The Graeco-Egyptian deity Serapis is commonly depicted wearing a modius (a sort of Egyptian headgear favored by Elusinian deities). Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BC, stored in the Serapaeum of Alexandria. Vatican Museum
The argument that there exists a supposed “right to marry” currently in some cases unfulfilled is clearly specious. In the first place, everyone in the United Stated already enjoys exactly the same right to marry right now. What some people are demanding is not the opportunity to marry, which they already possess. What they are demanding is the right to redefine marriage and the recognition of the state of other kinds of associations (the sort they desire) as the same thing as marriage, and as marriage’s moral and social equal.
The proposition that the association of a pair of persons of the same sex is just as good, just as valuable to society, just as morally acceptable as marriage is unquestionably a controversial proposition, and one from which a very large portion of the population of the United States would dissent. It is about as good a case as you could possibly find of a matter of theoretical moral and religious opinion on which rational men of good will are inevitably going to differ.
The American tradition is one of pluralism and we are theoretically constitutionally committed to state neutrality on issues of religious faith and morals. So, the real question ought to be: what is the authentically neutralist position that the state ought to be taking on the practice of same sex marriage?
It is widely agreed that the state has no right to enforce traditional religious morality or to interfere with the voluntary and private actions of consenting adults. And that is the status quo. No liberty of association of same sex couples is currently being infringed. No one is stopping them from living together. No one is interfering with their sexual relations. No one is even preventing them from conducting whatever sort of ceremonies of mutual commitment they desire, or preventing them from describing themselves within their own circles as married. The same sex marriage offensive is not really aimed at gaining for same sex couples the ability to file joint tax statements or the other practical benefits of matrimony. If insurance coverage, pension benefits, and joint tax returns were really the issue, we would be discussing some kind of civil union arrangements and the level of controversy and heat of argument would be very different.
What same sex couples want, however, is not really something practical. What they want is the Same Sex equivalent of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. They want federally-enforced moral and social equality. They want the government on their side, enforcing their worldview and their moral perspective on everybody else.
Same sex marriage advocates refer routinely to “Marriage Equality,” but no system of real equality allows someone who is actually not equal to someone else in specific characteristics pertaining to any kind of special conventionally recognized status to simply change the definition in order to gain access to prestige and privileges associated with that status for which he is not qualified.
On the contrary, the ability to modify the fundamental definition of an important institution to benefit oneself is really not “Equality” at all. It is actually a most extraordinary kind of special power and privilege, not normally accessible or available to anyone.
The spectacular inequality characteristic of the contest for “Marriage Equality” can even be seen in the history of the case currently before the Supreme Court. In California, in 2004, the mayor of San Francisco simply set aside state law and began issuing same sex wedding licenses. In doing so, he deliberately ignored a statute passed by the State Legislature in 1977, and a ballot initiative (Proposition 22) passed by a margin of 61.4% in 2000. The State Supreme Court, however, in 2008, intervened to rule, In re Marriage Cases, in favor of Same Sex Marriage. Which, in turn, produced Proposition 8, another ballot initiative in which Californians affirmed their opposition to state recognition of Same Sex Marriage.
In the entire history of the matter, we find a special interest group (the Same Sex community) allied with the national community of fashion elite determined, by hook or by crook, to have their way.
What the issue really revolves around is the determination of the national elite to impose its own faith and morals position coercively, using government, on everybody else.
Same Sex Marriage advocates are particularly fond of attacking a strawman argument, and pointing out that recognizing Same Sex Marriage does not practically impact traditional marriages. They would be indignant, I am sure, if I were to note in reply, that Same Sex Marriage does, however, insult and demean, by travestying traditional marriage, by the imitation of its form, and the usurpation of its honorable status by that which is not honorable.
A fraudulent libertarian argument commonly used tries to contend that no one else is injured if Same Sex couples are recognized by the state as married.
Suppose, just for example, that another wonderful new species of Enlightenment swept the land, and that the intelligentsia, the international elite, Hollywood, the mainstream media, and, what Vito Corleone used to call the Pezzonovante all suddenly converted to the Hellenic and Elusinian cult of Serapis. You and I might continue to think in terms of Christmas and Easter, and all that, but Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the presidents of Yale and Harvard, the editorial board of the New York Times, Sean Penn, Tina Fey, Oprah Winfrey, and the rest were all now mad keen worshipers of the god Serapis. And now they want the image of Serapis placed on the US dollar bill in the place of the portrait of George Washington.
It would just be a small concession of Elusinian Equality. Who would it hurt? Only the uncharitable and mean-spirited could possibly deny a school of thought discriminated against for two thousand years its basic dignity.