We All Deserve to Marry
Right now, same-sex couples can marry in 15 countries, across 4 continents. But millions of people in this country are still denied the freedom to marry. Many have been in committed, stable relationships with the same person for 10, 20, even 50 years. Many more are raising children together in a loving home.
But because they’re gay, they’re denied the freedom to marry.
In this country, straight people can get hitched on a whim—but gay couples in committed relationships can’t marry. Shouldn’t we give a damn?
Commitment, protecting loved ones
You might ask why marriage is so important. Well, ask yourself: Why is marriage important to you?
It’s about having the opportunity to stand up in front of friends and family and make the ultimate, public commitment to that one person. Many of us, after all, grow up hoping we’ll fall in love, get married and live happily ever. Marriage says “We are family” in a way that nothing else does.
Imagine that dream coming true and then not being allowed to marry that person you love most in the world—the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
When you love someone, you also want to take care of and provide for them. You want to be there for them when they’re sick, include them on your health insurance and ensure their financial security in the event of your death or other hardship. And when kids enter into the picture, you want to make damn sure the law protects them to the same extent as every other kid in the country.
In the U.S., no legal status or arrangement offers the protections that marriage provides. Marriage grants thousands of federal and state protections that Americans count on to care for their families, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
Just imagine if your husband or wife were in the hospital, and you weren’t allowed to visit them, much less make crucial decisions regarding their care.
Imagine having to choose between your job and taking care of your sick spouse.
And imagine the stress of knowing that, after your passing, the people you love most in the world might struggle financially because they won’t receive the Social Security benefits or pension you spent a lifetime building—they won’t even automatically inherit the home you lived in together.
Separate and unequal
That’s why civil unions and domestic partnerships aren’t enough. While these legal mechanisms provide a measure of protections to gay couples and their families, they are no substitute for the full measure of security, clarity and responsibilities of marriage itself. They’re separate, unequal and, frankly, lesser than versions of marriage that treat gay Americans like second-class citizens.
To begin with, civil unions and domestic partnerships are only recognized in a handful of states, meaning the protections offered in one state may differ significantly—or not exist at all—if a couple were to travel or move out of state. These arrangements also don’t provide any of the more than one thousand federal protections provided to married Americans, such as being able to take leave from work to care for a sick spouse or even having the option of filing joint tax returns.
13 states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to marry, and a handful of others offer civil unions or domestic partnerships—up from virtually zero a decade ago. It’s progress, but ask yourself: Why doesn’t every state offer the freedom to marry?
Because shouldn’t we treat all citizens equally?
Shouldn’t we defend marriage for real, and extend the opportunity to marry to all who will honor the institution with the gravity and reverence it deserves?
Shouldn’t we give a damn?
It’s time for things to change.
JOIN GIVE A DAMN!
Knowledge is power. We all need to stay informed.
- Download the Damn PDF about Marriage
- Watch one of our Damn Videos or read people’s Personal Stories
- Check out our Damn Blog
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
Spread the word. Encourage the people in your life to get involved—especially if they’re straight and have never given this issue a lot of thought. Simply:
- Share one of our Damn Videos or someone’s Personal Story
- Share Your Personal Story
- Download and use some Damn Stuff
GET MORE INFORMED AND INVOLVED
Visit our nonprofit partners’ websites; they’re experts on marriage. They can provide you a ton of additional resources and ways to get involved:
The information on this page was provided by:
- Human Rights Campaign: “Answers to Questions about Marriage Equality.”
- Freedom to Marry: “Marriage 101 – FAQs”
- Freedom to Marry: “Resources Related to Children and Families.”
- Freedom to Marry: “Marriage versus Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships, Etc.”
- Freedom to Marry: “States”
- Freedom to Marry: “The Freedom to Marry Internationally.”
- The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, UCLA School of Law: “Same-Sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey”
- The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, UCLA School of Law: ”Same-Sex Couples and Same-Sex Couples Raising Children in the United States, Data From Census 2000″
- The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, UCLA School of Law: “Tax Implications for Same-Sex Couples”
- National Conference of State Legislatures: “Same-Sex Marriages, Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships”
- Superior Court of the District of Columbia
- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders: “Civil Marriage v. Civil Unions: What’s the Difference?”
Get informed and get involved. Register to join the campaign and let us know you give a damn about equality.
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