At the moment they do not have the right to get married.
What that means is, when it comes to making claims on Superannuation, other assets etc they have to prove the relationship. This is the same with any defacto couple whether same sex or not.
Being married the authorities rely on that certificate and family members that do not like the partner cannot make their life difficult if the other partner dies.
Also marriage is a commitment. You cannot simply walk away. In order to end it you need a court order. To be married the state acknowledges the relationship and you can walk into a hospital and have rights simply because you have a marriage certificate.
Defacto couples are recognised under the law and have the same rights when they separate as married couples. But when it comes to seeing your partner in hospital, making decisions for them as next of kin, etc a partner in a marriage only has to show the certificate. Defactos have an uphill battle particularly if the family of their partner want to keep them away. This does not apply just to same sex it is to all defactos.
The difference is heterosexual couples can choose to marry or not. Same sex do not have that option they can only be defactos.
So a right to be married allows them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
They cannot be shut out by their partners family as they can with defactos.
By allowing marriage the government is saying all people no matter what their sexual orientation is have the same rights. That is simply it.
As a solicitor I have seen horrible situations where the partner of the deceased is not included in the decisions of funerals etc with the family keeping them out, this would not happen if married because they do not have to fight hard to prove the relationship.
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