Many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love — many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person — and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings.
Many parents want the right to marry because they know it offers children a vital safety net and guarantees protections that unmarried parents cannot provide. And still other people — both gay and straight — are fighting for the right of same-sex couples to marry because they recognize that it is simply not fair to deny some families the protections all other families are eligible to enjoy.
Currently in the United States, same-sex couples in long-term, committed relationships pay higher taxes and are denied basic protections and rights granted to married straight couple - including Social Security benefits, immigration, health insurance, estate taxes, family leave, nursing homes, home protection and pensions.
Comparing marriage to civil unions and domestic partnerships is a bit like comparing diamonds to rhinestones. One is, quite simply, the real deal; the other is not. Opposite-sex couples who are eligible to marry may have their marriage performed in any state and have it recognized in every other state in the nation and every country in the world. Couples who are joined in a civil union or domestic partnership have no guarantee that its protections will travel with them to other states.
Moreover, even couples who have civil unions or domestic partnerships receive only second-class protections in comparison to their married friends and neighbors. While they receive some state-level protections, they do not receive any of the more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections of marriage.