Marriage no longer means the same thing as it used to.
The 'marriage' that you are discussing here is really 'common law marriage'. It is still possible for two consenting different-sex adults to have a common law marriage.
The 'marriage' that gay people have been granted by the state is a state marriage. A marriage specifically recognized by the state and bound with a bunch of legal attachments from the state, including a change in tax and inheritance status.
A common law marriage need only have its two partners grant each other power of attorney as needed or complete a will and/or DNR to gain the ability to inherit from their partner and make medical decisions for them.
There is no reason why two gay people can't sign the same legal documents and enjoy all the same benefits of a state marriage, minus the tax status.
Also, I have never heard of two common law married adults filling out their tax forms as 'married filing jointly' in the absence of a state marriage license. Maybe it can be done and not be fraud since the IRS does not demand a copy of your state license proving your married.
All of that said, some individual states have more or less recognition of common law marriages and some even endeavor to force 'conversion' of common law marriages into state marriages. Some states will treat common law spouses as state married spouses under the law if certain conditions are met (like they lived together for x period of time).
Basically, there is zero authority in the constitution for state marriage. DOMA is unconstitutional as in any attempt that FedGov makes to define marriage. It is a power reserved to the states and people. I don't like state government marriage licenses and state recognition of marriage. I think the founders would be aghast at what has happened here.
So what did happen? The state got involved in marriage to regulate and/or prevent marriages between different races. Ewww. It used to be the law in many places that Blacks and Whites could not marry and Blacks and Native Indians could not marry. Do we really still need this embarrassing racist relic?
Back to the issue at hand... I believe the gay lobby has demanded certain 'rights' merely as a way of fully humanizing gay people. Remember that our liberties are tied to being human. In the past, various groups made the case that blacks are not humans and therefore should not enjoy the same rights as fully human white people. Gay people have been treated terribly in this country in the past as well because they have been seen by the straight majority as being somehow compromised or abnormal. If women (1st), blacks (2nd), Native Indians (3rd) and Gay people (4th) can enjoy the same state classifications as straight whites, this normalizes them all under the law and the distinctions that used to exist between white men and everybody else are swept under the rug. A declaration of the rights of these various minority groups would accomplish the same thing.
There is also a danger to all of this. Gay people were 'in the closet' for years mostly out of fear. If they all sign up as gay in the state databases now and the government falls and is replaced by a Theocracy, they could find their names listed in these databases to be a great liability, no? It happened in Germany where the 1920s was a very liberal time, followed by the 1930s and 40s, which were obviously far from liberal. This is why the law is not good enough. These groups are endeavoring the change the culture itself so that there can be no regression back into second class citizen status. Some of this 'socialization' gets over the top and may do more harm in this regard then help.
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