I find it ironic that the conservative side is apparently perfectly happy with the lies that result from the closet, the hypocrisy of those who are within it, and the hopelessness and promiscuity that result from denying gay folks the possibility of faithful relationships. How many straight people would be faithfully monogamous if marriage were illegal? Really: think about it. Denied the structures and social expectations of marriage, how many families do you think would survive? Some would, but lots wouldn't.
I also find this viewpoint breathtaking, when we are all faced by the witness of faithful lives of gay clergy, many of whom we know from our Episco-blogging, all the way up to gentle Bishop Gene Robinson. Even I can see that man's deep Christianity, but the conservatives apparently can't get past the sex of his life-partner.
Back to marriage per se. I found Virginia Postrel's description of her sister's marriage which I for one thought rather moving.
I understand why people who don't have any close gay friends or relatives think single-sex marriage is strange and disruptive. But it isn't. It's merely a way of turning de facto relationships into de jure ones. And the relationships that distinguish de jure marriage aren't so much those between spouses but those between the married couple and other people, perhaps most importantly their extended families.....On the same theme, Andrew Sullivan writes in The Atlantic (quoted by Postrel),
I suddenly realized, it was the heterosexuals who knew what to do, who guided the gay couple and our friends into the rituals and rites of family. Ours was not, we realized, a different institution, after all, and we were not different kinds of people. In the doing of it, it was the same as my sister’s wedding and we were the same as my sister and brother-in-law. The strange, bewildering emotions of the moment, the cake and reception, the distracted children and weeping mothers, the morning’s butterflies and the night’s drunkenness: this was not a gay marriage; it was a marriage.Gay marriage is not a poor imitation of straight marriage or a marriage lite. It is the thing itself, with its challenges, rights, and above all, its responsibilities. Supporting gay marriage is actually the conservative choice, if there were any actual conservatives left.
And our families instantly and for the first time since our early childhood became not just institutions in which we were included, but institutions that we too owned and perpetuated..... The embossed invitations and the floral bouquets and the fear of fluffing our vows: in these tiny, bonding gestures of integration, we all came to see an alienating distinction become a unifying difference.
It was a moment that shifted a sense of our own identity within our psyches and even our souls. Once this happens, the law eventually follows. In California this spring, it did.