I've tried very hard to put myself in the shoes of a Bible-thumping conservative (Republican or Democrat; I mean "social conservative" here). Thinking about my faith, my hard work, my traditional family values, et cetera. I try to visualize a scenario in which I have hatred or fear toward strangers based solely on a personal decision they make which in no material way affects me or my loved ones.
It just does not compute.
It makes no sense to me that a tax-paying, law-abiding American citizen could be denied the right to love another tax-paying, law-abiding American citizen. Marriage is supposed to be a basic human right, and is one that is taken totally for granted by heterosexuals. Conservatives would have you believe that they--being heterosexual--have a divine right to marriage, but that homosexuals do not have this right. There is an arbitrary requirement that marriage must be man/woman. Why? There is no precedent for this notion whatsoever if you throw religion out the window. And since we are in America and are not supposed to give specific religions preferential treatment, this shouldn't be an issue, right?
On paper: yes. In reality: no.
There are a million points to be made, and in later posts I might address some of them, but I want to boil this down to one simple idea: if gays are to be continually denied a basic right such as marriage and partner-based health and tax benefits, then they should be compensated.
How, you ask?
If you are gay and not allowed fair treatment extended to heterosexuals (hospital visitation, marriage, tax benefits, et cetera), then you get a 50% tax discount and get to choose a few laws you don't want to obey. Pretty simple, right?
The way I see if, if the government wants to deny you full privileges even though you pay taxes and observe the laws like heterosexuals, then you should get a break. The government shouldn't get a free lunch to have you pay money, follow the rules, AND be told how to conduct your personal business!
After all, no one knows more about personal relationships than the government, right?
The fact is this: no one has any business telling anyone else what to do in their private life, as long as it is not impinging on the rights, freedom, or safety of others. Being gay hurts no one, but the intolerance against gays does. If your brother, sister, father, mother, or children told you they were gay, would you stop loving them? Would you forget all your wonderful memories and love and banish them from your life?
It is important for legislators and voters to remember gay people are real, not just something you hear about on TV. These decisions can destroy happiness of others, and for what? How does it impact Joe the Plumber if Dave and Steve get married 2,500 miles away?
It doesn't, but it's Fear. It's time to stop the Fear, and start being Fair.