Monday, August 8, 2011

Domestic Partna'

My internship at the wind farm ends next week, when I will once again return to the ranks of the nation's funemployed.  Since I've started working out approximately 5 days a week (between volleyball, teaching Zumba, and starting to weight lift again), it is only a matter of time before I injure myself.  I haven't had any type of health insurance since I dropped out of UCLA in January.  So, Annie, in all of her wisdom, demanded that I look into purchasing my own health insurance.  It costs so much $$ to insure yourself, independent of your workplace.

So, Annie looked into adding me to her policy.  Ways to get on hers: marry her, be a dependent child of hers, or come up with some sort of legal relationship that is recognized where she lives.  So, some research was done.  Can we be domestic partners?  In the state of CA... nope.  Per the State of California Declaration of Domestic Partnership, we did not meet one of the requirements:

Both persons are members of the same sex, OR one or both of the persons of opposite sex are over the age of 62...

So, I gave up.  Annie continued digging, though.  It turns out that we actually meet all of the requirements for the City of Oakland's Domestic Partnership:

  • We are both over 18 years of age and have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring;
  • We live together;
  • We are jointly responsible for basic living expenses which we incur during the domestic partnership;
  • One of us is an employee of the City of Oakland, or both of us reside together within the city limits;
  • Neither of us are married, nor are we related to each other in a way which would bar marriage in California;
  • Neither of us has had a different domestic partner less than six months prior to signing this Affidavit;
  • We agree to notify the City of any changes in the status of our domestic partnership agreement.

So, we made an appointment and signed the City of Oakland Notarized Affidavit of Domestic Partnership on Friday afternoon:

Throughout all of the forms, we put Annie's name first, and my name still came out first-billed.  Men rule!

First of all, you cannot be in a domestic partnership in the Bay Area and not feel like a Gay Rights activist.  This is slightly humorous karma.  A year or two ago, in the middle of the Gay Marriage debate, I was so upset by the ridiculousness of the homophobic movement that I said that I would refuse to get married until all of my friends could.  I said that I would only get a domestic partnership.  To be honest, I was kind of talking out of my ass at the time.  Who knew it would come true?!

Second, I have no doubt that we will get married at some point in the future.  Weddings are just so expensive, and we'll be paying for it entirely on our own.  Plus, I'm still really unstable until I find a career that I'm satisfied with (or return to school), so it isn't a safe time to try and nail me down yet.  Also, we'd like to register at some really classy places, so we need this recession to run its course and let all of our close friends get really good, high paying jobs for top-notch presents.  ;)

Third, it is really sad how informal a domestic partnership registration feels.  It makes me a little sad for gay couples.  We discovered we were eligible on Monday, discussed it, made an appointment on Tuesday, and showed up on Friday to fill out the 30-second form in street clothes.  There was nobody else in the office, aside from the person helping us, and we were done in 10 minutes.  Is this all that a marriage certificate feels like?  I always imagine it being a much more thorough process.  (Also, what do people do with their marriage certificates?  I've never seen them on display.  Why not?  Our domestic partnership is framed!)

Fourth, I can't stop calling our domestic partnership a 'gay marriage'.  I recognize that it is probably really offensive.  (Me? Offensive?)  It started as a way to continue to put into perspective that this process, that we aren't taking very seriously, is ALL that gay people get.  Annie hates it when I say that we got 'gay married', so I'm trying to stop using it.  It just flows so much better than 'domestic partnership' though.  Maybe in older times...

Lastly, we are already learning a bunch of the differences between marriage and domestic partnerships:

  • Our partnership may not be recognized anywhere outside of Oakland.
  • Hospitals and inheritances don't usually consider us legally bound.
  • If Annie adopts a baby, I'm not the legal parent.  I'd have to also adopt it, afterwards.
  • If we were married, my health insurance costs would come out pre-tax, but that is not the case for DPs.
  • We're eligible for a Joint Membership to the University of Michigan Alumni Association (which means we'll probably become life members at the next renewal).  This was one of the big sellers for me, since I tried to make this happen 3 years ago.
  • There's no real way to keep track of us if we move outside of Oakland, so I guess we're domestic partners in Oakland for life, or until we notify them otherwise.

Should you send gifts?  Probably, but save the big stuff for when we get married in 2025 (judging from how long it took her to get me to make this much of a commitment).

Expect to hear me talking like a cowboy frequently, because I hear John Wayne's voice in my head every time I say domestic partna',

1 comment: