If one believes marriage is simply about the state providing a legal and benefit framework for people centered on their personal understanding of attachment or relationship then a person cannot be for “marriage equality” without also supporting any or all forms of arrangement that consenting adults might wish to pursue in this regard. The polyamorist, the polygamist, the relatives, the platonic friends, all and more are citizens, and if the state cannot in the name of “equality” respect gender in marriage then on what grounds can one declare themselves for “equality” while still allowing the state to discriminate on number, relationship status, age, or however a person may choose to define themselves and their potential marriages? It is not “equality” in the actual sense to say we want the gender of the participants in a marriage to not matter but, for example, the number still limited to two. What one is doing then is simply creating a new kind of exclusivity, broader for sure than the prior definition but nevertheless enshrining a kind of discrimination in law. In effect one is saying “equality” for us but not for the rest.
The proponents of traditional marriage have no such burden. We frankly admit that natural law, the experience of human society over time, the teachings of all major religions, and the laws of nearly all human societies until now have, while supporting various levels of tolerance for other arrangements, limited the understanding of marriage to relationships of male and female. This argument in no way limits the freedom of people to enter into other kinds of relationships. We argue only one point, namely that the marriage of a man and a woman has been and remains an ideal that should be supported for reasons of the common good above and beyond other, but lesser, options.
People can disagree with this but they need to understand that unless they are prepared to remove all defining categories for marriage they and we are asking for the same thing, the sanctioning of the state for a particular kind of relationship against options considered other or less. When the two men and three women come to apply for a marriage license the proponents of marriage “equality” had better be there in support or they risk exposing their argument to charges of hypocrisy. Until that time, and that time is soon upon us, at least they can stop calling people who support heterosexual marriage names because in truth all we differ on is which “two” we believe should have the potential for marriage.