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One More Piece of Evidence Why Marriage Matters

Trial analysis

by Brian Leubitz

On Christmas day in Missouri, tragedy struck the family of Missouri state trooper Dennis Engelhard. He was helping a motorist stuck in the snow, and was killed by a car that lost control and hit him. He was 49 when he died.

A sad story, to be sure, but what came next must have felt like a slap in the face to his family.

When Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was killed in a Christmas Day traffic accident near Eureka, the agency described him as single with no children. Gov. Jay Nixon called on Missourians to pray for Engelhard’s family, who “lost a beloved son and brother.”

Neither statement tells the whole story.

Engelhard, hit by a car that lost control in the snow, was gay. He left behind a partner of nearly 15 years who was not mentioned in his obituary or official information released by the Highway Patrol, although members of the agency knew about his sexual orientation. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The state also denied his partner the normal pension benefits that would have come to the spouse. And then to top it all off, the newspaper blogs around the state write things like this:

In their defense, officials say they’ve never paid benefits to long-term girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. of straight troopers, either. The rule has always been that benefits go to a spouse.

This is why marriage matters. These two men had been together for fifteen years, and then some blogger has the temerity to say that their relationship wasn’t as important because they weren’t spouses? Perhaps he might not have been in Missouri in 2004 when the people of the state, in all their infinite wisdom choose to write discrimination into their constitution. I’ll cut him that much slack, because to assume otherwise would indicate an uncaring and painfully flippant response to the loss of one’s rightful spouse.

It’s hard to argue that these two men were any less deserving of acknowlegment than Brittney Spears 2-day marriage, or John McCain’s or Newt Gingrich’s 3rd marriage. This is a concrete and devastating example of why marriage equality is necessary.

Here’s hoping that the family, perhaps assisted by AFER or some other organization, can put together a case in federal court challenging Missouri’s marriage ban. You could hardly argue there are better facts for the case, and perhaps the cases will meet up for appelate review sometime in the future.



  • 1. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Even though Team George is not here on this thread yet, this is directly pointed at them. This is what your BS about CU's and DP's being the same is causing, and this is NOT an isolated incident. This is only one example of what happens to us all over the country. This is nothing short of a shanda!

    Now, for the good part of this comment. Brian, Thank you once again for bringing the truth into the light of day, and not letting anyone hide it.

  • 2. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:11 am

    The use of some religions definition of marriage is in direct conflict to the constittion of the United States.
    I am an Old Catholic priest, and our jurisdiction defines sacramental marriage as the union of two people who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other and before God with the church as their witness.
    The law deprives me as a priest from the full legal benefit (which the Roman Jurisdiction has) of recognition of same sex marriages.

    The full effect of this is that the United States Government promotes certain religions (such as Roman Catholicism) while denying others (as in Old Catholicism)

  • 3. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:27 am

    which in turn is the very essence of violating freedom of religion.

    Please take a look at yourselves Pots because….the Kettles are staring you right in the face and they are pissed!

  • 4. Anonymous  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:51 am

    This is indeed a sad story but I don't understand why there cannot be BOTH a respect for marriage as a religious institution by keeping it as one man one woman and create domestic partnerships that convey the benefits

  • 5. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Because marriage is a fundamental and civil right protected my the Constitution and is not a religious right.

    And Gay people are not a beer or a product….We are humans and we have feelings too…..

    But prop ha8te doesn't care about our feelings because they are all about me me me me, spoiled, greedy, selfish, BRATS!

  • 6. fiona64  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Shall we start with domestic partnerships being non-transferable across state lines?

    Or perhaps with the fact that marriage is not a religious institution but a civil contract?


  • 7. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Because marriage is not strictly a religious institution….you need the government to get legally married. . I didn't need your religion to get married and yet I am. You can get married without the church but you cannot get married without the government and THIS is what we have been talking about the entire time.

    And to quite frank- I could give a rat's ass about your religion. Seriously….

  • 8. gin  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Here's a question for you: If you are okay with gays and lesbians having ALL the same rights married couples, then why do you care so much about them NOT being able to say they are married?? What does that term mean to YOU that it is so important to deny it to a group of people? And what does that say about how you feel about that group of people?

