The case against same-sex marriages, as regurgitated by my office-mate, is one that I have heard often. People want to maintain a religious definition. This argument is not believable because the definition has already changed without any outcry. Marriage is no longer governed by the church, it is governed by laws. In fact, marriage is recognized legally without requiring that religion of any kind be involved in any way. Even if the roots of marriage are based in religion*, it cannot be denied that marriage has become, first and foremost, a societal institution with religion as just a footnote in it's history.
Some who oppose same-sex marriages believe it is OK to allow a "Civil Union". Interestingly, this is exactly what marriage has become anyway. The religious aspects to marriage may be important to some people, but these days that doesn't count. After all, it seems to me that every person who has divorced a spouse has already broken an oath to god. If the church was still in charge then why is divorce allowed? Marriage has changed so much that the only thing that universally matters to society are the legalities.
However it may have originated, marriage is currently practiced by the nonreligious and religious alike. It spans religions, cultures, and societies. Marriage is a worldwide tradition and for any one group of people to claim it is unrealistic. It would make more sense for religious groups to assign the definition they want to preserve to a different term such as 'Christian Union', or 'Catholic Union'. This way marriage can stay a legal institution, and all the religions can set their own definitions. Once religion is separated from marriage, then any push for discrimination** will go with it.
To my religious friends,
I mean you no disrespect, and I mean you no criticism, and I in no way believe you to be discriminatory. I just feel that the argument I most often hear against same-sex marriage is completely discriminatory.
* I believe that the roots of marriage belong in our biology. Many species of animals are at least somewhat monogamous by nature, and given that humans are simply another form of animal life it isn't hard to believe that humans are the same way... somewhat monogamous by nature.
** Banning same-sex marriage is discrimination. If people wanted to ban interracial marriages we would clearly see this as discrimination, yet such a marriage used to be considered immoral and unnatural. We know this to be wrong now, but at the time it was considered gospel. In fact it has been less than 40 years since a Virginia judge upheld an interracial marriage ban stating god's intention to separate the races. Luckily the decision was overturned by the supreme court, who had these wise words to say:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia )