ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Gender and Relationships»
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender

Exhibiting Honesty and Integrity While Searching for Equality

Updated on November 20, 2014

How Progressive Are You?

Source

Unequal Equality

It's no surprise that the GLBT community faces discrimination. Sometimes it is blatant and obvious, while at others it is more subdued and restrained. We feel the stares. We hear the backhanded commentary. We hear the laughter, and sometimes we even feel the sting of rejection or even physical violence. While I thought I had become accustomed to this type of behavior, at times it surprises even me. This situation caught me completely off-guard, and I was neither prepared nor aware of what the consequences could be.


What Do You Think?

Was the Company Right in Denying a Marriage Discount?

See results

The Back Story:

My wife and I got married twice in two weeks back in September. We had a legal ceremony in New Hampshire (where gay marriage is legally recognized) and a family ceremony/celebration in Maine. Now Maine has recognized same-sex marriage and affirmed it, but at the time it was still on the ballot and undecided. After returning to our home state of Florida, we fully anticipated that things would become a bit more complicated. While our county and city recognize civil unions, they do not accept marriages and we had both heard the horror stories of other same-sex couples who had encountered nightmares while navigating every-day occurrences like name-changes and recognition.

I was lucky. My wife, although she is clearly the more feminine one in our relationship, has a gender-neutral name. When I applied for my name change at the social security office and the DMV, I was met with no resistance whatsoever. At the time, I also worked for a company who endorsed same-sex benefits and equality recognition of same-sex partners. My new employer has even more benefits for same-sex couples and enforces a very strict inclusion and non-discrimination policy.

Among the tasks on my list after my legal name change had taken place was calling my car insurance company, Progressive. I had been with Progressive for over 4 years, and wasn't looking to get any kind of discount or recognition - which is why I was so totally surprised when they gave me one anyway.

The woman that assisted me that day on the phone was extremely pleasant. I told her about my name change and while she was completing the paperwork, she asked me why I had changed my name, so I told her I had gotten married. She offered the typical congratulatory remarks, and mentioned that a married status qualified for a discount. I told her up front that I was married to a same-sex partner, so I didn't believe that I was qualified. She insisted that their company did not discriminate, and that since we were legally married and they were a national company that the same rules that applied to everyone else would apply for me as well. I gave her my wife's information, and she put the discount through. All was fine until it came time to renew this month.


My wife doesn't drive. She never has. She doesn't even have a driver's license (much to my chagrin). Although I had explained this to several representatives in the preceding months, this time my renewal offer included a letter of exclusion to formally exclude her from my insurance policy. I called to double-check and received the surprise of my life. While the customer service representative that I talked to was perfectly polite and professional, she informed me that, because my marriage is not recognized in the state that I reside in, the married discount would no longer apply, and my premium would be increasing as a result.


This news would not have surprised me had it been constant from the very beginning. The first representative that I spoke to in September assured me that their company offered the discount regardless of gender and that they prided themselves on being non-discriminatory. I didn't give it a second thought because many nation-wide companies (like both of my employers) carried similar policies in regards to their same-sex employees. If I had never had the discount in the first place, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal and I would have considered it par for the course. Because I had the discount at one time and then it was suddenly taken away, it hit me like a kick in the teeth - and I never saw it coming.

Weigh In

Was the Decision to Tell the Truth the Correct Decision?

See results

A Question of Ethics:

Had I not explicitly gone out of my way to mention that my marriage was a homosexual one, I would still have my discount and no one would be the wiser. My marriage certificate does not list our genders on it, and my wife's name is completely ambiguous. The problem I am faced with now is that I am being punished for my honesty, and a very real financial benefit was taken away - because I told the truth about it.

I consider myself to be a moral and ethical person. Telling the truth is always preferable to telling a lie, and I despise lying. In this case, however, a lie would have been more beneficial. Had I not mentioned the nature of my relationship with my spouse and played the pronoun game, I would still be enjoying a significant financial benefit that would have been an asset to our household and decreased our monthly financial responsibility. Telling the truth in this case cost me. Do I regret it? In hindsight the answer will most likely be no, but to be honest, right now it stings.

