Kadee and Ashley: Participants in the WE DO Campaign who will request a marriage license on Friday, October 7, 2011.
Our relationship began in 2001after 6 years of friendship while attending the University of Georgia. We had a wedding in 2002 in Phoenix, AZ where we made a commitment to each other before a small group of close friends, family, and our pastor. Now, 10 years later, our home is full of the laughter of our 6 year old son and the small coos of our newborn daughter.
We have always considered ourselves to be married, even though our marriage is not legally recognized. Marriage equality was never a focus for us until we decided to start a family, and we quickly realized how few legal rights we have as a family unit.
Our family lacks over 1000 federal rights and protections that are granted to heterosexual couples. For instance, in North Carolina, our children are not allowed to have both of our names on their birth certificates which means they do not have the legal protection of having two parents. Unless this changes, they cannot automatically inherit property or social security benefits from both of their parents. Another major issue is that we are unable to obtain “family” health insurance coverage. We end up spending much more on health insurance due to this inequality and have more trouble finding good coverage. We are unable to use FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) to take care of each other in the case of an accident or illness. We can be denied hospital visitation if one of us gets sick. There are 1000 more legal protections that my family does not have, and I have only named a few.
For us, marriage equality is not about being able to get married as a romantic gesture. We and our children deserve marriage equality to ensure that our family is safe and secure and that we are recognized as a family unit under the law.