In all of this talk about gay marriage, one thing I think a lot of the anti gay-marriage side seem to keep forgetting is simply this: the moment the citizens of the various States allowed their State governments to require a license to be married, they lost all claim to the word marriage and any justification for restriction.
Marriage is not being redefined with gay marriage because marriage has already been redefined long ago, namely back in the mid-1800s when the States took it upon themselves to be the sole licensing authority for marriage. It went from being defined as “religious construct allowing to be married whomever the religion says is allowed” to “construct of law allowing to be married whomever the politicians decide should be allowed”. See the issue with the latter. Does it not bother you that something like marriage is now subject to political will? Or does it only bother you that political will is swinging in a direction you may not want it to go?
Imagine a gay man and a straight man are having an argument that gets so heated a crowd forms around them to watch the spectacle. Then as the argument appears to be reaching a point where neither is willing to concede, the straight man appeals to the crowd, “How many of you think this gay guy should be able to marry his boyfriend?” Regardless of how many hands go up, why should the gay man’s ability to marry his boyfriend be subject to the will of the crowd? Or the political will of the entirety of society?
But that’s not the only concern.
Once government became the sole licensing authority for marriages, marriage and any applicable restrictions came under the domain of the Fourteenth Amendment. Had our previous generations resisted when their respective States tried to institute marriage licensing, we would not be having the debates and confrontations we are today, because there would be no need. They established the inevitability when they wanted to control marriage by preventing interracial marriages, overturned ultimately by the Supreme Court in 1961.
Then the State governments and the Federal government compounded the problem by establishing rights, privileges and benefits to married couples, further cementing the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment, while simultaneously denying to certain individuals the ability to enjoy those benefits, rights and privileges by denying them the legal ability to marry a person of their mutual choice. This was the case with interracial marriage and remains the case with gay marriage.
In short, if you don’t want political will to work against you, then you should not work it against someone else — the golden rule applied to politics.