Monday, April 1, 2013

Inequality, At What Cost? by Alison Aucoin

Recently Dadsquared received a question from someone who noticed that a straight co-worker, with whom he and his partner had been socially friendly, changed his Facebook profile photo to reflect his opposition to gay marriage.
Changed on the very same day that it seemed like most of America was changing their's to the HRC red in one form or another.

When he asked the co-worker about the change, the co-worker referred to it as a "difference of opinion."
Many people responded quite thoughtfully to this post.
Some counseled the guy to hit the delete button, others encouraged tolerance.
Lots of good points but I think we’re missing a valuable opportunity here with either answer. 

If someone has a difference of opinion from me on anything from abortion, to gay marriage, to race and they just stay home and grumble about it, well, I couldn’t care less. But the co-worker in this story is DOING something.
Okay, so a single Facebook profile photo isn’t going to change the world, but on that day, this week, when almost my entire newsfeed was red, that guy made quite a statement.
And so what? 
Well, what if a co-worker announced that he was in favor of a law that would remove $20,000 from your child’s college fund?
Not his child’s, your child's.
How would you respond?
Would you still be friends with him?
No, of course not.
But in effect that’s what this man is doing.
Media report, after media report has calculated the vast sums of money that gay and lesbian families are required to spend on legal documents to protect themselves, separate health insurance, taxes. The list goes on and on.
When people actively work to stop marriage equality, they are stealing resources from your child’s life.
Will your kid need special therapy of some kind that isn’t covered by insurance? Marriage equality could have enabled that.
Would your child go to Harvard if you could afford it? Marriage equality could have enabled that.
Will your child be forced to care for you in his or her home when you are old because you paid exorbitant estate taxes when your partner died? Marriage equality could have avoided that.

I wouldn’t remain friends with someone who stole one penny from my child and her future.
Why would I remain friends with them just because the money is abstract?

We need to take the opportunity to talk with people we know who oppose marriage equality about what it really means to our families.
It seems to me that when we leave it in the realm of our identity as LGBT people and our relationships many people are comfortable leaving us in the role of second-class citizens.
No doubt about it, that sucks but I do, however, see hope for those in the middle ground when we provide them concrete examples of unfairness.
What are the facts?
The functional things that LGBT families must do that others are not required to do?
What are the cold hard dollars involved?
This is where the unfairness of it all becomes impossible to ignore for all but the most fanatical and these middle dwellers are the ones we need to convince.
I'm sad to say that I don't think that the Supreme Court will give us a dramatic victory.
I do, however, think that the momentum created by these cases will eventually bring about marriage equality on a state-by-state basis over time and we need those middle dwellers over on our side when it's time to go to the polls.

Do the math!
People who oppose marriage equality are stealing resources from our children!

Alison Aucoin is the happy single (not co-parenting) lesbian mom of a 5½ year-old daughter she adopted from Ethiopia. She runs her own consulting firm that provides organizational development, fundraising, and grant writing services to non-profit organizations around the country
and also writes for The Nervous Breakdown.

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