Monday, October 03, 2005

One Angry Queer Woman

UPDATED - @#@^% stove is going to cost over $300 to fix. Not my day.

Ok, I freely admit that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. (Actually, any side of the bed that required getting OUT of it was the wrong side today.) And it didn't help that our $#$@(* stove was on the fritz again this morning so I had to go to the common house to use the stove in the community kitchen to cook the breakfast I didn't even want but had to eat. And then the keyless entry system wasn't working so I had to go around to the back door to get in to the kitchen... anyway, this morning did not start well and I was in no mood for bureacratic homophobia.

All that said, could somebody please explain to me WHY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH MY MARITAL STATUS MATTERS ONE WHIT FOR MY PROSPECTIVE JURY DUTY?!?!?!?* For DC court, at least, the juror questionnaire includes a place where one has to check off one's current marital status. Shockingly, neither "partnered" nor "prevented from being married by stupid laws and bigotry" are choices on the form. Nor is the dreaded "other". So, when I went to fill out the form, as Cait had done a few months ago, I left the stupid question blank. Silent protest. Civil disobedience. Thumbing my nose at authority. Whatever you want to call it.

Unfortunately, I needed to request a deferment. The DC Courts have actually joined the modern era, and this can now be done online! (Longtime DC residents will share my astonishment.) However, in order to do so, I had to complete the juror questionnaire online as the paper copy had not yet been received. Intractable as computers are, I could not simply skip the question this time. Meaning that in order to fulfill my civic duty and help ensure the rights of other citizens, I had to be slapped in the face yet again by the ways in which MY basic rights are denied. And for no apparent purpose. Can anyone explain one reason why a juror's marital status would affect their eligibility to serve on a jury? And no, I'm not talking about actually being CHOSEN for a jury. Just being in the pool - which in the District means you can breathe and you are 18 years of age or older.

I can see other situations in which this stupid question would unnecessarily bother people. What if you were recently widowed or divorced? What if you were single and very sad and bitter about it? There are times when marital status DOES matter - but this isn't one of them.

Maybe I'll make a t-shirt to wear on the day I go to serve. "Queer, pregnant, and pissed. Do you really WANT me on your jury?"

*Oh, yes, FF friends, I did jinx myself when I bragged a few weeks ago that I hadn't been called in years. I think the minute my fingers typed the words, the summons left the court.


  • heh - GO Harpo and preggo hormones!


    When I served, I actualyl wrote a NEW BOX on the form that said "domestic partnered"

    and I CHECKED it. LOUD and in BOLD.

    a lot of those forms have combined household income, marital status, and how may adults live in the hosue type questions. LEGALLY ((*&^&^%*&) I have to put in "single" - but then the "combined household income" is a sexy high number for a single gal.... hehe - then the "adults living in this house" is ALWAYS 2 - I let them do the math, unless it's a form where I can write in an extra box, because BOY DO I DO THAT!


    By Blogger Shelli, at 10:49 AM  

  • About that jinx...I got a speeding ticket in July of 2004. I paid it because to attend court would have required a day off work and a 4 hour drive. In March 2005, on a Wednesday, I bragged to a coworker that my insurance had not been affected by the ticket. On Thursday I received a letter from my insurance agent explaining that because of the ticket my insurance was going up. Jinxes are REAL, man.

    By Blogger hd, at 10:55 AM  

  • Yeah, I think my sister was telling me the same thing about her or her partner's juror questionnaire in CO. Of course, CO is one of the worst places in the US you can live as a queer person, what with Focus on the Family and all. I'm surprised that DC is still so backwards, but I must admit I don't remember NYC's questionnaire at all. Maybe it's just as bad.

    By Blogger lagiulia, at 12:17 PM  

  • Oh, by the way, I put "married". Because as far as I am concerned, I am. And if that is considered perjury - great. I'll get to stand up and make a BIG fuss.

    By Blogger Jen, at 12:47 PM  

  • I got the jury duty questionaire a couple of weeks ago. I thought about it briefly, then checked married.

    If anyone questions it, I'll show them my wedding pictures.

    By Blogger Brooke, at 11:47 PM  

  • If I am doing it online... and HAVE to check something to proceed without that annoying "Please correct the info in RED" message... I always check married. Luckily a lot of things these days are going to "partnered" as an option... or at least "other" but tell me... how many ways can one be "other?"
    At Charlie's pediatrician, they don't offer anything other than the standard married, single, divorced, widowed. So, Jean refused to check anything. They kept saying they HAD to have SOMETHING, and she refused. So they gave up. Lo and behold when we had to fill it out again a few weeks later... long term relationship had been added to the list. Okay, I'll take it.

    By Blogger Estelle, at 11:13 AM  

  • If you're up for taking on the bureaucracy, DC is pretty receptive for changing things like that.

    When my partner and I refinanced in DC, we were shocked and outraged to discover that to add her name to the title of what had been my house, we would be charged 1.5% of the assessed value of the house. "Husbands, wives, parents, and children," were exempt from that requirement.

    At first, I thought the settlement lawyer was just wrong and ignorant.

    When I found out he was right, I went ballistic and called everyone I could think of calling in the DC government. Within 36 hours, I'd spoken to the mayor, and he agreed that it was unfair and should be changed.

    Weeks later, I testified before the DC Council.

    And a few months after that, the law was changed.

    Unfortunately, the way life worked, we moved away very shortly after that.

    By Anonymous Liza, at 3:17 PM  

  • Well, Liza, thanks for saving us from the 1.5% thing. And it's good to know that there's some hope of change. I am planning on speaking to someone when I am down there about the rationale for that question... and then taking it from there.

    By Blogger Jen, at 5:56 PM  

  • I love the shirt idea. I think it would certainly keep most from wanting you to have to spend time on a jury. Hope all works out.

    True, never thought of how I would mark that little box on a form. With all the homo obessed moralists, you'd think they already had us all listed as 'Dangerous Coupled Queer Folk'

    By Blogger Patricia, at 7:18 PM  

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