Charles Blackburn and Glen Dehn
June 14, 2009
Charles 72, is retired after working for 25 years as a fundraiser for institutions in the Baltimore area, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Ordained a Unitarian minister in 1962, Charles was heavily involved in the civil rights movement in Alabama in the mid 60s and then became an organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union in ten southern states. Glen, 67, is retired after 31 years of legislative planning and analysis for the U.S. Social Security Administration. They live in Baltimore and have been together for more than 26 years.
As senior citizens, Charles and Glen are healthy and active. They enjoy traveling around the world and share interests in art, theater and classical music. They are living their "golden years" to the fullest, but worry about what will happen to them when the time comes to slow down. Without the benefits and protections of marriage, the decades Charles and Glen have spent together could be at risk.
"We are concerned about being separated in a nursing home," Charles says. "We are so grateful to have each other; we'd hate to be alone as gay seniors. But we fear we might end up alone if we can't protect our relationship."
As a retired federal employee, Glen has excellent health benefits and coverage that he cannot share with Charles. Now that Charles is in his 70's, he wonders what will happen if he becomes ill and the protections of marriage are not available to him.