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I was adding a point to the Wikipedia article on California's Proposition 8 which prohibits same-sex marriages. I was reading the background article, the 'talk' page where those who edit the article discuss the issues regarding the article and whether some things should or should not be included. I decided to throw my EUR 0.02 and add a little fuel to the fire, when I pointed out that, if the article includes examples of those who oppose passage of the matter, it has to include those who support it:
Whether we agree or disagree with the sentiments of this act (I personally disagree with it) our responsibility - if this [Wikipedia] is to be an encyclopedia and not ''Jimbo's Bag O'Trivia'' as some have maligned it - is to be neutral and to not show bias; this includes giving examples of the organizations that support the measure as long as we include those who oppose it. If it is reasonable to include examples of either side in the article - and I think it is - then it is both fair ''and mandatory'' to include examples of the opposite point of view to that side.
There are a number of religious arguments which may be used to support this measure, and therefore it is reasonable and proper for churches to come out (oh, that's a terrible pun!) in favor of it. Conversely, a number of groups could have reasons, including those who are simply of the opinion that restricting who may marry simply on the grounds that they don't like the type of people getting married it is not something that other people should have the right to do.
It's one thing to prohibit, say, a brother and sister to get married, we have incest issues there. But typically if two people who are not related to each other meet and wish to have this option, they have the privilege as long as they are of the opposite sex. But the problem has become that there are certain special privileges which are ''only'' available to couples which are married.
If you win, say, $10 million in the state lottery, and you want to give me 1/2, if I'm either your husband or wife, there's no problem and that's the end of it. But if I'm anyone else, you are also going to owe a gift tax of at least 3 million dollars, plus probably a state gift tax as well. And I do not believe that the 'Domestic Partnership' compromise changes this; I haven't looked it up and if it does that's a different matter.
But this is one example of what are probably many reasons - I think someone gave an estimate of something like 300 different benefits that are available to a married couple that are denied to a relationship of two adults who do not have that status - that those adults that are in a stable relationship with someone else want the legal right for their relationship, that, except for the fact one of them is not a different gender, would be treated exactly the same as anyone else where the two people were adults who are not of the same sex.
There are a number of organizations who are of the opinion that marriage is a sacred institution, created by God and intended to solemnize a special relationship between a man and a woman, and it should not be cheapened and degraded by using it for other purposes.
The problem we have is that marriage, as a solemn religious ceremony, has been merged with a government contract, which is which is what you get at the courthouse, and thus we have a mess for that very reason when you mix two things which are - for all intents and purposes - two different things and call both of them the same thing.
Religious marriage is a ceremonial rite; civil marriage is a formal contract. This causes all sorts of problems on this issue because the religious groups feel that granting the latter is going to eventually force them to accept it being granted to the former.
And the results of this ballot measure - no matter which way it goes - will neither settle the issue nor be the final word on the subject.