Erin Phillips the Disability Policy Specialist for People First of Nebraska discusses the lack of equity in laws and benefits systems that unfairly disenfranchise people with disabilities who want to get married.

I’m going to talk about tradition, support and equal rights. All of these are very important parts of marriage. Firstly I’m going to talk about the tradition in my family and how the laws need to respect it. Secondly we need the law to support people with disabilities’ decision to marry because right now we don’t have any support in the laws to get married. People need support in marriage. And last equal rights. Equal rights in marriage is the reason we can get laws past.

I have dated off and on. But I always wanted to get married like my parents and siblings. I want to adopt children. But some of that I cannot do right at this moment because of the laws how to get support or able to adopt. Tradition is also an important aspect to my family and every other family that is rich in tradition. Marriage is important to me because I want to follow my family footsteps. My brother got married so did my sister and I think its my time. My parents have been married for a long time. I think tradition is very important to the individuals with disabilities, because they want to follow in their family footsteps.

It feels odd to not follow that tradition because I feel like I’m different than my siblings and family. I feel like society gives them everything they need to get married and get on with the lives while I just stand back in the shadows wishing I could do the same. I wish I can give my parents grandkids, my sister and brother nieces or nephews, and my own nieces and nephews cousins. But I cannot do that alone without the laws that support my needs.

I believe marriage is a long term thing. I also believe that the person who you married should be with you for thick and thin, good and bad. We should also be able to lean upon another each other at the good and bad times. Support is important too. With individual with disabilities need more because they have more barriers to bear. They shouldn’t have to choose between medicaid or marriage.

It's a big deal to have a law that protects our rights to get married. If there are no rights or protections, we are not like everyone else. We want to be like society and the way of living. More like everyone else, with or without disabilities. We want to be equal!

The issue is disability and equal rights are important because everyone from straight to gays have rights to marriage. Why can’t we with disabilities? Isn’t disabilities have room to get married under the laws too? But that answer right now, is sadly, not right now, not at this moment. We need to raise our voices and change it. We need to get a law on the local books then the national books. We need laws that protect our want to marriage!

Conclusion, yes I know the world is not perfect. But we need to change couple things to make it a little more perfect. Like our ways of marriage. We have traditions to follow but can’t. We believe in marriage as a long term thing but can’t follow through without believes. Society won’t even recognize our marriage if we even had one as a legal thing. All because there is no law on the books that will be legal to have marriage. Let's change it.

I’m always advocating for supports for individuals with disabilities because it's the right thing to do. I’m going to try to change the laws and the way our voices are being heard by one step at a time or one bill at time. Someday this will change and our world will be simpler.