We weren't the people that were consulted by the coroner, the crematorium, or anyone else in any authority because in the eyes of the law, our relationship had no legitimacy. Our 18 years -- 18 years -- together carried no weight. Avi and I had to sit on the sidelines and wait for permission. We were further traumatized and felt invisible.
We were fortunate that Avi's elementary school teachers showed great compassion. His third-grade teacher had a class memorial, and I was able to spend as much time as I wanted helping out in her classroom.
For Avi, the world as he knew it ended. He worried all the time that something would happen to me, and he stopped believing in childhood fairy tales, happy endings and the mysticism of the world. There were no longer portals in the tree trunks in the woods that led to other worlds.
In an instant, I became a single mother, with a single income. My partner had worked for years. Had we been allowed to marry, our son would have gotten her Social Security benefits.
No matter how many states, communities, cities or counties allowed civil unions, our son still would not be able to receive her Social Security benefits.
I have changed my mind about the importance of gay marriage. I no longer think that civil unions are enough, and I no longer think it's OK to not have the same rights as everyone else.
And I know as the surviving partner of Sandra Brown and mother of our son Avi that laws alone don't equal inclusion. People don't automatically adjust to change or know what to say even if they're supportive.
I've become an outspoken supporter of gay marriage. It took my own personal tragedy to reach that point. I am heartened and inspired to see a groundswell of support. I look forward to the day in the near future when no one else will have to go through the same experience as I did with our son
And no, civil unions are not enough.
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