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APA Makes A Move For Equality

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APA Makes A Move For Equality

The rental car guy made me cry yesterday.

It’s strange what does it these days. I’ve always been pretty quick to tears anyway but the triggers have obviously shifted. Honestly, I can’t even tell if it’s hope or hopelessness rolling around inside of me that’s got me all worked up and weeping. Either way, it’s clear that the quest to have my marriage recognized here—in the land of the free and home of the brave—has broken me wide open and people like rental car guy can now move me to tears.

My wife and I drive old, beat down cars. While my Jetta needs some work, her car is far more beat down. Every time it crosses my mind, my stomach churns with the reality that we could be sharing a single old, beat down car soon, like this afternoon or next Tuesday soon. She’s a senior at a local university preparing for law school and I am a life coach with a growing but still very young business. I also have a part time job… as a writer. Enough said, right?

There’s also a long, probably unnecessary story about her work-related injury, the lost battle for worker’s compensation from the government agency which employed her, and the pain and limited mobility that she continues to deal with every single day. I will spare you those details but if any of this sounds familiar to you, then you know that going out to pick up a new car isn’t an option at this point.

We were unconvinced that either of our cars could make the two road trips we planned to make this summer but were willing to try. A very kind and generous relative offered to pay for us to rent a car both times and the aforementioned wife found a super deal through Budget and made a reservation in my name. When we went to pick it up, the rental car guy in question asked if there would be any additional drivers. I pointed to my driver of choice and said, “Yes, she will be driving too.”

It turns out there is a charge for extra drivers. This fee is waived for spouses. Well… it always comes back to that, doesn’t it? Damn. It. America.

I’ve been sharing my driving responsibilities with this woman for four years. We live in her house. She is co-parenting my children from a previous marriage (to a man, their father, with whom I could no doubt get a spousal waiver of the extra driver fee). We share our money, as well as the strain when there isn’t enough. We are one another’s biggest fans. We plan to spend the rest of our days together. We are a family.

One year ago this week, we were married in a courthouse in Washington, DC. This means we are married. Married. Spouses. Not gay married. Not lesbian spouses. We are married.

Of course, none of this matters because we live in Tennessee.

So, when rental car guy said that there was a spousal exception to the extra driver fee, I (perhaps a little too gleefully) exclaimed, “That’s great because we are spouses!” My wife explained that we didn’t have a copy of our legal marriage license with us but that we had one. He grinned and settled for us having the same address on our driver’s licenses, although he wondered aloud about why we didn’t have the same last name. He didn’t care, it seemed, but was just curious and (more importantly to me) comfortable enough with us to wonder about it aloud. We explained our reasons. It was lovely. We got our extra driver fee waived, loaded up the offspring and headed west to the my family’s reunion in Estes Park, Colorado.

So, back to my tears… the second trip was to Wisconsin to see my wife’s family. Yesterday, we returned to the same Budget car rental location in downtown Nashville to give back the second rental car. As always, it seems, rental car guy was there. He said, “I was just talking about you guys the other day.” As the story goes, a pair of boys or girls (I’m not sure which) came in to rent a car. They are legally married (in one of the handful of places that same-sex couples can be married in this country) but lived in Nashville. He told them about us, about how he learned from our conversation that our Washington, DC, marriage didn’t count in Tennessee, and delivered the news that they qualified for the spousal waiver of the extra driver fee. They were excited (and it sounds like visually moved) because, “this was the first time in Tennessee that anyone said their marriage counts.”

The story made me cry. I cried because I know what it’s like to have your marriage not count.

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at SeedsAndWeedsCoaching.com and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.

59 comments

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9:14AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Thanks for sharing your article! I wish someday we can all be equal in everyway!

1:01PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Another case of Southern mentality as its lowest.

7:01AM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

Good article, but it concerns, more than just driving around in old cars, In many places around the world, this affects, every day living.

11:19PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Thanks for the posting! I enjoyed the article. The US is supposed to be free. But we're really not because same sex couples can only marry in a handful of states instead of the whole lot. Even in those few states it's really still not equal anyway. I find this infuriating and downright idiotic. Are we living in the dark ages? I think not. Everyone deserves equal treatment and equal rights...

3:20AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Oh, I forgot a few arguments that might be helpful. I had a discussion on this topic and here are the highlights:

An argument often stated is that a marriage is only between a man & a woman. All NA & Europe have laws forbidding genderism. I am open to non-discriminatory reasons that would prove this a viable definition, so please tell me even one reason why this should be allowed.

When the argument is marriage is for the purpose of procreation. If that is the case then EVERY person incapable of having biological children should be refused the sanctity of marriage. That means everyone would need testing before marriage & refused if they were sterile. Since both of us in the conversation had married after knowing children were not possible, I gently pointed out that definition would make both our marriages illegal.

The next argument was that couples willing to adopt/foster were an option. OK, that lets in LGBT couples, but discriminates against the elderly and anyone who does not want (more) children.

I am still open to being convinced, but the rules are the same for both sides: respectful and a reason based on facts, not prejudice.

To date, I believe there are NO non-discriminatory reasons to reject LGBT marriages. I am proud of any country and group who understands and overcomes prejudice to support this inalienable truth. If you do to, then please actively speak out in a respectful & courteous manner. Between us we CAN make a difference!

3:07AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

I fully support marriage & resist prejudice that prevents consenting adults from marrying. I also realize the devout & prejudiced aren’t going to be swayed by anger. For those who want laws changed, try this instead. Remember to stay respectful.

One argument is that LGBT marriage is an attack on religion. Kindly mention all religions & even the non-religious have the right to marry. Few believe it should be denied atheists, Jews, Hindus or other groups based on (non-)religion.

When it's argued marriage is Christian, remind them marriage is older than ALL religions currently practiced. If we segregate based on religion then marriage would go the oldest religions practiced now: Hinduism & shamanism. If we allow only monotheistic religions: Judaism & Zoroastrianism win.

If someone argues that marriage is a religious contract between God & 2 people, correct them gently. All European & N.American countries define marriage as a legal situation. The religious ceremony was/is a blessing & does not constitute “marriage”. The Bible has a strong opinion here. It’s one of the few sentences we have directly from the mouth of Jesus & thus God: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s & give to God what is God’s. Translation: legal is legal, religious is religious & the two are not to be mixed up.

If the argument turns to common-law marriage, then gently point out that, again, religion is not a required part of t

9:22PM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

12:18PM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

God is love, not hate. God created all of us out of love. God created both gay and straight. God does not make mistakes. Christians are told to love our neighbours (i.e. all people) as we love ourselves. The only conclusion we can draw is that we are supposed to love both gay and straight as we would anything created by the hand of God. Love without condition, and without predjudice.

10:08AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Great article Christy. Thanks for sharing you personal thoughts.

5:17AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Hey Luke..another Luke said.. bless the trolls who curse you, pray for the trolls who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28). ...

Loved your message...

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