Gay people live in 50 Americas

Published: March 21, 2013

Editor’s note: John D. Sutter is a human rights and social change columnist for CNN Opinion. E-mail him at CTL@CNN.com or follow him on Twitter (@jdsutter), Facebook or Google+.

(CNN) — Three years ago, when Scott Hamilton moved from New York to Oklahoma for work, his marriage, and all the rights that went with it, dissolved in the transition.

That’s because Oklahoma — a deeply conservative place — is one of 38 states that bans marriages between same-sex couples.

To make the move, Hamilton, 52, and his husband, Wayne Johnson, 59, who got married in Connecticut in 2009 and have been together since 1991, had to come to grips with the fact their relationship would no longer matter under the eyes of the law. They had to redo their wills and create new trusts to ensure their assets would be passed smoothly if one of them were to die.

If they were put into long-term care in Oklahoma, he said, the men would have to occupy separate rooms. They must file their taxes separately. And it’s almost impossible for them to use the word "husband" without comment.

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