Gay couples want legal rights, regardless of marriage

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Washington, June 2 (ANI): Despite the absence of right to marry, gay and lesbian couples are forming long-term and committed relationships, suggests a new US study.

However, they would get married if they could in order to secure legal rights - such as retirement and healthcare benefits.

The study found that, because these gay and lesbian couples could not marry in their state, there was no defining moment demarcating when they became "committed" in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.

Instead, their commitment revealed itself over time, with different people having different ideas as to when a relationship became "committed."

"Our study indicates that marriage is both more and less important to gay and lesbian couples in long-term relationships than was perhaps previously understood - more important in terms of the legal rights it conveys, but less important as a symbol of commitment," said study co-author Dr. Sinikka Elliott, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at NC State.

"This research underscores the need for legal protections and rights for all couples," Elliott added.

The study showed that homosexual couples would get married if they could in order to secure legal rights - such as retirement and healthcare benefits.

"The majority of the couples in the study said they would get married in order to gain legal rights but downplayed the symbolic value of marriage, because they were already in stable, committed relationships," Elliott said.

One respondent in the study said, "What [our relationship] means to us, in our hearts and in our heads, I don't think it would be any different" if we got married.

However, the respondent added that getting married would make life easier, explaining, "as it is now, we have to go outside to get medical power of attorney...and so for the legality of things, I would like to marry." (ANI)

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