Originally posted by frodus
The issue, it’s important to remember, is not whether society will allow homosexuals to “marry.” They may already do so, in any church or other sanctioning body that is willing to perform the ceremony. There are, in fact, many organizations willing to do so: the Episcopal Church USA, the Alliance of Baptists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Unity School of Christianity, the Unitarian Universalists, the Swedenborgian Church of North America, the Quakers, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and the United Church of Christ, among others. Such institutions either explicitly allow the consecration or blessing of same-sex “marriages” or look the other way when individual congregations perform such ceremonies.
No laws prevent these churches from conducting marriage ceremonies—and nearly all Americans would agree that it is right for the government to stay out of a church’s decision on the issue. Further, any couple of any kind may stand before a gathering of well-wishers and pledge their union to each other, and the law will do nothing to prevent them. Same-sex couples, or any other combination of people, animals, and inanimate objects, can and do “marry” in this way. What the law in most states currently does not do, however, is force third parties—individuals, businesses, institutions, and so on—to recognize these “marriages” and treat them as if they were exactly the same as traditional marriages. Nor does it forbid anyone to do so.
In short, individuals, organizations, and institutions in most states are currently free to treat same-sex unions as marriages, or not. This, of course, is the truly liberal and tolerant position. It means letting the people concerned make up their own minds about how to treat these relationships. But this freedom is precisely what the advocates of same-sex “marriage” want to destroy; they want to use the government’s power to force everyone to recognize same-sex unions as marriages whether they want to or not.
What’s at issue here is not whether people can declare themselves married and find other people to agree with them and treat them as such. No, what’s in contention is whether the government should force everyone to recognize such “marriages.” Far from being a liberating thing, the forced recognition of same-sex “marriage” is a governmental intrusion of monumental proportions.
Okay, this seems to be your main thesis and I see one major flaw. It supports a double standard. It's bad for government to enforce the contractual rights of gay couples, but perfectly okay for the government to enforce such rights for heterosexual couples?
From the tone of your post, you seem to think that letting individual agency decide the legitimacy of a marriage is ultimate freedom. So why not extend that freedom to heterosexuals as well? Why not let individual businesses decide if they want to recogonize the marriage of say... interracial couples ...or muslim couples or catholic couples... or buhdist couples. Your employee requested family leave? Well according to corporate policy, atheist marriages are not defined as such so said employee doesn't have any "family." There's a black man at the reception desk of a hospital claiming the he wants to see a white woman he's declared is his wife? Well, the hospital doesn't recognize ineterracial marriages so the man will have to be escorted by a family member.
Allowing individual citizens the right to oppress others is not the same as freedom.