The Right to Get Married

May 5, 2008

It focused on Jill and Pauline Guillermo-Togawa, and their daughter Carmel -- who are close friends of mine. Since they are just another part of my community -- i.e. I attended their beautiful wedding in San Francisco, I bought Carmel a copy of Dr. Seuss's Oh! The Places You'll Go to welcome her into this world, I receive pictures of their happy family moments in my email inbox -- it is still shocking to me that the STATE doesn't recognize them as a family. 

They met almost a decade ago as friends, but then romance lead to marriage and kids. Jill and Pauline are registered as domestic partners under California family code section 297, which give them almost all of the rights of other married couples. Almost. This year, the Bay Area couple received a letter from the state telling them to file their taxes jointly. That's great, but the Internal Revenue Service still does not recognize same-sex couples... They're used to the red tape... [W]hen they tried to get new driver's licenses, the San Francisco Department of Motor Vehicles denied the legality of their marriage..."It surprised me how much I cared," said Jill, a Yonsei. "The act of being recognized was much more meaningful than I thought it was going to be." 

The article goes on to say that "At the 1994 Salt Lake City convention, JACL became the first non-gay organization -- after the American Civil Liberties Union -- to support same-sex marriage," which apparently stirred major controversy in the organization. Interesting.

Honestly, I'm pretty conflicted about marriage -- as I've said here before. So, I go back and forth in thinking about whether I'd rather boycott the ritual of marriage until families like Jill and Pauline's can officially do the same thing, or wanting to take advantage of this privilege and using it as an opportunity to speak out about the violation of civil rights. What do other people think?