  • 9. Vaati  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    It is not primarily a religious institution though, the ceremonies are often performed in churches, but it is legal contract that is upheld by the state and this country. There is separation of church and state so government does not dictate to churches, and churches don't control our system.

    Separate but equal will never be truly equal. You are not just denying us a word, you are denying us the social acceptance and psychological and LEGAL benefits that come with it. You just don't want us to be in the same league as you. Think about that..

  • 10. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    WE have a respect for marriage as a religious institution. This fight is about the CIVIL, LEGAL definition of marriage. That is what all of you Prop H8 supporters fail to realize. If your church does not want to give us a religious ceremony, that is no problem. Now, with regard to domstic partnerships, Brown v. Board of Education has already proven that separate but equal is NOT equal. What part of "separate but equal is NOT equal" do you neanderthals fail to comprehend?

  • 11. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Becaus te nes who r truydrsptul o mrig are the hetrosexual radicals who are posing as conservative Americans, and who are actually neither conservative nor American, who create new laws making divorces easier to get, and yet for those of us who want to LEGALLY get married (which is a CIVIL, LEGAL contract–if you don't believe me, try getting married without that LEGAL, CIVIL piece of paper known as a marriage license), wish to deprive us of that right, simply because we have one little difference that they refuse to even attempt to understand. Also, CU's are never enforced, except when it comes to denying us food or some other necessity for our children and our spouses, and the same with DP's. They are separate, and therefore, under the precedent of Brown v. Board of Education, NOT equal. Please remove YOUR idea of religion from LEGAL questions.

  • 12. Wolfinlv  |  January 31, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    this is simple –
    separate is not equal!
    unless they are tied inextricably together inequalities will exist always. Unless they are the same in every single way except for the word and are equally interchangeable legally and what is done to one be it marriage or civil union law and regulation is done to the other then they will always be unequal.

    Now what could happen is the civil code could be called civil union and it would be a civil union license that everyone would get at the court house. And a marriage certificate could then be granted by the religion of their choice which means you would still have gay marriage because I'm sure some would marry gay people but the actual license would be called a "Union License" or a "Civil Union License" and all the laws would have to have that word changed from marriage to "Civil Union" that to me would make everyone equal and getting the same apples.

  • 13. Ed-M  |  February 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

    @Anonymous: I'm open to marriage being separate from domestic partnerships / civil unions, so long as the line of separation is between church and state and NOT between gay and straight.

  • 14. Dieter M.  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:51 am

    HEY everyone!!'s finally done.
    Here is the first full day of prop 8 trial!!!!

    all other episodes will be up soon

  • 15. Tim  |  January 30, 2010 at 7:52 am

    So sad and so wrong! breaks my heart!

  • 16. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Hey I just came up with another acronym for PROPOSITION 8:

    Parishioners Religious Oppression Proves Our Side Is The Indeed Oppressed Noogenesis(1), Nonpareil(2), Noetics(3), Normalism(4), Noosphere(5), Nous(6), Noumenon(7), Nitency(8)

  • 17. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

    anyway this indeed proves the need for seperation of church and state

  • 18. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Amen, Monsignor! This former Catholic who has returned to his Jewish roots agrees with you wholeheartedly. And so does my husband (even though we haven't been LEGAL married in a CIVIL ceremony yet) who is an Orthodox, Chasidic, Lubavitcher rabbi.

  • 19. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Well, you should give a rat's ass about the involvement of major religions in Government.

  • 20. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:24 am

    The same way you should give a rat's ass about religions involvement in government.

  • 21. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:33 am

    ha~ we said the same thing…. almost at the same time…. great minds…..

  • 22. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:25 am

    That's why I'm posting Melissa, and I happen to be gay too.

  • 23. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I appreciate your post Monsignor~ the Anonymous post has me a little riled up. I have always believed that religion should be a very personal, private matter to the individual and it angers me to see so many people using it as a tool for hate and bigotry. I gave up on the Church a long time ago… and most of the people associated with it. Not all…but most….

  • 24. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Yes, and Mellissa, Monsignor, have you noticed that our side is the only group willing to put our names out there?

