Clearly, marriage is a hot question which is basically religious. On one side, there is the desire for equal rights of gay people fueled by rage at centuries of discrimination. On the other, there is the precedent of Christian tradition that marriage has been celebrated as a union of a man and a woman fuelled by Biblical condemnation of homosexuality and deep homophobia. As gays hold the “abomination” of gay marriage to the feet of Christians, the inflammation increases. Traditional Christians will not give this up. Some Christian churches however are in favor of sanctioning marriages between two members of the same sex.
This can all be clarified as a separation of church and state. Marriage belongs to the Church and legal partnership belongs to the State.
Legal partnerships should be legislated as a matter of the state. They should be legal unions, with all obligations, rights and protections guaranteed under law to any two people who are willing to enter such a contract. These should not be called marriage, but something like civil unions. It could be that this would replace civil marriages.
This arrangement was successfully instituted in France and is now
available throughout the European Union, under the name of PACS, (le pacte civile de solidarite). Many straight couples also choose this option over marriage. As a consequence, there is no controversy whatsoever around “gay marriage.” This simple solution suggests that the entire dispute in the US is a colossal waste of time and energy.
The claims around marriage are a matter of religion. The term “marriage” should be turned over to individual religions and churches. If your church does not recognize the sanctity of same sex marriage, it need not perform them. If your church recognizes them, by whatever name they choose, let them perform them. People should be free to call their union by whatever name they choose. This is all a matter of religious freedom.
The separation of church and state is one of the greatest clarifications in Western history, initially established by Jesus himself when he said render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto the Father, what is His.