Friday, August 18, 2006

Banning same-sex marriage hurts people: Yet another example of second-class citizenship

Over and over again opponents of marriage equality argue that no one is hurt when bans prohibiting same-sex marriage or civil unions are put into place. However, the reality is that real people suffer real pain and injury everyday from these unfair laws. Our families aren't protected. Our children aren't protected.

Here's yet another example.

From Newsday:
Linda Saegert and Victoria Sarafino lived together for 18 years, owned a house and a business together, and raised two children together. They were married in a ceremony at a Unitarian church in Freeport.

"We did everything that's the criteria for a nuclear family," said Saegert, a Valley Stream resident, adding that the two women even signed the children's report cards together. "We were a couple as well as any husband and wife."

But a State Supreme Court justice in Nassau County does not agree. Acting New York Supreme Court Judge Daniel Palmieri ruled that Saegert does not qualify as the late Sarafino's legal partner or spouse. Palmieri rejected last week Saegert's attempt to seek wrongful-death damages after Sarafino was killed in a car accident in 2003.

Citing previous court decisions, Palmieri ruled that Saegert was not eligible because of existing law that makes "a legal distinction between same-sex partners and heterosexual spouses." He noted that the state Appellate Division has ruled that "a same-sex partner, as executor, has no standing to sue in wrongful death on the partner's own behalf."
"Here in the state of New York, you have different classes of people," said Alphonso David, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay-rights organization based in Manhattan. "Same-sex partners are assigned a second-class-citizen badge."

Hat tip to Pam's House Blend.

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