07/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

I Now Pronounce You A and B

There was a lot of celebrating in California during the last week as gay and lesbian couples could finally get married legally. There's still the threat of a ballot measure in November to bar future weddings, and being identified as "Party A" and "Party B" may not be the most romantic way to be identified as spouses; but I know a lot of happy couples who could become "official" and get married.

I thought it was nice and sweet that couples who had been together for years or decades could finally share in a ceremony so many of us take for granted.

But, for the newly-married couples, there is ecstasy about some of the most-basic rights about some of life's most mundane activities.

Here are some of the stories I've heard in the last few days:

DB: "Our auto insurance company would not provide me with any information on our policy, even though we are both on it, and it's charged monthly to my credit card. We had to execute and send in a special power of attorney just so I could get information on our coverage."

HN: "More than one friend has died and his parents have come in, taken the body and refused the partner access to the funerals. This happens more than you can possibly believe."

WP: "Just to see your partner in the hospital can become a nightmare of huge proportions. Depending on the hospital and the person helping you, you are often sent home to get copies of any power of attorney docs, wills or proof of domestic partnership registry (in CA). A friend of mine actually had his partner die while he rushed home to get the paperwork."

GL: "Since the federal government won't recognize our marriage, we still don't receive the over 1,100 rights and protections provided. Now that we're married we're hoping we can receive health coverage from one of our employers that is the same as they provide straight married partners. And we're hoping that inheritance rights apply to us. We know we can't get spousal Social Security since that is federal. But as long as we stay in states where we're legal, can't be denied sharing a room in an elder care facility."

JR: "We decided we didn't want children, but if we did we could now legally become a stepparent. Gay and lesbian couples routinely are denied adoption privileges."

DN: "Twenty-six years ago, we committed to a lifetime together. We've been through all the ups and downs, good times and bad that any couple experiences after decades together. While nothing will change in that commitment, just hearing the judge read the words, "to love and honor, through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer...,' had such a profound effect on me. It truly brought us to the highest level possible. We are married. It validated our relationship after all these years."

And my favorite:

DD: "We now have legal responsibility for each other. That's major."

Congratulations to the newlyweds. That's major.

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