I’m going to be [even more] scarce around these parts for the next week, as my darling fiancée and I are tying the knot tomorrow afternoon. Any of you with magical anti-rain powers can consider this your official last-minute invitation to the wedding. The rest of you, I’m afraid, will have to settle for being in our thoughts. If you want to feel like a part of the event, you can head over to Georgetown Cupcake and get yourself a chocolate&vanilla or a vanilla&chocolate, which are what we’re serving in lieu of cake. Watch this space for a review about how well the cupcakes handle a three hour drive to Ocean City.
If anyone expresses an interest I may write a little about our venue searching from last year and some of our experiences making this happen, but before our big day I wanted to take a minute and write a little about the situation and options for same-sex couples looking to partner up in our area, or for straight couples who, for whatever reason, need to protect themselves without marrying.
And if you’re a long-term partnership, gay or straight, you do need to protect yourself. I won’t belabor the point beyond saying that last year I saw two different people lose their young and otherwise healthy partners to a fatal aneurysm. Loss can come unexpectedly and ignoring the possibility doesn’t make the inevitable consequences go away.
Some friends of ours followed the advice in Money Without Matrimony: The Unmarried Couple’s Guide to Financial Security. In addition to the nuts & bolts issues, it has some help on how to talk to your partner about such matters, regardless of how long you’ve been together or how concretely you see your future together.
Gay couples in D.C. have been able to register for domestic partnership since 2002, and in the time since the protections have evolved. They now include hospital visitation & the right to make medical decisions, as well as options to take sick leave to take care of a partner and the right to sue for the wrongful death. There’s some frequently asked questions about the program that you can check out for a more elaborate explanation.
The provisions covering property rights and inheritance would have made the biggest difference for the woman we knew who lost her partner, but in general if you’re gay and have been co-habitating for more than a year you should go over to the D.C. Department of Public Health page with information on registering and give it some serious thought.
We’ve recently covered the fact that the D.C. council has voted to recognize all marriages, gay or straight, from other states. We’re still inside the 30 day review period during which Congress can choose to meddle so it’s not a sure thing yet. Even past that point it’s possible they’ll jerk us around. The above mentioned domestic partnership law was actually passed in 1992, but funding limitations placed by meddling fuckheads who don’t think D.C. residents should have the same rights to make decisions about their own governance that their actual constituents do Congress kept anyone from using it for a decade.
So assuming it isn’t blocked in some way, gay couples who reside in D.C. will soon be able to go to one of the states performing marriage for all and get hitched there. At the moment it’s Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa with Vermont joining the team in September. I’d initially thought that Massachusetts wasn’t marrying gay couples who weren’t Massachusetts residents but that limitation was lifted last year.
If any of you have some additional information to share please chime in or email me at don at welovedc dot com. In particular if any of you are lawyers who handle drafting papers to help same-sex couples in Virginia or Maryland please speak up so I can add you as a resource here; I’m afraid that’s a level of legwork I just didn’t have time for with my big day coming up.
If any of you have a burning desire to give us a wedding gift, go over to Freedom to Marry and make a donation. If the two of us are allowed to marry, everyone else should be too.