Michael is on vacation this week and will post again on November 25.
By now we’ve heard all about the political figures and social changes the election fashioned. Overwhelming support for same-sex marriage, women’s fertility rights and immigration reform were on voter’s minds when they marked their ballots last Tuesday. Even support for marijuana liberalization won approval. The results seem to reflect that white, protestant, male affluence no longer reigns supreme, money doesn’t buy elections, and evangelicals no longer garner massive political influence. These messages proved to be a harsh reality for Republicans. Undoubtedly, sweeping reforms will take place within the party before the next election. But, I believe that the lessons from this election span far wider than merely national politics. Eighty percent of American churches have reached a plateau and are on the decline. By some estimates 3,500 to 4,500 churches close each year. Religious institutions would do well to heed the voice of the voters.
The NY Times recently featured an article by journalist Laurie Goodstein citing the reasons why voters were not influenced by the Christian Right during this election. The evangelical population is getting older; thus, their numbers are declining. One-fifth of Americans claim to have no religious affiliation. Moreover, about one-third of the younger generation is not embracing religion. “Americans ages 18-22 say they are either atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular,” Goodstein asserts. A more startling statistic reflects that two-thirds of young adults are dropping out of church altogether.
Notwithstanding that the Catholic bishops pierced the ears of churchgoers, inundated the media airwaves and wrote nonstop articles against same-sex marriage, health care reform and abortion, a majority of Catholics voted for the President. Indeed, polls show that most Catholic voters support same-sex marriage. Bishop Jaime Soto, a member of the bishops’ domestic policy committee said: “I think good Catholics can be found across the political spectrum, but I do think they wrestle with what the church teaches.” Substitute the word ‘Catholic’ for ‘Republican and ‘church’ for ‘party,’ and this is precisely the same pickle the election disclosed.
At one time most Christian churches excluded LGBT people. Today, some open and affirming affiliations are welcoming them back, but with little success. Statistics reflect churches are doing a poor job at recruiting (or keeping) a good chunk of young Americans who will inherit our institutions one day. The hypocrisy of church conduct has tainted views on organized religion for many older Americans. Based on these appalling statistics maybe religious institutions need to consider undertaking reform, as well.
In 2007 my sister, an Anglican minister, founded Rising Sun Ministries (RSM). Vangie created RSM not as a traditional congregation ministry, but for a distinct purpose. Its aim was to become a bridge to ameliorate the relationship between open and affirming mainline Christian churches and LGBT people. RSM devised a series of programs to assist Christian churches in welcoming LGBT people into its congregations. I served on the RSM board for four years. In that time I became acutely aware of the reasons churches have difficulty growing their congregations. And it has to do with issues like friendliness and hospitality, relevance, literacy, and personal interest.
Most welcoming signs at churches typically come with caveats. That is, visitors are welcome to join as long as they look, dress, and act like-minded, and sing the congregation’s songs. Study the bulletin board snapshots of the congregational picnic to get an idea as to their inclusivity. The Biblical messages and sermons from the pulpit are oftentimes ‘old school’ and devoid of relevance to present day society. Many in the clergy fail to remain literate on hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) and its significance on popular culture. And clergy is often too self-absorbed to take any personal interest in its congregants, particularly young people. These merely touch on the myriad of other issues affecting failing churches.
The answer to reform, in my view, is not so complicated. Indeed, mega churches have been successful at doing what many mainline churches have been unable to do. If churches (and even the Republican Party) truly want to successfully reform their institutions, the answer is quite simple. Come up with a strategy that will attract all three television Modern Family units to join your side! Imagine Jay and Gloria, Mitchell and Cameron, and Phil and Claire driving to church on a Sunday morning, then heading to the Republican headquarters for a rally. That would be true reform and achievement…and may even fill pews or win elections.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
A few days ago I received a telephone call asking if I would do a live radio interview on my novel, CREED. There had been a last minute cancellation and the interview was to take place at 8 a.m. the following morning. I agreed. Having never done an author interview before, I could sense anticipatory anxiety beginning to set in.
Early the following day I was up and drinking coffee to try and purge the morning murk. I arrived at the appointed location thirty minutes early. The radio host was a youngish woman. She was warm and friendly. As we went live and she threw out each question, I tried to answer as best I could. It’s hard to know how cogent and lucid I came across as the podcast hasn’t been made public yet. I shudder to hear it when it does. But, as I was driving back home afterward, one of her questions kept ruminating in my mind. It had to do with the development of my CREED characters. I think I responded that my characters were a composite of people from my past. But that response was so trite and simplistic.
