My Mother’s Friend

Ruth is a friend of my mother. She’s lived a simple life in a trailer in rural Oklahoma raising her grandchildren on minimum wage with the help of her spouse of 20 years.

Ruth died last week, and her spouse is alone. Alone without the benefit of Ruth’s social security, her pension, nothing. You see, Sharon is Ruth’s widow.

The light-bulb went off for my mom. Why shouldn’t Sharon be entitled to the same benefits as any other widow? Why should the life they built together be so unceremoniously tossed aside? Ruth and Sharon’s relationship never hurt my traditional marriage.

This is what the marriage equality movement is fighting for. Ruth and Sharon. The right to live and love and pass that love along to their grandchildren. The right to leave your spouse with the benefits you worked for.

My mother contacted my cousin to tell him that she understood a little better what he was fighting for. Her message:

Crying over my lunch. One of my members who has become more of a friend then just someone you deal with professionally just died. These two ladies have shared their lives for many years. No matter who called they would say this is Ruth&Sharon. Well Ruth died yesterday so Sharon called me to set up an account for people to donate to so she can pay for a simple memorial service. I took care of business but now I am much closer to understanding your stance on same sex marriage Sharon now has no financial help. Love ya

My cousin turned it into something awesome because he is cool like that. He gathered donations and matched funds to be sent to Sharon as an anonymous miracle.  He did this in addition to the work he does with The Trevor Project. He is a blessing that reaches far beyond the LGBT community.

Within one day, donations reached the maximum of what he could match. Thus is the ever continuing magic of community. It gives me hope in the face of a world that seems more insane and cruel each day. This kindness won’t bring Ruth back or even fix all the wrongs and injustices, but at least Sharon doesn’t have to feel alone.

I can’t do much, but I’ll be pitching in as well. I can’t fathom the hurt of losing the love of your life and being left adrift. It’s not right and if my small donation can help lessen her burden, then it’s the least I can do. I cannot share all the details due to privacy concerns, but if you want to help too, I will act as middle-woman and get whatever funds deposited into her memorial fund. Get in touch with me or just hit the Paypal button with a note telling me that it is for Ruth and Sharon. At the very least, spare a kind thought or prayer for Sharon.

There is so much need out there. I know we are all stretched pretty thin. Please don’t feel obligated. Just know the opportunity is out there to be part of her little miracle.

21 thoughts on “My Mother’s Friend”

  1. I realize what I am about to say will probably result in some folks being offended. It is not my intent to offend but merely to speak my opinion as I know it. Feel free to agree or disagree as I do not expect everyone or anyone for that matter to bow to my way of thinking.

    As a Christian, I have been taught to love the sinner and hate the sin. While I tend towards the “God said it and that’s that” school of biblical interpretation, this is the one area of the whole gay marriage debate that gives me pause.

    On the one hand, as a libertarian, I don’t want the government involved in any marriage much less gay marriage as I feel that it is a religious institution where the government has no business interferring. If homosexuals can find a church and minister willing to perform the ceremony, more power to them. Good luck getting them to do that at a lot of churches though.

    However, on the other hand, as a realist, how do you reconcile property rights, inheritance, child custody, etc. in our legal system if you disentangle government from the role it has inserted itself into?

    The moment you start monkeying around in one area of the law, it suddenly affects a lot of others simply because our body of law has grown from a simple Constitution with a few amendments to a byzantine labyrinth of codes and regulations that are so muddled and interwoven that you can’t sneeze without a permit to fart.

    The libertarian in me can’t help but wonder if this would even be an issue if social security and the IRS did not exist. The Christian in me can’t help but believe that God did not intend for man (or woman) to live that way while at the same time having sympathy and compassion for her loss. The rest of me knows that it won’t be this way forever one way or the other.

