Being “gay” does not dominate my life and I don’t often think about being “gay”. I do often thing of my civil partner, Simon, much as I would assume any married couple would. As I have mentioned before, after about 6 years of being in a relationship with Simon, I moved to the UK in 2006, in large part, to take advantage of the recent civil partnership laws that were created. Simon and I entered a civil partnership in 2006 and in 2013 will be celebrating 13 years as a “couple”.
For the most part, we just get on with our lives, as an “traditional” couple would. As we approach our middle ages, we realised that we had reached the point where we could make a choice about us and potentially family, instead of careers. We both have very well paid jobs and have been very successful, but we know there is more to life than just work. So a couple of years ago we put the wheels in motion to change our lives. Being of sufficient means, we knew we could go a lot of places in the world. We short listed 7 cities across the globe and assessed each one. Sadly, no US city made our short list. That isn’t because we have anything against the US. Being an American, there is still a big part of me the longs for the US and Simon also sees lots of advantages of the States. But the land of my birth has chosen to not recognise my relationship with Simon. Even if we both were US citizens, there would be 50 different versions of what our relationship meant, which means we would have to be very careful about where we lived in the US.
While the Supreme Court this week is hearing arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA, there is far more at stake for Simon and myself than I think we would like to admit. While our immediate plans are to move to Vancouver, as Simon has been accepted at UBC and I am sure we will like Canada, neither of us is Canadian and therefore we don’t have a “right” to settle in Canada, though it may very well be possible. We would like to be in a situation where at least my country of birth is an option and that we don’t feel like exiles.
I know the Supreme Court, rightfully so, is far more concerned about keeping a balance between the Federal Government and States rights, but they also look after us as individual rights, and I as a US Citizen am being denied my birthright to pursue happiness. If there are Federal benefits that are extended to traditional married couples, they should be extended to me, including immigration benefits, irrespective of whatever definition the State puts to similar laws.
Having been used to being treated equally under the law for the past 6 years, it is something that I am unwilling to give up, and anyone who knows Simon or myself wouldn’t demand that of us.