  • 25. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Acutally, what I am saying (as a Gay, OLD Catolic, pay attention, here, not Roman Catholic) Priest, is (read my previous post) should be allowed to marry. as long as they love each other AND that in mny church, Gay and Lesbian people ARE GIVEN that right, but that it is ROME, that is injecting it's theology INOT OUR GOVERNMENT and should not be allowed to, because of THE SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE in the CONSTITUTION

  • 26. Morrigoon  |  February 1, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I'm intrigued and curious… Old Catholic as opposed to Roman Catholic… but not Greek Orthodox? I wasn't aware of another schism… how does one find an "old catholic" church?

    I have a friend who was raised Catholic but has a hard time reconciling her religious heritage with her belief in the need to legalize gay marriage. I'm sure she'd love to learn more about a church that is more in line with her moral outlook but is also Catholic in practice.

    Are there resources you can point to that outline the differences between "old catholic" and "roman catholic"? I'd love to share that with her.

  • 27. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Oh I agree with you. I think all priests (gay or straight) should be able to marry….and oh yes— religion needs to STAY out of government (and vice versa). Despite what some sheep say, this country was NOT based on biblical law. So- we agree. 🙂

  • 28. E. Thor Carlson  |  February 3, 2010 at 8:28 am

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion;…” – Treaty of Tripoli, June 1797

  • 29. fiona64  |  February 3, 2010 at 1:36 am

    And, for those who were absent that day in civics class ::looks pointedly at George/Kay, Kenneth Garret and Marky-Mark::, treaties have the force of law. The Treaty of Tripoli has never been rescinded.


  • 30. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

    In my journeys, religion is not necessary for good thinking, and blind allegiance to dogma actually creates brain damage (se anonymous)

  • 31. Melissa  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

    lol- we are of one mind Monsignor….

  • 32. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Everyone Curious George just said it….we finally got him(them) to say it:

    “I’m not convinced that most gay couples are anything like heterosexual couples, if they couple up at all. I believe that homosexuality is learned, at least in part, and I don’t want my kids to be exposed to it if it will increase their chances of becoming homosexual and living that horrid lifestyle.”

    And there you have it people, Curious George wants homosexuality to be illegal……Rick please report this or make sure somebody important sees this statement.

    This is Prop Ha8te's agenda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 33. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:40 am

    You can find it on the "Did Andy Pugno Break State Law In Support Of Marriage Ban?" thread..

    Curious George…..I PWND you!

  • 34. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Who is curious george anyway?
    the last time I checked, I was human, a citizen, a veteran, and when I find my soulmate, I will be married.

  • 35. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Curious George is a TROLL on this Blog that goes by the name of George who keeps throwing all the rocks of Prop Ha8te onto this playing field….and we keep catching them and throwing them back at him(them) two-fold!

  • 36. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Actually, Monsignor, many of us have come to believe that George is a cover handle for a team that is trying to get all of us to turn viiolent, the way the Prop H8 supporters turn violent toward us. they are hoping that they can get us to behave as childishly as they do, and then they will have more "justification" for their hatred and gay bashing. I for one, have been able to polish my debate skills because of "Team George." And because of this site, I have gained a lot of strength, and have made great strides in the past two weeks.

  • 37. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

    As far as I can tell I fought (Vietnam) for the rights of every citizen of the United States to be equal, and of course Andy Pugno broke the law!
    Sorry, I am so pissed off at these right wingers;
    I live in Central Illinois, and plan to get arrested next summer doing some protesting! (hee) In my collar. Peoria is a very Roman Catholic town. Yes I will be wearing my collar when I get my (new) set of bracelets!

  • 38. fiona64  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Okay, this calls for the lyrics to one of my favorite Peter, Paul & Mary songs:

    (Anne Feeney)

    Was it Cesar Chavez or Rosa Parks that day?
    Some say Dr. King or Ghandi
    Set them on their way
    No matter who your mentors are
    It’s pretty plain to see
    That if you’ve been to jail for justice
    You’re in good company

    Have you been to jail for justice?
    I want to shake your hand
    ‘Cause sitting in and laying down
    Are ways to take a stand
    Have you sung a song for freedom
    Or marched that picket line?
    Have you been to jail for justice?
    Then you’re a friend of mine

    You law abiding citizens
    Come listen to this song
    Laws are made by people
    And people can be wrong
    Once unions were against the law
    But slavery was fine
    Women were denied the vote
    While children worked the mine
    The more you study history
    The less you can deny it
    A rotten law stays on the books
    ‘til folks with guts defy it!

