In making the decision on whether to approve same-sex marriage, voters need to ask themselves one important question. What will be best, not for individuals, but for society?
State law already grants same-sex couples all the rights and privileges of marriage through domestic partnerships. There are no benefits, financial or otherwise, denied to gay couples -- only the name of marriage.
It is understandable that same-sex couples want to call their relationships marriage and want everyone to view their unions as equivalent to traditional marriage. But it is important we place the needs of society above the feelings of individuals.
Marriage has never been just a celebration of love between any two people. It has always been specific to a man, a woman and the children of their union.
Marriage includes words like duty and honor. In a marriage, a man vows, not just to love his wife, but to put the full strength of all of his efforts and labor toward the support of his wife and their children. A woman vows to make for him a refuge, a home and a family. These are equal and complementary roles, but not the same roles.
A man and a woman bring different and vital contributions to a marriage. We give marriage special honor in order to support and strengthen the bond of men and women because the whole society benefits from the stability of that union.
How does gay marriage threaten this? It changes the definition of marriage to a personal celebration of love. It diminishes marriage into a way to get benefits.
It removes legal distinctions between men and women, rendering gender meaningless. It breaks apart that singular value society places on the union of a man and a woman.
If we approve gay marriage, there will be fewer marriages and more divorces because marriage will have been divorced from its fundamental meaning.