Last night, while doing laundry in the middle of the night, I sat just outside the garage on the driveway with my laptop, tethered to a very long extension cord watching a documentary on Netflix. It was called “For My Wife”. It’s about the death of a woman named Kate Fleming. She died in a freak accident. Her basement flooded. She became trapped when she went down to save a few things from the water. Rescue workers had to cut a hole in the floor upstairs to get her out. When her partner of ten years, Charlene Strong got to the hospital, she was denied access to her. She had to call Kate’s relatives on the east coast to have them tell the hospital she could be there with Kate. And when Kate passed away, the funeral director ignored her.
This tragedy spurred Charlene Strong to become an activist for the rights of gays and lesbians in this sad, but important time in life. Her testimony in front of the Washington State Legislature was instrumental to getting legislation passed that ensured loved ones could have these rights.
It got me thinking about my own personal situation. I’m mostly asexual still. I don’t know if this will change in the long run. Very recently, I’ve talked briefly with my mom about her will and a minor bike accident made me decide to put an In Case of Emergency card in my wallet and on the lock screen on my iPhone. Now, let’s jump ahead several years. Let’s say my parents and grandparents are deceased. Let’s say I’m in a same sex relationship and my only remaining blood relative is my sister. Now, as it stands now, my sister isn’t speaking with me. She may, in the future come to accept me. Or she may not. While her decision to cut off communication saddens me, I have to move on with my life. I wouldn’t want her bias impacting my life in any way. As it stands right now, my sister’s name and phone number is on my I.C.E. card along with my parents, my grandparents and my roommate.
Now, granted this is a hypothetical about a future event. My parents, all three of them are alive and well. In fact, my grandparents are alive and in good health. And I am not looking to get into a relationship of any kind any time soon. I have no doubt that if I was dating or living with someone, male or female, that my parents and grandparents would allow my loved one to have access to me if I was laying in a hospital bed. But, it shouldn’t be that way. They shouldn’t have to be given permission.
This issue may not affect me as of yet. But, it does affect others who I know and care about. And while I have confidence that the Defense of Marriage Act will eventually be repealed, I want to look into this and find out where Colorado stands on this very important issue.