As the debate regarding same-sex marriage heats up, opponents of homosexual marriage stride in on their war mounts as the great defenders of “traditional marriage.” What is traditional marriage? The dictionary does not have an entry for it, but includes both heterosexual and homosexual unions under its definition of marriage.
Throughout history, marriage has been ever-evolving and the “traditional” marriages that some feel must be championed are relatively new when regarding the total history of the institution. Little research is required to realize that having the majority of married women being in the workforce and roughly half of marriages ending in divorce are characteristics that are far from traditional, or that the sacred rite of marriage was often arranged for social, political or commercial benefit. Love was only thrown into the mix a couple of centuries ago.
When evaluating same-sex marriage, it is important to note that there is a difference between the religious rite of marriage and the government’s issuance and processing of a marriage license. Same-sex couples are not asking that the government mandate that churches perform gay and lesbian marriage ceremonies or that the biblical interpretation of conservative Judeo-Christians be changed.
Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections and benefits that have been granted to their heterosexual counterparts, and there is no legitimate argument against it. Same-sex opponents use religious rhetoric as a defense against allowing provisions to gay couples (which is ironic since these same opponents are the first to cry foul when religious extremists try to influence the governments of the Middle East). Their religious reasoning should no longer be entertained in the public debate of the policies of our government. A founding principal of our government was the separation of church and state, a position that at the time was not traditional.