Should we try to legislate morality at all? Should it be legal to marry your cat? Should gay people qualify as people?
Legal issues surrounding gay marriage are complicated by the simple fact that if it is legal in one state and illegal in another, are you married or not when you return home, or relocate across state lines? The moral issue of gay marriage is quite another issue, and should have no bearing whatsoever on what is legislated by the majority of the people.
Since most people have gay loved ones, most are overwhelmingly in favor of gay couples being extended the same legal status and civil rights as all people. All humans should have the same civil rights.
Slippery slope judgmental types will argue this will, of course, lead to Catholic priests marrying chipmunks, or Mormons deciding to restore polygamy,and include group marriages of one husband, three wives, four goats, a parakeet, and possibly a couple of new IPods; if they are attractive and submissive.
This later idea, that if we allow humans to marry other humans they love, that this will lead to insanity, is not a very cogent argument. Divorce rates for “traditional” man and woman marriage are entirely unaffected by homosexual relationships.
The fact is humanity forever moves toward including the previous “inferior” into a realm of common decency and civil rights. We have freed slaves, allowed women to vote, and until recently, had regulations to ensure giant corporations could not enslave, injure, or exploit workers. No matter how much you love your cat, you should not marry her, (or him) because it is not possible for a cat to give consent, and although not illegal, cat and other animal molestation should be! To fear that gay marriage will somehow threaten straight marriage is akin to thinking that Bristol Palin will really influence teens to practice abstinence when nature tells them now is THE time, and the law tells them it is perfectly legal if both are over eighteen. It’s simply not of the real world.
Another legal aspect of marriage is that married couples in most places are honored and included in such things as insurance coverage, bed-side visitation in hospitals, tax benefits, and health insurance to name just a few. These legal issues could easily be less complex if a person who loves another person is granted the simple human right to declare so, both in civil ceremony, and if they so choose, in a religious ceremony as well.
Like it or not, the first amendment still allows for the separation of church and state, and should we ever, God forbid, allow ourselves to slip back into pre-revolutionary mindset dictating that all citizens are only allowed those rights that a state religion enforces, we have indeed slipped backwards; and slapped the faces of everyone who ever fought and died for our freedom and liberty of choice.
Should the issue be left to individual states would only muddle up the system, as no one would be able to recognize from day to day whether their marriage is sanctioned or not. Just as in the great civil rights movement of the 1960’s, sooner or later it will be federal law that prejudice and intolerance will not be supported by the legal system in the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the wedding plans of the fabulous.