One can be opposed to same-sex marriage without "hating" anyone. It's more a matter of definitions. For 6,000 years, across many cultures, "marriage" applied only to man/woman covenants. As time passed, the state picked up on the benefits to society of this family institution, giving it legal protection.
Marriage was important to protect a woman and any children. No longer could a man just up and leave his responsibilities at home. If he left after being married, he was still required to give support to his family.
This made marriage more than just society recognizing a romantic coupling. Marriage was the glue that kept women and children afloat, no matter what transpired between the couple.
This is all so much more serious than two individuals wanting society's approval, grudging or not, at their innovative new kind of coupling. If gay couples merely want to be able to visit one another in the hospital, file a joint tax return, or have the right to survivorship in a will, those can be worked out without calling it a marriage.
More reasonable gay activists have gone for the "civil union" concept, which would address those particular issues. But others are unyielding, demanding that we see gay marriage as exactly the same as traditional marriage. That's a tall order, as there are obvious differences. For example, traditional marriage came out of religious sensibilities and got grafted into the law.
The big question remains: what is society's stake in recognizing gay marriages as opposed to civil unions? Good question. Again, society recognized traditional marriage to protect the interests of the woman and children in case the man left the family. Who is the dependent one in the gay pairing? Is society changing 6,000 years of religious and legal tradition just to make two people feel better? That's not usually been sufficient grounds to change the law, yet here we are. Who will next be petitioning us to change our marriage laws again?
Once the horse is out of the barn in the name of changing laws in the name of individual rights, any number of new petitioners could come forward. Who will be able to say "No" to any of them? As long as they say they love one another, the new standard for marriage will have been met.
Mt. Alto, W.Va.