The Gay Marriage Amendment is rearing its (to me ugly) head again, trumpeting itself as the “protection” of marriage although anyone who lives in a major American city – even a red state one like Atlanta or Dallas – knows that gay marriage already exists in large measure. We have seen the ceremonies in public parks, churches and synagogues; know couples among our friends and family. We have for most or all of our adult lives. It is also here to stay in some form or other (since it has always been here anyway). But with all that, marriage itself does not appear in any particular jeopardy – at least no more than it always has been.
The other aspect of the “protection” argument – that we are on a slippery slope to all manner of marriage desecration like polygamy – strikes me as seriously disingenuous. All the gay marriages (or civil unions) I know have taken place between two consenting adults. With the exception of a handful of pathetic renegade Mormons, inherently unequal polygamy is not on anybody’s immediate dance card, at least outside the Islamic world. So the beef against gay marriage is a stew of subconscious psychological forces that I won’t name (because you already know what I think and I don’t want to be rude), crass politics and traditional religious values. The latter deserve to be respected, but I would ask those religious people a simple question. This country was founded on a doctrine of toleration allowing oppressed faiths and minorities to live in peace and equality. Why do you not extend the same benevolence to your gay brother and sisters?
(Btw, I am unimpressed with the state rights/federal rights/full faith and credit arguments on this issue. When it comes to marriage in our peripatetic society, we’re all in this together, I’m afraid.)