These Men Have Been Together for 50 Years. Now They’re Asking Ohio to Let Them Marry.

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Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
July 30 2014 12:12 PM

These Two Men Have Been Together for 50 Years. Now They’re Asking Ohio to Let Them Marry.

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Marriage equality has not yet come to gay couples in Ohio, unless you want to include your same-sex partner on your death certificate. Henry and George, a gay couple who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, are hoping to change that.

Because the gay marriage question is now firmly in the hands of the judiciary, “Henry and George” serves less as a campaign ad and more as a public service announcement. It comes at a good time, too. Anti-gay conservatives are currently doubling down on their claim that the modern definition of marriage—a loving, supportive, emotional attachment between two people for life—is unstable and “incoherent.” To their minds, a marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, because true marriage must involve penile-vaginal penetration. Without that specific form of intercourse, anti-gay activists insist, a same-sex marriage is really just “graphically misshapen” friendship.

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Nothing about Henry and George’s 50-year union strikes me as “graphically misshapen,” and calling that union a marriage doesn’t seem particularly incoherent. In fact, these two men strike me as excellent role models for anybody, gay or straight, who hopes to devote their life to one other person. And I suspect a majority of Ohioans—and Americans—would agree with me.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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