    Have you been to jail for justice?
    I want to shake your hand
    ‘Cause sitting in and laying down
    Are ways to take a stand
    Have you sung a song for freedom
    Or marched that picket line?
    Have you been to jail for justice?
    Then you’re a friend of mine

    Well the law is supposed to serve us
    And so are the police
    When the system fails
    It’s up to us to speak our piece
    We must be ever vigilant
    For justice to prevail
    So get courage from your convictions
    Let ‘em haul you off to jail!

    Have you been to jail for justice?
    I want to shake your hand
    ‘Cause sitting in and laying down
    Are ways to take a stand
    Have you sung a song for freedom
    Or marched that picket line?
    Have you been to jail for justice?
    Then you’re a friend of mine
    Have you been to jail for justice
    Have you been to jail for justice
    Have you been to jail for justice
    Then you’re a friend of mine

  • 39. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

    LOVES IT!!!!!!!!!

  • 40. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Once again , sis, YOU ROCK!!! Way to go! And to bring one of the greatest trios in all of music back into the public eye! YES!!

  • 41. Mark  |  February 1, 2010 at 6:26 am

    both Peter, Paul, and Mary's version and Anne Feeney's versions are available on iTunes

  • 42. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:50 am

    That's why I decided to through my two cents in. I wonder if Curiosity George has ever bothered to serve his country in ANY meaningful way?
    Hate is not a family value, and shouldn't be an American Value either!

  • 43. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:55 am

    He(they) says he(they) is a lawyer or law student but has yet to fool anybody into thinking that he(they) is anything less then a uneducated 3yo……which is putting it lightly because a 3yo is way smarter…..LOL

  • 44. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I will look up the song on You tube. I remember Peter Paul and Mary in their prime, but, did you ever hear of Churck and Mary Perrin ( local duo sort of the same)

  • 45. fiona64  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Not familiar with them. 🙂 I'll have to look them up.

    You will find a video of the composer, Anne Feeney, singing "Jail for Justice," but I've yet to find one of PP&M. 🙂


  • 46. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I already went to it… I may be old, but not slow!

  • 47. Sean  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

    You people are crazy…but I love you all anyway ^_^

  • 48. Pearl  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:32 am

    At least the Officer Down Memorial page recognizes he had a partner.

  • 49. Marko Markov  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    This broke my heart… :`(

  • 50. Mr. HCI  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:58 am

    No doubt Maggie would say it was a tragedy.

    Does someone have to actually cry to be accused of shedding crocodile tears?

  • 51. Rightthingtodo TX  |  January 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

    since we are all missing the presence of the almighty jorge, i was going to comment on this story in my usual snarky tone (my wife tells me i'm snarky so i know it's true) with a jorge-esque angle but as i started typing it, it only made me think that there are people like jorge who think and believe that stuff (you know the pat robertson get what they deserve crap) and it made me cry…really…this ish has got to stop.

  • 52. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

    People Curious George said I was incoherently rambling over on the did PUG-No break the law thread…..

    Do I incoherently ramble?

    My intellectual feelings are hurt…. : (

    Sure I tend to become a bit preachy, narcissistic, and curse on occasion but incoherent? Come on now!

  • 53. Sean  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Dude, he's a troll. Ignore him. He's just pissed the gays are gonna take over the world. Oooo!!

  • 54. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I know but it still hurt my feelings…not as a gay man but as a person…..Why do trolls gotta be so mean?…maybe he has run out goats…yeah?

  • 55. fiona64  |  January 31, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Ronnie, he throws stuff like that out when he's flummoxed. Remember, I'm the "stupid, knuckleheaded bitch who is out of her depth" according to Team George.

