Gay couples deserve to have benefits of marriage

I am in support of marriage equality.

I am a licensed psychologist, registered nurse, ecumenical church board president, and have gay clients, friends and family members.

I had two gay friends, longtime partners. One was admitted to the intensive care unit fighting for his life. The other was forbidden to visit and make medical decisions for his partner because he was not family. Imagine someone else, such as a parent who has disowned you, making plans for your critical treatment. It is their experience and my belief in the highest quality of life for all people that compel me to support same-sex marriage.

Marriage will give same-sex couples the same economic security, protections and peace of mind that are enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

These state and federal benefits include:

* The ability to visit or make medical decisions for an ill or incapacitated partner.

* Access to employer-provided health and retirement benefits.

* Bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child.

* Children’s access to health benefits and inheritance from both parents.

* Children’s right to maintain a relationship with the nonbiological/adoptive parent in the event of the death of the other parent.

* Joint insurance policies for home, auto and health.

* Access to partner’s coverage under Medicare and Social Security.

* Ability to sponsor one’s partner for immigration.

I want those who now enjoy a legal marriage to imagine not having these benefits. Unthinkable, right?

Virginia T. Cantorna