Tag Archive for US Supreme Court

Love, validated

This is the motto og the United Church of Christ, which was the first mainline Protestant denomination to come out in favor of marriage equality.

This is the motto of the United Church of Christ, which was the first mainline Protestant denomination to come out in favor of marriage equality.

Today the US Supreme Court struck down the misguided Defense of Marriage Act and upheld the right to marry in California.

It’s a big day for millions of gay and lesbian people who have long deserved to marry and enjoy the same rights as straight couples. Since the only objections I’ve ever heard come from opponents’ religious beliefs, the ban on gay marriage is obviously unconstitutional. Any two consenting adults should have the right to enter into the legal contract of marriage.

Despite the statements of opponents who say it will lead to bestiality, child rape and the fall of civilization, marriage equality just means two consenting adults can enter into this contract, whether they be opposite sex or same-sex couples.

My sister and her spouse were married in Massachusetts in 2006, and I couldn’t have been happier for them. They deserved the same rights as my husband and I get. When my sister died of lung cancer, her spouse was able to make the decisions they had agreed upon. No one could come in and claim they had a superior right to make those decisions. That gave both of them the peace of mind they deserved in my sister’s final days.

This morning’s ruling told gays and lesbians across the country that they have every right to love whom they please and the state has no right to discriminate against them.

This afternoon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military would extend benefits, including health care and housing, to same-sex spouses as quickly as possible.

Rep. Michele Bachmann went on a rant about how God created marriage and, well, blah, blah, blah, or to quote Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “Who cares?”

Justice Antonin Scalia’s angry scree of a reply was just the ranting, childish tantrum of a poor loser. Although many people have said he is brilliant, I don’t believe anyone with such a closed mind can be brilliant.

Opponents will carry on for a little while, but the tide has turned in favor of equality, just as it did for African-Americans in the 1960s. Eventually, every state will accept marriage equality, and a little farther down the road, the bigots will age and die, leaving society to wonder what the big deal was anyway.

 

 

Waiting and hoping for a miracle

Kelly and me in the Green Room of the Ed Shultz Show on MSNBC.

I have hoped for miracles before. Sometimes I’ve been disappointed, like when I could do nothing for my son as I watched him get sicker and sicker.

Then there’s my friend, Kelly Cuvar, who has had a rare form of cancer for 13 years. Pretty much everything about her is a miracle. Knowing her has made me believe miracles are possible.

Kelly has never been in remission. She is from Ohio (from John Boehner’s district, of all places), but she lives in New York, where she is able to get care for her disease.

But, she says, worrying about health care has caused her more angst than her cancer. What if she loses Medicaid? What if she had to find care on her own for some reason? What if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act and Paul Ryan gets his way on Medicaid and Medicare?

Kelly and I don’t talk as often as I would like — we tend to keep up on Facebook and via e-mails these days. She’s pretty upbeat most days. Often, she’s downright irreverent. She has a right to be.

Kelly has said time and again that dealing with our broken health care system is more difficult than dealing with cancer. In most other countries, she wouldn’t have to worry about whether she would be thrown to the curb. In most other countries, she would get care. Period, end of discussion.

In the US, however, she never knows whether the doctor she’s seeing will stop accepting Medicaid, forcing her to find another doctor who will. Her well-being depends on which way the political, and lately, judicial, winds will blow.

Every decision she makes about her life revolves around her health care. It determines whether she’ll marry (she can’t now), where she’ll live, whether she can work (she can’t) … Just about every decision most of us make without thinking, Kelly has to make with an eye to whether it will affect her health care. Worrying about her care causes her more distress than her illness, Kelly says.

Kelly and I were fellow travelers along the road to getting the Affordable Care Act passed. We met in Washington, DC, when we both went there for rallies and lobbying. I carried my picture of Mike; Kelly carried her cane. We realized very quickly that we share a similar twisted sense of humor and the guts to speak truth to power.

When the ACA passed, Kelly and I were on the phone to each other, laughing and crying.

Sure, the law didn’t give us everything we wanted, but it was a start and we vowed to continue working to improve the system. We had won a battle, but there would be more and we knew it then. We would work for a public option, for the ability to buy into Medicare. Someday, insurance companies will have competition and people will be able to gain access to the care they need.

We didn’t believe we might have to start from scratch, though, and if the Supreme Court overturns the law, we’re back to Square One.

Kelly has cancer and I’ll turn 60 later this year. Neither of us has unlimited time. But neither of us is willing to give up, either.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, Kelly and I will keep advocating for access to quality care for all Americans. Getting sick shouldn’t mean having to choose between bankruptcy and death.

If the ACA is upheld, Kelly will be able to buy insurance in 2014, as will others who have had cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, acne … all the things the free market has used to deny insurance coverage to people. We will be able to go to the doctor with the assurance that our needs will be met.

Some 20 million people will remain uninsured, however, and Kelly and I will continue to fight for improvements to the system. We may get tired because she’s sick and I’m old, but we won’t quit. I assure you, we’re in this for the whole race.

It may take a miracle, but Kelly and I have seen miracles; we believe in them.

 

 

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