1. A legal union of 2 human beings REGARDLESS OF GENDER that provides security and stability for that relationship and promotes health and longevity for people in that union as reported through studies. Despite the ranting of religious fanatics who insist otherwise, marriage is not a religious institution. The concept of marriage existed way long before christianity itself. The marriage license is issued by a civil authority not a religious one. It is a civil court, not the church, that enforces the rights of those in the union during the marriage. As it is a group of lawyers through a civil court that dissolves the union and not the church. As such, it is a civil invention that does not require religious rituals to make it legal. People do not need a church to be married but they do need a license from the state for it to be legally recognized and valid! Marriage is not specifically about rearing children either. If it was, heterosexual couples would be required by the state to have a fertility test before getting a license and those that didn't pass it would be denied. That's not the case anywhere. Further, not all married people want children.
The definition of marriage is no longer restricted to one man and woman. It was redefined NOT by "activist" judges in Massachusetts but rather in Europe by the Netherlands which has extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. That definition has been accepted by other first world countries such as Belgium, Spain and Canada. The genie is out of the bottle and no rantings by thick-headed religious extremists will ever put it back! We live in a global economy and by extention also live in a global society. We do not live in a vacuum! Sticking your head in the sand or up your ass to deny that truth won't change it either or make it go away. Isolationism ended for the USA after WWI. Only fools live as if it hasn't.
All these countries have had legalized gay marriage for years and all the predictions of chaos and the destruction of civilzation have not come to pass. In Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal since May 2004, the sky hasn't fallen and heterosexual marriage is as strong as ever. The lies and illogical exaggerations of extremists have proven themselves to be just that. Nothing but lies meant to promote hysteria, prejudice and hatred. Extremist groups try to come up with trumped up statistics from abroad to prove otherwise, but no legitimate source can prove a direct link between their claims and the effect of gay marriage on society. In fact, gay people who are legally married to each other in Massachusetts or those countries that recognize such marriages are transparent to heterosexual couples. You wouldn't even realize you're standing next to a couple that is legally recognized as married somewhere in the world. As such, how can that impact your marriage?
Massachusetts has one of the lowest levels of divorce in the nation while many states that enacted constitional amendments against gay marriage have the highest divorce rates!
The allegations that chaos would ensue if gay marriage were allowed to spread to other states that don't recognize it is also another bunch of bullshit! Currently 26 states recognize marriage between first cousins. Some of those states only do so if the couple doesn't have children. But that isn't causing chaos in the 24 states that don't recognize such marriages or making the children in such marriages illegitimate is it? Further, 16 states recognize common-law marriage between heterosexual couples while 34 states do not. Yet none of these non-traditional forms of marriage have devalued heterosexual marriage in anyway despite their recognition in only a handful of states. Neither have they caused chaos. They are in fact, transparent to most people who are in traditional heterosexual marriages as are those who are in gay marriages or civil unions.
As for saying that a gay person can currently get married to someone as long as it's someone of the opposite sex... that is about as hollow, callous and useless an alternative to a gay person as saying to a christian that they can worship freely as long as they only worship allah or buddah instead of Jesus!
2. A civil right unfairly denied to two people of the same gender in most places in the United States. Even if you call it a civil union, it would still lack protections at the Federal Level because of DOMA (So-called Defense of Marriage Act) which won't allow recognition of same-sex marriage or the benefits of marriage. A fair compromise would be to pass a federal bill recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples across the USA that grants all the rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage allowing people that don't like using the word marriage for gay couples to keep it. But of course irrational right-wing extremists will have none of it thinking they can force the issue to go away by forcing through Constitutional Amendments that would deny gay people the right to any form of legal recognition of their relationships.
Further, it is unprecedented in the history of civil rights that such social issues be voted upon at the ballot box as a way to bypass court decisions or legislative and executive actions that would legalize gay unions. It is a bullshit premise to call such a vote democracy. People did not have a direct vote to decide who would be granted freedom of religion. If they had, christianity may have been the only religion permitted in this country today. Jews, Muslims and Hindus would have no such rights.
The racist white majorities of past centuries did not have a vote on slavery, racial integregation or extending civil rights to racial minorities through a direct ballot vote. Yet why wasn't that a democratic right given how profoudly these issue impacted society then? The right of Rosa Parks to ride the bus and sit where she wanted was not decided by a direct democratic vote of the people of Alabama but by what was then labeled an "activist" court of judges on the Supreme Court. An end to school segregation was also decided by the Supreme Court and not put to a direct vote by a white majority that was highly against it.
Interracial marriage was also declared a constitutional right by the Supreme Court of the US despite the fact that states had laws prohibiting it and many people were against it and some still are. It wasn't put up to a democratic vote by the people despite how radical a concept that was back then to most people.
It is therefore obnoxious, unprecedented, condescending and insulting to gay Americans that they should be treated as children or animals and have their civil rights provided or denied by the whims of an often prejudiced majority. Courts were setup to protect the rights of the minority from such prejudices and whims and establish an equal playing field for all. To abandon those principles now weakens our democracy and what makes America better than most countries in the world.
Further, if you allow the masses to decide the issue of who can get legally married through a ballot initiative you open the Pandra's box to have the general public vote on all social issues from now on. That includes abortion, your right to privacy, your right to die, your right to bear arms and so forth. Voters and not a spouse would decide whether someone like Terri Schiavo's husband could let her die. A private family matter becomes the business of everyone. There is no end to it and prevailing social prejudices will impact your lives in all such matters.
Marriage is a civil right not an exclusive religious right.
Loud-mouth right-wing extremists consistently make up lies about gay marriage that are proven false everyday such marriages are legal.
Right-Wing extremists relentlessly try to destroy the marriages of gay couples through constitutional amendments. Try waking up one day after being legally married for several years to find out people have voted to dissolve your marriage and see how you feel about it! Real people, real lives, real impact on them!
Christians care more about preventing the recongition of all gay relationships and the security and stability that recognition provides such couples than they care about defining marriage or the truth.
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