Just The Facts
Why do gay and lesbian couples want to get married?
For similar reasons as anyone who wants to marry. To stand in front of friends and family to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love. To share the joys and the sorrows that life brings. To be a family, and to be able to protect that family.
How would gay and lesbian couples marry?
All couples who marry get a civil marriage through a license, usually obtained at a courthouse or City Hall. States could make civil marriage available to same-sex couples.
Does civil marriage for gay couples affect churches or other religious institutions?
No. It does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No religion would be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriage within the context of their religious beliefs.
Aren’t there other alternatives to marriage for gay and lesbian couples?
There have been attempts to create marriage-like relationships, but they don’t work. For example, Domestic Partnership and Civil Union laws still don’t qualify a spouse or children for health care coverage that employers only extend through marriage. If a loved one is sick and needs to take time off from work, same-sex couples are not eligible for family leave.
Does this change the definition of marriage?
No. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not change the meaning of marriage. It simply allows same-sex couples to marry the person they love, to establish and protect a family and to make a lifetime commitment in the same way that other couples are able to.
Why start this conversation now?
The single most important action Mainers can take to build support for marriage for gay and lesbian couples is having conversations with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors – anyone who will listen – about why the freedom to marry matters to them. Don’t assume they know how you feel about it – have the conversation.