To Tom Furlong (Letters, "Defining marriage," April 21, 2010, Gazette) and other similar self-proclaimed "authorities" on law, our Constitution, human rights and where gays fit into all this:
Gay couples do not already have the same rights as other couples, even in a legal or civil union, because most jurisdictions don't recognize those unions, even when legally contracted and validated in another jurisdiction which does recognize them. As long as this gray legal area exists, there will be problems with probating wills, enforcing living wills, recognition by hospitals, banks etc. of durable power of attorney, especially when contested by so-called "family members."
The "family" may have detested and ignored "Uncle Jim" when he was alive and well, but now are bound and determined that "Uncle Jack," after many years of committed relationship and all that caregiving while Jim was in the hospital, won't be able to keep the jointly owned house and bank accounts! Yes, it still happens, and it happens a lot.
Mr. Furlong, I suggest you spend your energies worrying less about whether gay people are allowed to marry each other " I will absolutely guarantee that none of us are planning to try to marry you " and worry more about how just anyone is allowed to raise children, ignore them, fail to educate them, feed them junk food and expose them to secondhand smoke, simply because they have been able to mate with a member of the opposite sex and produce said children!
Gay people trying to get legal status for a committed relationship isn't endangering anything. That's not what's fueling the drug trade and destroying our educational system, but uncontrolled reproduction and exceptionally poor parenting share a huge responsibility for many of our biggest problems as a society.