In response to Michael Heath’s March 29 Maine Voices column (“‘There can be no moral or legal right’ for same-sex marriage”‘): One of my favorite parts of a wedding is the best man’s speech.

Sometimes they’re hilarious; often they’re a little awkward. Sometimes they bring down the house, leaving not a dry eye in the place.

The best man’s speech I gave at my brother Bobby’s wedding may be the only time I’ve ever seen him — the older brother I grew up idolizing, the Army major just back from his first Iraq tour and only three months shy of his second — well up with emotion. I’ll never forget the joy our entire family felt that day, nor the bond I felt with my brother.

When a groom asks his friend or brother or father to stand with him on one of the biggest days of his life, he’s asking them to bear witness, to support him, to lift him up and to celebrate the joy of the day.

That is true for all couples who have made a lifelong commitment to each other, a commitment built upon love, mutual respect and dignity. It is no less true for the tens of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples living in Maine.

This fall, Maine voters will be asked to share the joy and responsibility of marriage with same-sex couples who want to honor the institution by joining it. Earlier this year, thousands of volunteers helped to collect more than 105,000 signatures to place a question on November’s ballot. They collected those signatures in more than 450 towns, while having one-on-one, personal conversations with tens of thousands of Mainers.

Last week, supporters of marriage created Mainers United for Marriage to lead the campaign, which will ask voters to allow same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses while also safeguarding the religious freedom of churches that oppose the practice.

As we have talked to more than 50,000 Mainers about marriage, the message we’ve heard over and over is that same-sex couples want to get married for the same reasons as other couples. They want to commit to spending the rest of their lives with the person they love while standing in front of friends and family.

I’ll never forget that day when my brother got married. It’s time that the friends and family of committed same-sex couples can have a day like that, too.

– Matt McTighe is the campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage.