Eva, Tony and many other couples will get married today, 7-7-07, possibly the most popular wedding date in history. But what about the happy couples whose union wouldn't be recognized in most of these United States, just because their chosen partner is of the same sex?
I recently went to a "covenanting ceremony" where two people pledged their mutual commitment to each other -- but their covenant won't be recognized as a legal marriage. It was, however, an expressly religious affair, officiated over by a pastor who made a point of saying that the couple did not seek approval of their union from the state. It also was a conventional wedding in every other aspect, right down to lenghty toasts, fretting about napkin colors and the fear of giving too much money to the "wedding-industrial complex." It was a ceremony viewed by the covenanting parties, and by their pastor, as establishing a sacred and permanent bond, but that bond is not recognized as such by the government and that ceremony was of no legal effect.
In contrast, my own wedding ceremony eight years ago did not bear the trappings of any organized religion, but was approved by the State of Colorado as establishing a legal marriage. I see no reason why my and my spouse's choice to form a domestic partnership (because legally, that's all a marriage is) should be privileged over those who choose to partner with someone of the same sex. I also don't think it matters whether sexual orientation is chosen or not -- I don't doubt that most people are born straight or gay, but why should the government be allowed effectively to coerce bisexual people to choose a partner of the opposite sex if they want to enjoy the many legal benefits of marriage?
Count me as one who views all the twisting and turning to come up with a legal "domestic partnership" alternative for same sex couples that is "not marriage" as so much baloney. Just stop discriminating against same sex couples. I kept my mouth shut on this point during the Referendum I campaign here in Colorado last fall (the domestic partnership initiative that failed narrowly) because I don't want to second guess the strategies chosen by an oppressed group to liberate themselves, and I do recognize that the campaign's argument that domestic partnerships would not be the equivalent of marriage was true. (For example, the partnerships would not have been treated as marriage for federal law purposes such as income tax.) However, I do wonder how many people really would support separate-but-equal domestic partnership but not extending full marriage rights to same sex couples.
The point is that marriage exists as a legal institution to help out those who have decided to establish a household together. Picking and choosing which couples deserve the benefits of marriage, and which do not, is not a proper role of government.