Nearly two years after we were pronounced married by New York state in front of our family and friends, my husband and I are finally married in the eyes of the federal government.
Okay, it took an order from the Supreme Court. But Cheng and I are celebrating anyway.
Like so many other same-sex couples wed under the shadow of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, we had been treated as second-class citizens — forced to pay extra to file our taxes and get spousal health coverage. We were denied access to federal programs such as Social Security or immigration green cards — among the many federal protections automatically afforded other married couples who are not gay.
But though my husband and I, here in New York, can look forward to the federal government finally treating us as what we are — married — that simple respect is still denied couples just like us in, say, North Carolina.
Cheng and I can now take family leave to care for each other without fear of losing our jobs. But Mark Maxwell and Timothy Young of Winston-Salem, who can’t even both be legal parents to their four sons because of state discrimination, are denied that — even though they were legally married in Washington earlier this year.