That hotly contested piece of paper is about the good stuff — love and devotion and the future. But there are reasons it’s so important besides the good stuff. Because, inevitably in life there will be hard stuff, too. There are rights you need when the hard stuff happens.
The right to
Visit a loved one in the hospital
Make medical decisions based on what you know the person’s wishes are, because of years of devotion to and discussions with each other.
Sign papers, discuss referrals, talk with insurance companies
Advocate in the hospital
Pick up prescriptions
Receive information from doctors and nurses
Make end-of-life decisions
Celebrate the person’s life with the perfect music, words, and rituals
Stay in your home afterward to grieve in the place you lived and loved together.
These are rights that were granted to me automatically when I was caring for my sick husband, and later when I was planning his funeral. I know people whose families have interfered because a marriage license was not possible, partners who worried about being shut out of hospital rooms, who had to fight to keep their homes.
These and other rights that come with being legally married have been fought for and have now been won. There is no honor in breaking the law to prevent someone from having this tenderness, safety, and security.
Here’s what I know from this action: A god that requires such a supreme lack of compassion is not my God. A religion that celebrates that kind of “bravery” is not for me. It never will be.
Life is beautiful and diverse and really hard sometimes. Love is a necessity. Simple.