Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Happy Ending

Kind of.

Last year, one of the Animation Guild's long-time members found himself battling melanoma (one of the more insidious forms of cancer). He'd had the cancer removed from his arm five years previously, and now it was back.

He's now been fighting the new melanomas for over a year, and things are touch and go.

The cancer isn't the "happy ending" part. What follows is.

The member is gay and in a long-term relationship. When the California Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal, he and his partner got married. When the voters narrowly oveturned the ruling with a state constitutional amendment, the Court ruled that he and his partner could remain married.

So now they've been hitched for close to two years, and given the member's medical condition he is understandably concerned about MPIPHP survivor pension benefits for his spouse. Up until a couple of months ago that concern was well-founded, because the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan had not yet ruled whether same-sex married couples were entitled to survivor pension benefits.

But I'm pleased to report that the Directors of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan have now voted to extend survivor benefits* to same-sex spouses married one or more years, commencing June 1, 2010. This is the same benefit that goes to heterosexual married couples in the MPIPHP.

That's what I mean by "Happy Ending."

* TAG circulated a petition in support of this extension last year. Word came back to us that the Directors were impressed with the number of signatures.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC! What a great story. Stories like this make me glad we live in a such a progressive country. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is a great story.

And I hope his melanomas are contained and never spread.

Andreas said...

I'm glad for those guys, and good for the Motion Pic Health plan. as for the progressive country....I have been with my hubby for 20 years, four of them married in england. we still have to live apart as I am working here in the animation industry and he can't immigrate on my greencard...as many of my straight friends' partners have done.while they were able to settle here and buy property, we spend a lot of our money on flights back and forth.
The ruling about spouses being able to get survivors benefits are great and need to be commended.
now if the country will just catch up...

Anonymous said...

I am glad the MPIPHP will look after this artist's spouse with survivor benefits, should the worst come to pass.

Like Anon #2, I also hope he overcomes his melanoma.

Anonymous said...

It's time for equality. Its taken generations to straighten this mess out.

Steve Hulett said...

Andreas:

Obviously some corners of the country are more empathetic and progressive than others.

TAG has been pushing for same-sex benefits and equality since then-President Tom Sito led the charge in the 1990s.

I hope things get better for you and your significant other.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the guy's getting better. As for those who wish to redefine marriage without letting anyone else have a say in it, who try to shove it through the courts without allowing an open vote, and, when the issue IS allowed to be voted on, have a hissy fit when the vote doesn't go their way..I say STICK IT. Marriage is between a man and a woman. For other couples, there are civil unions, which usually come with all the privileges that married couples enjoy, and that's fine. But marriage has a special meaning that's a defining cornerstone of society and heterosexual culture, and if a majority of the populace want to keep it that way, that's their right. "Empathetic" and "progressive" my foot. How nice to judge people who legally make their own judgments - at the ballot box. Tolerance is such a hypocritical word when it's used by the left.

yahweh said...

Ahh...I was wondering if any Homophobes would dare make a comment.
You might as well get used to it, bigot, it's going to happen. Even the most conservative Repubs have agreed that it's only a matter of time.
If you weren't such a moron you'd also know that a 'majority' also didn't want equal rights for Blacks and women either. ANd they didn't have to resort to lies and trickery to get that bigoted majority either.
Look who's talking about phony empathy. Like you give a shit about "the guy getting well".

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 10:59:00 PM - talk about a hypocrite. Yahweh nailed you dead to rights, schmuck!

Anonymous said...

10:59:00 PM Anony: Glad to hear from you. You are the basis of a hetero-sexist society. You need to listen to those who oppose your ban of gay marrraige. They KNOW that leaving the issue of marraige between a man and a woman, and all others as civil unions is NOT equal! Why cant you hear them? You like your exclusive club of majority rules? Until in the deepest darkest corner of your mind, you turn up at a lesbian bondage club, then we really know what your made up of. Oh....would get caught dead there? Never mind: you'll settle on TV where you can get endless commercials with clear-skin pretty girls throwing their perfect hair around and bumpy booties. It sure must be nice to be hetero. Our day is coming. and when it happens, I'm sure you are going to be grossed out by the parade that follows. And you and your kind deserve it. Again, it is going to take generations to straighten this mess out. There are smart people who are doing the hard work. God be with our co-worker who brought this issue of EQUAL pension benefits to the MPIPHP. He's just a chip off the old cornerstone!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:59:00 PM, a "majority of the populace" did not want interracial marriage when the Supreme Court ruled on Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. Luckily for us, courts do not listen to the "majority of the populace" and interracial marriage was not subjected to a popular vote.

