-- MIKE WILSON, Richland
It seems these days that nobody is allowed to be wrong. When beliefs and opinions are shared, we must only disagree. The problem with that idea is that some beliefs and opinions are wrong. The opposition to gay marriage never had any credibility. Uninformed or misinformed opinions and baseless beliefs may console a certain type of person but they are not an acceptable foundation for limiting personal liberty or denying equality under the law.
Religious marriage is defined by its members and appointed leadership. America's Constitution grants each of us the freedom to make our own choices regarding religion. Gay affirming churches will always be free to bless gay marriages. The same goes for any church that blesses plural marriage between people of legal standing -- see, even in religious matters, some civil law retains authority. A religious person opposed to gay marriage or homosexuality can retain their beliefs and still obey civil law. Requiring civil law to abide by one's religious beliefs is unreasonable.
Civil marriage is a marriage of legal identity. For heterosexual monogamous couples, this means that one man and one woman are legally recognized in most respects as a single entity. Government recognition alleviates many frustrating legalities that would otherwise interfere with the couple's domestic arrangement. When America's federal, state and local governments began recognizing religious marriage and granting certain civil rights to the parties involved, the government was remiss in denying the same civil recognition to gay couples and polygamous relationships (a practice the Mormon church attempted to uphold in the 1800s at the urging of Brigham Young, but have since banned under pressure from the government).
Some seek to hide their bias by arguing over the word "marriage" and claiming that heterosexual monogamy is the foundation of society. They say things like "that's my word and people who don't believe as I do CAN'T use it." The closer one examines this argument, the more immature its proponents seem. Considering the prevalence of divorce, unwed couples, single parents, gay couples, and poly-relationships, the foundation of our society is not heterosexual, monogamous marriage.
Of course everyone is entitled to their beliefs and their opinions. But, if the only defense of your views is that you're entitled to them, your opinions and beliefs aren't worth much. We can call it marriage, "sealing," or civil union, but the intent is still marriage -- a merging of two or more people spiritually or legally. Whether it's a man and a woman, two men, two women, or several of either/both, they are entitled to the rights accorded civil "marriage."