Shapley wrote:I suppose we disagree over gay marriage because you see it as a 'right' whereas I do not.
What I feel it is a right for people to declare themselves a family, and to have that declaration recognized. The way that declaration is usually made is through a ceremony such as marriage.
Shapley wrote:I believe the State became involved because they wanted to encourage marriage among opposite-sex couples, so they granted certain legal benefits to those who marry.
According to About.com,
There appeared to be many marriages taking place without witness or ceremony in the 1500's. The Council of Trent was so disturbed by this, that they decreed in 1563 that marriages should be celebrated in the presence of a priest and at least two witnesses. Marriage took on a new role of saving men and women from being sinful, and of procreation. Love wasn't a necessary ingredient for marriage during this era.
Years later, the Puritans viewed marriage as a very blessed relationship that gave marital partners an opportunity to not only love, but also to forgive.
Many people hold the view that regardless of how people enter into matrimony, marriage is a bond between two people that involves responsibility and legalities, as well as commitment and challenge. That concept of marriage hasn't changed through the ages.
Even the Catholic Encyclopedia says this about marriage:
It is usually defined as the legitimate union between husband and wife. "Legitimate" indicates the sanction of some kind of law, natural, evangelical, or civil, while the phrase, "husband and wife", implies mutual rights of sexual intercourse, life in common, and an enduring union.
Clearly, marriage has evolved (oooh, there's that word again) into an expression of love and a committed relationship. Which, I believe you'll agree, is better than the arranged marriages of earlier days.
Shapley wrote:In my own opinion, I see nothing gained by the State encouraging same-sex marriage, and thus no reason to promote it.
How about if I give you a few things to be gained by same-sex marriages? Less promiscuity and therefore lower transmission of STDs. More stable and happier relationships. The ability for a designated partner to speak for his or her family member, instead of an appointed person who has no insight into the wishes of the family member.
Shapley wrote:I don't have a dog in this fight.
However, you did say that it was a fantasy if a gay couple declared themselves to be a family. I agee, you don't have a dog in the fight, but you certainly have a position on which side you prefer.