I concur. I think a lot of the opposition to gay marriage comes from people (including myself) who believe that the word marriage
refers—and has throughout recorded history referred—to a heterosexual relationship. Thus, there cannot be gay marriage without changing the fundamental societal definition of marriage. Chief Justice Roberts raised this point yesterday in an exchange with Mr. Olson:
If you tell—if you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend. And that’s it seems to me what the—what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. You’re—all you’re interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label.
One, I challenge the assertion that "there cannot be gay marriage without changing the fundamental societal definition of marriage" simply because CJ Roberts raised a point.
Second, I thought Roberts was particularly silly in that exchange. No one is forcing people to go out and get gay married, which is how that analogy would track to the matter of same-sex marriage. The line of reasoning was effectively neutered by Olsen: "You could have said in the Loving
case, what — you can’t get married, but you can have an interracial union. Everyone would know that that was wrong, that the — marriage has a status, recognition, support…”
Altho I did appreciate Robert's comment to Olsen at the outset of his remarks: "I think it's only fair to treat you the same." Indeed.
in 1878, the Supreme Court has held that marriage is a fundamental right over a dozen times. The label matters. At issue is how this 'radical' redefinition of the label will adversely impact married people and the very concept of marriage. If one thinks the importance and significance of marriage will come unhinged simply because two dudes or two chicks can tie the knot, then I question if marriage really had any significance to that person in the first place. And I would suggest perhaps not going down the path of arguing 'societal definition' of marriage, because that's not static. For example, it is considered gauche today to go out and marry a 13 year old. Or to accept a debtor's daughter as payment. It has changed over time, and it is changing now.
When people see my wedding ring (not my 'civil union band of metal'), I like knowing that there is a connotation about me as a man. About what I value, what I believe. I like communicating the pride I take in my relationship with my spouse to the world. None of that is diminished because Adam and Steve got hitched.