Why should a gay couple have more rights than straights?
I don't think they should. But they should have the right to have comparable partnerships. They'd been living together for a long time; they most likely would have wanted to have their partnership be legally recognized had it not been outlawed or up in the air.
Given the knowledge that they weren't protected by law, they should certainly have made arrangements in their 20 plus years together concerning ownership of property at least, unless they were woefully ignorant of the status of gays in legal terms.
That's the thing, they did, for the most part:
Again, remember that they ""
However, evidently it wasn't enough for whichever bureaucrat who decided to separate them and auction off their property; would the judge have been able to portray Clay as Harold's "roommate" had they had a more legally recognized partnership? Would visitation rights be denied as well? I don't think it would have been as likely.