Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open Letter from Poet Daniel Nathan Terry

Dear Friends and Fellow North Carolina Residents,

On May 7th, my partner and I will be married in Washington, DC. After sixteen years together, of facing many of the difficulties most couples endure, we are overjoyed that this day is finally on our doorstep.

Well, not on our doorstep, but on the doorstep of an office in a courthouse in DC.

We are not wealthy, although we work most of our waking lives. We both teach six classes a semester at NC colleges, and we work year-round. As an adjunct for two colleges, I have no health insurance, and (although we have been together for over a decade and a half) NC does not recognize us as domestic partners; therefore, I am not eligible to gain insurance under my partner's policy. As many of you know, I suffered a spinal injury 9 years ago. My current medical expenses add up to about $1000.00 a month. It is, to say the least, a strain on our family.

Also, as we are unable to marry in our home state, we will spend thousands on airfare, hotels, and so on--something we would not do. If we had a choice, we would spend what money we can muster on a party for our friends. We do not want new suits, flowers, a DJ, or any of the other trappings. But we will still spend the money others might spend on such things just to have the right to be legally married elsewhere--in DC, where we are given the "right" to marry.

Among the other 50-plus rights that married couples have which are denied to Ben and me, is the right of hospital visitation. The last time I was taken to an emergency room, Ben had to claim he was my brother. And, should one of us leave this life before the other (the saddest thing two in love may endure), the one left behind would have no legal claim to all that we have built together--this includes the poetry and art we have produced since we met (something we prize beyond most things).

Beyond these legal and practical matters, there is also the emotional and psychological damage that is done by knowing that in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of some of your neighbors, you are considered inferior--even as you struggle to do good work for your community, your students, and your country.

I know that many of you are already with us. I know that you love and support us. But I am asking you to consider reposting and widely circulating this open letter--this plea--for equality.

Early voting begins on the 19th. Please vote AGAINST Amendment One.

As always, my best wishes and love to you,

Daniel Nathan Terry

1 comment:

  1. If the only way to acquire legal and humane equality is under the definition "marriage," then so be it. I don't know if I'm angry or regretful about those who seem to think that sexuality is a choice deliberately made by some to infuriate or terrify others. And what ever happened to loving one's neighbor?