The bottom line is that a legal marriage is a legal marriage and it should be regarded as such regardless of what kind of marriage it is. Heterosexual couples do not have to be legally married in each of the 50 states in order for their marriages to be recognized in that state. Immigrants do not have to be remarried in order to have their relationships considered legal when they come to this country. So why same-sex marriages like mine should only be considered valid in the 11 states in which they are presently legal? I find it absurd when I realize that it is legal in more states to marry your first cousin than it is for me to be married to my wife - and the dichotomy is astounding. I don't regret my decision to be honest, and I won't have a lie weighing on my conscience. But the fact that the difference between a lie and the truth rests on real financial gain and equality is preposterous. It's going to change. it's on its way towards changing - and it simply can't happen quickly enough.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      IB -

      in case things are getting muddled here because the comments are wrong, why don't you tell me concisely what your secular opposition is to same-sex marriage?

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      ib------------

      Likening a same sex as a marriage is different from a person and a pet how. At least if they were different genders the parts would match up.

      Me: Because human beings are capable of giving informed consent. Two adults that are gay knowingly accept and enter into a relationship, and since my wife and I have a legal marriage, it is just as valid in the eyes of the law as any heterosexual union.

      ------------

      ib-------------

      Sexual intercourse is not just sex, it is intercourse. I don't see how the same gender has the matching parts for it.

      Me: Intercourse is defined as a penetrative sexual act. Gay people are more than capable.

      ----------------

      ib--------------

      Interracial marriages were still one man and one woman.

      Me: so what? The fact of the matter was that they were taboo in the eyes of “traditional” marriage in this country. The laws changed, and that change was progressive and justified.

      ----------------

      ib----------

      I don't like it when people force a square peg into a round hole, and call it the new norm.

      Me: homosexuality is hardly new. It is just as normal as heterosexuality. You don’t have to like it. No one is forcing you to have a gay marriage.

      --------------

      ib-----------

      How is same sex marriage going to make the United States better.

      There is no value in a same sex marriage. If you want a partnership with the same gender, then get a Civil Union.

      Then have the politically powerful, and wealthy LGBT get the laws changed to give Civil Unions the same rights as marriage.

      The only difference then between the two, is that you want marriage to validate your lifestyle.

      An as far as moving to Iran, the Muslims and their Sharia law are already infiltrating the United States using the same methods as the LGBT.

      Me: How is same sex marriage going to make the United States worse?

      What value is there in a heterosexual marriage? Civil unions do not carry the same rights or responsibilities as a heterosexual marriage. All we want are equal rights, and the “separate but equal” argument doesn’t work. Marriage is a legal contract between two consenting adults. It gives the members the right to health benefits. It gives them tax benefits. It allows them to adopt children. It allows them death benefits and hospital visitation. This is the legal definition of marriage, and if you say that homosexuals are not entitled to those rights, then it’s not equal at all. Think of segregation. People of a different race were considered inferior, so they were relegated to separate bathrooms, seats, etc. They were not equal. They were separated. Therefore it is anything but equal, and there is nothing standing in the way of equal rights accept for people like you.

      ib---------------

      Same sex can never be a marriage even if you get people to call it that.

      There is no comparison to a marriage of one man and one woman.

      And why should we believe that same sex preferences are rights? There are many human preferences but only a few of them are rights.

      Smoker's claimed that they had rights.

      Me: “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Is it the word that you have a problem with? Who defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman? It was not defined that way until the defense of marriage act – which makes it a NEW phenomenon, not an old one – and who says that definitions cannot (and should not) be changed? Considering the fact that over half of all men/women marriages end in divorce, I agree – gay marriage cannot be compared at all.

      -------------------

      ib-----------

      Why is it that you have to resort to personal attacks, rather than proffering an argument to support your opinion.s

      You call it whatever you want but it will never be marriage.

      There is no function or reason to call it a marriage.

      Me: you do not get to define marriage for everybody else. Again, you don’t have to like it, but as it becomes legal and recognized in more and more places, you will have to live with it.

      ---------------

      ib-------

      The purpose of sexual intercourse is to have children. And marriage was to protect the children from being bastards. Sorry, but you can't do that, you need complimentary organs.

      If same sex was the norm for any mammal, they would die off because they couldn't procreate.

      Me: many different animals practice homosexuality – sometimes exclusively. They’re the minority, for procreative purposes, but they still do it. To me, this proves that it’s natural. There’s really no way around that. Are you also saying that couples that are infertile or do not wish to have children should not be allowed to marry either? Show me any definition of marriage that includes “so the children won’t be bastards”

      ---------------

      ib------

      Marriage hasn't been redefined to change one man and one woman, and today we don't allow multiple spouses.

      Me: you cannot deny that the definition of marriage hasn’t changed. It originated as polygamy. It was arranged by the parents and had nothing to do with love. It was for property or land deals. Are you suggesting that we go back to that philosophy where the woman is subservient and is the property of her husband?

      --------------------

      ib-----------

      Marriage will never validate your life style.

      If same sex want to change something, then create something unique for your lifestyle, and don't force yourselves into a party where you weren't invited.

      Me: do you call heterosexuality your lifestyle? When did you choose it?

      ==========

      So if same sex was the norm, then we would have any differences biology at all. So we are left with the same love that a person have for its pet. And believe me, I know some pet lovers that would choose the life of their pet, over even a human relative. So their bond of love is very strong.

      Me: please tell me that you did not just compare the love between two human beings that just happen to be the same gender to the love of a person to their pet.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      JP

      "Ib - if same sex marriage upsets you so much, why do you follow said topic? Surely it can't be good for your blood pressure to get upset at every LGBT person who DARES to call their marriage the same (and equal) to yours.

      ib---------------

      Same sex can never be a marriage even if you get people to call it that.

      There is no comparison to a marriage of one man and one woman.

      And why should we believe that same sex preferences are rights? There are many human preferences but only a few of them are rights.

      Smoker's claimed that they had rights.

      -------------------

      You've had your say on my hub, and now here. Surely you have better things to do. Because, as you can see - we are going to get married whether you agree or not.

      ib-----------

      Why is it that you have to resort to personal attacks, rather than proffering an argument to support your opinion.s

      You call it whatever you want but it will never be marriage.

      There is no function or reason to call it a marriage.

      ---------------

      However, here goes:

      Consummate: - Complete in every detail (Merrium-Webster Dictionary)

      Consummation: make (a marriage or relationship) complete by having sexual intercourse: (Oxford Dictionary)

      So, unless you were asking EXACTLY how a gay couple could consummate a marriage (eg...positions etc) then you could just say - they have sex. Just like any one else getting married.

      ib-------

      The purpose of sexual intercourse is to have children. And marriage was to protect the children from being bastards. Sorry, but you can't do that, you need complimentary organs.

      If same sex was the norm for any mammal, they would die off because they couldn't procreate.

      ---------------

      Before we get to the 'redefinition' of traditional marriage - remember - it has been redefined many times before, and opponents have cited "tradition" as the reason why it should not...yet, as it is now is redefined over and over from what it was. So what you are asking for is for marriage to go back to the stone ages "You, Jane, Mine. *thunk on head with club*", or you are asking it to remain in it's redefined state.

      ib------

      Marriage hasn't been redefined to change one man and one woman, and today we don't allow multiple spouses.

      --------------------

      Finally - no one is forcing anything. If you don't like same-sex marriage - don't get one. No one is forcing you to marry someone of your same gender.

      ib--------

      What then do you call petitioning the court in CA to repeal the will of the people in Proposition 8.

      ----------------

      Devon - thank you for weighing in. You managed to put into words something I'd been fumbling over for days!

      ib------

      BTW, calling one person in a same sex relationship a Wife, if like calling God a Father. Neither one of them as an opposite gender.

      ----------------

      JM - I'm sorry that the issues of people who do not cope with change, have made life difficult for you and your wife. I hope that in the future, people will look back and sigh with derision at those who put the roadblocks in the way. At least, I guess, we'll be on the right side of history when we look back..."

      ib-----------

      Marriage will never validate your life style.

      If same sex want to change something, then create something unique for your lifestyle, and don't force yourselves into a party where you weren't invited.

      ==========

      I have yet to hear a compelling argument from anyone, why same sex should be a constitutional right, or why we have to change the concept of marriage to bring into it something so foreign as same sex.

      The divorce rate in marriage is about 50%. But, I think that with the help of same sex preferences, marriage will cease to exist in the future.

      I am not basing any of my opinions about same sex on religion, just pure logic. It doesn't make sense. the whole biology of man and woman is to procreate. The male and female differences are solely for procreation.

      Otherwise, we wouldn't have puberty, and women wouldn't have menstrual cycles. The same sex have the eggs dropping into an empty basket. And the male eggs going nowhere they can be functional.