  • 56. Ronnie  |  January 31, 2010 at 5:03 am


  • 57. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

    @Ronnie – Ramble 'yes'; incoherent 'no'! Thnx for all your wonderful input (even those that are OT).

  • 58. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Do I really Ramble?

    I mean I do often take a walk for pleasure (you know to enjoy the beautiful day), esp. in the countryside…..LOL

    True I do talk a lot but what Queen doesn't? What Can I say, I have a lot on my mind and I have a lot to say.

  • 59. Bill  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    It is important to remember that anti-gay heterosexuals deny us our rights SPECIFICALLY to CREATE situations like this for same-sex couples.

    They WANT to cause us this pain. They WANT to disrupt our lives and control our finances. They CELEBRATE this discrimination at the ballot box EVERY chance they get.

    I just think it is important to remember that.

    A man is not a citizen of his country if his fellow citizens are voting on his rights.

    It is really vile that anti-gay heterosexuals are still allowed to do this in the year 2010.

    And they are doing it to their very own offspring.

    Screaming about morality.


  • 60. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    someone said that Marriage predates the Church, and they are right! Marriage was originally an exchange of goods, money or political power for another person.
    I think that if the right (wrong) wing want to have traditional marriage, that they should have it, and that we should be allowed to marry for love.

  • 61. Sean  |  January 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Amen, brother!

  • 62. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Yeah Heterosexual people can call it Opposite Sex Marriage and We can call it Same Sex Marriage….because that is what they are.

    I mean if it walks like a human, and looks like a human….it must be an Ape right?

  • 63. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Only if it is Team George!

  • 64. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:37 am

    In early times, women were considered a possession, often times tied up in bondage and kept servile. When they were considered servile enough, they were untied, but as a reminder of their servitude, a little piece of that rope was tied to their finger to remind them that they were not their own person, but someone else's possession.

    That's the inception of the wedding ring. Of course it has changed over the many years to mean an object of a couple's love and affection.

    But to think that marriage has been the same continuously since the beginning of time is preposterous.

  • 65. MelissaH  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Man, stories like this make me sad. 🙁 Total lack of respect for someone's life.

    Additionally, not sure if this was covered elsewhere, but the first public gay wedding in Malawi resulted in both men having public indecency charges against them. Facing up to possibly 14 years if convicted.

  • 66. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    And that is what they want to do here…..and we all know that is what they want.

  • 67. Jeremy Morgan  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I want to say that not all Missourians, "in all their infinite wisdom", voted for the constitutional amendment. As a gay man born and raised in rural Missouri, I was terribly upset at my fellow Missourians writing this discriminatory amendment into our constitution. But recently I was married to my wonderful husband in our Northern neighbor Iowa and could not be happier. I wait for the day that we can be recognized in Missouri. A great big thank you goes out to everyone that is fighting for our rights everyday.

  • 68. Richard  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    And thank you and your husband for giving us one more couple to defend and fight for. Feel free to either join he Cumberland County, NOrth Carolina Equality team or start one yourself. Believe me, CourageCampaign will do it, and if the other Field directors are like Anthony, you will get EVERYTHING you need to get your group up and running.

  • 69. Leslie  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:44 am

    My Spouse is a Senior Bailiff. If she were killed in the line of duty, her legal spouse would be eligible for special death benefits. Instead, as her same-sex spouse I would get nothing, and that money would go to her 34yo daughter who is a drug addict who is left out of her will and provided only a token amount of her life insurance. Even the federal government, under the "Father Mychal Judge Act" now allowed "unmarried" public safety officers to designate someone to receive their death benefits.

    This is appalling. YES, marriage matters.

  • 70. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:30 am

    The Officer Down Memorial Page still refuses to mention that Corporal Dennis Engelhard is survived by his partner. Please continue the call to respect his memory by correcting this omission!

    Corporal Dennis Engelhard Memorial Page

  • 71. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:40 am

    I stand corrected. They did update this, although not mentioning his partner by name. Under the context, just saying "partner" can mean his law enforcement partner too. (This is why words matter!!)

