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Blogging for #LGBTFamilies: Annmarie Cullen

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LGBT parenting blog Mombian, which received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog, is taking Monday, June 3rd to show the world for the 8th year in a row that LGBT families are just as loving, supportive and valuable to our communities as straight families.  Mombian is asking LGBT families, straight allies and all other supporters to write and submit to www.mombian.com, a blog post on any topic relating to LGBT families. 
 
Annmarie Cullen is the co-lead vocalist/guitar player in the indie rock band Saucy Monky.

Here’s a true, short story. I’m gay, I live in gay-tastic West Hollywood, but I grew up in Ireland and moved to the States after college.  I have a green card but recently started the Citizenship process.  I am in a half gay/half straight band called Saucy Monky (I have always loved diversity and this is why I was drawn to the USA). I’m also in a relationship with a lovely woman, from Barcelona who is staying with me for 3 months at the moment (the time limit of her holiday visa). She’s an artist. I met her in Rome while on vacation. More about that later.

My (straight) best friend from Ireland once had a difficult break-up and came to visit me to get away from it all. At the time I lived in Santa Monica, so the sun, sea, sand and break from the lovely (but bleak) Irish grey weather was a welcome escape. During her stay here, she met and fell in love with a close musician friend of mine.  They knew from day one that they wanted to be together forever, and I knew from day one that they were soul mates.  Faced with a forced separation due to an expiring 3 month holiday visa, they got married so that they could stay together in the same country.  That was 8 years ago. They are still together today, have one adorable child and have another one on the way.  They recently moved to Ireland.  Although born in different countries, they have freedom of movement in both America and Ireland because they are married. Marriage.  One magic word that sums up immediately one person’s relationship to another.

What’s my point? My girlfriend will soon be faced with an expiring holiday visa and will be forced to leave me. If we decide to take our relationship to the next level, the options that were available to my aforementioned friends are not available to us ONLY because we are not straight.  How is this not discrimination? Even if Prop 8 gets overturned and we could get married in California, this marriage would not be recognized on a federal level and my girlfriend (wife) could not legally stay here. Over-turning DOMA is the right thing to do. Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions (and even gay marriage in certain states due to the lack of federal recognition) is not equal.  

I am lucky. I still have a European passport and have the option to live there so we can remain together.  I can’t imagine the anguish of other gay couples who are in our position and who do not have that luxury.  The only legal options they have are separation.  Ironically, some gay couples find a member of the opposite sex to marry and have “an arrangement”, basically a sham marriage so that they can remain in the country to be with the one they love.  It’s so sad.

The only thing that will happen if DOMA gets overturned is that gay people will get married and have the same protections as other married couples. That is why I'm watching the Supreme Court closely these days, to see if I can build a family, just like everyone else.

 

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