Devising characters for a novel is far more intricate, difficult and personal. It’s probably like a mother raising quintuplets. But, it would have taken the entire twenty minute interview to explain how an author creates his characters.
The protagonist in CREED, Theo Jaquez, was developed from Janice (not her real name), a friend. Janice was someone I became acquainted with not long ago. Despite her horrific childhood, Janice is one of the gentlest souls I have ever known. Abused and neglected by her family, Janice was placed in an institution where she grew up. Today I know her as remarkably introspective and literate. And despite chronic medical issues, her nature and temperament is serene and uncomplaining. Janice is unassuming and unpretentious. Yet in many respects, Janice remains a mystery to me.
Drawing from her character, I devised a history and personality for Theo. I spent a great deal of time with him. Soon I grew acquainted with his mode of dress, his movie and music choices, his food likes and dislikes, and his manner and demeanor. Theo had a passion for life and expressed it in his chosen vocation. He was selective in choosing his friends, and was loyal and devoted to them. What he sought in return was an unconditional commitment. That was why he chose friends like Patrick and Jude who were mature, knowledgeable and experienced. It took a great deal of time to know Theo. And despite the story outline I had drawn for CREED, too many times Theo deviated and decided to take a different path. I inquisitively followed along to see where he was leading me.
Then there was Ilyas, David, Fr. Bonafacio, Lt. Kerry Snyder and all the other characters that I became acquainted with. Each one of them tugged for my time and attention. As I sat perched at my desk staring out the window for long periods, it was them I chummed with and listened to. It was these ghostly conversations that became the impetus to constantly revise the storyline in a way that accommodated each of their personalities.
I think the reason I enjoy writing so much is because these characters draw from me deeply emotional feelings. I share their anger and pain and joy and pleasure. I recall one day I was washing dishes after dinner and suddenly tears began wetting my face at the thought of Theo’s heart breaking when he drove home from the airport after leaving off Ilyas. My spouse gave me a weird look but said nothing and continued drying dishes. Then one day I woke up, got out of bed, turned on my laptop, and brought up the manuscript. But the story was finished; all the noise in my head had suddenly quieted. It was dark outside and the house was entirely still. I grew lonesome. I missed them. And for days after I felt depressed.
On the day I received a copy of the CREED book in my hands, I felt like a first-time father. These days I sometimes pick up the book, randomly pick a page and begin reading. It gives me a stirring sense of comfort and joy having known those characters so well.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
This weekend I read about the death of Senator George McGovern. Reading his obituary brought back a flood of memories. I remember McGovern as an ardent pacifist—one of the first political figures to speak out against the war in Viet Nam. In his stump speeches when he ran for president he pledged to end the war quickly and bring our troops home. He also pledged to reform taxes and create a national health care system. Does that sound familiar?
Over the course of these many months of listening to the political diatribe of both President Obama and Governor Romney, I think I’ve heard everything I want to hear about job creation, tax reform, balancing the budget, trade imbalances and Obamacare. The debates—particularly the town hall meeting—have given me a much better insight about the true nature and temperament of these two men. To me they appear equally knowledgeable, skilled and passionate in their pursuit for the highest office in the country, and possibly in the world. Yet, there is one topic that both candidates seem to avoid discussing with any specificity or in any detail. Why aren’t these candidates talking about Afghanistan—the war we’ve been fighting over a decade?
As of August 31, 2012, the United States has spent $1,368,273,975,928.00. During the first nine years of the Afghan war, about 1,000 U.S. lives were lost. Then in 2009 President Obama ordered a troop surge of 33,000 military men and women to Afghanistan. As of August 2012, another 1,000 troops lost their lives. The average age of our soldiers who died is 26. And the death count continues to grow.
Afghanistan is the third most corrupt country, led only by Somalia and Myanmar. It’s estimated that twenty-five percent (25%) of Afghanistan’s GDP is a result of corruption. Approximately 90% of opium and heroin is produced in that country. No province is safe to visit in Afghanistan. Currently Afghanistan’s army consists of approximately 195,000 soldiers. But their army is rife with desertions. Indeed, it has to replace at least one-third of its army with new recruits every year. And our coalition troops have been charged with training these rag-tag soldiers to take over the country by 2014.
Most recently General John Allen, the top commander of the international forces in Afghanistan, has had to deal with a succession of ‘green on blue attacks,’ a term used to describe Afghan forces attacking (killing) their coalition counterparts. Green on blue attacks has become a major challenge in carrying out the coalition’s mission of training Afghan troops. The attacks keep growing in frequency and efficacy.
In May 2012, President Obama visited Afghanistan in the cover of night and met with President Karzai to sign an agreement. The agreement obligates the United States to continue supporting that country for at least ten (10) years after the last of the coalition troops are withdrawn on December 31, 2014. The support is estimated to cost the United States two billion dollars per year. Civilian aid is not included in that figure.
Despite these facts, throughout the campaign I have yet to hear a substantive statement from either President Obama or Governor Romney on Afghanistan. Tonight is the last of these debates. It’s supposed to be directed at international matters. I suspect that a major focus will be the raid at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi and the manner in which the Administration released the details about the attack. While the murder of Ambassador Allen and three other Americans is a profound loss, the deaths of our young troops in Afghanistan are no less painful.
Ironically, an article appeared in the Huffington Post this morning that Al Qaeda is re-emerging in Afghanistan.
In my view both candidates have been seriously remiss in failing to talk substantively about the longest war in the history of the United States. Or is it that the American public has grown apathetic to the topic? In either case, it remains a sad state of affairs.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
Last week I had the privilege of doing a joint book reading in Santa Fe with Thomas Cobb, a notable author whose book, Crazy Heart, was made into a movie. The plan was for Thomas to read first from his new book, With Blood in their Eyes. Then I would follow. But the person who introduced us inadvertently got it confused and called on me. When I pointed out our original arrangement and deferred to Thomas, he spoke up and heartened me to go first. In spite of his celebrity, Thomas’ charm and unassuming character came across genuinely. Not only is Thomas Cobb a superb writer, he’s also a classy guy.
After our respective readings, there was a question and answer session. The small group seemed truly engaged because the questions were astute and insightful. They went on for about thirty minutes. Throughout the evening I had observed a young woman sitting in front who seemed to be paying close attention to the entire event. She sat alone, never asked a question and never spoke to anyone. She piqued my curiosity. So when the event ended, I walked over and introduced myself. A native of northern New Mexico, Angela (not her real name) was anything but reclusive. She complimented me copiously on the read and congratulated me on getting published.
The segment of CREED that I read that evening was about the protagonist, Theo Jaquez, and the village priest, Fr. Bonafacio, becoming acquainted. Angela expressed how true to life I had captured the vibe and essence of rural northern New Mexico. Raised in Abiquiu, Angela began to recount their small church and pastor, and stated how the narrative had brought back wonderful memories. We talked for about fifteen minutes. During that time she told me about her own writing aspirations and her hope to be published one day. Angela impressed me as articulate, educated and literate, and I suspect she will achieve her pursuit.
Over the weekend I attended a small dinner party and met another aspiring author. We exchanged conversation for a long time where she told me about her novel and her unsuccessful attempts at getting published. I offered ideas and suggestion that might help to make it happen. We agreed to stay in touch.
Irene Watson, editor of Reader Views Newsletter recently wrote about the many myths of published authors. In her excellent column she discusses many fallacies that aspiring authors believe about the life of a published author. She writes about the fame, celebrity, and large royalty checks of the few successful authors contrasted against the vast majority of authors who don’t even make enough to break even.
During a recent interview I was asked the question how it felt being a published author. I had never before given it much thought, and didn’t have a quick answer. But truthfully, it’s made such little difference in my life. I’m still doing those awful chores of picking weeds in the yard, going grocery shopping, making dinner and washing dishes. While there is the occasional book reading, author interview and book signing, those are the enjoyable aspects of the success because of the people I get to meet. Even though my first royalty check hasn’t made it to the mail box, I suspect when it does, it might be just enough to cover replacing my old Kindle and buying a cup of coffee. But at the end of the day, I’m not overly concerned about fame, celebrity, or even money (grin). I write because I have something important and relevant to say. And the fact that readers may find my work thought-provoking, worthwhile and enjoyable is enough for me.
