Ah yes, love is in the air. My sweetie and I will be going out to dinner tonight to celebrate this international day of love. We've been together for almost 10 years, through graduate school, career changes, unemployment and underemployment, no health insurance, home buying, surgery, family deaths and births. In other words, through sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy.
But god forbid we get in an accident tonight and one of us has to go to the hospital. You see, we have basically no legal rights to make decisions of health or welfare for each other. For example, although we both pay the mortgage, only my name is on the deed. The cost of adding my partner's name is prohibitive. It is easily affordable to add one's spouse to a deed, but of course, she's not my spouse. In the eyes of the law, she might as well be a renter. And thank god she has a job with health benefits now -- for 5 years she didn't, and I couldn't add her to my health insurance. We paid a lot of money out of pocket during those years for a trip to the emergency room and for prescription drugs.
We, like so many of your neighbors, are taxpaying good citizens. We mow our lawn and plant flowers. We recycle. We're members of the neighborhood association. We live in a committed relationship of marriage. Yet in an instant our lives could be turned upside down should some health or financial tragedy strike.
This is the 11th annual national Freedom to Marry week. The Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and the right to marry belongs to us all. Please join me in signing the marriage resolution from the Freedom to Marry to help end this discrimination. When we protect and value all of our citizens, we build a stronger and more stable community -- and nation.