Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
--The Impressive Clergyman, "The Princess Bride"
Let's be honest -- gay marriage ought to be an exceptionally low priority right now in Minnesota, but apparently we're now going to have the debate, and a constitutional amendment will be on the ballot in 2012.
At the bottom of this increasingly tedious discussion, there's a misconception about what marriage really is. Love, or more properly infatuation, often brings people together, but alone it's not likely to be the basis of a long-standing relationship. But how other people live their lives isn't especially a concern of mine.
Why traditional marriage matters to the state is because the individual arrangement of a man and a woman generally leads to children. Not always, but generally. And providing children with a stable home is a huge concern of every society. The happiness of the married couple? Not really a concern of the state, unless unhappiness leads to domestic violence.
Gay marriages by definition cannot lead to children unless there is an intervention of a third party. No matter what the law might say, that's the reality of nature. And, the "happily ever after" thing is baked into the historical marketing of marriage, but it's really secondary to the hard but necessary work of child rearing.
The gay couples protesting at the Capitol over the weekend think that having the imprimatur of the state will somehow complete them. It won't. But I wouldn't begrudge them the opportunity to make their case. The happiness they seek comes from someplace other than where they are looking, which they will learn regardless of how the vote comes out.