I am a student at the University of Southern Maine and a resident of Portland. Marriage has been a strong tradition in my family, and so Question 1 on November’s ballot is something very near and dear to me.

I am lucky enough to have two wonderful men in my life, my uncles, Chuck and Roger. They’ve been living together as a family for more than 20 years, and have raised two wonderful daughters together.

Several years ago, my uncle Chuck was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. He had to have blood transfusions and was often quite ill.

Watching the way Roger has stuck by his side through the years, in sickness and in health, especially when we weren’t sure if Chuck would make it through – that, to me, is the ultimate testament to love and devotion.

Knowing that loving couples like Chuck and Roger are not able to be married the way my parents were married breaks my heart – because I know their loving bond with each other is no different from anyone else’s.

Although they have been together for a very long time, I know being able to finally be married would mean so much to them, and to my family.

I urge everyone who reads this to consider how important marriage is for families like mine, and to vote “yes” on Question 1 this year.