Glenn Schmoll met his husband, Lowell Houser, in 1961 at a friend’s home in Los Angeles to watch a televised panel on homosexuality, something that was radical on two accounts, one homosexuality was illegal and having a television was a rarity. The couple were together for 45 years and were officially married on July 25, 2008 in Ft. Bragg, California before Propisition 8 passed. Like many of our LGBT seniors, Glenn has been denied benefits that would be granted to an opposite-sex spouse. The financial hardships on him have been immeasurable.
How many LGBT widows and widowers will face homelessness because they are denied the federal benefits associated with marriage? Every day the DOMA law goes unchallenged LGBT seniors and LGBT widows and widowers face injustices and unnecessary cruelties. We must repeal DOMA. We must not allow laws to exist that keep American citizens from having full access to equality. DOMA continues to deny same-sex couples 1,138 federal rights.
This election year we must seriously consider where we will put our resources and who we will vote for. Will we support a candidate that has already repealed an unfair ban against LGBT people serving in the military or a candidate, like Newt Gingrich, who has had multiple opportunities to exercise his freedom to marry, yet does not feel that his own sister should have that right? Nor would he feel that Glenn Schmoll and Lowell Houser deserved that right even though if they had had full marriage rights Glenn would not been in the unfortunate position of petitioning the Masons, where Lowell was a Brother, for financial assistance typically afforded other spouses of brothers.
In my over ten years as a marriage equality advocate, it breaks my heart to continue to receive stories from LGBT people who have to beg unions, politicians, judges, and other organizations to recognize them as the spouses they are or have been. LGBT people should not have to beg for equality.