Not Gay Enough to be Domestically Partnered
Well, CLH and I have done it. No, we’re not married. Quite the contrary. We’ve done something even more permanent and responsible: we’ve drawn up our wills. How long-term-planning is that, huh? If you ask me, it’s better than getting married. It’s downright commitment-tastic. I don’t need any crepe paper or gold rings or lines at the ice sculpture buffet table. No way, man. Just give me an old fashioned will and testament and I’m yours forever.
The wills came in letter sized envelopes along with directions about how to have them signed in bat blood by separate notaries public with 463 witnesses present. Or something like that. There’s something ominous about seeing your name in 26 point caps on very, very nice paper stock next to words like “sound and disposing mind” and “as soon after my death as is practical”.
There was also a letter from the lawyers describing some legal terms.
Here’s the (hilarious) irony about our domestic partnership: apparently, CLH and I don’t legally qualify for “domestic partnership”. Here is (and I quote) the reason the good folks at the Legal Speak Paper Factory gave us:
“We were not able to identify you as ‘domestic partners’ in the Wills because, under newly passed legislation, this term has a very specific meaning and carries with it certain legal rights and responsibilities. As as heterosexual couple, you do not qualify as persons who can register as ‘domestic partners’. Please see RCW 26.60.030 for the requirements and feel free to call our office if you have any questions.”
So, I looked up this RCW stuff and read through the requirements. The first few seemed easy enough. “1. Both persons share a common residence”. Done. Going on 11 years, off and on, and counting. What else ya got? Requirements two, three, and four state that you be partnered with only one person, be 18 years or older (done and done), you both consent, yadda yadda yadda. Okay. Got all that. Number five made me giggle a little: “The persons are not nearer of kin to each other than second cousins, whether of the whole or half blood computing by the rules of the civil law”. (When I first read it, I thought it said “rules of the civil war”.) CLH and I have a joke that, in fact, somewhere down the line, we ARE related. Both our families have roots back to Poland. Both our families are from the same part of Poland. Poland’s not very big, so I just presume that somewhere, sometime, back on a farm in the countryside, his people and my people were swappin’ spit, if ya know what I mean. I sometimes have nightmares that we finally get around to getting married and we do blood tests and we find out we’re related and I go crazy thinking I’ve spent most of my life boinking my RELATIVE and we go through a messy separation because the shame is too great and I eventually sell my story to Hollywood but die penniless because of my heavy drinking. I digress.
Here’s the clincher to the law, the “newly passed legislation” that I suspect was added to the existing law so that us lazy heterosexuals who just can’t seem to say “I do” get screwed out of being legally recognized as lazy heterosexuals who can’t seem to say “I do”:
“NUMBER 6: Both of the following are true:
Neither person is a sibling, child, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew to the other person; and
Either (a) both persons are members of the same sex; or (b) at least one of the persons is sixty-two years of age or older.”
Did you catch that? I’m not ELDERLY enough or GAY enough to be domestically partnered! I don’t know whether to laugh or be indignant, honestly. I’m happy for the folks who are FINALLY getting the recognition they deserve, for chrissake, but I’m unnerved that the term I thought was reserved for the likes of us scared-of-commitment-hets has been taken. Now what do I call my common law marriage? Domestic Alliance? LifeandFinance, LLC? The United Front of BedSharing? Meeting of Grocery Bill Splitters Anonymous? I’m a woman without a term for my domestic non-gay, non-old partnership. I’m adrift on a sea of parchment colored legal paper, a rogue single sailboat in an ocean of married yachts…