I would like you to consider the scenario of the two gay men that have a relationship for many years. I am fortunate to know gay couples that have been together for 20, 30 or one couple I am personally acquainted with has just celebrated their 57th anniversary. The sad thing is that at this moment they have absolutely none of the legal protections that are afforded a straight couple that is married. It is more than health benefits – among many other things, it is the right to make medical decisions for their partner if someone is incapacitated, or the right to inherit ownership of the property or possessions that they have worked a lifetime amassing together. There are still instances of a partner dying only to have family move in and strip the other person in the relationship of everything that they had jointly worked for. It seems that there is so much talk of marriage that is a religious ceremony that it is clouding the real issue here. As a gay man in a long term relationship, all I want to do is protect my partner in the ways that “marriage” protects a straight couple. We work hard, we pay taxes, and together we add to society as much as anyone else does. It is time that we were afforded the same entitlements that come with a ‘marriage’, be it a religious ceremony, or a civil ceremony.