Regular contributor Judy Rickard and her wife Karin Bogliolo were invited by the White House to attend President Obama’s speech on immigration in Las Vegas. The couple has been at the forefront of the struggle for binational same-sex couples and against the discrimination they face because of DOMA. – Mark/Editor.
Update: Rep. Mike Honda included Judy in his thank-to the President. You can read it at The Hill.com.
I have waited a few hours to write. One reason, because I had to take a nap – I was completely worn out after we went to the high school in Las Vegas, waited for hours, met people, took pictures, heard the President speak, shook his hand and reminded him of our plight and came back to the hotel.
I have waited a few hours to write. One reason, because I had to take a nap – I was completely worn out after we went to the high school in Las Vegas, waited for hours, met people, took pictures, heard the President speak, shook his hand and reminded him of our plight and came back to the hotel.Two, I want to be careful what I say – and say what I say right. So here goes…
Getting an invitation from the White House to attend the speech was amazing – and I am glad that we decided to go after I originally declined because of cost. My constant reality is that we don’t have as much money as we used to, because of DOMA. In 2009 I faced the choice of staying in America without my wife, who was told to leave “for a long time” or being with her inside and outside America but taking early retirement.
For me, there was no choice. I chose Karin and our life together. But it means that I don’t have my optimum pension – and never will. And Karin, who does not live in the UK full-time anymore, cannot apply for and receive as much pension benefits as she could. So money is something we have to think about. And to do our activism about immigration reform we spend money to go places and speak or represent our cause.
But then family and friends helped us out and urged us to be there for the historic speech which would include – in the room and on the world’s airwaves – the words we so long to hear – immigration reform in America will include same-sex binational families and LGBT folks with the various issues they face about being together, becoming citizens, being able to start families, being able to get or stay employed, all that.
So we decided to fly to Las Vegas and be there for the historic speech.