Chuck Levine and Larry Valentine are two veteran New York City fire fighters. Chuck is a bachelor and womanizer and Larry is a widower who tries to raise his two children. During a routine sweep of a burned building, a segment of floor collapses and Chuck almost dies. Larry eventually rescues Chuck by shielding him from the falling debris. As he and Larry are awaken at a hospital later, Chuck vows to repay his debt in any way possible. The incident prompts Larry to realize the fact that death can come for him at any moment, but he has difficulties naming his children as primary beneficiaries in his life insurance policy. One of the ways suggested for him to do so is to get married. Inspired by a newspaper article about domestic partnerships, Larry asks Chuck to enter a civil union with him. Although at first Chuck declines, he is reminded of his debt to Larry and finally agrees. Chuck and Larry become domestic partners and Chuck becomes Larry's primary beneficiary in the event of his death. Soon, New York City investigators arrive to inquire about their partnership, suspecting fraud. Chuck and Larry decide to enlist the help of a lawyer, Alex McDonough, who suggests that they get married. Chuck and Larry then marry in Canada and move in together.