I dont normally start threads here but thought this was important enough to post. This is why to many many people Marriage Equality is important. (This is not me - Im just posting the story) ---- Tonight we said goodbye to a photograph by Brubs Sun May 17, 2009 If you really don’t feel like maudlin or depressing diaries, steer clear from this one. I am getting drunk, and I am angry and heartbroken for my friend, so don’t expect much prose or coherence. It will be what it will be. I need this out of my system, so damn be to diary etiquette or protocol. Tonight, surrounded by his family, my best friend Kenneth took his last assisted breaths in a hospital known for its “compassion and care” in the area. His family held his hands and whispered their loving goodbyes while the life slipped from his body and he went to his rest. A sudden heart attack claimed him. But someone was conspicuously absent… In the parking lot, Bob, his partner of 26 years, said goodbye to a photograph. It was a photograph of he and Kenneth on vacation celebrating their honeymoon 6 years ago after having been “married” in a ceremony that meant nothing more than symbolism to a society that was, at turns, benevolent about the whims of a few gay folk, yet smirking about his love for another person of the same sex. “Have your fake ceremonies, for what they are worth, but don’t get obnoxious and ask for anything actually bordering on legal or realistic.” society told them. But Kenneth & Bob took it, because validating it to one another was really what counted. But tonight, it ended up needing to mean so much more. Bob carried that photograph in his wallet as a reminder of his relationship and what it meant to him. Tonight, he said goodbye to a smiling face in a picture because he had no legal right to be present to say goodbye to his loved one in person. So Bob sat in the parking lot in the passenger seat of my car and wondered the fate of the man he had given his love and life to. He held the only thing at that moment Kenneth’s family could not take away from him – that photograph. The hospital, at the behest of Kenneth’s family, had banned Bob from Kenneth’s room, or seeing him in the hospital at all. 26 years treated as though they were mere passing acquaintances or work colleagues. Simply because Kenneth’s family could never accept their son’s orientation (NOT “lifestyle” as some refer to it). Tonight, a nurse sympathetic to Bob’s situation and in violation of the hospital policies, came to the car window and delivered the news to Bob that Kenneth was gone. And Bob said his goodbyes and wishes of love and peace to a picture. A ****ing photograph. Held to his chest as though he were holding his loved one in tears. Because that was all he had. His partner is gone and his partner’s family took away the dignity that Bob had a right to as Kenneth’s lover, confidante, and lifemate to say goodbye. His husband. There, I said it. HUSBAND. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/18/732663/-Tonight-we-said-goodbye-to-a-photograph ---- It was updated with this blurb: "UPDATE:<snip> Some people have mentioned legal papers as a form of protection from this sort of thing. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, as did Bob and Kenneth because they had them drawn up. But what happened last night revealed a chink in the armour regarding that form of “protection”. Bob did not have access to those papers, because he was with me and not at home. Long story, but Kenneth spent each Sunday afternoon with his family, but Bob was not welcome there, so he would spend it with my partner and myself. Kenneth tried, right or wrong, to straddle two divergent worlds – the one of his family and the futile need for their acceptance, and the one he created for himself with his husband and his friends. Kenneth’s sister was the one who called Bob to let Bob know that Kenneth was in the hospital, and for that we are grateful. There was no time, nor presence of mind under the circumstances, to race across Phoenix (a sprawling place for those who know) to get a piece of paper to wave in front of some administrator so Bob could be afforded his legal rights. It would have been too late anyway. It isn’t the hospital’s fault either. They are not there to referee family issues, simply to offer care. I am not angry with them, and I am certain Bob isn’t either." ---- Stories like this are heartbreaking. I have no words for his "family".