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Gay Marriage: I want to Marry my Girlfriend

Where Can I Marry my Lesbian Partner?

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I receive lots of letters from people inquiring about gay marriage and where they can legally wed. Lesbians and gays want to know where they can get married and have the same rights as heterosexuals. Christina's letter is typical:

I live in South Carolina and my girlfriend and I of four years are planning to get married in the next year. I was wondering what state I could go to get married and it be legal in South Carolina as well. Everything I found stated that if you weren't a resident you weren't legal any where else. I was wondering about marriage, and civil unions. We just want to be legal and have the rights that everyone has and I can't seem to find out where we can do this at and still be recognized legally as married in South Carolina. Could you please help???

Thanks so much,

Desperate for answers

Dear Desperate:

Unfortunately, I don't have good news for you. Gay marriage is only legal in one state in the United States now: Massachusetts. Vermont, California, Connecticut and New Jersey offer some legal protections to gays and lesbians via civil unions.

You're not alone in "just wanting to have the same rights that everyone has." But the hard truth is, gays and lesbians do NOT have the same rights as everyone else. Even if you are legally married in Massachusetts, it WILL NOT be recognized in South Carolina, or any other state, for that matter.

The simple fact is, gays and lesbians do not have the same rights as everybody else. As a matter of fact, you can be fired from your job because you are gay or lesbian and it is PERFECTLY LEGAL in most states. That's right, you cannot be discriminated against in employment because of your race, sex, religion, marital status, country of origin or disability, but you can be for your sexual orientation or gender identity. You can be kicked out of your housing because you are gay and it is PERFECTLY LEGAL in most states. Gays and lesbians cannot even adopt children in Florida or serve openly in the United States Military.

So, what can you do?

  • The first thing you can do is talk about it. If you didn't know that gays and lesbians didn't have these rights, do you think your straight friends and family members do? Tell them. Point out to them how the very basic things they take for granted are denied to you.
  • You can get involved in groups that work for gay and lesbian rights and equality. Check out my top Lesbian Organizations.
  • Find a local group to get involved with. Since many of the gains for gays and lesbians will take place on the local and state level, find out what groups in your area are working for gay and lesbian rights. Write to your state representatives and ask them what they are doing for gay and lesbian rights in your state. You can be assured they are hearing from people who oppose gay rights!
  • Don't give up hope! Social change takes time and effort. Think of the fight for women to get the right to vote. While it may seem like a no-brainer now, it was only 85 years ago that the 19th Amendment was passed, granting women the right to vote.
  • Not good enough for you? Here is a list of countries where gays and lesbians can get legally married. You can look into emigrating.
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