When the discussion turns to modern politics, the matter of “social” issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and the death penalty are topics best avoided at just about any gathering. Because they are often issues that carry very strong sentiments, and are often a matter of principle, rather than practicality as with economic or foreign policy debates, they have a tendency more often than not to create strong divides and angry shouting matches between both sides of the room.
The question I ask myself very often is that with the issue of gay marriage, I cannot believe that the American public has seemingly decided that there are only two ways to address the issue. You are either for a federal ban on gay marriage, or you are for a governmental acknowledgement of gay marriage (The only 3rd option is civil union support.) What is missing is the million dollar, debate changing question that absolutely needs to be introduced to the public;
“Why is it that the government needs to be involved in marriage at all?”
Those most strongly against gay marriage claim that it is a religious institution. They say that the sanctity of marriage needs protecting. Those for gay marriage will often point out that the benefits given to married couples via the government are a form of discrimination when they are denied to same-sex couples. Both of these have some legitimacy.
No matter which was you turn on this issue, you are going to run into a contradiction of the separation of church and state. The government should not be able to force pastors or churches into performing gay marriages, as to do so would be a gross infringement on the church-state separation. On the other hand, the federal government adding a constitutional amendment to ban or redefine marriage would be equally an infringement on church and state, if it is true that marriage is, as its proponents say, a religious institution.
The federal government should have absolutely no say in what marriage is or is not, and should not be in the business of providing benefits that yes, are in fact discriminatory. Instead, marriage is something that should be left entirely to the individual interpretations of the churches, mosques or synagogues. If the parties involved are non-denominational, then at the very worst the matter should be left to the state government, and there should be no additional benefits allowed for couples of any kind. In this scenario, the marriages of church members is considered sanctimonious, if the church in question has something against gay marriage then they have no need to perform them. But it is also not the business of those same church going married couples to say what same-sex couples can and can’t call their union. I am pretty confident that if you asked those who voiced the concern, it is not government benefits which make marriage so sanctimonious. So get the government out of the business of marriage altogether, and let those couples involved call their union whatever the heck they want to. Issue solved.