I have a friend whose brother has been serving in the military in Iraq during the invasion. Within days he should thankfully be back in the United States. His girlfriend, to whom he plans to marry, but is not yet, is recognized by the US military as the family member to whom information regarding his status, including his expected date of return, should be communicated. This important information regarding his welfare and location in the world is sent not to his parents, or to any of his siblings, but rather to this woman to whom he is not even yet engaged to at this time.
While I'm exceptionally happy for my friend, her brother, and their family, nothing at the same time makes me angrier. First, a person seving in the military who has a same-sex partner would not even be allowed to divulge that information without being drummed out immediately. It wouldn't matter how faithfully and well they served. It wouldn't matter that he/she spent months on hostile foreign soil in service to the whims of dishonest politicians. If a serviceperson asked that their return home be communicated to their same-sex partner, they would be forcibly removed from the military.
But let's forget the insipid "don't ask, don't tell" policy for this rant. Rather, do you think for one minute that, even if military personnel were allowed to be out and serve that the US government would recognize their partner as having family status and communicate with them? Of course not. The government would insist that the solider list a blood relative. The courtesy they afford a potential heterosexual partner would not even be considered towards a homosexual partner, regardless if they had spent the past twenty years together. Again, our commitment and dedication to our loved ones, and our service to our country (both military and financial) are ignored, devalued, and derided.
This is but one more reason we need gay marriage. This is one more reason why we need to challenge American cultural values about homosexuality. This is one more reason we need to preach back to those in the pulpits. One more reason why America needs to provide the same rights and protections afforded its straight citizens to its gay ones as well.