It's sad and frightening that this is a "controversial" topic. Even more frightening is the fact that there are people who would agree to that sentiment but sit on the other side of the fence.
Women should not be able to own property.
Blacks should not be able to vote.
Homosexuals should not be able to marry.
Spot the out-of place statement in the above. Take your time. ... Got it? If you said "none of the above" or "trick question", you're right. They are all saying the same thing: (Portion of our populous X) should be denied (legal opportunity Y).
Some folks think owning property and voting are different from marrying. That would be true if the church and only the church was responsible for the institution of marriage. That would mean that no law, tax system, or any other government-related entity or procedure should make any mention of marital status. No such thing as joint tax returns, no spousal privileges in hospital visits or court proceedings. Would the world be better off that way? By the way, in such a scenario, there would still be churches who would wed gay couples.
But if we accept the reality that being married affects our legal status in many ways, we see denial of same-sex marriage for what it is: discrimination. And some people want this discrimination written into the constitution, the CONSTITUTION! The document that's supposed to define the liberty and equality we are to be guaranteed as citizens of this country.
Right-wingers, let me try and meet you halfway. You can object to the morality of homosexuality all you want. I think you're wrong, and you think I'm wrong, but that's ok. People can disagree. We always have and we always will. But you cross the line when you institutionalize the treatment of a segment of our population as second-hand citizens. They're not. You are not better than them. They are not hurting you; do not hurt them.
The other argument I hear is how changing the rules for marriage would make a mockery of the entire institution. Umm, first, _your church_ doesn't have to change its ways and marry gay people, if it so chooses. _Your church_ can preach that the earth is flat and deny membership to anyone with a Norwegian-sounding last name, for all I care. Second, defining marriage as a legal union between two committed, loving people is not going to turn the world upside-down. No, people aren't going to start marrying animals or inanimate objects. Animals and things cannot enter legal contracts. They don't file taxes and don't need to visit each other in the hospital. People are not going to marry twelve other people. Oh, some Mormons already do that? Huh. It's not legal. For them it's a religious thing. Do you think religious beliefs should be made into law? Oh, only yours, not theirs? How 'bout we just keep those things separate, as was supposed to be the case from such time as this country was formed? I'm not appealing to tradition or "because it is written so", I'm saying the founders of the United States had a damn good reason to want to keep religion out of government affairs and vice-versa: it breeds discrimination; the religion of the majority could and would oppress those in the minority. ...That's all for now. It just saddens me to think this is even an issue. In fifty years people are going to look back and laugh at us, wondering how we could be so rotton to each other, just as we wonder how our ancestors could have been so rotton to blacks and to women. Not that we've quite grown out of that either, which is every bit as pathetic.