Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Marrying My Father (The First of the "Defining Moments" Series

What is the limit of the father/son bond? How far should one be willing to go for one's father?

For certain reasons, my father came to live with me when I was a graduate student. He was elderly, destitute, and in failing health. My school had a policy of extending health benefits to same-sex partners. The two written conditions were that the two parties be "emotionally and financially intertwined." Despite meeting the stated requirements, the school's position was that father-son relationships did not qualify. (I will also spare you the disdain, humiliation and, ultmately, the threat of legal action that I withstood in pursuit of health care for my ailing father.)

Had the state had some sort of civil union statute and I had pursued the matter, should I have been allowed to "marry" my father? If not, why not? What if he were my stepfather, i.e., no blood relation, what then?

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