Bob Casey and Me: A love grown cold

Posted: May 25, 2012

In late April, Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell as his campaign spokesman on foreign affairs. Grenell is impeccably qualified in foreign affairs but not, apparently, in domestic affairs. He wants to marry a man.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and I watched with interest as the right wing of the Republican Party, a/k/a the Republican Party, denounced the appointment. Bob employs more than a few LGBT staffers, and, so far, he hasn’t fired them. The senator and I are proud of this.

But faster than you can say 8.2% jobless rate, Mitt The Presumptive, champion of jobs for Americans, had rendered Grenell jobless.

Bob Casey and I first met in mid-September 2006, in the lush, romantic gardens of a generous gay couple. My heart leapt. I have a weakness for skinny, nerdy guys, although I never imagined that that would include a guy who opposes a woman’s right to choose abortion.

I soon found that intimacy with Bob comes with a price. He wanted my money and my vote. I blush to admit he got both. Love will do that, plus I longed for an end to the siege of Santorum.

After Bob was sworn in, I visited his official website and found an LGBT page featuring a history of the battle over gay marriage. Deep into the text, he dropped this: “While I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, I support civil unions to give rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples in committed long-term relationships.”

I knew that Bob would want to hear from me about this, so I wrote to ask which rights he proposed giving us. All 1,138? 314? Six? And why “committed long-term relationships”? Bob’s One-Man-One-Woman constituents, even if they’re 18 years old and met last Thursday, get their rights the minute they say, “I do.”

Bob knows that these rights are important. When one man and one woman marry, all 1,138 are part of the package, like the free apps that come with a smartphone. These rights are financial, social, practical and essential.

When straight people are married, they can transfer property without paying taxes or, upon death, leave the house and other assets to the surviving spouse tax-free. One can be included on the other’s health-insurance policy without tax consequences. When one hetero spouse is in the hospital, the other is “next of kin” for visitation. When a spouse dies, the survivor may claim the deceased’s Social Security benefits and get additional benefits for their minor children.

This is just the tip of the discriminatory iceberg. Answer me, Bob. Even though you oppose same-sex marriage, are the rights mentioned above among those you propose extending to same-sex couples in civil unions? Bob, even President Obama has evolved to full endorsement of same-sex marriage and thus full equal rights for same-sex couples.

After six months of waiting, I finally heard from my guy. Panting with excitement, I tore open the envelope and found a printed version of the tired, old statement from his website. Three times I replied to this waste of paper and postage, each time asking my Which Rights? question. I got no reply.

So, I took to the phone. I left messages that included my questions. No one called back. Then one day, by chance, I reached an openly gay staffer who assured me that LGBT staffers are “treated like members of the Senator’s family.” Great, but that’s his family; how does Senator Casey treat yours?

Recently, my fiancée of 38 years, John, got a request for a contribution to Bob’s campaign. It prompted me to revisit the official website. The section about LGBT issues had been taken down. n

Tom Wilson Weinberg is a singer, songwriter, playwright and founder of Giovanni’s Room.

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