I've been brooding most of the day about the idea that the problem with same-sex marriage is that it undermines the "ideal" that children should have a mother and a father. First of all, I'm starting to really hate the concept of ideal when it comes to raising children, period. The idea that anybody is either able or willing to approach child rearing from the standpoint of carefully researching what is most close to being perfect and then following it is ridiculous. First of all, most people would have to conclude that neither their or their spouse's genetics should be involved in the process...forget the studies that show that this, that, or the other thing can have a slight downward effect on IQ, to get real results you need to be willing to swap out prospective parents. I'm also fairly sure that any parent genuinely concerned with maximizing their child's safety needs to be willing to do things like give up car travel and move away from high or even moderate air pollution areas. Or on the less serious side, there's baby names. People have no end of opinions about the doom and misery that await a child whose parents give it an unfortunate name...unless that name is the last name. If it's not optional, then suddenly we remember that somehow, we all eventually learn to deal with whatever less-than-ideal hand life deals us, and our children will too.
But getting past the fact that I really, really need to take a break from pregnancy books for a while (and taking for granted that I actually see no reason two same sex parents are less ideal for a child than two opposite sex parents), why, exactly, would you obsess about the non-idealness of a choice that most people aren't even going to consider making? I think this guy (Andrew Cherlin) might have a very good point...raising children in wedlock confers status, and the thing about status is that it needs to be denied to some people in order to retain its worth. At least, looking at it from that perspective makes more sense to me than trying to understand it as some kind of bizarrely selective concern about the welfare of other people's children. Their goal is not to use the law to coerce others into what they consider better lives, I think most people - even those who I wouldn't call particularly rational otherwise - realize that that's unrealistic. We're talking about people who want to be congratulated for the way their personal preferences and good fortune already coincide with "ideal," who are used to being congratulated for it, and who resent whatever minor extent that might be taken away in order to make the world fairer for others.
(Blah blah blah obviously you can't assume that the whole 50% or so of the population that is against gay marriage is against it for the same reason. You can pretty safely assume that there are a wide variety of reasons out there...but this one I hadn't really thought about today, and the more I think about it the more significant I think it is)