A reader writes:

The specific situation where under-age people get married speaks directly to your point about the GLAD DOMA challenge: My home state of New Hampshire lets 13-year-old girls get married, if the kid's parents agree. Most other states set the threshold at 16, and a lot of people may find the idea of a 13-year-old girl marrying an older man distasteful - yet there's no DOMA provision discriminating against pre-adolescent marriage.

How is gay marriage different?

I'm assuming the question is rhetorical. But the answer is pretty simple: because gay adults have fewer rights in their relationships than 13-year old straights. Inmates on death row have more rights - they have an inviolable right to marry even if they will never be able to live with or even have sex with their spouse. The clinically insane have an inalienable right to marry. Larry King has the inalienable right to marry seven times to six different women. Suze Orman? Not so much. And the repercussions extend to social security [PDF] and over a thousand other federal benefits.

And that is entirely a deliberate message sent to gay citizens: you are anathema, and your families are worthless. Your own government will continue to treat you as if you did not exist.

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