Gay couples vow for marriage

By Leila Fadel

Kate Swope, a senior psychology major, and Lauren Giordano, a senior Criminal Justice major, have been in a committed relationship for two and a half years. They met the last week of their freshman year and the chemistry was automatic. They now embark on their senior year at Northeastern University together.

“We’re very happy together now and I can see myself with her for a long time,” Swop said of Giordano.

At 22-years-old, marriage is the last thing on Swope’s mind but, unlike other young adults, when she finally decides to settle down she might not have the option to marry her partner.

“I always think that I’m 22 and at 30 when I’d like to get married it will be legal,” Swope said. “That’s what I’m holding out for but I don’t think it will happen soon.”

Currently same sex marriages are illegal in every state. Two years ago the state of Vermont legalized Civil Unions, which guaranteed committed gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. Massachusetts has had massive resistance to the legalization of civil unions or same sex marriage in the Commonwealth.

Seven gay and lesbian couples sued to overturn Massachusetts’ ban on same-sex marriage last year. In May they left the Suffolk Superior Court, denied the rights they had sued for.

Groups like Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage publicly denounce same-sex marriage as a threat to the sanctity of the institution. The group has petitioned to include a referendum on the ballot in 2004 that states: “Only the union of one man and one woman shall be recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts.”

Swope sees the resistance to her right to be married as a violation of civil rights that all people should be concerned with.

“Even for people who aren’t gay, lesbian or transsexual this is a very important thing,” Swope said. “It’s about getting your rights. I know my straight friends are outraged.”

Giordano feels that the new generation, her generation and the generation to follow will be the force of change.

“It’s going to take 10 or 15 years for [same-sex marriage to be legal],” Giordano said. “The majority that votes the most now are the elderly but when we are more active voters then things will change. Two-thirds of high schools in New England have Gay Straight Alliances.”

While Swope romanticizes about the perfect wedding day that comes with benefits included, other students feel that it is the legal issues that matter most, not the terminology.

“For me it’s the legal aspect of marriage that matters,” Andy Hay, middler communications major said. “If you’re in a committed relationship you should have access to the health benefits, tax breaks and protection that marriage has.”

While the Commonwealth still bans same-sex marriage, students keep their hopes up that the time will come when they can have a wedding day.

“I’d like my wedding to mean just as much as any wedding in my family,” Swope said. “At 22, things aren’t as hard because most of my friends have boyfriends or girlfriends, but in 10 years they’ll be partnered off and married with kids, I want that too.”

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