I’m in a rather shitty Embassy Suites in San Diego using $12 wifi and typing this on my iPad. Why, you ask? Because I’m getting married tomorrow. To my wife of 10 years, in fact. Because in Michigan, where we live, our marriage is not recognized legally. So for the past decade, we’ve been considered total strangers in the eyes of the state. And now with Proposition 8 being overturned and a stake driven through the ugly black heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (and that’s all it was: an act, antigay righteous bullshit theater), we decided to go get ourselves legally wed at long last.
Sadly, once we return to Michigan, our marriage will disappear (because marriage equality is magic! Now you see it, cross state lines and now you don’t). I won’t be able to be on my wife’s health-insurance plan, for example. And I still won’t be able to legally adopt my own son. Oh, excuse me, my wife’s son. Er, I mean, the son of the woman I share an address with, according to how the state of Michigan sees me. And they have no problem saying that to my face.
Lest anyone think I’m being overly dramatic, I offer for proof the state’s response to a legal challenge to its discriminatory marriage and adoption laws. You see, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple with three children, are suing the state because they want their kids to have two legal parents. But Michigan doesn’t allow adoptions by unmarried couples. And, of course, Michigan also won’t let these ladies get married. And so these ladies are suing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
In response to this lawsuit, the state denied “that both plaintiffs are parents of the minor children. Plaintiff DeBoer is the legal parent of R and Plaintiff Rowse is the legal parent of J and N.”
In other words, step off, bitches, you aren’t a real family.
I take this very personally.
The state’s entire legal response to DeBoer and Rowse’s complaint shows an utmost disdain for them as mothers and dismisses their very serious concerns as trivial and ridiculous at every turn.
The couple points out that because Michigan doesn’t allow families like theirs to get married, and therefore denies them the right to adopt the children they are raising, “unmarried second parents seeking to adopt in Michigan are denied legal, emotional, financial, social, medical and other benefits. As such, plaintiffs identified herein are subjected to adverse treatment solely because the minor plaintiffs’ parents are an unmarried couple.”
The state response: “To the extent a response is required, state defendants deny that plaintiffs have been subjected to adverse treatment.”
Speaking as one of those “unmarried second parents,” I would like to state for the record: The fuck we’re not. I suspect that any parent would find it “adverse” at best to have the state dismiss their entire relationship with their child.
What’s especially galling is that the state is claiming that the antigay-marriage ban passed by voters in 2004 is legit.
“The Michigan Marriage Amendment fosters the state’s legitimate interest in promoting responsible natural procreation, which, in turn, promotes raising children in a home environment with both a mother and a father, giving the children the benefit of having a role model of both sexes,” the state’s response reads.
In other words, the state of Michigan claims that playing nuclear-family police is their job, and only kids born in the penis+vagina fashion are worth protecting. That’s not pure Michigan, that’s pure discrimination.
Shame on you, Gov. Snyder, for fighting against families like mine. For fighting against kids under the guise of “protecting” them when what kids really need protecting from is you and your policies.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock ’n’ roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister.