptional sentimental weight. Nor was he able to hear firsthand from the doctor the circumstances of his partner’s death.

You can feel secure but without civil marriage, you aren't. So many of us learned this in the plague years – watching de facto spouses denied entrance to hospital rooms, thrown out of shared apartments by the spouse's family, denied access to the funeral, brutalized by those who never cared for someone until he died. I swore to myself then that this would be my life's work: to prevent such horror from happening again. We've made a start. But as this video shows, we are not close to the end yet. And that churches – churches – should be in the vanguard of brutalizing these people in this way – and justifying it -  fills me with oceans of sadness. And grief again.