Ballot Day

I have always loved the ritual of voting, filling in the bubbles on your ballot or flipping the levers of the voting machine, even though until 2008 it seemed like no one I voted for ever won. There’s something very democratically romantic about the whole idea of it.

Please don’t forget to vote or postmark your ballot by November 3 (THAT’S TODAY!!). Especially if you live in the state of Washington! There’s a very important issue on the ballot.

Referendum 71. From the Approve 71 website, “Ref. 71 is a vote to keep the domestic partnership law that provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships. To be able to take unpaid leave to care for a critically ill loved one, without being fired. To be able to cover a partner in family health insurance. To make sure hard-earned pension and death benefits protect children when a parent dies. Approving Ref. 71 ensures that important protections are not taken away from committed couples, so that they are able to take care of each other, especially in times of crisis.

When the most unthinkably horrific stuff happens, people who love each other, take care of each other and do each other’s dishes (which is the ultimate act of love, if you ask me) should be able to take care of each other.
In Times of Crisis.

I read a story about Janice Langbehn & Lisa Pond. They live in the same town we live in, but we don’t know them. They went to Florida to go on a cruise this summer with three of their teenage kids. They were going to celebrate their anniversary. They were together for 18 years. Every time I read their story, my heart breaks. Lisa suffered an an aneurysm before they boarded the cruise ship. She was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The hospital would not allow Janice or the kids to be with Lisa, see her, talk to her or even get updates on her status, even though Lisa & Janice had Durable Power of Attorney & a Living Will faxed to the hospital, even though they spent nearly two decades by each others sides, even though they raised children together, even though they did all the paperwork, Lisa reached brain death without Janice by her side. Can you imagine losing someone like that? No. I can’t. And no one deserves it.

Referendum 71 couldn’t have prevented the terrible situation Janice Langbehn & Lisa Pond endured. Referendum 71 is a statewide referendum, legal only in WA and unenforceable in other states. Only federal mandate could protect same-sex couples who dare to travel across state lines (REPEAL DOMA ALREADY, PRESIDENT OBAMA), but Referendum 71 could mean a lot for families here.

Sunday, we were driving on the westside of Olympia & we had the misfortune of running into some “Reject Referendum 71” sign wavers. I tried to take some video of the hideous, bigoted things they were shouting at our car, but they didn’t want to repeat any of it when my camera came out. It’s very strange. They are so proud and strong in their convictions until you want them to go on record.

It’s worth noting that Larry Stickney is the campaign manager for ‘The Rejects’ (They call themselves Protect Marriage Washington, but we have other names for them). Larry has his own problems with marriage! He’s on his third (hetero) marriage, and his ex-wife made allegations of domestic abuse against him. Someone must have agreed with her, since a judge issued a restraining order against Larry & his ex ended up with custody of the kids. What an excellent, honorable standard for marriage. We should all hold ourselves, gay or straight, to such high standards for our lifelong partnerships.

So, here’s my ballot, bubbles filled in, licked, sealed, and fingers crossed for all the families across Washington who deserve a better life and equal protection under the law.

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