Before reading this comment please understand that I have great respect for ALL, and if I seem blunt it is only because I wish to address the heart of the issue directly. Please understand that I'm not trying to hurt anyone. I just see a need to bring this issue back down to simple logic.
For me the simple end-all to the marriage argument is this: The egg is fertilized by the sperm.
The issue of government recognition of same-sex "marriages" is not one of civil rights, but rather one of legislative perspective.
First of all, let's clarify something: Marriage is different from Mating. Marriage is a religious institution. Mating is a natural phenomenon. Marriage was based on religious tenets at its inception. Mating is part of human nature, and is presumably instinctual. The right to mate is certainly inalienable. The issue is not whether individuals have the right to mate, it is whether government should continue to protect and support traditional marriage.
We must not lose sight of the fact that any legislation to benefit and protect marriage is legislation to benefit and protect government by investing in the promotion and protection of a beneficial religious institution. All governments have built in checks and balances, and the promotion of marriage is one of them.
The Government's Perspective:
Because the sperm fertilizes the egg, children cannot possibly be naturally created by a same sex couple. No amount of intimacy between two men or two women could possibly cause an egg to be fertilized. This is not an affront, but simple logic.
The ultimate goal of marriage, as it has been understood unilaterally for thousands of years, is to create children and provide a secure upbringing for them. The security of the married individuals has always been secondary to procreation.
The creation of children is paramount to the security and progress of government. Government, therefore, recognized marriage and provided incentives to promote marriage and the natural procreation of taxpayers.
From a legislative perspective, it is assumed that no government regulations need be applied for the creation of children in a marriage. Any benefits allowed to married couples are predicated on the assumption that marriages will most likely produce new (potentially voting and taxpaying) citizens for the government free of charge, and provide safe, stable homes for them to learn and grow in. It is assumed that children born into a marriage will likely become healthy, stable, rationally-minded individuals capable of giving back to their communities, at little or no cost to the government. Thus it is in the government's best interest to promote and invest in the religious institution of marriage. (This issue could also lead to a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of government relative to the individual. More on that in another forum.)
While same sex unions may provide emotional and financial security for the individuals involved, (and I do not in any way discount the importance of these,) they do not provide any degree of security for government. No new taxpayers are naturally produced by same sex unions.
Any arguments for or against same-sex "marriages" have arisen solely out of confusion on the innate purpose of Marriage.
I see no need for government to recognize same sex unions as "marriages". Government does protect the civil rights of citizens. Citizens have the right to live with and interact with whomever they wish. There is no federal law intended to qualify a homosexual individual as any different from any other individual. Marriage is a religious institution sponsored and adopted by government. Mating is a natural phenomenon that provides emotional, and often financial security for individuals. We must not confuse the two!
I am not familiar enough with the basic doctrines of any faith other than Christianity, and cannot therefore speak for other religions.
On the religious significance of Marriage, these tenets are, with few exceptions, generally upheld by Christian organizations:
-That God has ordained it
-That it is sacred
-That it protects the family - the basic unit of society
-That it is a covenant relationship under which man and woman are to procreate
-That it is to provide a secure upbringing for children born into that marriage
-That it is to provide for security and fidelity between a man and a woman
-That it requires the sacrifice of individual desires for the common good of the family
Homosexual individuals must understand that these principles are as dear to most christians as gender identity and sexual orientation are to homosexuals. Marriage constitutes one of the core doctrines of Christianity. To alter these tenets is to alter a sacred institution.
They must also understand that most Christian churches believe that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and offensive to God. By Christian doctrine Homosexual individuals are not inherently offensive or dangerous in any way. Christians already feel that their morals are compromised because homosexual conduct is perfectly legal. Christians do, however, recognize that this is a basic human right - the right to act in accordance with one's own conscience. Marriage as a sacred institution, however, is not necessarily a basic human right.
In the mind of most Christians, we have already come to a great compromise - Any individual can do as he pleases, as long as the action does not limit or violate another individual's human rights. Government already protects the right of homosexuals to do whatever they want together. It also protects the right of religions to define their own doctrines. Government recognition of same-sex unions as "marriages" would represent a great over-stepping of boundaries. Any government regulation or definition of religious institutions represents a compromise of religious freedom.
Religion must retain the right to define marriage. This is not an issue of hate or tyranny, or of civil rights or government involvement. It is an issue of respect for what is sacred to others. Let religions keep their sacred rites to themselves.