I debated whether or not to write this post and initiate this conversation, but enough people have asked that I have decided to do so.
I am approaching this in a question and answer format, and my only request is that it be a civil conversation and not be approached as a debate. I have no desire whatsoever to argue with anyone about this, and I will not engage in that sort of dialogue. What I would like is an open discussion in which I can explain how I feel about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriage and the reasons I feel that way. Rather than try to list all of those reasons, I have decided to share one (perhaps the most counter-intuitive one) initially. I will respond to any other reasons, for or against, as they are given.
The primary reason I support the Supreme Court’s decision is that I believe in religious freedom, particularly when it comes to issues as sacred as marriage.
I would love it if the government got out of the marriage business altogether and focused solely on civil benefits for civil unions, leaving marriage strictly as a religious practice. Lacking that ideal, which the religious majority in the United States fought for a long time, the only way for the government to provide equal civil benefits was to issue marriage licenses.
The central issue to me is not that the government is issuing marriage licenses, although I would like to see that change; the central issue to me is that religions are performing marriages that provide civil benefits. Up until now, equal civil benefits were not possible for same-sex couples under that structure. It is the tying of civil benefits (with equality under the law as the core foundation) to religious ceremonies (with their inherent and important right to be selective based on doctrine) that is the central issue for me – and if religions were unwilling to allow the government to perform civil unions for same-sex couples (which, again, was the case in the United States), the only alternative to provide civil benefits equally and fairly was to legalize same-sex marriage within the public marriage structure while maintaining the right of religions and denominations to perform and refuse to perform marriages according to their own doctrine and beliefs.
The Supreme Court ruling has done that. Religions and denominations still can refuse to marry inter-racial couples, for example, with no legal ramifications, even though inter-racial marriage has been legal for a long time; same-sex marriage is no different, in that particular respect, with this recent ruling.
Thus, the primary reason I support the Supreme Court ruling is that I believe so passionately in religious freedom.