For gay couples, marriage is about rights and benefits, not the word

February 11, 2011

In response to the letter to the editor from J. Rogers ("Same-sex couples: Find another word than 'marriage,'" Feb. 10): I think that it's more than just a matter of what word to use.

According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, there are 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples. These government benefits are all constructed to recognize "married" couples. I believe that by not using the word "marriage," there could (would?) be legal challenges to allowing those benefits to couples who were joined by a word other than "marriage," such as by civil unions.

As someone who has been in a stable, committed same-sex relationship for over 25 years, it doesn't matter to me what "word" would allow us these same benefits. The important thing is that we able to enjoy the same benefits and protections as our legally married neighbors.

Robert Leininger, Baltimore

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