Marry Who You Love

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5 Myths about Gay Marriage

1. Letting gay couples get married redefines marriage.

When couples get married they say the following vows: "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do us part." Extending the boundaries to include gay couples does not weaken that definition.

2. Same-sex marriage hurts children.

What is better for a child to be in a orphanage than with a gay couple? The top priority for family for family policy today should be to reinforce the norm of marriage, which is exactly what gays want to do. And don't forget that many gay couples are raising kids. Why would anyone think those children are better off if their parents can't get married?

3. A collision with religion liberty is unavoidable.

Most religious-affiliated institutions choose between their principles and their profit and their nonprofit tax status? It's a real problem. The myth is that it's an unmanageable one. Working out the precise balance between gay rights and religious liberty will take time and effort, but, in the vast majority of cases, accommodations can be offered at acceptable cost to both sides.

4. The entire country must have the same policy.

We can't have different marriage standards in different states; that would be chaos. Right? Wrong. States have always defined marriage differently. The situation is bizarre and, frankly wrong. We don't like it. But we manage to live with it.

5.The battle is almost over.
A Gallup poll finds approval same-sex marriage breaching 50 percent. Won't this fight be over soon? Possibly, but remember: Most states still ban same-sex marriage.

The same-sex marriage movement has traveled fast by historical standards, but it probably still has a long way to go. To paraphrase Robert Frost, the best way out is always through.

Jonathan Rauch