Courts interpret the law. The original California constitution did not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Prop 8 changed the state constitution to discriminate specifically against gay people.

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On another note, I am disturbed that Anon 10:59:00 PM wants to financially punish gay people for being gay. If it were up to him, he would not legally recognize this couple's marriage. No marriage, no survivor benefits.

Denying health and pension benefits to a cancer victim's widower will not make him straight.

Anonymous said...

Steve: thanks for the story and the update on benefits for married folk, gay or not! It gives me hope!

As for good ol' Anon 10:59...why do you care so much whether a portion of adults that make up less than 10% of the population get the same rights as you? It doesn't effect you, your marriage, your kids, or your benefits.

Marriage isn't a cookie jar heteros get all to themselves.

Steve Hulett said...

As for those who wish to redefine marriage without letting anyone else have a say in it, who try to shove it through the courts without allowing an open vote, and, when the issue IS allowed to be voted on, have a hissy fit when the vote doesn't go their way..I say STICK IT. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Look, I have no problem with churches being allowed to marry or not marry whichever homo sapiens they choose, according to their dogma.

But CIVIL marriage is essentially a contract between two people. At base, who the state decrees can be married or not married is arbitrary.

For other couples, there are civil unions, which usually come with all the privileges that married couples enjoy, and that's fine. But marriage has a special meaning that's a defining cornerstone of society and heterosexual culture, and if a majority of the populace want to keep it that way, that's their right.

And if a majority of the country don't, is that also their right? Or are they spitting in the eye of God?

I'm not psychic or a predictor of the future, but if current trends continue, then voters in different states could well legalize gay marriage at some point.

And I assume you're okay with that, correct?

"Empathetic" and "progressive" my foot. How nice to judge people who legally make their own judgments - at the ballot box.

Judging who? I have no problem with hetero marriage. I've been in one for twenty-six years, so how could I?

But I also have no problem with gay marriage. It doesn't impact me one way or the other, so I could really care less whether same-sex couples partake of the institution.

Whenever I ask a homophobe such as yourself why they're concerned whether two men or two women can get married or not, they generally lapse into incoherency, invoking the negative impact on children (like gays have so many babies anyway), invoking the Bible, citing long-standing tradition, etc.

Well, slavery was a long-standing tradition ... right up until the nineteenth century. Now, of course, most folks think of it as the Worst Thing Ever.

My point is, all the laws and prohibitions that we have can be filed under "Arbitrary Rules," because when you strip the bark away, it's just what one group In Power decrees shall be the Immutable Law For All until the group out of power claws its way to more leverage and changes those same Immutable Laws.

(There are still American citizens angry that blacks can marry whites. Hopefully at some point they'll get over it.)

"Everything changes a little and it should.

"Good ain't forever and Bad ain't for good."

R. Miller

Anonymous said...

" but if current trends continue, then voters in different states could well legalize gay marriage at some point. " That's what Anon 10:59 will accept: It is the solution that shall cause the gay marriage movement the most resistance. The opposing forces will throw tons of money into their fight, scare the parents of young children, and tie it all up in courts and appeals. By allowing it to be relegated to the States 'choice' doesnt work by their own arguement of 'Marriage between a man an a woman is to be universally accepted as the norm.' This country is called the UNITED States. It doesnt seem so united when a universal institution is enforced to descriminate against a minority group of human beings that are good law-abiding citizens who help keep society running for the benifit of not just the state they reside in, but for all of the United States. "(There are still American citizens angry that blacks can marry whites. Hopefully at some point they'll get over it.)" Too bad. The South is still sore at losing the war. They shouldn't have started it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Here's a useful tip for the melanomas: on Monday April 5, I started using Sunspot ES gel on a stubborn skin cancer patch on my temple. Today it is substancially reduced and clearing up. Our wonderful FDA ruled that this obvious anti-cancer gel cannot be advertised as such so its sold as an anti-aging gel. It costs about $35, non-prescription (ooh, that must be upsetting the FDA) and is distributed by Lane Labs. www.lanelabs.com
Good luck!

Chip said...

Marriage, far from being a sacred institution, is a governmental civil contract. That's it. Period. Nothing more.

Churches do NOT marry people. Not a single church in America marries anybody. Rather, a courthouse gives the bride and groom a certificate of marriage--a slip of paper produced by the government which signifies that the couple is married.

