We all think that what we believe is right. We’ve been taught principles of right and wrong all our lives. We’ve thought about what the principles mean and we’ve decided which narrative of morality we believe is right. Sadly, most of us want something else, too. We want others to endorse our view of morality.
The whole issue of gay marriage has become a battle between two sides wanting to “make a statement” about right and wrong — and forcing others to go along with them — rather than finding a legal solution that respects everybody’s rights. This battle is fierce enough that passionate people on both sides aren’t really interested in a principled solution to get government out of the marriage business. For those people, it’s a social battle to force “society” to endorse their position.
On the surface, the issue seems to be about how everyone can be treated equally by the law while respecting individuals’ very different beliefs about the underlying issue of homosexuality. If that were truly the only issue to deal with, we have a solution. Eliminate marriage licenses and get government out of the business of deciding what a marriage is. But that’s no longer what this is about. Here’s what the two sides really seem to be saying: