|Me and Bill with our witness Jack and Judy D.|
Now that Bill and I have been married almost a week I've noticed several unexpected changes in our life. First, Bill is supremely happy as I am. It's hard to explain. Perhaps the best way to explain how we both feel is "complete." We are now truly equal to our fellow citizens.
And then there is the feeling of happiness. I wonder how long this natural high will last. I have a feeling it's going to last a long time.
Every day since our wedding we both seem to have smiles on our faces most of the day. Perhaps this is because for the first time in our lives we no longer feel marginalized or discounted. We no longer feel "less than." We feel equal. And then there is the feeling of freedom. No longer do I have to worry about what will happen to Bill should I die before him.
I don't have to worry that Bill will have a huge tax bill should I die. Our house, which is in my name which is what we decided to do years ago for protection), is valued over a half a million dollars. That's a lot of money folks.
Since 1980 I've been the sole wage earner in this family. Bill has his Social Security, which is substantially less than mine. Now should I die before Bill he will receive my Social Security which is 36% more than his Social Security payment.
I have some savings but not a whole lot. We're not rich even though we live in a nice neighborhood, we are "house rich". Under the old rules any savings I would leave to Bill would be taxed heavily. In fact Bill would have to sell the house just to pay the taxes. Then where would he move?
Now with the repeal of DOMA and the recognition of same sex marriages with all the legal protections and benefits that straight couples have enjoyed for years, we no longer have to worry about me dying before Bill. Of course if Bill died before me then there would be no problem because all our assets are in my name.
Another worry that has gone is that I won't have to face the situation I had to face in 2005 when Bill had emergency surgery for his gall bladder.
|Philadelphia Veterans Hospital|
I was house sitting for friends in Rehoboth Beach in January. Bill was at our home in Pennsylvania. His gall bladder burst and he was rushed by ambulance to the Veterans' Hospital in Philadelphia. There was a huge snow storm on the eastern coast at that time. I couldn't get to Pennsylvania if I wanted to because the roads were closed. Bill had an emergency operation and was in intensive care for four days. I called and couldn't get through! The Filipino nurse who answered the phone absolutely refused to put me through to Bill. She said I wasn't "family." I patiently explained to her that Bill had no immediate family and I was his "family." She was nice but said "I'm sorry sir, but I can only put family through." Yes folks, I experienced that nightmare that all gay couples fear that when there loved one is in the hospital they won't be able to see or talk to them because they aren't "family." Thank God Bill didn't have that problem when I was wheeled in the Beebe emergency room a few years back with my kidney stones.
So folks, here we are now....normal. We're married with all the legal and financial protections and benefits that straight couple have taken for granted for years. All those years that Bill and I paid the higher taxes just because we were single, thus in effect subsidizing straight couples, is over.
Today we picked up Bill's ring, which was being sized in Dover. I loved the smile that appeared on his face when he placed it on his finger. Other than being a beautiful ring (white gold with three sparkly diamonds), it means that we're....complete.
This is a nice feeling.
|Getting ready for the wedding ceremony|