    1. Daddy Hawk,
      I’ve been struggling with much the same.Thank you, truly and honestly, for your comment.
      I don’t think the state has any business in marriage at all. You should be able to designate anyone you like as your benefactor for retirement and all. But we don’t have that. The traditional definition of marriage is a moral code that I do not believe is any business of the state. Since the state gives legal protection to one kind of union, I think it should give equal protection to all union for all things legal or contractual. Legalizing gay marriage is the shortcut. Really I’d like to see the state removed from the issue entirely.
      I will very honestly say that I don’t know how I feel about homosexuality personally and morally. There are several homosexuals in my life that I love and respect. I’d do anything for them just like any other friend/family. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality because it is inherently sinful? Or is the condemnation more because it was important for the original Christians to reproduce? Is it like Kosher law? Jews were forbidden to each pork because we did not yet have safe methods of preparation, not because pork was inherently sinful. I don’t have those answers.
      I do know that the love gay people have for their same sex partners is real. And God is love. I can’t deny that. The whole ‘sanctity of marriage’ ship as protected by law sailed a long time ago. Anyone that wants to use that as an excuse to fight gay marriage should be fighting the no fault divorce just as adamantly. If you are spitting about Neil Patrick Harris but not Kim Kardasian, your priorities are screwed up.
      You, Daddy Hawk, are honest and sincere in your feelings. I do not for a minute think you are being some kind of bigot. It is a very difficult topic. It is honestly way too big to cover it all in a blog post. All I know is that Ruth and Sharon built a life, one greater than plenty of ‘traditional’ marriages ever have. And yet, Sharon is left out in cold because she doesn’t have the right parts in her underwear.

      1. Sharon is left out in cold because she doesn’t have the right parts in her underwear.

        this is what it all boils down to, really. the people have decided that gay folks are not allowed to marry. how many years ago was it that Black people weren’t allowed to marry White folks?

        it’s exactly the same thing. and shouldn’t be banned for exactly the same reason.

        1. Yes, exactly. People need to check their religious issues at the door on this one. If you look at it as a question of whether or not all people deserve equal protection under the law, then the answer is simple. Yes, of course all people deserve equal protection under the law.

      1. Cliff, I think you missed the point of my comment entirely. However, to answer your comment, if you believe, as I do, that marriage is an inherently religious institution created and ordained by God, why in the world would an atheist want to sanction their relationship in a church in the first place when simple contract would suffice? Why would an athiest want to get married at all when the basis for their ethics is nothing more than human reasoning which is subject to change at a whim?

        1. People who are atheists want to get married (rather than draw up contracts) because drawing up contracts in a society with common law is a pain in the ass.

          It’s far more efficient for most people (believing or otherwise) to use the standardized state sponsored contract called ‘marriage’.

          I think one way forward might be to disengage civil and religious ceremonies. The current practice of religious figures being able to perform civil weddings (the only thing the state recognizes) creates confusion in people who don’t realize the minister or priest is acting as a civil servant and the state won’t recognize their marriage unless the minister or priest does the civil paperwork.

          If you want the state to recognize your union then get your butts down to city hall. If you want a religious ceremony (before or after that) then that’s your business.

  2. The problem is that this isn’t what gay marriage is about. If it was there wouldn’t be a problem. I would ordinarily be one to want to see your family get a fair shake.

    The problem isn’t your old lesbians – it’s the fuggin freaks and UFO’s within the ‘gay community’ that are up next. They are the ones that will demand to be married in Daddy Hawk’s church – and will sue him penniless if he refuses. They are the ones that will demand to censor the rest of us for not agreeing with their agenda, and they have the tools in the judiciary to do it. They’ve done it in Canada. They are the ones that will tell you that trannies aren’t bad people either – and that they should be able to push their agenda on your children as they are doing in Toronto right now in public elementary schools. In short order you will have queers beating on the doors of your bathrooms, your class rooms, and your court rooms. This filthy incrementalism is going on right now in Europe and Canada – and the next pervs out of the closet will be the pedos.

    I am not religious. I have a daughter that is a gay hipster and she has literally torn my family apart.

    Having said all that, gay marriage is pretty much a done deal. People aren’t smart enough to see the financial cliff their nation is leaping off of – so they sure as hell aren’t bright enough to make informed ethical or value judgements either.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Jennifer.

    1. “They are the ones that will demand to be married in Daddy Hawk’s church – and will sue him penniless if he refuses”

      I don’t think they’d have any grounds. Have divorced people fought to be married in catholic churches? Have non-jews fought to be married in synagogues?

      Again it’s probably a good idea to not let religious figures carry out civil marriages. The only way to get a state recognized marriage is by having it done by a bureaucrat in city hall. A religious ceremony would have no legal standing and those who want (and can get a church to agree) may supplement their civil marriage with a ceremony that would have no legal standing.

