Some would argue that the intent of our founding fathers was to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. The argument is there. Many of our American ancestors had a very narrow view of equality; a view that we find offensive today. Fortunately, over the years, our original Constitution has been amended to clarify and extend the meaning of equality.
I've heard that the major proponent of California's Proposition 8 was a coalition of Christian organizations who believe that God only wants heterosexuals to form life partnerships, to be happy, and to reap the benefits of the union of marriage. Okay. Folks in those organizations can believe and do that. It's their right guaranteed by our Constitution. I've heard that there are other Christian groups that believe it is okay for same-sex couples to marry and form life partnerships. That's okay too. And it's also guaranteed by our Constitution.
Many want to narrowly define the legality of marriage so it suits their own needs and beliefs. They forget that the institution of marriage originated in prehistorical times. Marriage predates Christianity by thousands of years, even here in America. It doesn't belong to any particular religion or to existing religions at all.
Today, at the very basic level, marriage requires a license from some civil authority. Kathy and I purchased ours from a clerk at the county courthouse. The next level requires a licensed official to perform a marriage ceremony in front of witnesses. It was lunchtime at the courthouse, and Kathy and I had difficulty finding a judge to marry us. We finally found one who was willing to pause his lunch for the ceremony. It was a memorable occasion for us and exactly what we wanted.
Some folk require more in the way of a ceremony and are more particular about the licensed person who marries them. Often, these particular licensed agents have additional requirements. Usually, the additional requirements are religious in nature and can vary considerably.
I once read that there are over 32,000 different Protestant Christian organizations in the United States. Add to that number all the other religions we have here, and you will find quite a huge diversity of beliefs about what marriage is and what the requirements for getting married are. Those beliefs are all protected by our Constitution.