With the decision not to give slain police officer Lois Marrero?s pension to her companion of 10 years, the recognition of same-sex marriages has again become a visible issue in Florida. Florida, and the rest of the nation, should recognize same-sex marriages as legal and binding so that all people can be afforded equal rights.
Gay and lesbian couples have always had a difficult time earning equal rights and treatment, but something as simple as marriage should not be denied to them. These couples are capable of love and the same agreements that bind a heterosexual couple at marriage. Same-sex couples love, honor and cherish their spouses just as much as anyone else does.
In fact, had Florida recognized Marrero?s and her companion Mickie Mashburn?s marriage, the question of who should get Marrero?s pension would not have been an issue. Had they been married, Mashburn would have been legally entitled to the pension.
The rumor that Marrero was secretly married to another woman in 2000 would not have been an issue either. Had Marrero been already married, she would have needed to get a divorce. Had there been a divorce and a remarriage, the new wife would have gotten the pension.
Instead, bitter legal battles ensued between Marrero?s family, who wanted the pension of $28,000 a year to go to her estate, and Mashburn, with Marrero?s family being awarded the pension Tuesday.
However, because Florida refuses to acknowledge same-sex unions, issues such as this will continue to grow as the gay and lesbian population continues to exchange vows. Florida, and the rest of the country, should legally recognize and bestow all rights and privileges (such as tax breaks) to same-sex married couples.