I find the the comparison that some people like to make between gay marriage and interracial marriage to be misleading Trieste. They remained marriages between two members of the opposite gender, and the skin tone of either partner served as no barrier to the creation of a normal family unit. For that matter marriages between different ethnic groups had been common practices forever, so the only real issue at stake was American's internal fixation with race. Their was no change to the definition of what constituted a marriage.
But many of the same accusations of slippery-slopeness that you are stating come from that debate. The reference you made to pedophilia, for instance, was a popular deterrent at the time, and it has since been proven that no, people will not go and wed their dogs or their newborn children simply because you let other people marry who they want. It does not work that way.
As for the 'normal' family unit, it's not always one man, one woman, and many children. There are many different and varied forms of the family and not all of them consist of what we would define as a nuclear family. And there has always
been a fixation with differences, be they religious, racial, or otherwise... the US just happened to have one with blacks versus whites - although if you look, you'll also find extreme resistance to whites marrying Asians, hispanics and other ethnicities throughout the history of the US. It's just not as well-popularized.
As for the Churches that sanction gay marriages, most of them have very little religion left in them and are no more than left wing talking shops. But given the plunging attendence for those sort of organizations there really won't be much division amongst them given twenty or thirty years time. The serious religious organizations are united in their opposition to gay marriage, given that homosexuality is sort of viewed negatively in that whole Bible thing.
What right have you or I or anyone to decide what church is more valid than another? A church is a church is a church - and I might add that 'godlessness' was an accusation flung at the Episcopalian church when it first began ordaining women, yet very few people would consider Episcopalian churches ungodly ... unless you're a Roman or Orthodox Catholic but they don't really like anyone, so they don't really count. (And before you go there, that was a joke
. I grew up around Catholicism; I'm allowed.) The so-called serious religious organizations are far from united, and are declining in attendance just as much as other churches.
There have already been studies conducted on it in Europe Trieste. The devaluation of marriage and family has rather severe consequences. Family was society's traditional building block. Quicky and easy divorce already dealt that institution a body blow and gay marriage would cheapen it even further. The result has been greater impermanence in people's relationships and that lack of stability has social costs. Marriage is a practice that should be taken seriously, changing it on a whim is simply a bad idea.
I would very much like to see these studies, and I'll be happy to read them once you point me in the right direction. We can discuss them then.
I would also like to hear the opinion on how allowing more
people to get married would devalue the institution of marriage further than things like Britney Spears' 24-hour drunken marriage-plus-annulment. Or, if you don't like current cultural icons, how about Elizabeth Taylor's 8 or 9 husbands? And how do you know that same-sex marriages are not more stable than hetero marriages specifically because they know what a gift it is?
I don't understand how anyone can decide that they can judge the sanctity of someone else's
union. Leave it to God, honestly... but for those of us here on Earth right now, the legal right has nothing to do with the religious rite of marriage. As I said, religion is religion and will either allow it or not allow it. It's the civil
right, not the religious
right that is on the table. Nobody is arguing that every single church ever has to marry gay couples left and right. What people are calling for is equal rights under the law. Equal insurance coverage. Equal tax breaks. Equality in their daily lives, whether they are religious or not. For me? I personally agree with the stance that government should not be involved in this. Filing joint taxes and having governmental regulation of marriages seems just silly to me. But if there is going to be such silliness in the US, it should be open to all couples, everywhere.
And this is all being said, mind, from the standpoint of someone who really doesn't have much use for marriage ... to either sex. When I look at someone and find myself attracted to them, their gender is the very last
thing that occurs to me. Their smile, their sense of humour, their intelligence, their figure, all of this stuff is more important than gender. I honestly don't see how that's such a bad thing that if I happen to fall for another woman, that I should not be able to propose to her, and follow through on that. Why should I not be allowed to pledge my life and my love to whomever I choose? How does that threaten anything at all? Because that's pretty much what the personal side of it comes down to.