This is the second part of a chat-list post discussing gay rights and gun rights....
You do not have a constitutionally-protected right to marry. Neither do I. You *do* have a constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, as do I.
The thing is (and bear with me for a moment, here, because I'm going somewhere with this), gay people have exactly the same legal ability to marry as straight people do. That is to say, a gay man may legally marry a woman, just as a straight man can. Likewise, a gay woman can marry a man, just as a straight woman can. That, right there, is the wedge that gay people need to use to eventually achieve legal recognition of gay unions. Why?
The last and final argument that most people opposed to gay marriage make is: "marriage is a union between a man and a woman, whose purpose is to create children, and since gay couples cannot produce children, all they're looking to do is get free benefits from employers and so forth." So accept that point as axiomatic, and argue thus:
Given 4 people: Bob, Joe, Ann, and Sue. All are gay.
- Under current law, Bob can marry Ann. Likewise, Joe can marry Sue.
- Given that all four are gay, neither of these couples will produce children.
- Ann is legally eligible for spousal benefits from Bob's company, and vice versa.
- Likewise, Joe and Sue are eligible for spousal benefits.
Now require your conversational opponent to explain how, in an economic way, it would be any different at all if Bob and Joe were married to each other, and likewise Sue and Ann. Still four adults, still two marriages, still no children. They can't do it.
If they quibble about a gay man marrying a gay woman for the purposes of the argument, ask them whether a woman who has had an emergency hysterectomy and a man who has had testicular cancer and is sterile should be barred from marriage, since they obviously cannot produce children and are therefore only doing it for the spousal benefits.
As R- said, legally-recognized gay marriage will happen sooner and with less strife if people take a calmer more reasoned approach, rather than throwing out terms like "gay rights" which mean nothing new to the people who already agree with you, but serve as an inflammatory turnoff to the people who are fence-sitters.
Because everyone in this country is tired of special-interest-group-rights. There are no special rights for blacks, whites, jews, women, men, gays, straights, hispanics, asians, or left-handed people. And until people in those groups stop pretending that they *should* have more rights than everyone else, and stop using terms like "gay rights" that sound, on the surface, as if those groups feel they deserve more rights than others, the fence-sitting middle will never give them the time of day.
None. It stands as-is.