Gay marriage: an issue of law, equality, and routine paperwork
I believe in the sanctity of marriage. That is, for me, marriage is a sacred act, whether I get hitched in Vegas or the Basilica of St. Mary. I believe the loving union of two men or two women can also be holy, but that's not what the gay-marriage debate is about. It's about law.

While no couple getting married by a Justice of the Peace is required to declare their union before God, every wedding in a church or synagogue ends with the signing of a marriage license. The sacramental part of marriage is a powerful add-on, a time-honored way of making it more than just a legal contract. But, to the government, that's what it is. Legal. While gays and lesbians have long been having religious commitment ceremonies, professing their love to the heavens in services often presided over by ministers of many denominations, it doesn't make them technically married. What they're asking for now, and what the president hopes to block by amending our country's founding edict, is really pretty boring--the right to have a routine signature on the bottom of a legal document, and all the responsibilities and privileges that come with it.

So if opponents of gay marriage can strip their personal religious beliefs away from this matter of civil law--just as the First Amendment instructs our government to--the human rights issue would become starkly evident. "When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs," said Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in 1992. "A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." If some people can marry and others can't--regardless of what your church says--we're not created equal.

If you agree that permanently engraining discrimination in our country's founding document is a bad idea, visit my friend Jeff's Human Rights Campaign page to send letters to your elected officials. Then, use the GOP letter-writing tool I mentioned the other day to send a pro-human rights/anti-constitutional amendment letter to newspapers in your state.

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