You can read Irene Watson’s article at: http://www.readerviews.com/Newsletters/2012.10/8.html
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
Last month I had a bookreading in Albuquerque. I had never been to that bookstore before, and was uncertain exactly where it was located. David and I arrived there much later than I had wanted—about fifteen minutes before the event was scheduled to begin. As I walked inside, my jaw dropped at seeing an old friend, Pattie Curran.
The last time I had visited with Pattie was sometime before David and I got together—over 37 years earlier. We hugged each other warmly and we chatted briefly before and after the event. We promised to hook up sometime later. Thereafter, we e-mailed each other, and just recently we visited several times and even exchanged gifts. Pattie gave us an intricately crafted ink art illustration she created. It’s an inspiring piece. To me it imbues introspection. We hung it in a prominent place where I can fix my eyes on it each morning as I take my coffee. And I swear that it speaks to me.
After completing my last novel, David had urged me to revisit an unpublished novel I had written in the mid-80’s—his favorite of all my writings. I was unenthusiastic about doing that, but didn’t know exactly why. Sipping my morning coffee and admiring Pattie’s art piece one recent morning, for reasons unknown I cast aside my trepidations and decided I would take up David’s suggestion. As I rummaged through a carton of old books, I finally found the box containing 479 double spaced pages that comprised my first novel. I dusted it off, sat down and began reading it. Within the first few pages I realized my apprehension about returning to it. While I remembered that the plot dealt with AIDS, what I had forgotten was how personal the narrative followed my experiences at the time.
In the 1980’s we were living in Las Vegas, Nevada. David and I were very active in the LGBT community. I remember attending the first memorial service for a Las Vegas AIDS victim. Shortly after that we began learning of more men who were getting sick and being diagnosed with AIDS. That was the beginning of an emotional journey that grated at my spirit and tried my soul. It was a time when we took notice of humankind’s humanity and inhumanity. It was one of the saddest times of my life. AIDS was challenging every one of our institutions.
Like many other cities across the country, Las Vegas’ reaction to AIDS was fear and panic. Hospital workers were refusing to work in AIDS wards; employers were firing employees suspected of AIDS, landlords were evicting persons suspected of AIDS, restaurants were refusing to serve persons known to have AIDS, churches were condemning the disease as God’s wrath against gays, politicians would not pass legislation supportive of AIDS programs, schools were expelling persons with AIDS, airlines were refusing service to persons suspected of AIDS, families were turning their backs on relations with AIDS, and the president of the United States was loath to publicly utter the word AIDS. Is it any wonder why so many people died so quickly after being diagnosed with the disease?
But then there were the heroes—those courageous and brave women and men that joined hands and dared confront, test, defy, challenge, and loudly protest the institutional apathy towards AIDS and the indignity suffered by people dying of AIDS.
As I stared at Pattie’s art piece one morning after finishing the read, it struck me how much time had elapsed since we experienced that gay holocaust. It also crossed my mind how important it is to repeat the story of that time for the benefit of people who never lived it. The message is sweeping and profound. No human being, especially those most vulnerable, should be subjected to gross indignities regardless of the circumstance. St. Thomas Aquinas said that spirituality is “[a]n interconnectedness with all things.” Thus, an affront to one of us is an affront to all of us.
I’m still not certain whether I have the temerity or the emotional wherewithal to rework that old novel at this time. But as I glance over at Pattie’s art piece hanging on the wall, maybe it will persuade me otherwise.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprint
New Mexico was rated among the top ten poorest states in the nation. It ranked eighth place in the ignoble roster. The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released statistics also reflect a decline in median household income for the second straight year. The national median income in 2011 decreased to $50,502. New Mexico came in at $41,963—nearly 17% lower than the national average.
An organization called 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s richest and poorest states based on a 2011 Census Bureau Survey and a review of income, poverty, health insurance and unemployment statistics. They noted that among the ten poorest states, all but New Mexico are found in the South. Moreover, nearly 20% of New Mexico residents are not insured despite the fact that the cost of healthcare is lower than many other states. Comparing that to the national average of 15.1%, the disparity is glaring.
Nearly 22% of New Mexico families live below the poverty line. That amounts to one out of every five families living among us. That distinction is the second highest in the nation. Even more shameful is the fact that 7.2% of families earn less than $10,000 per year.
