The fuss over same-sex marriage seems pointless to me, but you could probably change my mind if you tried hard enough. Judging from the words in the typical marriage ceremony, I would say marriage is a religious ritual. Here’s an example:
We are gathered here in the presence of God to witness and bless the exchanging of vows that will bind this couple together in the covenant relationship of marriage. When this ceremony has ended, they will have been joined together by the God of heaven.
Not a word about the state. Unfortunately, the state intruded somewhere back in the mists of history, causing a lot of confusion. Click this link for some background:
The bureaucrats felt obliged to spell out the rights and obligations involved in marriage. I imagine that the people agitating for same-sex marriage are in reality seeking those rights.
To me the answer to their demands is a no-brainer. Of course they should have the same rights as any other couple. But I don’t think it’s up to the state to decide whether they’re actually “married.” The state should stick to administering civil unions. And civil unions should enjoy the same rights and be subject to the same obligations as marriages. But these civil agreements wouldn’t use the word “marriage.” (They could use the word “spouse,” however. That is definitely not a religious word. It reeks of bureaucracy.)
Of course same-sex couples should be able to get married. But the state should not be involved in that arrangement. The state would join a couple legally, and it would then be up to the couple to find a church willing to join them spiritually. After all, state and church are supposed to be separate,aren’t they? That arrangement would allow various religions to follow their dogma, and get marriage out of politics.