Should homosexuals be able to marry? Should homosexuals be able to marry?

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Because all of the primary arguments against gay marriage are religious in nature, I think that the issue boils down to the separation of church and state. If specific churches do not want to perform marriages between people of the sex, that should be their decision. The flip side would also be true-- if two people of the same sex wish to get married by the state, and not by their church, the government should not stand in their way. 

People who do not like gay marriages are free to not attend them and to join churches that refuse to perform them.

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I'm always amazed at how passionate people are about this issue--but that's probably because it doesn't affect me personally. It's my privilege to ignore it. Everything I say about it starts with that understanding.

The issue does powerfully demonstrate the limits of a pluralistic society: if we accept a diversity of worldviews, then on what basis do we decide moral questions? It's easy to find common ground to outlaw murder, sexual assault, burglary, etc. But once we start dealing with slightly subtler questions, the variety of faith traditions makes consensus incredibly difficult.

Above all, I wish we could have a culture of mutual trust and respect--and then move on to issues that affect us all directly. To me (a heterosexual--again, I understand my perspective is privileged) it's incredible that we spend so much energy (and generate so much ill will) on topics like this when we could be addressing poverty, war, hunger, or our own broken political system.

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Marriage for everyone seems to be in keeping with the American ideal of self-determination.

We pride ourselves on sharing/defending the rights of the individual in the US (and the West more generally). To be consistent in our values, there seems no choice but to allow everyone equal access to the legal institution of marriage, regardless of whether we call it "marriage" or civil union.

This can be seen as a question of justice, not a question of religious views. And, as we share one system of justice and do not share a single religion by national mandate or consensus, it makes sense to see this issue as a legal one.

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I agree with marriage equality for homosexuals in the United States. I think it is both a 1st and a 14th Amendment issue. Gays are ctiizens, and we should never, either through legislation or policy, legalize discrimination against other citizens because of their identity. I thiink, in 50 years, we'll look back at this debate like we look back at segregation and the Civil Rights Movement now. And, I'd like to add, "Go Washington State!" My home state just became the 7th in the nation to legalize same sex marriage.
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The absence of a legal right to marry among homosexuals does not benefit anyone. A religious group putting forth the argument that legalizing homosexual marriage would make more people adopt a homosexual lifestyle would be totally incorrect. I am not concerned with the reasons why all people do not adopt a heterosexual lifestyle and whether it is natural or not because it does not have to do anything with the legalization of homosexual marriage.

Homosexual marriage should be made a legally binding institution to allow everyone to have access to the accompanying benefits of marriage.

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This depends a lot on your thoughts about a number of different issues including matters such as equality. There are some that argue marriage, as primarily a religious institution, should only be between a man and a woman. This is why many places now have a civil partnership for homosexual couples rather than a marriage.

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#5, I don't think we can casually attribute all opposition to homosexuality to homophobia. Many religions have the same attitudes towards homosexuality that they have to any non-hetero-type relationship. It's not a matter of fear or loathing, but of an ingrained belief that the act -- and therefore the person -- is sinful. Many religious people do not care about the lifestyles of others, but they see the government acquisition of "marriage" -- which has historically been a religious institution -- as encroaching on their religious freedoms.

The problem I have with religious objections is that they always equate "legal marriage" with "religious marriage." The document stating that two people are legally married has nothing to do with religion, and as long as the First Amendment holds, could not be used to force a religion to recognize it as "religiously binding." If people stopped equating the two, there would be little problem; a couple could marry by law, and not expect all religions to recognize it, and others could marry by religion only, disregarding the legal document or accepting it as they chose.

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With respect to the "where do we draw the line" argument, we draw the line at a marriage involving equal, mutually consenting partners who derive equal benefits from the union. This is patently not the case with polygamy.

I see no compelling reason why same-sex marriages should not be legally recognized.

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This is not a question of "allowing the Right" of a certain group to marry; they have the Right, period.  Any law forbidding the exercise of a Right best have compelling reasons why it restricts the freedom of individuals.  In this case, there is no reason, except other's homophobia.  Regardless if there are laws forbidding the practice, homosexual liaisons will continue, as they always have, despite what the "moral majority" may wish.

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Personally, I believe that they should be allowed to marry.  However, I have a hard time with the idea that this is an equal protection issue.  In other words, I think that people probably have the right to make laws prohibiting gay marriage even though I would not vote for such a law.  My reason for this is that there is no way to objectively draw the line when it comes to marriage.  If two men have the right to marry, why doesn't a man have the right to have two wives?  And I say this as someone who believes in gay marriage.  I just don't see how to objectively say "we can't draw the line between hetero and gay marriage, but we can draw it between gay marriage and polygamy."

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I am not sure you will be able to gain anything in way of consensus with this particular question.  It is a challenge, to say the least, to bring the issue up, and to see certainty is near impossible.  I think that same- sex marriage should be allowed.  I am convinced by the idea that marriage is not something that is defined by gender.  The argument that same- sex marriage ruins the institution is something of which I am not entirely convinced.  I think that the advent of no- fault divorce is more destructive to marriage than homosexuals being able to marry.  I think that this is something that sticks in my mind.  I think that the greater enfranchisement of gay and lesbian individuals is something that would have to include same- sex marriage.  Certainly, this is an element that was present in the recent California court decision that ruled the law prohibiting same- sex marriage is unconstitutional.  On a more elemental level, I think that this question comes down to the idea of whether or not one sees homosexuality as a design of a human being, something chemical in the brain or something of choice.  If one buys into the former, I think that it becomes a logical extension to make the argument that marriage should be denied.

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