In the news media and in social media I’ve seen a lot of commentary about Biblical definitions of marriage. Well that’s all and good if you feel bound by Biblical definitions and rules. But let’s remember that in the United States we have this thing called “religious freedom” which means that not everyone feels bound by what it says in the Bible. We also have separation of church and state and since in all 50 states marriage is a civil union, Biblical definitions of marriage cannot be legally applied. If I am a pagan, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, an atheist, or even a not-so-devout Christian, you can’t force me to abide by the rules of your religion. If your religion forbids you from marrying someone of the same gender, then you either comply or become a heretic.
I’m married to a Catholic and I’m not Catholic. Never have been and probably never will be. I don’t even claim to be a Christian although I think Jesus had some really good (and radical) ideas. But anyway, in the eyes of the Church, we may not be married and have been living in sin for over 35 years. That aside, I consider my marriage to be sacred, not because some church blessed it but because we blessed it. We made it sacred.
Marriage is a civil union. It comes into being through the state and it is dissolved by the state. The state determines who can be married and who can perform the ceremony. Several states, including the one in which I live) have constitutional amendments forbidding same-sex marriages and many of them don’t recognize same-sex marriages legally sanctioned by other states. How can one state nullify a legal contract made in another state (or country)? What’s to stop them from denying marriage benefits bestowed on other couples by other states?
Does my state consider my marriage legal? They have no proof that we are married other than years of jointly filed tax returns. There is no record of our marriage in any courthouse in this state or any other. They’ve been taking our word for it all these years.
Same sex marriages take nothing away from traditional heterosexual marriages. Marital benefits and legal rights are not finite resources that must be rationed or reserved for certain types of couples. There is no scarcity. The only thing that seems to be scarce is tolerance.