Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
Demian, director   ||   206-935-1206   ||   demian@buddybuddy.com   ||   Seattle, WA

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Gay Pride Rally Speech on Legal Marriage
by Steve Bryant & Demian
Volunteer Park, Seattle, Washington, June 28, 1998
© 1998, Partners Task Force
Image & sound file © 1998, Demian


MC:
Steve Bryant and Demian co-direct Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples. [Note: Steve left Partners in 2002.] They have conducted research and provided resources for couples, reporters, clergy, counselors and students across America and around the world. Partners Task Force promotes the belief that same-sex couples deserve the same treatment as all other couples. Steve and Demian have long advocated legal marriage for same-sex couples through publications, the video documentary “The Right to Marry,” and Partners’ free Web site at www.buddybuddy.com
Demian:
We do not want “gay marriage.”
We do not want “lesbian marriage.”
And we certainly do not want “queer marriage.”
We want the same status available to opposite-sex couples.

We want legal marriage.

Steve:
We know that 60 percent of you are in a relationship — that’s what the statistics tell us. And of the thousands of same-sex couples here today, none can legally marry. We think it’s time to change that.

Legal marriage is the most fundamental right of two people who love each other — a right accorded to criminals and even to adulterous, right-wing politicians.

Legal marriage is a basic privilege and responsibility of adulthood. Without it, our partners remain strangers under the law. Without it, we are subject to discrimination that we have too long taken for granted.

Demian:
Steve and I cannot get a marriage license, so we have been engaged for 16 years. As a result, we’ve encountered discrimination in housing, insurance, taxes, memberships, and job benefits.

Once we were evicted from our room at a YMCA because the floor was designated for “married couples” only.

Steve:
When Demian and I wanted to insure our jointly-owned possessions, we were asked to buy two separate insurance policies, at double the cost a married couple would pay.
Demian:
We’ve paid thousands extra for my medical insurance, while Steve’s married co-workers get subsidized coverage for their spouses.
Steve:
And if one of us should die without legal marriage, we won’t get survivor benefits from Social Security. Like thousands of other benefits, it’s for married couples only.
Demian:
Here’s another example: A longtime friend of mine, an American, has a same-sex partner who is not a citizen, and cannot legally reside here. So to keep his family together, my friend is leaving the U.S. with his partner, forced to abandon his country, job, friends and relations. This is outrageous. If they could legally marry, my friend’s partner could immigrate to the United States.
Steve:
Legal marriage allows recognition of a partner as next-of-kin. And for committed couples, that’s all important, especially in times of crisis. For example, next-of-kin status would allow you to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner.
Demian:
Too often, partners have been shut out of wills and even funerals by phobic blood relatives. Being next-of-kin would give you incontrovertible access to your partner's funeral and allow you to automatically inherit, even without a will.

It is not just a nice thing to have your relationship legally recognized. It’s vital to the social and economic security of your family, especially those of you with children.

Steve:
To find out more about legal marriage and how you can help achieve it, take a look at our Web site: buddybuddy.com

You can also join the Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington [defunct in 2010], which has a booth up the hill. Just look for this banner [“I DO — Support Legal Marriage”].

Demian:
We do support legal marriage. If you do as well, then engage your co-workers and friends in discussions about it. Tell them how it can protect you, and your loved one.

Explain to your blood relatives why you should have access to legal marriage, just as they do.

Engage everyone you know, so that those couples who want to, can finally get legally married and end their long engagements.


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