13-16 Feb 2009
at Camp Adams
For the first time FLGBTQC, in the epistle, is asking Friends to walk with us. What would this look like? This arose out of meeting for worship with attention to business due to the concern that FCG would be holding the summer gathering in the state of Virginia which has recently passed a law against same sex marriage. It is of grave concern to same sex married Friends who are legally married in another state, but must worry that if they become ill in Virginia, their spouse may not be allowed access or have a say in treatment. I was affected by a related situation 6 years ago.
My partner of 27 years and I were the first same sex couple to have our relationship taken under the care of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland Oregon in 1989, 13 years into our relationship. We raised our children together, my son was 14 and her daughter 8 when we first got together. We each had 2 grandchildren and had grandparents night every Friday night for about 3 years when they stayed overnight with us and enjoyed many activities together and then she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She died 7 months later. It has been almost 6 years and the bitterness of having to worry about insurance and other financial problems instead of focusing on her dying will forever remain. My employer did not have domestic partner benefits. Her insurance continued for a time, but when she was no longer able to work there was no more insurance. When she died, I was not considered to be the next of kin under Oregon law so her daughter had to sign for her cremation. Then her ashes were in the trunk of her daughter's car and then in her closet instead of being in the home that we shared for 27 years until her family and I all met at the coast to disperse her ashes as she had requested. For Friends to have walked with me would have meant that they were with me in my situation, to have helped to bear my burden and sorrow. It is true that Friends provided meals for several weeks near the end of her life for which I will be forever grateful, but it seemed that no one really wanted or knew how to be with the situation.
I hope and pray and work for the day that it will be better for LGBTQ F(f)riends in the future.