Marriage is a social institution that brings many privileges, not least of which is the financial aspect. The governments of most countries offer tax breaks to married couples, as well as recognition of dependents in welfare systems. Marriage also ensures next-of-kin rights if one partner is incapacitated or dies, property rights and affects some parenting rights.
Marriage also has important social aspects. Marriage is traditionally a public recognition of a couple's commitment to each other, and their acceptance as a family unit into society. Preventing gay couples from marrying is seen as a way of separating gay people from mainstream society – the exchanging of pride rings would ensure a gay couple's place in society. The issue does not just affect homosexuals. Transgender people can be prevented from marrying the person of their choice, if that person is the same sex as the transgender person's birth sex.
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