As I was glossing over these sad statistics, in the background I could hear seemingly non-stop political announcements airing on television. Each spewed rants about their opponent’s national interest record of corrupt influence, limitless spending and irresponsible proclivities. Then there was the blurb about their grandiose, albeit vague, plans for change. As far back as I can remember politicians have been promising these same changes. Jobs, prosperity, lower taxes and affordable healthcare are today’s catchwords. So what happened? Why are we still so poor? Could it be a failure of understanding—that they really don’t (or can’t) feel our pain?
I started to wonder what if we were to ask politicians questions in terms we understand? Maybe…just maybe it would be a more accurate gauge as to their morals, values, ethics, and capacity to relate to us. For example,
On Defense Spending: Your wallet contains less than $50 until payday and the lock on your door needs replacing because your house was vandalized the previous day. How would you allocate your limited funds given your priorities: a) a new lock, b) food to feed your family, or c) expensive prescription for your child’s asthma?
On Cap & Trade: At the hardware store you look for duct tape as a temporary fix for a cracked window. Give your explanation for buying either the cheaper product made in China or the more expensive American brand?
On Immigration Reform: In your job as a maintenance engineer you learn that a co-worker, an undocumented Mexican, was promoted to the enviable supervisor position. What action, if any, would you take?
On Balancing the Budget: Your monthly salary equals $2,000. Your grocery bill, rent, medical expenses and prescriptions cost $2,200. This is exclusive of auto maintenance, gas, health and car insurance, or other extraordinary expenses.
Any politician that has a satisfactory answer to these questions will get my vote.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
An ex-convict, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, purportedly produced a film entitled The Innocence of Muslims, reports the Associated Press. The film depicts Mohammed as a womanizer and a pedophile. The film was promoted by Steve Klein, an insurance salesman who founded a group called “Courageous Christians United,” and who conducts protests at abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. “Media for Christ,” a non-profit group, was listed as the production company for the film. Their reasons for their actions were their belief that Islamic radicals are a threat to society. And the consequences of their project have been to spark Muslim wrath and violent attacks against the United States in the Middle East and Africa which have already killed at least seven people including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
The film was low-budget and produced with actors who believed they were starring in an entirely different type of film. While trailers of the film have been circulated through social media sites, it’s unclear whether the entire film has been made available for viewing.
Even though the project has caused widespread indignation, it does not appear this zealous troika has run afoul of the freedom of expression privilege operating within the laws of the United States. Indeed, when commenting about the Innocence of Muslims video, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said: “…[America] has a long tradition of free expression…we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be.”
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” But when does speech or expression cross the threshold and become unlawful?
While Americans place great value on the right of free speech and expression, it appears they also place limits on certain conduct that goes beyond the bounds of decency and civility, such as cyberbullying. Wikipedia has defined cyberbullying, in part, as “actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others…” Lately we have developed a growing awareness of cyberbullying in the United states.
Today it’s too common to read in newspapers and listen to television news reports about criminal charges brought primarily against students and young people who use cyberspace and social media forums to threaten, coerce and intimidate innocent victims who end up committing suicide. Nationally and locally we have begun enacting laws to bring to justice those who engage in cyberbullying activities. So why can we arrest our young people for conduct that incites others to kill themselves but sanction adult perpetrators of similar offensive vitriol who incite violence among hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and cause mass violence, destruction and murder? While I’m a strong advocate of freedom of speech and expression, but in these circumstances there seems to be a disconnect.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints
In a few days I turn sixty-two. It’s hard to believe that I’m hitting that milestone. I keep reading in AARP-type magazines that this is merely the dawn of old age. And actuarial statisticians tell us that I have another twenty—possibly thirty years ahead. Of course that’s all dependent on the efficacy of my genes. My only question is what took me so long to get here?
For almost thirty-eight years I’ve shared my life with David, my soul-mate. I first met David at a birthday party in September 1974. At the time he was the best friend to my first gay boyfriend. And I didn’t like him too much. He had a sharp tongue, an inflated ego and a penchant for exaggerating a story. After that time we occasionally ran into each other at parties and other places, but we barely acknowledge each other. It was New Year’s Eve that year when I first came face to face with David. He had been drinking and I offered him a ride home. He accepted. After he got out of my car and made his way into his apartment, I drove off. On a whim the following morning I decided to drive back to make sure he survived. Acting on that impulse changed my life forever. David turned out to be the most passionate, loyal and genuine friend anyone could ask for.
To this day I’m still baffled what forces of nature brought us together. Heaven knows we didn’t have much in common. David was, and still is an ardent sports fan. Boxing, basketball, football, golf, he watches it all on television. He loves soul music. He took up working with yarn and fiber, and is so patient and exacting in crafting his projects. He’s got a keen eye for color. He’s very picky at what he eats. He’s spontaneous and impulsive in what he says. He spends money freely. And he thinks Portuguese is the most beautiful language ever spoken. Say what!
As for me, I hate most sports and never watch them on TV. I grow impatient sewing on a button. I eat practically anything. I’m fiscally conservative. I’m slow, thoughtful and deliberate in; a) spending money, and b) discussing serious topics. Despite our differences we’ve somehow created an amazingly fulfilling salt and sugar relationship.
Both David and I had successful careers. When we retired in 2005, we were uncertain what the future held for us. We ended up moving to a small gay and lesbian resort community high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico. And our life together seems to just get better.
I’ve written in previous blogs about the concept of synchronicity and the creencia (belief) in the Camino Sagrado. Indeed, the inspiration came from our walk along that path. Early in our relationship David and I discovered that instinct and intuition were reliable road signs for navigating our future. And in every respect that has proven to be true. All along the way the tempo resonating in our souls served as the road map. And if it was wacky and off beat, we knew we needed to reassess the direction.
Today I’m at a place that I would never have thought possible. As I described the belief in my novel, CREED, at this time I genuinely feel ‘aclaracion.’ And I’m hopeful of realizing ‘aclaracion completa‘ in the years to come—when I finally hit old age (whatever that is) and return to the place where I first started my journey. But if I had only one wish it would be that the milestones would slow down…just a bit.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprint
I just read an article about a gay couple from New York who married, and later became the parents of a baby boy using a surrogate mother. The father of one of the parents was very wealthy. He recently died. During the probate process when his will was read, it contained a provision stating that inheritance worth hundreds of thousands of dollars would go to the baby boy, his grandson, only if his son had married the child’s mother within six months of the child’s birth. The gay parents are asking the court to set aside that provision and award their son his inheritance. The basis they’re using to ignore that marriage provision is that the intention of the deceased father was only to ensure the child was raised in a good home. The gay parents cite that the deceased father had no bias towards them or their relationship; he knew they were in a gay relationship, and he willingly socialized and traveled with them.
Unfortunately, situations like these are not uncommon. Indeed, my own parents had a trust drawn when they were still alive. The inheritance provisions of their trust stated that their assets were to be divided among their four children. If any of us predeceased my parents, that one/fourth share would go to “their issue,” which I learned from an attorney friend means their progeny. In more common terms that I was able to understand, he explained that inheritance would go to my sibling’s children if they (my siblings) died before my parents.
Both my sister and I are gay. I wrote a blog recently about my sister’s partner getting impregnated using a sperm donor. Although the child has always regarded my sister as a parent, she (my sister) has never formally adopted the child. Accordingly, if my sister would have predeceased my parents, under the trust provisions her (my sister’s) child would not have been eligible to inherit any of their estate after they died. As it happened, my parents predeceased all of us. Thus, we each inherited our one-fourth portion of their estate.
My parents were perfectly alright with having two gay children. They always treated my sister’s partner and their child, and my partner with the same dignity and respect as they treated my straight brothers’ wives and children. We were always invited to holiday celebrations and were included in every family get-together. So why would my parents craft provisions in their trust that would deny my sister’s child an inheritance? I don’t think they consciously did that. I believe the legalese in the trust document was too confusing for them to understand its impact on my sister’s child. Indeed, it reads:
“…The share for the issue of any deceased child shall be divided into further shares, by right of representation, one each for the then-living issue of a deceased child…”
What the hell does that mean?
No doubt some parents of an extreme right-wing ilk may consciously chose to reject their gay offspring or children of such offspring. That’s certainly within their prerogative. However, in many cases like that of my parents, I think it stems from lazy attorneys practicing rote legalese that fails to provide for unconventional familial situations. And with the ever complicated muddle among the States as to the marriage status for LGBT people, this matter is bound to only get worse.
Capturing Love’s Uncommon Footprints