Still it is true that many same-sex couples want nothing more than to join society as fully integrated socially responsible family-centered taxpaying Little League-coaching nation-serving respectably married citizens. So why not welcome them in Why not recruit them by the vanload to sweep in on heroic wings and save the flagging and battered old institution of matrimony from a bunch of apathetic ne'er-do-well heterosexual deadbeats like me
We invented marriage. Couples invented marriage. We also invented divorce, mind you. And we invented infidelity, too, as well as romantic misery. In fact we invented the whole sloppy mess of love and intimacy and aversion and euphoria and failure. But most importantly of all, most subversively of all, most stubbornly of all, we invented privacy.
The Silly Putty-like malleability of the institution [marriage], in fact, is the only reason we still have the thing at all. Very few people.. Would accept marriage on it's thirteenth-century terms. Marriage survives, in other words, precisely because it evolves. (Though I suppose this would not be a very persuasive argument to those who probably also don't believe in evolution).
But gay marriage is coming to America first and foremost because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one. The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody's legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse - or at least, not since the Supreme Court stood up for Richard and Mildred Loving. A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage in America nor does it constitute legal marriage in America. What constitutes legal marriage in this country is that critical piece of paper that you and your betrothed must sign and then register with the state. The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it's that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth. Ultimately, then, it is the business of America's courts, not America's churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled.
In the modern industrialized Western world, where I come from, the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality. Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which your emotional individualism is reflected back to the world. There is no choice more intensely personal after all, than whom you choose to marry; that choice tells us, to a large extent, who you are.