While a boy can marry, or be forced to marry, a pregnant girl from a powerful family, my partner and I cannot. While straight people can marry without much thought or deliberation, my partner and I cannot, even though we had thought, talked and prayed seriously before moving in together ten years ago. While heterosexuals can marry for convenience and expedience, for power, money or a green card, for whatever reason or none at all, my partner and I cannot, much as we love each other and look forward to growing old together. While the majority can wed then divorce, we do not have the option.
You can call it what you please - marriage, union - but we want and deserve our right to be together and recognized as a couple. We want the 1,138 federal benefits, rights and privileges heterosexual married people take for granted.
We want to know that should one of us end up in an emergency room, the other would not be turned away. We want to rest assured that if decisions over life and death had to be made, it would be one of us making hard choices. We want the guarantee that when one of us dies, the other would inherit property, valuables and memories we had worked hard for. We want to be eligible for social security, medicare and other benefits which we both have and will continue to pay for. Not just in New York or Washington, but anywhere we might be in the United States.
We want equality and justice.
It is argued that allowing gays to marry will destabilize society. How? On the contrary, millions of gay women and men in stable and mature relationships bolster their communities. John and I are in a committed and loving relationship that brings together our families and people we serve. In our imperfect way we give an alternative to young gays just as we have been deemed a good example by some straight cousins.
It is also disputed that same-sex marriage is against God's law. Really? What limited, imperfect, contingent mortal can truly say that they know God's mind? Nonetheless, fine. Then leave churches to elect who they'd like to marry and proclaim a family, but within their own walls. The principle of separation of church and state still stands and is foundational for a real democracy. As citizens, we fall under and follow secular laws we create.