Recently, a video by an anti-gay group calling themselves a "True Rainbow Coalition" has been circulating. I won't link it here, because I don't want anyone to mistake their views for mine.
To summarize, the video claims that a storm is coming. They say that they feel afraid because schools are teaching their children that same-sex marriage is okay. They say that they're being threatened by other groups who want to change the institution of marriage. This unlocked a whirl-wind of craziness in my mind, causing me to wonder what marriage was really intended to be.
Let's tackle the most controversial view first, shall we? If what you believe is that marriage is a ceremony linking two people together in the eyes of 'The Lord', then you most-likely believe that the reason same-sex marriages shouldn't be allowed is because 'The Lord' doesn't sanction same-sex lovers. If this is the concern, then shouldn't marriage only be limited to people who believe in God? Shouldn't marriage require that some deity has officially sanctioned the union with a public miracle or at very least a testimony from a prophet?
To be honest, I would be willing to vote for having a separate ecclesiastical ceremony for anyone who could prove that 'The Lord' believed in their union and truly wanted them to be together. The caveat would be that those marriages are interminable without also acknowledging that you are going against God's desires, much the same way that you would be by marrying someone he disapproved of in the first place.
Now, let's look at marriage in another way, a way of formally declaring your intention to love and be faithful to one another. This is the function that I truly believe most Americans consider marriage to have. This is my most abstract definition, but it's also the one that gets to the modern view of marriage and the reason that marriages are no longer viewed as permanent.
When you marry someone, you invariably promise them forever. In my opinion, that's a mistake. DON'T STOP READING! Listen, I'm not saying that love *shouldn't* last forever, I'm just saying that if you think declaring that your love will last forever gets you out of having to actually nurture it forever, then you have pain and hurt in your future. This is the same reason that I'm against giving your betrothed a diamond ring (oh yeah, and all that blood-diamond murder and cartel stuff.) I think that marriage shouldn't be symbolized by something that you give to them once and don't have to think about again. I think that your intentions in marriage should be symbolized by something that you know you're going to have to renew...and the more frequently the better! I'm talking like a band made out of wood, paper or even a Sharpie marker that you draw on each other in the morning. If you need a symbol, make sure the symbol is sending the right message.
With that said, if people love each other and are willing to forsake all others, then it doesn't matter what the race, sex or religion of the people in the union are. What matters is that they're willing to abide by their vows as long as they are bound by them. In a marriage like this, the vows should be chosen carefully by a couple, because those are the promises that you're making to one another. You're relying on those to define your marriage, not God's intentions.
Lastly, I want to consider marriage as a legal treaty. This seems like a perfectly valid bug...er, um...feature of marriage to me. Considering that marriage used to be used as a merger of land and/or families, marrying for legal benefit cannot be ignored. Again, if you accept the premise of using a legal union for personal gain, then it shouldn't matter what the race, sex or religion is of either person participating in that union. Amirite?