In answer to the controversy swirling around the issue of Gay marriage, Robert Murch and Gary Halteman have launched Civil Marriage | Civil Right, a website dedicated to protecting and preserving the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage in the state of Massachusetts by offering a more heartfelt and traditional perspective on the issue.
Civil Marriage | Civil Right humanizes this polarizing issue by offering visitors a glimpse into Murch and Halteman’s wedding and how their marriage shares much in common with those shared by heterosexuals. The couple has publicized their long-private struggle in order to reach out to those who oppose same-sex marriage and offer encouragement to those who support it. The Website is modeled after Murch and Halteman’s own wedding invitation and offers the unique perspective of the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Salem, Massachusetts. By personalizing same-sex marriage the Web site attempts to transform this issue from a divisive political wedge issue into a rite of passage that represents an important emotional and legal milestone in the lives of both gay and straight couples. Murch and Halteman hope to begin conversations that emphasize how this issue affects not only gay people, but their families and loved ones as well.
Civil Marriage | Civil Right is the first step in Murch and Halteman’s campaign to protect civil marriage as a civil right. Challenging state legislators to acknowledge the real-life couples that same-sex marriage actually affect, Murch and Halteman plan to present each member of the 2005 – 2006 Massachusetts State Legislature with an info packet containing an invitation to civilmarriagecivilright.com, a letter from the couple, a slideshow DVD of their wedding day on May 17, 2004, a copy of their marriage license, and relevant news articles.