Why I believe in marriage equality or no marriage at all.   I have to admit that gay marriage was once an issue I was against, for the reason that I felt it was an issue which unnecessarily divided the electorate, particularly in a time of war.  I also felt, that like any interest group, the lgbt communities fixation on this issue only alienated potential supporters of domestic partnership and equal rights short of marriage.  I myself once advocated to a group of my gay friends that they should be satisfied with something short of marriage, and perhaps another class of marryage (sic) with the purposeful misspelling might be a good compromise, only to be shouted down with some angrily leaving my presence after accusing me of being a bigot.  This sort of behavior only further alienated me from their cause, although The intensity of emotion let me To delve into the argument on both sides.  In the end I have concluded that marriage equality is indeed a civil rights issue, because of the legislation passed to discriminate against the lgbt community at the federal level, namely, the defense of marriage act.   Though i was initially swayed by the arguments that 1) marriage has been between a man and a woman, that 2) marriage conveyed social benefits upon society, that 3) marriage is a religious institution and 4) it is not the place of the government to redefine an institution which has been in existence since time immemorial, upon examining these arguments, it became clear to me that while the proponents of these arguments are sincere in their beliefs, and to some extent their arguments also have some validity, their imposition of the issue at the federal level through doma has made the issue more than a topic of opinion, and that the correct legislative response is either to repeal all governmental recognition of marriage and the rights and privileges they confer upon married individuals, including inheritance, social security, and taxation benefit, or that marriage equality would have to be passed, first at the state level, and then at the federal level.   The idea that marriage is between a man and a woman is indeed a tradition which has only recently been challenged.  However, other aspects of marriage, such as the tradition that a married couple cannot separate until death, has been modified, demonstrating that marriage is a mutable institution.  the recognition of divorce by the state has done more harm to marriage than any potential harm the marriage between a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or between any other members of the lgbt community would cause.  It is hypocrisy to say that marriage cannot be changed, when more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Marriages cannot be broken until death, so say the vows, but our society has only minor issues about allowing a married couple to revert to two single individuals. The social benefits of marriage do exist in that they create a more stable society by creating members of that society who have a vested stake in the continuance of the society.  However, this does not limit itself to a man and a woman.  Single straight men and women are just as promiscuous and sex obsessed as single lgbt men and women. Marriage conveys the same stabilizing factor to both straight and lgbt people.  Thus, under this argument, marriage equality should be readily adopted by the public.  Yet it is not, most likely because a of prejudice than any rational reason. Perhaps the most compelling argument is that marriage has traditionally been within the realm of religion. However, upon closer examination, The idea that marriage is solely considered a religious institution in the united states also does not hold water.  In a book written in 1915, commenting on on an article written by pope Leo xiii dated February 10, 1880 which stated "the true origin of marriage venerable brothers, is well known to all.  Though the reckless of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never interrupted doctrine of the church on this subject.  Christ therefore, having renewed marriage to such and so great excellence, commended and entrusted all the discipline bearing upon these matters to his church.". However, the author, who is a protestant author, goes on to note that the Roman catholic church did not require the celebration of marriage to be an essentially religious ceremony until the year 1563 by an edict of the council of trent,  marriage in Italy is a civil ceremony, as it is in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, and even brazil where 99% of the peoples are catholic, the law considers marriage a civil contract.  Considering, there were no protestants until october 31st 1517, it seems unlikely that protestants considered marriage a religious rather civil institution before then either.  Indeed, These argument were used by Protestant reverends to lambast Catholics with sarcasm, one of which reads, "tell us we think more of the church than we do of the united states, of course we do... Why if the government of the united states were at war with the church we would say tomorrow, to hell with the government of the united states." Yet the same preacher today, forgetting the arguments of his forefathers who were far closer to the roots of the Christian religion than our contemporaries, would now likely claim that marriage is a religious rather than civil institution.  This is unrefutable evidence of the spurious nature of the religious institution argument. In addition, in our free and religiously tolerant society, a religion is free to define it's doctrines as it pleases as long as those doctrines do not causes direct harm upon those who are not part of the same sect.  Thus, a religion is free to define marriage as the union of two people regardless of gender, as repulsive as this might be to others.  Consider how repulsive the catholic faith was at one time to other americans and yet it was tolerated and finally accepted as a full fledged part of American society. Finally, if it is not the place of government to define marriage, or redefine marriage, or even be involved in a private or religious institution, why did the same people who make this argument, pass a federal law defining marriage, and why does the federal government convey benefits to married couples, such ass citizenship and tax benefits.  In fact, these governmental intrusions upon marriage likely have caused some of the increase in divorce rates, since they encourage people to get married for material benefit rather than for the right reasons.  Thus, it is pure hypocrisy to make this argument against marriage equality. While I was offended by the remarks of some members of the lgbt community that I was a bigot because I did not automatically subscribe to their arguments for marriage equality at the time, and they did not refute the claims of their opponents with the concrete evidence necessary to convince me they were correct in their arguments, I have determined for myself that the arguments of those adamantly opposed to marriage equality are flimsy at best.  However, this demonstrates one of the problems in our political discourse.  Too often extremists on both sides dictate the terms of the argument, undermining the unique place civic discussion once had in our society to determine the truth value of claims.  Instead accusation and propaganda dominate the discussion.  Yet, this does not change the underlying falsity of the claims against marriage equality, and thus, as a conscientious citizen, and strict adherent to rational policies, my fiancé and I of 11 years will not get married until marriage equality is passed.