I know there are many people who just don't get the Defense of Marriage Act. I know it just seems unfair that gay marriages would be denied the same respect, rights and privileges as traditional marriages. Love is love and love should be promoted and defended above all else, right? If only everyone loved more, and minded their own business about other people's personal lives, it would be such a happier place for us all to live.
Even those who are in favor of DOMA don't necessarily "get it." Opponents accuse supporters of being narrow-minded, right-wing, Christian, knee-jerk bigots. And, unfortunately, that would be a true stereotyping of many. Of course, the idea that there are some things that are True, even if you don't want them to be true, and are Right, even if you don't like them, is wholly rejected by modern society.
I just finished listening to an audio recording of C. S. Lewis' Abolition of Man. He does a much better job of explaining why traditional morality is Right and True than I ever could.
So, some (many) of those knee-jerk bigots are actually, simply, reacting to the attack on traditional morality which they don't know why they should defend, but, really, they should. Just because you don't fully understand something doesn't mean you aren't right.
And what is Right? Marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of a family and as the building block of society is Right. The reality that today's marriages often fail, that children are shuttled between two homes or are raised by grandparents or never know their fathers does not change what is Right. Nor does it justify an "anything goes" attitude toward marriage. In other words, just because we have failed, as a society, to do what is Right, does not then justify doing what is Wrong. We shouldn't say, "Oh dear, we have failed to live up to our own expectations. The best thing to do in this case is to lower our expectations."
I can see why gay couples have been able to elevate their relationships to an equivalent level with most traditional relationships. If John and Jane, who married when their oldest was 3, who have a his/hers/theirs brood of 4 or 5 children (although they are rarely all together at once, since the his/hers ones spend significant time with their other parents) are considered socially acceptable, why not then the gay couple, quietly living together for a decade? I think gay relationships have been accepted socially, for the most part. I didn't say that they were approved of or liked, but they are as accepted as single motherhood or unwed couples raising children. It is what it is. And Christians can look down their noses, but it's the reality we have to deal with. When school/organization forms have a section where you list not only who may pick your child up, but also who may not, we have reached the point where dysfunction is the new norm.
Social acceptance is one thing, legal acceptance another. Legal acceptance comes with much larger ramifications. Legal acceptance means money. Traditional marriage is rewarded financially through benefits and tax breaks. This practice was government's way of supporting traditional marriage as the building block of society. When the government sees something as in its best interest, it rewards it. That's why there are tax breaks for people with home mortgages. It's not because they feel sorry for you. It's because they want you to have a mortgage (note that I did not say, "They want you to own a home." There are fewer rewards for owning a home than for having a mortgage...and having a mortgage is not the same thing as owning a home. It's not.)
Where am I going with this? Those of you who are involved in the military in some way, have been, I am sure, paying some attention to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal that is imminent. The rest of you probably don't really think much about it, nor do you realize the effect this repeal will have on our society as a whole. It is the death knoll to traditional marriage. My prediction? If Obama is re-elected, within 5 years we will have federal recognition of gay marriage. If a non-Democrat is elected, it will be within 10 years.
This article, Activists Expect Debate over Defense of Marriage Act, shows the gross unfairness present in a policy where a gay can serve in the military but his marriage will not be recognized, even if he marries in a state that permits it. There is a huge disparity in the privileges and benefits that I, a traditional wife, receive, and what G.I. Jane's "wife" would receive, because G.I. Jane's marriage is not recognized at the federal level. Once DADT is repealed, the fighting will immediately shift to attack this inequity. And the only logical and fair solution is for the federal government to recognize gay marriage.
I don't see any way out of this one, folks.