Marriage equality activist Ed Watson has died — before he could legally marry his husband

All that Ed Watson wanted was to see the courts overturn Proposition 8 so that he could legally marry his partner of 40 years before his Alzheimer’s robbed him of the ability to remember his wedding. But Watson died last week, at age 78, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals continues to consider arguments in the lawsuit against the California constitutional amendment that robbed same-sex couples of the right to wed.

Ed Watson, left, and Derence Kerneck

Watson and his partner, Derence Kerneck, met more than 40 years ago on the campus of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and have “been together ever since, happy, devoted and dearly in love,” Kerneck said in a video to couple made earlier this year for the Courage Campaign Institute (watch it below), urging the 9th Circuit Court to uphold Judge Vaughn Walker‘s trial court ruling overturning Prop 8 and to lift the stay placed on Walker’s ruling so that they could get married.

At the time they made the video last spring, Watson had just recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it was, Kerneck said at the time, advancing rapidly. He explained that they wanted to have their service while Watson could still remember “the service and remember the commitments and the enduring love. It’s difficult because every day that goes by, you don’t know how many good days there are left. Already there are more bad days than there are good days.”

Unfortunately, the stay of Walker’s ruling remained in place, leaving Watson and Kerneck in an ever-worsening situation, especially financially since, because they were not legally married, Kerneck’s retirement insurance wouldn’t cover Watson’s medical expenses. Now, it is too late.

I believe that we will, eventually, win the battle for marriage equality, and that our relationships will soon be legally recognized. But no matter when that happens, it will be too late — and not just for Ed Watson and Derence Kerneck. There are hundreds — thousands — of loving couples out there who are denied hundreds of basic rights and privileges they deserve every day: those who die of treatable diseases because their partners’ insurance wouldn’t cover them, those who lose their homes and savings to inheritance taxes after a partner dies, those who lose children to anti-gay laws, those who are not allowed into hospitals to see their dying loved ones one last time.

It’s already too late for so many. But we will keep fighting, because there are more of us out there. We will keep fighting until we win. And when we win, we have to remember those like Ed Watson and Derence Kerneck who helped make the victory possible, but did not live long enough to enjoy the victory.

—  admin

Living in an electronic world

Way back in 1995, Sandra Bullock starred in a movie called “The Net.” I watched it back then, and will still watch it again whenever it comes on TV. I am like that with Sandra Bullock movies.

Anyway, it’s about a woman, Angela Bennett, who lives practically without any personal, face-to-face interaction with anyone, other than her mother who has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t ever remember who her daugter is. She works from home via her computer and the Internet, so her co-workers don’t even know what she looks like. So when she accidentally and unknowingly ends up with a floppy disk (remember those?) that contains information about an evil plan to take over the government, it’s easy for the bad guys to steal her life — just by manipulating information on the Internet.

I enjoyed the movie (that whole Sandra Bullock thing again), but back then I thought the premise was really far-fetched. Now? well, not so much.

Now, I keep up with family and friends that live in distant cities through Facebook. Even my mom and dad, both in their 70s now, are in Facebook. Hell, I even keep up with my closest friends who live in the same neighborhood through Facebook.

And texting has become almost the primary form of communication, even with the people who live in the same house with me. My two best friends (who live within 5 miles of me) and I “watch” “Ghost Hunters” together each Wednesday via text. My partner and I talk via text throughout the day. We can be sitting in the same room and will hold a conversation via text if we don’t want the children to hear what we’re talking about.

It’s kind of frightening, really, when you think about how “social media” and electronic communication have replaced actual, human interaction in so much of our lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting we go back to the Dark Ages when Facebook and Twitter and texting and so on didn’t exist. But maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea, if every now and then, we made the effort to step away from the computer (or the cell phone or the iPad or whatever) and took time to have real, live, face-to-face conversations with people. Hell, we might even reach out and actually, physically HUG someone!

After all, we don’t want to end up like Angela Bennett now, do we?

If you are wondering what got me started on this little semi-rant, then watch this video from YouTube about the omnipresence of social media in our lives today:

—  admin