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Preventing gay couples from marrying is a form of social discrimination, just as the segregation of African-American people in buses was a form. Social discrimination is a difficult thing to prove legally, but the gay marriage issue is also about legal discrimination.
Marriage provides couples with tax breaks, inheritance entitlements and, perhaps most importantly, next-of-kin rights. Preventing gay people from accessing these legal rights is as tangible a discrimination as preventing women from voting. For couples that still frequently have to face rejection from families because of their sexuality, the granting of next-of-kin rights to partners is crucial in the event of illness or injury.