On Sunday, Oct. 11, my husband Steve and I demonstrated in Washington, D.C., with the National Equality March, walking with an estimated 200,000 people, demanding full equality under the law as guaranteed to all Americans, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many straight allies and tens of thousands of younger people marched.
We are legally married in California, but the importance of being “married” was made evident because of a medical emergency on our flight home. While waiting in line for the restroom, Steve passed out. Awakened by the co-pilot who asked if I knew Steve Click, I said, “He’s my husband,” and was taken to him. With oxygen, Steve was fine.
Landing in Salt Lake City, we were met by EMTs. I identified myself as his husband and was treated as such, even though the EMTs said that with HIPAA regulations, I could have been sent away until Steve was finished with his evaluation. In our case, our relationship wasn’t questioned, even though Utah and the U.S. government don’t recognize our marriage.
The incident reminded me of a story from last year about a lesbian couple, with their two children, who were about to depart on a cruise. One woman became ill and was rushed to the hospital. When the other woman arrived with the children, they were denied access because they were not married and therefore not “family.” The woman died alone a few hours later.
When people ask why gay folks think it is important to have the right to marry, please remember this story