First off, let's get one thing straight: A common misconception I've seen going around here is that most people just don't seem to understand what "marriage" even is! Hard to believe, no? Well, it's true. We've got the anti-gay-marriage freaks proclaiming "it's a sin!" and using that as their argument. Then there are the pro-gay-marriage freaks (I'm an equal opportunity insulter, yer all freaks) raving on about "unfair discrimination".
You're both right and you're both wrong.
The confusion is stemming from the fact that there are two *very* different concepts that have the same name and are often used interchangeably. There's the marriage of the church, which is an entirely religious affair and the government has neither the power nor the inclination to make any claims about. If some religion wants to start performing marriages between people who are not even alive, that is their right to do so. No one is saying those marriages have to be acknowledged by anyone outside that religion. If you disagree with your religion not allowing gay marriage, then I suggest you find a new religion. In addition to the marriage of the church, there is also the marriage of the state. This is the legal document saying that two people are allowed to speak for one another in some legal situations and they are allowed to file a joint tax return, and other practical goodies. The church has no power to force the government to restrict marriages in any way (don't confuse this with the current situation, they are different). If the government wants to define its idea of marriage in some way that a particular religion finds offensive, then that religion just needs to learn to deal with it. The only place the two types of marriages coincide is that you can have the signing official of your marriage license be a religious official.
So, that said, I think we can see that all the fuss on this entire issue is nothing more than a big misunderstanding. The anti-gay-marriage people feel that these gay marriages are of the church type (possible, but not likely the same church) while the pro-gay-marriage people are only concerned with the state type.
I've said it before (don't think I've posted it here though) and I'll say it again, if I was in charge I'd ban all legal marriages. Civil Union would be all you get, end of story. That way there'd be none of this confusion and everyone could get back to living. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
People are saying gay marriage will ruin the "sanctity of marriage". I think we've seen enough arguments against that one to last us a lifetime, so I'll just say I think it's an absurd claim (and I'm prepared to provide reasons for this if anyone actually *hasn't* seem them allready).
People are saying marriage is a right and it's unfair to restrict it. This simply demonstrates the pure idiocy of the person making that claim. The closest I can think of is the right to "pursuit of happiness". We need only look at a psychopath to see that the government is fully within its power to restrict the types of happiness we are allowed to legally pursue. The psychopath is very happy with killing people, yet that is not legal. Thus we have the government restricting a type of happiness and everyone seems to think it's okay. Got issues with my example because the psychopath is hurting other people where gay marriage doesn't? Look at suicide. I've personally met many people who view it as the only possible option for their happiness and thus they wish to pursue it, but the government will not allow this. Get it through your heads, marriage is not a right.
People are saying that not allowing gay marriage is discrimination. True. So is not allowing people to vote till they've reached 18. So is not allowing someone to drink till 21. These are all legal forms of discrimination. Got a problem with my example because those are only at the state-level while this gay marriage thing is being threatened at the federal level? Fair enough, I can't come up with a similar federal example off the top of my head, I'll get back to ya with one, though (I know there are some, just can't think of them right now).
People are saying gay marriage is a sin. Well, I can't argue that, but I can point out that so is heavy drinking, and smoking, and lust, and jealousy, and greed, and gluttony, and . . . You get my point? Our government allows many sins to be committed in fully legal fashion, why should it being a sin stop gay marriage from being legal? We're not saying everyone *must* get involved in a gay marriage, just like we're not saying everyone *must* start drinking simply because it is legal.
People are saying that "civil unions" are nothing more than a modern version of "separate but equal". That argument doesn't hold. For one, they are not equal legal situations, but even if they were, it wouldn't be that type of a situation. The "separate but equal" ruling was about physical institutions. The facilities were physical constructs and there was a quantifiable way to measure the equality and it was found to be impossible to make them truly equal. If nothing else, there's the distance factor involved and it would be more difficult for someone to get at one of the items in question. Marriage is not a physical thing. If a "civil union" were created that truly was the equal to marriage in legal terms (death rights, tax rights, equity sharing, the works) then the only difference would be in the name. They would be equally easy to achieve, they would be equally recognized across state lines, they would be equal in every way but name. Some people have said that the name alone would be enough to be cause for discrimination. I've got news for you: when the rednecks find out you are married to someone of the same sex, they will lynch you just as quickly as if you said you were in a civil union. Hell, they might even torture you first, for "defiling the sanctity of marriage" (in their eyes). You ask why the name "marriage" is so important that it be reserved for opposite-sex couples, I ask why it's so important that it be open to same-sex couples. It's just a name, but I've long since given up that argument and I'll not repeat it here (my views on the PC movement being beyond the scope of this entry).
The statement of "minority rights" makes for a wonderful pipe dream, but nowhere is it written in the constitution of the US that every person shall be allowed to perform the exact same acts or enter the exact same legal contracts (least, I didn't see it last I checked -- if someone can correct me please do). Further, as I said above, marriage is not a right so the argument of "minority rights" does not even apply to marriage.
My personal views? ban legal marriage. civil unions for all. straight, gay, 2 or more people, green homosexual martian dogs with purple terran dinosaurs? sure! If the beings involved can prove sentience and are willingly entering the contract, let them!
but then, I've come to understand I think a little differently from most. I welcome anyone to argue any of my points (in fact, I encourage it), but please do so in a reasonable manner. If you feel I've missed something, lemme know and I'll happily address it.