Less than a week ago, the first couples in New Jersey joined in a civil union ceremony. With this reminder close to home it would be interesting to look back at the issue from an ethics standpoint and from a political standpoint.
From a purely Utilitarian perspective, the advantage is obvious: gay marriage would give legal and civil rights, and much joy, to those who wish to bond for the rest of their lives. Many have noted, however, that marriage is a religious institution that is defined as love between a man and a woman. This claim is not unfounded but if such is the case then ought marriage as a governmental institution to be abolished as per the Lemon test? Conservatives and liberals alike have suggested this option and I would not be opposed to it. The more equality the better.
On a more political discussion now, the hypocrisy of the Republican Party is made evident by the issue of same-sex marriage. Cheney has come out and said that he thinks gay marriage ought to be decided by the states. Of course this really means that Cheney is having difficulty reconciling the anti-gay line of the Republican Party (and that of his partner-in-crime George Bush) with his own experience — his lesbian daughter. The hypocrisy, of course, is that the Republican Party with its “compassionate conservatism” has managed to screw over every minority group possible and the only issue where Cheney diverges from the party line is the one that affects him personally. This hypocrisy is not new, either; Nancy Reagan came out in support of stem cell research. Ronald Reagan would clearly not have supported such. Moreover, Nancy Reagan’s personal experience is the only thing driving her support of such anti-Republican values.