During one of his recent radio shows, Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason made an important observation about the debate over same-sex marriage (SSM) that virtually all advocates of SSM miss: the debate over SSM has virtually nothing to do with what same-sex couples (SSCs) do, and everything to do with what we (society) do.

No one is regulating the behavior, love, living situation, or commitments of SSCs.  SSCs are free to live with one another, have sex with one another, create legal contracts with one another, and even engage in public ceremonies to celebrate their love and commitment to one another.  Being granted access to the institution of marriage would not give SSCs any additional freedoms.  What it would give them is a new social standing.  Why?  Because marriage is society’s way of putting their stamp of approval on a particular kind of relationship.  It’s society’s way of declaring what a family is.  To say SSCs can participate in the institution of marriage would be a social declaration that there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual unions.  Whether society should make such a declaration stands at the heart of the debate over SSM.  Do we, as a society, want to declare same-sex relationships to be socially equivalent to heterosexual relationships?