  • 72. Monsignor Scott West  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:46 am

    I actually returned to Illinois after being gone for thirty years (twenty of those years spent with the same man) I will tell you that not only marriage, but divorce is difficult too.
    I wonder why the prop 8 people aren't fighting legalized gambling harder.
    That is what ended our relationship… they hooked my ex, and that addiction took money that we could have built a life with.
    When I say I am pissed at the right wing, I mean I AM VERY PISSED OFF!

  • 73. Dieter M.  |  January 31, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I say the only thing wrong with Baptists is that they never hold them under long enough.

  • 74. Leslie  |  January 31, 2010 at 6:04 am

    This is uncalled for and does absolutely nothing to promote our cause. Sweeping generalizations and ugly words are not ok no matter whose side is saying them. If you have something relevant to say, say it. If you only want to say stupid stuff like this, say it to yourself because no one else wants to hear it.

  • 75. In your opinion, what is &hellip  |  January 31, 2010 at 5:25 am

    […] climbed them together and will continue to do so for as long as life allows us to be together. One More Piece of Evidence Why Marriage Matters […]

  • 76. Ronnie  |  January 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I was waiting until the end of the day here in NJ to post this:

    19 years ago today, at just 6 & 1/2 years old, I lost my Aunt to Cancer…..and then 1 year later

    18 years ago today, at just 7 & 1/2 years old, I lost my favorite Uncle to HIV/AIDS

    June Shaver was 1 of 8 brothers and sisters born in 1953. She loved Disney in Florida and her favorite ride was the Pirates of the Caribbean. She gave me my first cowboy hat. After a 8 year battle with Breast Cancer she died January 31st 1991 at the young age of 38.

    Charles Shaver was 1 of 8 brothers and sisters born in 1954. He came out of the closet when he was 13 years old. He was my mother's best friend. He loved life, and dreamt of day when LGBT people would be Free and Equal. I watched E.T. for the first time with him and to this day is still my favorite movie. He only told the family that he was HIV Positive the year he died but never told anybody how long he knew. He died January 31st 1992 at the same young age of 38.

    This day is the hardest day me, but constantly reminds me of who and what I fighting for.

    This is a war that I will never give up until we win or I am dead.

    Bless all of you and you're families for what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do. We have each other and nobody can take that away from us.

    This is our Time. This is our Life. And this is our Planet too!

  • 77. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Ronnie, I know what you are going through today. I have lost too many loved ones to cancer and HIV/AIDS. I have also lost people to tragic accidents and the complications thereof. And while I can only speak for myself, I want to let you kow that you are in my prayers. You are not alone. Ii for one will not force you to go through this alone. And remember this. As long as you have your memories and your love for your Aunt June and your Uncle Charles, you still have thier very essence. You may not have their physical body here with you, you may not be able to talk o either of them on the phone, but you can still talk to them as if they were in the room with you and they will hear you in the place they have moved to where they are no longer in pain. And yes, as long as you have your love for your Aunt June and Uncle Charles, use that love, and those treasured memories to inspire you to keep on going even when you most want to give up. In that way, you will do great honor to their memory and also demonstrate unequivocally your great love and admiration for them. And again, your mom is a great lady and has raised a very fine young man. And I am honored to have met you.

  • 78. Ronnie  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Omg!!!!…I had to take a minute before replying…..Thank you so much Richard and I am honored to have met you too via http://www…..hehehe

  • 79. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    You are welcome. Also, check out the new discussion topic on the P8TT group's FB page. And remain strong, my friend. You deserve your strength, and you deserve the right to marry the man you fall in love with when you find him.

  • 80. fiona64  |  February 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Richard, that was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your eloquent thoughts with Ronnie and all of us.

    Ronnie, my thoughts are with you. In 2008, I lost a dear friend to brain cancer and it tore me up more than I had imagined possible. His best friend told me something that helped — each of us spent time with Bill (my friend) that no one else had, and so we were the guardians of some special memories. When you choose to share your memories of those times, you give a gift to friends and loved ones. Thank you for sharing the stories about Aunt June and Uncle Charles; you are the guardian of some special memories, and now you have made us part of them.


  • 81. Ronnie  |  February 1, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Thank you fiona64 and same to you(about your friend, Bill) and you are welcome.

