In the way of these things I am inclined to think that the road towards same-sex marriages is one of inevitability. That is, I think we will all look round in a hundred years time and wonder what the fuss was about.
For the life of me I cannot understand why some people seem to think that gay-marriage will bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. I do have some sympathy with the argument that what ever else a committed same-sex relationship might be it is not marriage.
I have sympathy with that argument but in the end I am les and less persuaded by it.
Even if I were to accept the view that sectional interest groups, like churches, are at liberty to define marriage theologically as they see fit...I do not think that idea should go uncritiqued by rational thought and by sociological change.
The key dynamic that has changed in society in the last fifty years is our understanding of the nature and origin of homosexuality. Most would accept that homosexuality is not a choice but an orientation. We do not choose to be homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual rather we are as we are.
Most of those who speak out against homosexuality seem to do so out of a sense that some how a person has to apologise for being as they are.
There is logically no difference between that state of affairs and requiring people to apologise for their racial origins or their gender.
There are two things that are offensive about such an idea. First is the offensiveness that we recognise of assuming that race, gender, or sexual orientation renders us superior or inferior. Second is the offensiveness that people should be impugned for something that lies outside their control. There can be no moral responsibility for that which we cannot freely change.
I want, and I have said before, people to live in responsible relationships with each other. I think it is preferable that we not treat sexual relationships as though they were of no value, and just some sort of recreation. To my mind, sex is so powerful a human motivator that it cannot have no meaning.
Even 'consenting adults' who conspire together to say this is 'just sex' are I think kidding themselves. We don't like it when our partners sleep around!
So I think taking this important stuff, sex, seriously means it should happen in the context of the committed relationship.
I want to do what ever I can to encourage commitment. It seems better to me that sexually active people should be committed to each other. If for same sex couples that commitment can be marriage-like (monogamous, exclusive, life-long) then why can that commitment not be honoured.
Is it not better to have commitment than promiscuity? I would have thought so.
I am not against chastity, I am against people being forced to be celibate who don't believe that is their particular vocation.
We need, I suggest, to encourage mature relationships. Not discourage them.