People can say, I guess, that I want to deny gay people the right to marry just like the law of the antebellum south did not acknowledge the right of slaves to marry because they were mere pieces of property. But I have NEVER denied the right of anyone past majority to enter into a legally recognized marriage. NEVER. Gays have always had the right to enter into legally recognized marriages. Always. "Yeah, sure, as long they marry someone to whom they are not and will not be sexually attracted," would be the boilerplate reply. This right to marry almost surely dooms gays to lives of unhappiness. Three things must be said in response. 1) marriage laws have never been about personal happiness, rather they've been about the regulation of coitus as even that Religious Nutter Bertrand Russell admits, 2) the opponents of the legal recognition of same-sex "'marriage" NEVER have said that gays are property and, therefore, not fully human, and 3) as most of the Great Philosophers will tell you, the notion that marriage leads to happiness is at best dubious.
If the general culture thinks marriage is synonymous with happiness, fine (but I am dubious. I wonder how many husbands, after getting their heads yelled off for one too many poker nights, would call marriage happiness). The law is not the general culture. There are many things that are essential to personal happiness, which the law does not formally recognize. The happiness one receives after hearing a really good joke. Or friendships. Or do you really think that for citizens to be truly happy, the state must recognize everything anyone might do in the pursuit of a smile? What? Is the state everyone's Mommy who will put all our crude crayon drawings on the National Refrigerator? Do we really want to make our happiness contingent upon the state's approving recognition of everything we do and everyone we talk to, play with, and are happy with? Wouldn't this make the state the source of all eudaimonia? Wouldn't this make the state into a god, who can deny us happiness simply by ignoring our pleas for attention? Geez, the advocates of ss'm' routinely accuse us their opponents of wanting to impose our religion upon the secular state, and yet for them the state is a religion. Who's the theocrat now, eh?
The law recognizes marriage not because marriage is a thing for self-fulfillment or self-actualization but because it has a compelling interest in encouraging the responsible use of coitus, not the happy or thrilling or fabulous use thereof, merely the responsible. This because coitus, again, can and very often leads to new citizens which the state would much rather not spend public funds raising. Marriage has traditionally been the way for the state to privatize dependency, in other words.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I KNOW, that this does not explain why sterile couples, couples who don't want children, or obviously barren octogenarian couples are allowed marriage licenses. Well, it doesn't if I stated that marriage is about responsible procreation. But I did not. I said that marriage is about the responsible use of coitus, and sterile and octogenarian couples can still set good examples of sexual fidelity to the community. And couples who marry with the intent of not having children may change their mind. It happens all the time. Furthermore, the responsible use of coitus, as Planned Parenthood groupies would hasten to remind us, sometimes includes its sterile use. Do we really want marriage laws to encourage a seventy year old man to marry someone thirty-five years his junior or younger because all the women his age are barren? That would lead to fatherless children. Tony Randall's kids are fatherless, for instance. (This pains me to say because I would not mind marrying someone twenty years my junior.)
In short, marriage (from the perspective of public policy, at least) is simply about coitus. Same-sex couples cannot perform coitus, however hard they might try. Therefore, same-sex couples cannot marry. Period. My reasons for why marriage is the union between a man and a woman are based squarely and exclusively upon the unicity of the coital act. It is not based on any animus towards homosexuals or upon disgust at anything homosexual couples might do to express intimacy. It is not based upon any notion that homosexuals are somehow subhuman and, hence, less worthy of the respect and dignity accorded to heterosexuals. It is, I repeat, based ONLY on the idea that the sine qua non of marriage is the coital act, and if this can never ever be performed, then marriage is simply impossible. I defy anyone to tell me how what I have stated here is irrational bigotry on par with racism or anti-Semitism or how this puts me "in the same basket" with these bigots.