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Gay marriage more symbolic than practical

Latest update : 2008-06-19

As gays line up to be married in California, many recognise that their marriage is more symbolic than practical. The US federal government does not recognise gay marriage thus preventing couples from many legal benefits.

 

Becoming wife and wife or husband and husband is now possible for Californians as well as out of state or foreign couples coming to the Golden State. And doing so can bring about certain changes but not at every level according to Tom Davis and Matthew Stroud: “where it says wife, I’m going to cross it out and put spouse” says Tom, while Matthew adds: “he’s a little bit more aggressive than I am. For example, our federal income tax we will still have to file as single.”

 

Tom and Mathew, together for 30  years, came from Texas where their union will not be recognized but they’re not doing it for the paperwork as Tom states: “It’s true that it’s not legal when we go back home but it means something to us and to our family and to our friends.” 

 

Many out here are calling it a powerful symbol as same sex couples line up to get hitched. But these ceremonies will not solve all their problems. Leo for instance has no papers. He is Mexican but his union with an American man will not get him citizenship which saddens him: “We would be even happier if we really had the same rights as straight couples.”

 

Leo’s status won’t change because the document him and his husband are handed has no value at the federal level. Jenni Pizer isn’t done with this legal battle...she is one of the lawyers who defended the same sex wedding case in front of the California Supreme Court  and she is already looking ahead: “I think that the example of California will help persuade other states that it’s time to be fair to and respect their gay and lesbian residents. And, when enough states have changed, then we will see this important change at the federal level.”

 

In six months Californians will vote to ratify or cancel this new law. So far polls show a small majority of them are in favor of it.

 

Date created : 2008-06-19

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