  • 82. rpx  |  January 31, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    One more reason Why Marriage Matters as is the topic heading. Our daughter in law gave birth to our twin grandchildren in late May. Our daughter a teacher could not legally take off of work to be with her spouce after the birth of her twins. All the teachers rallied round they were going to protest but my daughter didn't want that. While not at all in the closet she doesn't go around flauntering her orientation either. A cribbed up sollution was found. The principal had her take off work 3 days, and then she worked for one day. Three days off, then work a day. That is how she got through until the end of the school term. After 4 days absence she needed a doctors report so the work around avoided that.

    This is Why Marriage Matters. Had they legally been married and recognized by the state and federal governemnt as married she could have gotten paid time off (according to the school district contracts) to be with her newborn children and even unpaid time off based on the Federal Family Leave Act (I think it was Geroge Bush SR who put in family leave)

    Yes Marraige Matters! My children are not second class children of this country, and they live in a state that does not even have DP or CU, but even if they did Seperate but Equal is NOT Equal.

  • 83. fiona64  |  February 1, 2010 at 1:51 am

    President Clinton signed the FMLA. 🙂

  • 84. abbe  |  February 1, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I'm at work. When I read this comment:

    "Bob Lablaw January 30, 2010 1:00AM CST
    I'm single, and I want his pension too. Why am I treated like a second class citizen as well? When will this country learn that single people are entitled to large pensions of other individuals too?"

    I very nearly punched my computer screen.

    I understand that they are following the law with the pension even if I disagree with the law and think it's horrible. But the hateful comments that people are making over there just make me sick.

    And I can't help but imagine what would happen if my partner or I died. We're each other's beneficiaries on our insurance policies, stuff like that, whatever. But to not be recognized at her funeral? To have her family give me financial help after she died but not recognize me at her funeral? Slap in the face. My heart goes out to this man and his son.

  • 85. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 1, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Currently, common-law marriages are recognized by: Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington, D.C.

    That means that if two peoplem, currently a man and a woman, are living together and hold themselves forth as being married, share expenses other state to state rules, they are considered married.
    I would ask Mr. Lablaw (labor law) How this promoted your so-called biblical view of marriage

  • 86. Richard  |  February 1, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Monsignor, could it be that common-law marriage fits in beautifully with Bob Lablaw's concept of biblical marriage because there is now written legal document, so therefore the husband can treat his wife any way he wants to and get by with it? that seems to be what the Prop h8ers want–a marriage wherein ty can treat their spouse in any manner and get by with it. It makes me wonder if they think Buck Thurman was right to stomp his ex-wife Tracy Thurman and crush her skull, leaving her with hemispheric quadraplegia–a condition where Tracy now has no feeling but full motor function on one side of her body, and on the other side of her body she has no motor function but full feeling. I guess that is Bob Lablaw's idea of biblical marriage. If that is so, then maybe he needs to be treated the same way he wants others treated.

  • 87. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 1, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Biblical Marriage-
    You could ask the Mormons what they think of that concept, I am sure they would agree.

    Whether it be common law (found in Utah, isn't that interesting?) , state or federal law, the "New Age Christianity" that puts money BEFORE the value of another human being, (they think) can twist their lies any way they want, because they ARE the monied majority.

  • 88. Rachel  |  February 1, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Anyone else notice that when saying "Bob Lablaw" outloud it comes out as Blah blah blah…?

  • 89. Lora Higdon  |  February 1, 2010 at 6:29 am

    HAHAHA…that's classic!

  • 90. fiona64  |  February 1, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Hell, that's pretty much all I hear out of the anti-equality types …


  • 91. In your opinion, what is &hellip  |  February 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    […] climbed them together and will continue to do so for as long as life allows us to be together. One More Piece of Evidence Why Marriage Matters […]

  • 92. Lora Higdon  |  February 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

    This part really pissed me off:
    “In their defense, officials say they’ve never paid benefits to long-term girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. of straight troopers, either. The rule has always been that benefits go to a spouse.”

    But you see, you officials,…long-term girlfriends and boyfriends of straight troopers have the OPTION of getting married…WE DON’T.

