Since the invention of “the pill” and the realization that 12 billion Earthlings would definitely be too goddamn many, well-informed straight people have decided that their fleeting years of good health should be spent not on finding permanent mates but on things they actually enjoy – like touching new people’s genitals for the first time, and sleeping in until noon on weekends. The life of the young liberal American is fixated on three all-important things: sex, alcohol, and 7-year-old 2am re-runs of Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Adult Swim.
Ironically this is the exact same period in which gay people, one of the few cohesive demographic groups for which monogamous pairing is not a social expectation, stampeded towards family values like a herd of wildebeest chasing the rainy season. In a world where some gays are literally losing their jobs for coming out and others face political underrepresentation and violent hate crimes against them, nothing gets gay men out at a rally more than when government won’t recognize something they already do anyway: be miserable with the same person for a lifetime as well as a straight person can.
The bottom line is, gay people like marriage more than anyone. Same-sex marriage (also called “gay marriage” by gay high schoolers and adult Republicans) is how lawyery-type gay men make a living, as well as how politicians signal symbolic support for all the other stuff gay people care about without having to know what those other issues actually are. Straight people have had divorce rates of close to fifty percent and rates of infidelity are even higher. Straight people don’t like marriage all that much after all; nonwithstanding, this is what gay people want to make ground zero of their political struggle. OK, gays, OK.
The biggest benefit of legal same-sex marriage is the right to divorce. Formally dedicating your life to faithfulness and companionship to a loved one is romantic and all – but you can easily do that outside a courthouse with rings and cake and the whole package; there are plenty of hippie churches out there where vegan lady ministers will unite you before God, mankind and Gaia. But how do you divide your shit if you break up? What if your asshole ex wants the fleshlight collection and the china cabinet? What if only one of you has formal custody of your adopted kids? An established legal process would have made all that much less painful.
Gay people love the idea of equal rights, symbolically and literally. And even if marriage is not important to them personally, they want it to be legal. Your stance on gay marriage basically determines for them whether you love gay and lesbian people as your equals or if you deserve to go down in history as this generation’s George Wallace.