The constitution guarantees that the pursuit of happiness is an inherent human right. Marriage was ruled to be among those "pursuits of happiness" by the Supreme court in Loving v. Virginia. Frankly, the anti-gay forces don't have a legal leg to stand on.

They also don't have a moral leg to stand on, as there is a growing body of evidence showing that homosexuality is an innate trait in a certain small proportion of the population. The irony, of course, is that these religious people who oppose gay marriage on "moral grounds" are, in fact, engaging in significant immorality by denying rights to people because of innate traits they cannot change or help!

Anonymous said...

Chip, you have some good points on the cover the anti-gays seek refuge beneath. The church and its teachings do not want the issue of orientation to be based on science. They have to be made to accept it. If making them accept it didn't work, they still would be against Gallileo's discoveries that the universe did not revolve around the earth, and the planet was really not flat. By the same token, if being gay is accepted as an inherent trait, then it couldn't be a choice, as many hetero's like to claim. (As if THEY were qualified to make correct choices, just look at the divorce rate). Therefore, if the church allowed for gays to marry, and we had all these married people who are supposed to be monogamously engaged to only their spouses, they how is bi-sexuality going to be explained? The answer leads to the science of the subject when you get it down to the crux of what they really are avoiding. That some people cant just have one, or the other. They have to have both. Who really knows the answer? The bible only states abomination towards homosexuals. It says nothing about bi's.

Eve Appleton said...

Maybe we can make this an even happier ending.

Get this info to the member of the Animation Guild. I'm a practitioner who specializes in the difficult cases and have a track record of success. Much of that success I owe to a simple tonic. Get this man on Essiac Tonic.

If you put this person in contact with me I can provide all the necessary info for full research, case history and analysis. This info can be shared with his medical team. Obviously this is a time sensitive matter, so the sooner the better.

Topically, he/she should be using Sea Buckthorn Oil (also proven), which also comes in an ingestible liquid for internal treatment.

I hope you take me seriously. It could change and very likely save this persons life. Weighty, but true.

In Joy,
eve

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers around, is going to respond to over-the-counter sunscreen or some snake oil called Essiac Tonic deserves the sad fate that awaits them.

eve, and the anonymous poster with the Sunspot gel, you likely mean well, and have no clue that you do more harm than good, but please peddle your garbage somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

The "harm" I'm doing is to the drug industry which has effectively brainwashed you and others into dismissing these products out of hand. I took the chance and its paying off handsomely. Unfortunately, I have yet to find anything that cures your terminal "cranial rectitis".

Anonymous said...

There is something suspect about the phrase "paying off handsomely".
It is what the witnesses of the hopeful are afraid of......

Eve Appleton said...

You know what I find interesting about all this; (admitting I haven't read every word of the on-going discussion)?

The church, which was the state back when, didn't approve of marriage. They murdered their own Priests and clerics when found to have conducted ceremony secretly. They gave in, in the twelve hundreds, or thereabouts, with stipulation, marriage was contract to a slave/master relationship, thereby reducing women to mere property: hence, among other laws, the rule of thumb.

When we research our ancient history (and I recommend Barbara Walkers book, "The Encyclopedia of Women's Myths and Secrets" as a start), we begin to understand the level of modern day hypocrisy in place by allowing: 1) the church to have a say in it at all; and 2) the government standing on the morale ground of church influence.

When the people are truly educated as to the root cause of our human imbicilica, they don't have to die for change, rather merely rise for change.

I wish the member of the Guild a "miracle". I've seen them happen in my time. If death is the choice it should be known, the sacrifice is dearly appreciated. Though my preference be to see him/her rise up whole and healthy, to live an achievement brought to so many through his/her life. Every brave and committed action becomes a mountain of force to the betterment of human kind. We have, and continue to walk amongst some pretty great people.

TotalD said...

Hats off to the MPIPHP! Governments often act like religious bigots so it's wonderful to see the board is on board with humanity for the 21st century.

As a member of the LGBT I have been truly surprised by how sophisticated the animation community is. It has been inspiring. Now if only the health insurance industry were even 1/10th as progressive.

Eve Appleton said...

This is for you TotalID:

"The country of Mexico has just gotten its first Taco Bell. You're Welcome. Finally, Mexicans will have access to... Mexican food. Bon appetit. I can't imagine how confused they will be when they get a taco." (Oct 11, 2007) - Jon Stewart ;)

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