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The gay marriage debate is a gay rights issue because preventing gay people from marrying sets them aside from mainstream society. Refusing to allow gay couples the right to marry is an acknowledgement that gay couples are not in the same sort of relationships as heterosexual couples, and gives a message that gays and lesbians are not capable of forming a regular family unit.
Gay rights activists argue that refusing to allow gay couples to marry is equal to refusing to let any other minority marry – discriminating by withholding common rights. Marriage not only provides financial and social benefits and security, it is a traditional way of recognizing family attachment in cultures.