Monday, April 19, 2010

WTF Wednesday, One Day Early: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

I was fiercely glad to read that Obama recently ordered hospitals to allow patients to choose who has visitation rights. This is a step which seems, to me, to be simple human decency. I can't imagine anyone denying the request of a dying man to be with the people he loves. The fact that a desire this basic is being granted as though it were a concession, as though we should look magnanimous for deciding not to strip the dying of comfort, and not only that but the fact that it took this long, unsettles me. At least now our administration is taking steps to make it right.

My friend Tiana wrote an excellent essay around the time when people were voting on one of the shifting incarnations of Prop 8. In it she said something I've often paraphrased (mostly because I can't find her original wording to quote it verbatim) about how mistaken we are to assume it is appropriate to put another person's human rights to a majority vote. It is the responsibility of all political leaders, and indeed all thinking people, to insist on equal rights no matter how many dissenting voices are raised against them.

This same friend passed on a link to me today which shows with heartbreaking clarity the human consequences of silence on this issue. An elderly gay couple in Sonoma County, CA were separated despite their legal paperwork protecting their right to make end-of-life decisions for each other and placed in different nursing homes against their will. The county took possession of their belongings and auctioned them off and surrendered their home to the landlord. One of the partners died in the nursing home alone. The surviving man is left without a home or possessions, without reminder of the life he and the man he loved had shared for twenty years.

I am angry for these men. I am furious that our society could have failed them so cataclysmically. I am even angrier to hear that the friend who passed the link to Tiana said he could imagine the same thing happening to him and his partner one day. If the majority believes that this is an acceptable outcome-- that these men deserved what happened to them-- then the majority is cruelly, dangerously wrong.

Thank you, Obama. I can only hope that you continue this course, that setting things right is more important to you than political maneuvering and the illusion of popular support.


Posted by Silent Five @ 9:40 PM

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Tiana's summation is brilliant. Would she mind very much if I quote her (or rather, quote your paraphrasing?)

P.S. I'm angry right along with you, sister.

Posted by Blogger e.clare @ 1:37 PM #
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Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

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