      So if same sex was the norm, then we would have any differences biology at all. So we are left with the same love that a person have for its pet. And believe me, I know some pet lovers that would choose the life of their pet, over even a human relative. So their bond of love is very strong.

      Now, got arguments?

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Devon

      "Since I am the other half participating in this so called, "masquerade", I thought I would weigh in. Firstly, likening a homosexual marriage to a union between a human being and a pet is both ludicrous and sophomoric.

      ib------------

      Likening a same sex as a marriage is different from a person and a pet how. At least if they were different genders the parts would match up.

      ------------

      Secondly, if you are trying to say that gays can not consummate their marriage than I am truly confused. If sexual intercourse is defined as a "sexually penetrative act" than, trust me when I say there are plenty of married gay couples consummating their marriage as we speak.

      ib-------------

      Sexual intercourse is not just sex, it is intercourse. I don't see how the same gender has the matching parts for it.

      ----------------

      Lastly, the argument that gay marriage destroys "traditional marriage" is ridiculous since the "traditional marriage" has already been changed many times throughout history. There was a time, not so long ago, that interracial marriages were not considered "legitimate" unions.

      ib--------------

      Interracial marriages were still one man and one woman.

      ----------------

      Thankfully, that "tradition" did change and bettered our nation as a result. I simply don't understand why people like yourself are so fearful of change?

      ib----------

      I don't like it when people force a square peg into a round hole, and call it the new norm.

      --------------

      More often than not, change is what propels our civilization forward, it enriches us, betters us and makes us stronger. Societies that are bound too tightly by the ropes of tradition are bound to fail. But, if you long for a place that values tradition above all else, that has distinct and separate gender roles and that strictly enforces the traditional marriage of a man to a woman...may I suggest you move...to Iran."

      ib-----------

      How is same sex marriage going to make the United States better.

      There is no value in a same sex marriage. If you want a partnership with the same gender, then get a Civil Union.

      Then have the politically powerful, and wealthy LGBT get the laws changed to give Civil Unions the same rights as marriage.

      The only difference then between the two, is that you want marriage to validate your lifestyle.

      An as far as moving to Iran, the Muslims and their Sharia law are already infiltrating the United States using the same methods as the LGBT.

      ----------------

      --------

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      jlpark -

      Thank you for all of your kind words and for weighing in on such a personal discussion. You're right. We're going to get married, whether people like the idea or not - and my marriage is JUST as legal as any of the detractors out there. They're not required to like it, but they do have to accept that it's a legal, state signed document. Calling it a "masquerade" or a "farce" just calls the validity of their own marriages into question, since it's the exact same.

      While I understand the thought process behind the "separate but equal" argument, I don't see the point. Sure, we could set up a title that is equal to heterosexual "marriage" and call it smarriage. What's the purpose of making an already defined, recognized union and just changing the word because some people don't like to realize that they're equal to everyone else?

      I would like to see one heterosexual couple that can point to one justifiable reason that the availability of same sex marriage has harmed their own marriage in any way. It doesn't. Heterosexual marriage has gone down the tubes as it is, with over 60% ending in divorce.

      Traditional marriage - would that be polygamy? Arranged, fixed marriages? Paying a bribe for a bride? All valid options, but I"ll stick with my marriage. The rate of acceptance is slowly but gradually growing. We'll get there. I just hope that it happens in my lifetime. I would love to know that I was a part of the fight for equality and that I got to see the benefits of the struggle that me and so many other have had to endure.

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 4 years ago from New Zealand

      JM - I think you've found a keeper in Devon!.

      Ib - if same sex marriage upsets you so much, why do you follow said topic? Surely it can't be good for your blood pressure to get upset at every LGBT person who DARES to call their marriage the same (and equal) to yours. You've had your say on my hub, and now here. Surely you have better things to do. Because, as you can see - we are going to get married whether you agree or not.

      However, here goes:

      Consummate: - Complete in every detail (Merrium-Webster Dictionary)

      Consummation: make (a marriage or relationship) complete by having sexual intercourse: (Oxford Dictionary)

      So, unless you were asking EXACTLY how a gay couple could consummate a marriage (eg...positions etc) then you could just say - they have sex. Just like any one else getting married.

      Before we get to the 'redefinition' of traditional marriage - remember - it has been redefined many times before, and opponents have cited "tradition" as the reason why it should not...yet, as it is now is redefined over and over from what it was. So what you are asking for is for marriage to go back to the stone ages "You, Jane, Mine. *thunk on head with club*", or you are asking it to remain in it's redefined state.

      Finally - no one is forcing anything. If you don't like same-sex marriage - don't get one. No one is forcing you to marry someone of your same gender.

      Devon - thank you for weighing in. You managed to put into words something I'd been fumbling over for days!

      JM - I'm sorry that the issues of people who do not cope with change, have made life difficult for you and your wife. I hope that in the future, people will look back and sigh with derision at those who put the roadblocks in the way. At least, I guess, we'll be on the right side of history when we look back...

    • Devon McFarland profile image

      Devon McFarland 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Since I am the other half participating in this so called, "masquerade", I thought I would weigh in. Firstly, likening a homosexual marriage to a union between a human being and a pet is both ludicrous and sophomoric. Secondly, if you are trying to say that gays can not consummate their marriage than I am truly confused. If sexual intercourse is defined as a "sexually penetrative act" than, trust me when I say there are plenty of married gay couples consummating their marriage as we speak. Lastly, the argument that gay marriage destroys "traditional marriage" is ridiculous since the "traditional marriage" has already been changed many times throughout history. There was a time, not so long ago, that interracial marriages were not considered "legitimate" unions. Thankfully, that "tradition" did change and bettered our nation as a result. I simply don't understand why people like yourself are so fearful of change? More often than not, change is what propels our civilization forward, it enriches us, betters us and makes us stronger. Societies that are bound too tightly by the ropes of tradition are bound to fail. But, if you long for a place that values tradition above all else, that has distinct and separate gender roles and that strictly enforces the traditional marriage of a man to a woman...may I suggest you move...to Iran.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      JM

      I don't define consummation, it is already defined. Google it.

      The states didn't forbid it they licensed Traditional marriage is 1 man and 1 woman.

      If you have an argument on my comment, then be specific in your response, instead of personally attacking me.

      Just because you have no answers doesn't mean that my comment is baseless.

      --------------

      Instead of trying to masquerade as a married couple in the traditional sense, it would have been much better to get the financial and political might of the LGBT to have civil unions get equal rights as that of a traditional marriage.

      Then you wouldn't have all these technical problems.

      Traditional marriage requires consummation, or it can be annulled. How do gays consummate their marriage. Or do you just want traditional marriage to ignore all its rules and requirements just for you?

      Should we also remove the age requirement for marriage, just so two young lovers don't get discriminated against?

      What other kinds of partners should we allow into traditional marriage? Three or more people, a person and their loving adoring pet?

      What is the basis of your right to force your lifestyle into an existing but different traditional life style?

      Not every human preference is a constitutional right?

      Why do we bother separating public restrooms by gender, if gender is not important in marriage, and the LGBT lifestyle?

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      It is no masquerade. We are legally married and we have the documentation to prove it.

      How do you define consummation? I assure you, we have consummated our union in every manner possible, and despite your objections to the contrary, it does not make the truth of the matter less true.

      traditional marriage according to whom? It was not illegal for gays to be married UNTIL the states took it upon themselves to expressly forbid it. What gives you the right to define legal marriage and restrict it to the "lifestyles" that you agree with?

      From your post, it is clear that you have no basis for your comments, and they're based in ignorance and prejudice rather than fact.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      JM

      Instead of trying to masquerade as a married couple in the traditional sense, it would have been much better to get the financial and political might of the LGBT to have civil unions get equal rights as that of a traditional marriage.

      Then you wouldn't have all these technical problems.

      Traditional marriage requires consummation, or it can be annulled. How do gays consummate their marriage. Or do you just want traditional marriage to ignore all its rules and requirements just for you?

      Should we also remove the age requirement for marriage, just so two young lovers don't get discriminated against?

      What other kinds of partners should we allow into traditional marriage? Three or more people, a person and their loving adoring pet?

      What is the basis of your right to force your lifestyle into an existing but different traditional life style?

      Not every human preference is a constitutional right?

      Why do we bother separating public restrooms by gender, if gender is not important in marriage, and the LGBT lifestyle?

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      It is a shame that this type of nonsense happened to you when you had a legal marriage. This is the type of problem that the Supreme Court will be dealing with this term. Hopefully they will come down on the side of prohibiting gay marriage bans and your marriage will be recognized throughout our country. It is about time. I wrote a Hub describing the issues and my stance on them. Great Hub, JMcFarland. Congratulations on your marriage.