Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Relocation Blues

Subscribers to the Rainbow Wind list may have noticed that I post same-sex marriage articles from all over the country. One of the reasons I spend so much time reviewing these stories is that my partner and I are looking into leaving Kentucky sometime in the next few years. I actually have files where I keep track of progress for and against same-sex marriage in the various states, and a USA – lower Canada map with green, yellow, and red stickies.

This process has been depressing for me. In 2004 I learned, state by state, county by county, how many people want to treat me as an inferior because of whom I love. I got to read and see their hatred for me every day before the November elections. I also learned that, no matter how liberal the city you live in is, bigots across the state decide what your rights are. They haven't stopped at denying us benefits, either: fundies in the states that passed anti-marriage amendments are following that up with new amendments to strip gays of parental rights. And I feel trapped! Absolutely trapped and at the mercy of their hatred. My partner and I both work in the clerical field, not known for its high salaries. Moving anywhere halfway decent would require more money than we have been able to save so far, and would almost guarantee serious poverty for years after we arrived.

Canada and New England appear to be our best prospects at the moment, but my partner is really hoping for points further south. She has artificial joints and asthma, which make climate an important consideration for her. If Canada turns out to be our best option, we are looking at Vancouver Island due to its temperate environment.

In August, Reuters reported that people who claimed they would move to Canada if the elections went badly had decided to stay in the USA. I think they’re counting heads a little too soon. It hasn't even been a year since the 04 elections. It takes time to get visas and make arrangements for jobs and lodging, not to mention getting together that $10-25K Canada wants you to prove you have before you can immigrate. Joe Citizen is lucky if he has $10K in a retirement account, much less just available in cash.

Moving to another state isn't cheap, either. My partner and I do fairly well for the 'red' state we live in - but moving to a state with more rights anywhere will raise our cost of living considerably. Our choices appear to be: expensive+bad climate vs. very expensive+great climate. It takes planning: looking at job markets, checking over real estate prices, plus watching various state legislatures to see whether any rights will be granted - or whether that latest anti-gay constitutional amendment will pass.

We would prefer a state with full marriage rights, but would consider a state offering civil unions. It's still better than what we have here.

Sarah G