My wife (or husband, if that’s your thing) and I are legally married in all places it’s recognized because we did get a legal marriage certificate from MA — which we had to jump through several hoops and spend thousands of dollars to obtain (MA is far away from us, and legally you have to wait three days after applying in person for your license to even get married in the first place, and you must pay for an officiant or to have someone officially registered as your officiant - all in all, it was expensive). We receive no State or Federal benefits from it - it was just a statement, and perhaps a failsafe in case same-sex marriage is ever retroactively granted rights, especially on a Federal level (it currently isn’t in ANY States).
However, same-sex couples who don’t have the right to marry in their States or haven’t been legally married in another state but want to call themselves married, or have a small ceremony, or a civil union, or anything else have just as much right to be called “married” or “husband/wife” or recognized as a married couple. It’s not like straight couples and they simply choose to not marry, in many cases they absolutely can’t, so that’s the only way that they can have semblance of it. I’ve known straight couples who have been together a few months and go to the Courthouse to obtain a marriage license in a matter of minutes. I’ve also known same-sex couples who have been together for decades and have had small, private ceremonies to celebrate their marriage (but not civil unions, because they don’t believe in them or think they’re a second-class citizen treatment when you want marriage, which they are), but their peers still call them “friends” or “partners”, despite their insistence that they be treated like any other married couple, with the proper terminology… It makes me a little angry.
Everyone should have the right to be married. Just because a lot of people don’t have that right doesn’t make their “illegal” marriages any less valid. It just makes this country an asshole.