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Obama’s Broken Promises To Those Of Us On The “G” List

Updated on June 18, 2009

Kathy Griffin talks about being on a “D” list as opposed to the Hollywood “A” list and it’s funny. But I’m on a list not so funny and much further down, not in celebrity but in life. I’m on the “G” list. That list of Gay Americans who are treated like less than second class citizens. Who pay more taxes to our government because we don’t get any of the tax incentives or breaks married people do and yet when it comes to having laws to give me equal rights I’m told to “be patient” when I don’t think straight people would be patient one bit if they were being treated as the gays continually are by lawmakers. So now President Obama has signed a memo stating that same sex partners of government employees can sign up for a special insurance program if their spouse has a long term illness such as Alzheimer’s and that they can take sick time if the child that they’re parenting is ill. Read that last sentence again and then tell me why anyone is surprised that gays and the people who love them or even just feel that they should have equal rights shouldn’t be upset and call the President out on this one. I don’t usually share intimately personal stories but I feel compelled in this case. My life on the “G” list – Don’t Get Me Started!

At my former place of employment, my spouse (of over twenty years who happens to be the same sex as me) was given health benefits through the employer of over 1500 employees. Of course the portion that the company paid in was added to my salary and I was taxed on those contributions at the end of the year but he had benefits and we were grateful. When I went to the company where I currently work they were such a small company that we found we had an obstacle. The state laws say that the insurance companies do not have to offer domestic partner benefits so they don’t unless the company has something like 100 employees. Not a problem, my partner went on Cobra and my very generous employer who feels that domestic partners should be covered, paid those payments. Eighteen months have passed and the company has not grown enough to make it worthwhile for the insurance companies to offer domestic partner benefits.  My partner’s insurance coverage through Cobra about to run out, I went to our insurance broker to find the best policy available for a “single” man of a certain age.

I handle the administration of the benefits for my current company and I was grateful that our broker agreed to assist me but I have to tell you, going through the process was what I imagine it’s like for anyone who has ever been discriminated against. As he explained the policy and how much it was going to be (almost double my insurance) because my spouse wasn’t part of a company plan or what have you I felt something that never happens at the office. I felt the tears welling in my eyes. Now while some may think of this as weakness or a gay who is unable to be a “man” about his emotions, I assure you that this is not the case. What hit me like a ton of bricks was that no matter how great my employer is or their intent, the laws are meant to keep gays below everyone else. You say it’s not a social discrimination like Blacks have had and I tell you you’re wrong. Don’t tell me that if I would just “straighten up and eat pussy” I could have anything I wanted. Don’t tell me I’m a sexual deviant. I’ve been with the same man (and only that man for over twenty years) I’ve devoted my life to him and he’s devoted himself to me. He’s been there for me in a way that some of you straight people could only wish for a spouse to care for you. And yet here I was hoping my partner would be “accepted” by the same insurance carrier that his current coverage is through and not knowing if he would get the insurance or not. (We’re still waiting to hear) While the married men in my office can quickly just jot down their wife’s social security number and date of birth, my spouse (and therefore I) am excluded from the club. While their wives could have every disease in the book and it not matter, we have to worry if the fact that my spouse has exercise induced asthma and is on medication for it will have to pay an additional 50% of the standard premium each month just to become an insured person with the carrier who has covered him for the past ten years. He’s never had a lapse in coverage, we’ve paid the dues and yet we’re still not a member.

So when Mr. Obama signs his name to a memo that basically gives a small percentage of the gays who work for the government two minor inclusions (all the while still dismissing them from service to their country and everything else) all it does is make me feel like I’m on the corner of the Monopoly board. I’m not “in jail” I’m “just visiting” but I basically have lost a turn. Gays have lost a turn and Mr. Obama has lost a turn. A turn to me equates to having a chance to begin to make things right for all Americans. The difference is that it is not a game, it’s my life and unfortunately for us gays we’ve watched as another lawmaker convinced us he would be different when he was taking our money and votes to get elected but then forgot about us once he got elected. How does it feel? It feels as I imagine it felt to stand at the gate like the immigrants did at Ellis Island, smelling the air that was free and hungering to begin working to make something of themselves in the land of opportunity but all the while being held back by a gate like cattle. How can I be anything but sad? I’ll be patient and wait and see what Mr. Obama does (or doesn’t do next), choking back my contempt and disdain but as with anything, if it keeps building up, when the flood gates open it’s going to get very, very ugly. My life on the “G” list – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Jo - Thanks for your comments, kind words from someone who is no doubt a kind person. The good news? Got another job and my spouse is on my benefits! Whew! Thanks for the retweet!

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 4 years ago

      I am so sorry that you are experiencing the worst of humanity, and have to feel the horrible feelings no human being should ever have to feel in their life. You have written this with so much conviction and it breaks my heart to hear the unimaginable pain through reading the words you use.

      You seem intelligent enough to me. I hear some strength in your words as well. Why not open an insurance business yourself? Make it a family business, with you and your partner and you can offer the insurance for A-list members who deserve to be treated with respect, compassion and not judged or condemned because you choose your life by your choices, not the random opinion of others who by chance have no clue as to what a great person you are. I send you prayers and hugs! It will get better. This was a A++ article. Save, shared and tweeted.

    • profile image

      David 8 years ago

      I think that the discrimination against gay people in this country is wrong in so many ways. I think that the government should classify all marraige liscences as civil unions and allow them to be given out to straight and gay couples alike. Then if people want to get married they can go to a church. I think a lot of the resistance to a gay marraige law passing is that people think of marraige as a religous cerimony, and many religions consider homosexuality a sin. I don't know if that would be an acceptable comprimise or not, but it seems like it should work. Personally, I don't see the problem with gay marraige so I'm not sure.