The issue is really about 2 things
- Semantics, marriage is "sacred" to Christians in that it is a sacrament.
- Legal standing, TAXES and Status and associate Power
Despite the fact that the argument being made against marriage is a "religious" one, marriage as practiced in the US is NOT typically thought about as a sacrament. Marriage is thought of as a legal union, recognized by state AND (this is very important) the Federal government. This recognition entitles the married couple to numerous rights and privileges (tax breaks, health care benefits, inheritance, and the list goes on).
Marriages are about providing specific rights and privileges and associated responsibilities to the participants. The US constitution essentially supports the Pagan approach to *personal decisions* - one of non-interference. I'd like to see someone propose legally that the solution to the whole issue of "Gay Marriage" is to say that ALL "Marriages" in the eyes of Civil Law are hereby converted "Civil Unions" and that Civil Unions provide all rights, privileges and responsibilities formerly provided by "marriages". Then let the Christians have the term "marriage" for their sacrament.
People making emotional commitments with karmic ramifications don't care what you call their union. But the devil is in the details, and unless Civil Unions carry EXACTLY the same rights, privileges and responsibilities currently provided by "marriages", we (as a nation) will not have dealt with the root inequality behind the whole discussion of Gay Marriage. It is this root inequality hat the fundamentalists prefer we all forgot about.
Previously posted on LaVecchia in 2004