  • 93. Richard Walter (soon  |  February 1, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Thank you, Lora! This is exactly the type of thing they need to see. Another example is when Congressman Garry Studds died. His husband is left wthout hs rightful survivor's benefits because of DOMA. And that is just WRONG!!! Morally, Ethically, and it should be legally WRONG!!! We have the same responsibilities as opposite sex spouses, so why do we not have the same rights?

  • 94. Morrigoon  |  February 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Which means that you can show how a measurable, quantifiable harm has been done to you by denying you marriage. Throws the door wide open on making a legal argument there. Courts do seem to love quantifiable harm.

  • 95. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

    you might want to visit this url, it gives you an idea of the utter fantasy world that the right wingers live in

    As a Chaplain, I was taught something of the psychotherapeutic model. I worked with mentally ill people. As a Gay man I never thought my sexuality (Higher Power given, for a purpose, not a mistake) was bad or wrong.
    It is the greatest gift I ever recieved, and would not change it, even though right now I am living in the lower intestine of the country (AKA Central Illinois)

  • 96. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

  • 97. Greg  |  February 2, 2010 at 8:58 am

    While the article you put up is very real and informative, it is also going on in the UK… some place where I have never been, and will probably not get to any time soon. If you want to keep this focused on the US, closer to home and a much realer threat, right here in the mid-west, look into Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" program:

    I've met a few people who have chosen to become homeless and hide out from their families in order to avoid the Ex-Gay ministries.

  • 98. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 2, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I am very serious about finding a way to establish safe houses for young gay folks, and about counselling people on the fact that homosexuality is a normal beautful thing.

  • 99. Greg  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I’m born and raised (and still living in) Missouri. I came out in 2003 and was very disappointed in 2004 when the Missouri constitution got changed because I was only 15 years old and couldn’t do anything to stop it. There is a reason why Missouri, Oklahoma, northern Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky and parts of states surrounding them are considered “The Bible Belt”.

    While this is really sad, as is the lose of all life, these situations happen all the time across the country. I do like that this story has made it to a more national level by being posted on here, but every year in Missouri, a couple times a year, I hear stories (or personally know) of couples who go through this. There is a body of a gay man near Kansas City in a morgue still because his partner and his biological family are still legally fighting for funeral proceedings. Earlier this year a trans couple at my church (both mtf) who have been partners for over 15 years, one of them died of a disease and her biological family took her back to where they live in Kansas, had a funeral and buried her as a man, they wouldn’t even let her partner attend the funeral and made no mention of her in the obituary. You have to remember that these are not isolated incidences, they happen all the time.

    The reality check is that in Missouri you can legally be FIRED, DENIED HOUSING, and verbally BULLIED/GAY-BASHED at schools. The people here working for LGBT rights cannot do everything at once, we realize that we can live together, raise a family, etc. without being legally married, but being at risk for losing a new job if/when they find out, not knowing if you’ll be able to find housing when you move to a new town, and putting up with kids/teachers using anti-gay speech and slurs in school is hard enough. This is why gay marriage in Missouri is on the back-burner, so to speak right now, because we have more work to do first.

  • 100. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    The homeless thing has been going on for as long as I can remember. In Denver they have a safe house program.
    Is there any way that we could go about doing that in the midwest
    How about naming it focus on your own damn family. I can councel people on how to remain homosexual

  • 101. Monsignor Scott West  |  February 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I have attached a link to my site, but you must understand that I am a lot more far to the left than most.
    It has a lot of information about American Old Catholics.

    The (final) schism actually started to occur in the 1500’s and completed on the doctrine of papal infallibility, so we don’t recognize the pope as the leader of the Catholic’s but we home him as first among equals (a Patriarch as it were) the church actually started in Utrecht Holland, Germany and Switzerland.

  • 102. Sheryl  |  February 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Just wanted to say that I appreciate everyone's comments even though I may not agree with them all. I especially don't think that violence (unless defending yourself from a physical attack) will do anything toward promoting equality rights for the LGBT community. Of course if someone were to harass or harm my son in my presence, the "mother bear" instinct would most likely take over.

    I really am learning a lot about the law, society in general, and even that there is an Old Catholic church.


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