Those people have to be given the possibility to legalize their relationships.
As the relationship between gays and lesbians don't have any legal definition, and they aren't regulated by the government, those couples are left to se the parameters of their partnership by themselves, which sometimes has negative consequences, as Dorothy Pomerantz notes in her article about the legalization of the same-sex marriages published in The Advocate in 2000.1
Marriage has always been an important institution in the American society, as after tying the knot two people became able to make important decisions for each other, and the share the common responsibilities. For the U.S citizens marriage means that two people decided to share their money, resources, and responsibilities as well as their bed, a legal commitment made to the society.
Almost any man and any woman in our country can register a marriage, despite of their age, social status, or their feelings towards each other. The few things that are needed to register an official union is being the representatives of the different genders, and being more or less mentally healthy. In the same time, two people who love each other, and want to share their lives, and, maybe, raise children together, are deprived of the possibility to legalize those intentions just because they are of the same gender. Eric Stoltz, the author of the article about Proposition 22, a law project that banned recognition of the same sex marriages in California, writes:
I could, for example, fly to Las Vegas tonight, wed a prostitute in a drunken stupor, and return to Los Angeles tomorrow morning to have my marriage fully recognized by the law and society. Fifty women can vie on national television to marry a man they've never met for his money, and that union would be recognized by the state. Any man can marry a woman for her looks in a cynical but legally sanctioned form of concubinage, and that union would enjoy all the rights and privileges of marriage. But if two people of the same sex want to establish rights of inheritance or become legally empowered to make health-care decisions for one another, we are now told that the entire structure of Western civilization will come crashing down. (Commonweal, 2000).2
And, in fact, the situation indeed looks like it. The persuasion that marriage should be a union, which only the representatives of two different genders can enter, is a social norm that was established thousands of years ago, when people created families as they needed to unite in order to survive, and bring their children up. The social roles in the primitive society were very well-defined - men had to bring food, and women were to raise kids and maintain fire, thus such a union was perfectly justified (Sullivan, 2004). 3
As thousands of years passed after people left the caves, the distribution of social roles has changed. Today both men and women can be the breadwinners in the family, the same as both members of the family can stay home to care for the kids. The necessity in the different-gender unity nowadays is much weaker than it had been when this social norm was first formed.