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For most couples, marriage licenses are not a hard thing to come by. A simple blood test, some mild red tape, and a few signatures are all that is needed. But for Craig Dean and Patrick Gill, being gay has presented a major obstacle to their goal of a legal and binding marriage. Dean and Gill shared their experiences of trying to obtain a marriage license in Washington, D.C. before an audience of 60 people at Bennett Hall Friday evening. The speakers were sponsored by the Lesbian and Gay Graduate and Professional Students Association and Delaware Valley Couples, an organization unaffiliated with the University. Currently, gay and lesbian marriages are only legally binding in Denmark and two cities in the Netherlands, according to Dean and Gill. After their application was rejected last November, Dean and Gill decided to seek legal recourse. They filed suit in Washington's Superior Court to have gay and lesbian marriages legalized, and have been fighting the legal battle ever since. Washington law does not specifically prohibit same-sex marriages, but there has never been a precendent to press the wording of the law. "We'd like to see D.C. become the new gay Las Vegas," stated Dean. "With a foothold [in Washington], perhaps other jurisdictions will follow suit." Although Dean and Gill are trying to set a precedent, many in the gay and lesbian legal communities -- including the American Civil Liberties Union's Gay and Lesbian Project -- are not supporting the couple's suit. "Some people feel the fight [towards equal rights] should just be fought a little bit differently," said attorney Michael Greenberg, who also spoke at the seminar. But Dean and Gill backed their stance Friday, saying that gays should be able to enjoy the legal advantages of marriage, such as being able to file joint tax returns. "Civil rights, such as being able to get married, are things that everyone should have," said Gill. "I grew up saying 'liberty and justice for all,' not 'just straight people,' " The audience seemed pleased with the speakers, but some said they were a little distraught over some of what the couple said. "I think it's really good they came, yet it's a little disappointing that they haven't had more support from the gay and lesbian communities," LG-GAPSA co-chair Brian Crane said Friday night. "Speaking for a couples organization with just under 100 people, we were shocked and deeply disturbed to learn that different areas of the gay community are not supportive of what Pat and Craig are doing," added Delaware Valley Couples board member Nelson Sonders.

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