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Happy Birthday to Me

It's time for equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. It's easy to see why my 9th great-grandfather took-up on Billy Penn's offer to settle near here around 1711; this part of the country has the same rolling landscape and changing seasons that were so familiar to him and other German/Swiss settlers in Pennsylvania. It's especially beautiful here this time of year, as summer gently yields to fall, "The Wood Man" delivers a full cord of Cyprus and I can cut-back on lawn-mowing chores.

 
It's time for equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. It's easy to see why my 9th great-grandfather took-up on Billy Penn's offer to settle near here around 1711; this part of the country has the same rolling landscape and changing seasons that were so familiar to him and other German/Swiss settlers in Pennsylvania. It's especially beautiful here this time of year, as summer gently yields to fall, "The Wood Man" delivers a full cord of Cyprus and I can cut-back on lawn-mowing chores.

 

October 11, my birthday, is always a special date to me. Around my birthday each year, I sit down and do the requisite soul-searching. I ask myself whether I've made a difference on the planet, if I've been a loyal friend and partner, an honorable businessman and a good citizen.
This year my ruminations have special significance to me: On October 11 my partner of 20 years and I will be joining tens of thousands of people who will descend on Washington DC for The National Equality March. We marchers share one single demand of our Federal government: equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.

 

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, people like Randy and me, who are legally married, lose out on 1,049 Federal marriage-related benefits that our neighbors receive the minute they say "I do." These are simple, basic things like inheritance rights, joint ownership of property and the right not to testify in court against your spouse. We've spent thousands of dollars on legal fees to create an inferior collection of documents that barely approximate the benefits that "traditional" married couples receive without question.


A Federal law, the legally enshrined discrimination against a single class of citizens known as the "Defense of Marriage Act," forbids the Federal government from recognizing our marriage and extending those 1,049 rights to us. Despite President Obama's repeated promises, abolishing the demeaning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy has been back-burnered because he "has too much on his plate." I agree with Jon Stewart who remarked: "Get a bigger plate!"

 

October 11 is also National Coming Out Day. This annual event has a simple premise: by "coming out" and letting people know just how many LGBT people are in their lives, more people will experience for themselves that we're not so very different than they are. So here I am, here we are. And we're as mad as hell and we're not going to take this anymore.


There's a stirring song that has become an anthem in our community, Something Inside So Strong, that expresses our collective resolve succinctly:


The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing.
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling.
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you.
If you plan to squander my wealth, I suggest very, very dark sunglasses. 

 

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