      Works for me.

  3. Alone without the benefit of Ruth’s social security, her pension, nothing

    Social Security has nothing to do with this. When a SS recipient dies, his/her spouse gets a paltry death benefit ($255, which these days barely covers the handles on the coffin), but the monthly payment stops.

  4. Glen Filthie, sorry but the First Amendment is quite clear about “preventing the free exercise” of religion. Lawsuits are brought under laws enacted by Congress, and Congress is prohibited from passing laws preventing Daddy Hawk to run his church according to his faith.

    1. Borepatch, I appreciate the assist; however, I don’t think Glen is all that far off the mark after having had some professional dealings with the ACLU. As the old criminal court saying goes, “You may be the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.” You can file a lawsuit for just about any reason, legal or not, and the defendant will be forced to defend that suit at a cost that may or may not be covered by insurance until a judgment is rendered. Some judges are perfectly willing to dismiss a baseless suit; however, just as many are either activists seeking to change law from the bench or just not willing to get in the way of the plaintiff “getting their day in court.” Either way, the creeping incrementalism will eventually erode constitutional rights in the first amendment just as we have seen happen in the second, fourth, fifth and others.

      1. Exactly.

        We want to see Jennifer’s folks protected and that is fine and good.

        But: do you want all the crap that is going to go along with that, Constitutional or not? Do you want public school teachers teaching your kids that being a transvestite is wonderful and beautiful? Do you want some pedo teaching your elementary school children the mechanics of anal sex? This kind of nuttery is going on in Toronto right now. This is the politically incorrect truth of it too: there are many folks in the gay community that are just gay and if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. But there are legions of queers, that are disturbed, perverted and twisted – and THEY are going to be coming out of the closet in swarms when you open this Pandora’s box. Your rights to free speech will be assaulted, your rights to educate your children a certain way will be challenged, even your right to make your own value judgements will come under assault. As I said – it’s happening in Canada right now. Our supreme court recently ruled (I’m serious, look it up) that you can be charged with a hate crime if you offend someone with your comments…EVEN IF YOUR COMMENTS ARE 100% TRUE.

        Trust me on this – the queers do really, really well in court and when they take on your Constitution (and they will) – you are in serious trouble. Take your problems with gun rights and multiply by 10. At least.

        I think everyone is going to regret this once it’s done.

  5. This recent supreme court case was only about the money. The case should have been point on inequality in tax law; not gay marriage.

    I don’t care what gay people do since they work and pay taxes to, but I resent another protected social class being created.

  6. I can see the point about creating another protected class. My response to that would be to allow any two people to marry, provided they’re both adults.

    Sound outrageous? Think about it. As the law is today in every state I’m aware of, marriage has nothing to do with sex. No law prevents anyone from having sex with any other consenting adult, regardless of the marital status of either party. You can divorce your spouse whether or not (s)he has had sex with you or anyone else, and the court-ordered support will be the same in any case.

    Marriage today, as defined and enforced by law, is a contract between two people to share assets, and to divide them in a legally specified way in the event the contract is terminated. Nothing more, nothing less. Why not let any two people enter into such a contract? All you’d have to add to the law is a provision that marriage is not a license to have sex; that is, if sex between the marriage partners was illegal before they married (incest is the only case I can think of), it remains illegal while they’re married. Oh, and make sure the law is clear that clergy are not obligated to perform marriages that their religion considers invalid.

    1. Marriage today, as defined and enforced by law, is a contract between two people to share assets, and to divide them in a legally specified way in the event the contract is terminated. Nothing more, nothing less. Why not let any two people enter into such a contract?

      get out of my head. 🙂 i’ve said this for a few years now.

  7. I apologize if this seems insensitive, but I have to ask: what would Sharon have if she and Ruth had been married, that she couldn’t have had anyway? I’ve already pointed out that Ruth’s Social Security wouldn’t continue. Inheritable assets could have been left to Sharon in a will or trust. What am I missing?

      1. I followed that link. Thank you for it; there’s info there we might be able to use when my wife turns 62 in a year and a half.

        It appears that Sharon could have received spousal benefits while Ruth was alive had they been married, depending on their ages (which you didn’t reveal, and I won’t ask). But I couldn’t find anything about whether or not those benefits would continue after Ruth’s death.

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