Same-sex couple makes statement

April 28, 2008 3:31:31 PM PDT
One couple on Long Island took a stand Monday on the issue of same-sex marriage.They want to change the law that forbids it, and say they won't leave the town clerk's office in Oyster Bay until they get a marriage license.

Eyewitness News reporter Lauren DeFranco has more.

The couple came to Town Hall to make their statement on same-sex marriage with dozens of supporters in tow. They were fully prepared to be arrested after refusing to leave the building following filing the application. However, police have only issued the couple a desk appearance for trespassing.

Dan Pinello and his partner, Lee Nissensohn, declared their love for one another Monday by applying for a marriage license. It was a request that would undoubtedly be denied.

"If you think of the markers in life, you have birth, graduation from high school, and you have marriage," Pinello said. "Lee and I have done the first two of those things. We've not been able to do the third of them."

The couple has been in a committed relationship, living together in Roslyn, for the past 13 years. Nissensohn is a dentist and Pinello a professor of government. They consider themselves like every other married couple in the neighborhood, but legally they are not.

"All of our neighbors are married," Pinello said. "We all pay the same taxes, state and local. They have all the protections that come from state government from paying those taxes and being married. We don't."

"There's health benefits, there's financial benefits, and just many legal aspects that as an unrecognized couple, you're not entitled to," Nissensohn said.

What the couple calls an act of civil disobedience is the result of two years of lobbying to push state lawmakers to vote for marriage equality.

"It's time that Republicans woke up and got into the 21st Century," supporter Vivian Stone said.