BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Governor David Paterson says legalizing gay marriage is asimportant now as ending slavery was in the 19th century.
Dave Batt and Michael Shanahan exchanged wedding vows nearly 14years ago.
But, because their marriage is not legally recognized,they're denied many civil protections like health care and pensionrights.
"If he gets sick and he has to go to the hospital, I have tohave special paperwork. Everything's gotta be done moreover. Wehave to hire attorneys to do things for us that are just taken forgranted in society," said Michael Shanahan.
Both men were married before, to women. Batt has two growndaughters.
"We've been working towards this for years. We feel that it'scoming closer and closer to the right time," said Dave Batt.
Dave and Michael met and had their marriage ceremony here at theUnitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. About 10% of the church's500 families are gay or lesbian and the pastor says he performsabout ten same-sex marriages a year.
"I'm pretty offended that other churches would presume to comeinto my church and tell my people who they can and can't marry,"said Rev. Joel Miller of Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo.
But a pastor from Evangel Assembly of God has a differentopinion.
"I feel like sometimes we look for special rights for peopleinstead of equal rights, and I feel this is actually asking forspecial rights," said Pastor Patrick Hilkey, of Evangel Assembly ofGod.
Batt thinks marriage equality is coming soon, "It's now, if it'snot now it's gonna be shortly. It's just a matter of time. Thingsare moving in that direction."
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