I mentioned this elsewhere, but I believe the debate deserves its own thread. It's such a tempestuous topic, especially in the south. I wonder though if people are contemplating the real question. It is not about whether you agree with gay marriage or not. It is not about whether you think its right or wrong, sinful or just. The issue is whether government should be able to SAY its right or wrong. You may personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a women. That is fine and acceptable, but the question is this: Do you think government should be able to tell you what is wrong or right? I don't. I think its wrong to take all the cash you have in your bank account and set in on fire in your yard. But I am not about to condone a law that would give government the power to tell me I couldn't do it. That's big government. The issue is two-fold. First, there are legitimate rights and privileges that come with being in a civil union. These right can be fairly easily quantified and understood. Then there is the word 'marriage' and all the religious and social connotations surrounding it. The word 'marriage' should not be mentioned OR regulated by the government. It's an abstract term. Can you imagine if the government tried to regulate and define the word 'Christian'? Controlling who could and could not call themselves Christian? Marriage is an abstract term, BUT the rights that come with it on a federal and local level are not. The term 'civil union' should be the term that is adopted and defined by the federal and state governments. Parties in a civil union should be allowed all the rights that come with being 'married'. This will be tough to define because eventually people will begin to push the envelope even more. It's not governments place to tell us what is right or wrong. To me the object of government should be to allow as much free choice as possible, but maintaining an active, livable society where we all get a fair chance to realize our dreams. This of course is the crux of the matter in maintaining a free country. However, in this particular case I think you would have a tough time advocating anti-gay legislation for any reason other than the fact that you think its "wrong". Can you set your ideals aside for the purpose of government? There is no easy way to define the term 'civil union', and I feel bad for the law makers that are going to have to do it. However when the task is taken up, the definition of the word should be relevant in the context of the rights said union offers ( I realize that being able to say you are 'married' is a right but that shouldn't be considered, but I'll get to that in a sec). For instance taking into account civil union rights such as social security benefits, taxes, and health insurance, a civil union with a cat would obviously be pointless and therefor not part of the definition. Of course, it will get more complicated than that, but that kind of logic will make some of the process easier. The word 'marriage', and whatever psychological satisfaction it engenders shouldn't be touched by the government. People should be allowed to call their respective civil unions whatever they want. Why? Because its an abstract term that is open to any number of interpretations depending on what religion you are, what Bible you read, what your God said to you last night or what yo momma always told you etc. Besides, someone else being 'married' in way you see unfit doesn't make your any less...I don't know...valid. Half of marriages end in divorce anyways so I wonder what the big deal is.