Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's done.

I am sitting at my kitchen table right now, listening to the printer clatter out one page at a time on the "Best" setting. My thesis is done, and I'm printing out the two copies I need to deposit with the school registrar, with my advisor's signature.

"Money & Menschlikeit: A Jewish Ethics of Personal Finance" has taken me most of a year to write. At the moment, I have no profound thoughts. I just want it to finish printing so I can get a few hours of sleep before I have to meet Dr. Adler at 10:30 a.m. Maybe I'll have profound thoughts tomorrow. Or maybe I've used up all my profound thoughts writing the thing. I have no idea.

One of the people who has known me longest, Jim Scott (my ex-father-in-law, not my son) said to me a few months ago, "You've been working on this subject all your life." That's true. I don't have all the answers now, but I've got some dandy questions.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm angry. published an article this week entitled The Gay Marriage Slump.
It's a rather vapid little piece wondering why, after all the fuss about "gay marriage" gay couples aren't storming the courthouses to register as domestic partners in states that allow it. (Notice that word, "allow." Says a lot. Harumph.)

This was my letter in response:

"Why we aren't registered"

My partner and I have chosen to get married in a religious ceremony, but not to register as domestic partners here in California. Our reason? The Registered Domestic Partner thing is NOT the equivalent of a civil marriage. If we register, we get to file the nightmare tax returns that another letter writer mentioned (one set for the state, jointly, and another set for the feds, individually). We get "marriage taxed" by the state, but we still don't get a lot of the rights of married people.

Add to that that my partner is a retired federal employee. Thirty plus years in the U.S. Navy and in federal law enforcement, and I'm ineligible for her health insurance and any other benefits a REAL spouse would receive.

Why would we pay extra taxes, when we get fewer rights? Forget that!

We've married in the eyes of our religious community. We're together until death do us part. But I will not cooperate in the government's marginalizing of our lives, and I sure as heck will not pay taxes for "rights" I am denied.


Why post this letter again here? Because I realize I'm really angry about this. I'm tired of being a second-class citizen. I'm sick of people imposing their religious views or (let's call it what it is) their bigotries upon me and my beloved.

I pay taxes. I am married to a woman who spent her entire adult life serving her country. Yet we do not get the same rights that any straight couple who go to Vegas for the weekend can have simply by saying "I do."

I am a Jew. I don't eat pork because I believe I am commanded not to eat pork. I don't insist on a law that won't let anyone eat pork just because I think the Bible says "Don't eat pork." Meditate on that, the next time you chow down on a pulled pork sandwich or shrimp cocktail -- I am not imposing my religious beliefs on you. Don't impose yours on me.

It's called the separation of church and state, folks.