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So much discussion concerning the sanctity of marriage and how it applies to homosexuals. By default, marriage is the joining of a man and woman in a bond that is deemed holy and unbreakable by God, church, state, etc. By tradition, marriage is enjoyed by a man and a woman who are taken before another person who is given the authority to bind their names and property. This is the "standard" wedding that most every male/female couple can enjoy if they can afford it.

Now, we must take into account the fact that a large number of today's marriages fall apart in annullment, divorce, and separation. They either become non-existant, a chapter in someone's past, or a long-distance relationship on the rocks. The marriage loses it's sanctity and simply becomes an inconvenience to both the husband and the wife.

Because of these issues, marriage is no longer treated as what it's supposed to be: a loving bond between two people.

There is a lot of argument against same-gender couples partaking in the tradition of marriage. People forget that it's naught but a tradition, albeit a beautiful one. A true marriage begins in the hearts of the couple intending to bind themselves to each other. There can not be a functional bond between them without this important foundation. In this day, a couple consisting of two men or women can be just as well-matched as your standard heterosexual pair.

Should the issue of same-gender marriages end in the negative, one can simulate many of the effects of a legal marriage without ever participating in the ceremony involved. Unfortunately, this requires money and legal intervention, but it can be done. Names, property, and benefits can be adjusted to complete the simulation.

The long-term effects of marriage:
1) The changing of the last name.
2) The equal sharing of the property.
3) Medical and insurance benefits.
4) Provision for the living in case of death.

The first problem: the matching surnames. For a heterosexual oriented couple, the woman's name changes if she wishes once she is married. This is not the same for a homosexual couple in a place that disallows same-gender bonding. You can pay a visit, and a good amount of money, to a lawyer to get your name legally changed. For those who can afford to spend such an amount of cash, this is a viable option. It allows those who wish to share their names the chance to see that dream realized. The drawback to this option is that it requires the same amount of money to return the name to the original should things go sour in the end.

Equal sharing of property isn't quite as involved. You simply put yours and your significant other's name on the title/deed/receipt. Much easier than the surnames and it reflects the desire for shared responsibility. It requires financial investment to accomplish, but it provides for that need to share something material that many couples desire.

Medical benefits are incredibly difficult to manage. Most health insurance plans offered by employers don't allow for non-family members to join together without heavy financial penalties. This can be a discouragement to the prospective couple. It often requires an obscene amount of money to accomplish because it's intended to keep entire households of room mates from joining together on a single policy. Such an act increases the likelihood of defaulting on such a program and is, therefore, not allowed.

Should one of the couple die, things become sticky to say the least. Social security officials ensure that someone who is not related to another person by way of marriage or family ties is not capable of gaining the benefits of the deceased's hard labor. A same-gender couple who is not recognized won't find much sympathy with the government. The living member will most likely receive no benefits and suffer under the emotional and financial stress that follows such a turbulent event.

The only way for the deceased to provide for their loved one is to make a will. A legal will can ensure that property is not given away to surviving family members who might not approve of the pairing. Such an act might aid the living in the finances necessary to pay for funeral arrangements and lessen the negative impact the passing would have. While it might have a hefty price tag, a will is the best option to provide for the surviving loved one.

Until there is a definite affirmative to the issue, this is possibly the best (but by no means complete) list of options available to a struggling same-gender couple who wants to spend their lives together. It takes money and effort, but if the pair holds onto the belief that they can survive the struggle, it can be worth it.

In closing, the author would like to express her opinion that if a same-gender couple has the desire to work together in a marriage the same as any heterosexual couple, then they should be given that chance. Love is not dirty or disgusting, regardless of gender. There are so many people who throw the word around like confetti and don't take the time to fully realize what an honest, true love involves. Instead of arguing the point of what a marriage really is, why don't we give them our support and best wishes for the future? It's not that hard, really.

Just do the same thing you would do for a heterosexual couple: "Hey, I hope everything works out and you have a long and fulfilling life together."

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