"It's only "obvious" to you because you have a different concept of marriage than many heterosexuals. That's neither right nor wrong, Ian. But it is a fact."
Here is what is clearly, totally, 100% obvious:
1) Straight people are not required to be fertile or even possibly fertile to marry.
2) Straight people who are fertile get married all the time without having kids.
3) People have all kinds of kids without getting married.
4) Many, many LGB couples have children (from prior marriage, from IVF or surrogacy, or from adoption) and can serve the role of stable family child rearing for the country, but gay marriage opponents don't want them married (because they want kids to grow up with married parents?)
5) There is no proposal whatsoever that I have ever heard of or that has been mentioned by anyone here to limit marriage to procreation capable people, or limit any marriage benefit to couples that make kids or raise kids.
So, regardless of what people (here I mean Bill) feel marriage is about, the laws are not written that way, people don't live their lives that way, and no one has expressed any interest in changing that or even dissatisfaction with that reality. That stuff is obvious, even though marriage involves kids many or most times. I do not know how ANYONE could look at the facts and say that procreation ability is relevant to the right to marry; it's not; that's obvious.
Analogy: What if I had said that cars are only about getting from A to B? Bill would reply that cars are about passion, style, excitement, and exploration, as well, with many people getting cars only for pleasure driving. I think it would be OBVIOUS to Bill that only being interested in getting from A to B is not required to own a car. It's not!
I think what Bill meant to say was that while procreation is obviously not relevant w.r.t the RIGHT to marry, it certainly is central to many marriages, and many people feel that encouraging responsible procreation is the whole point of the institution. Which I agree 100%, is OBVIOUS
Here's the next thing: Bill would like us to settle for civil unions. I agree it would be simpler if we just settled for that. There are a number of reasons why it won't fly:
1) most of the people who fight us on marriage are going to fight us on CU just as hard. Corollary: the same animus drives the two oppositions and in large part people want o beat the animus itself.
2) separate is never equal; just read the initial Prop 8 findings for details.
3) No one has offered us a CU with national reach. As such, people can get their California CU or DP and they're still blocked from much of the benefit.
While realizing that no one is suggesting my solution on a national scale either, it offers the advantage of appeasing both sides and being completely equal--and it appeals to people who don't want government meddling in private life:
1) Offer appropriate DP or CU benefits, equally, to unions of consenting adults, straight and otherwise.
2) Let private institutions decide whom to marry, and keep the government out of it (except possibly requiring eligibility standards).
This way no conservative has a government saying his gay neighbor is as married as he is. No Catholic church has any pressure from Uncle Sam about whom to marry. No gay person is treated unequally by the government. It's pretty cool. We can even write the laws to seriously promote ideal environments for kids by targeting just the couples with kids for special treatment, and we can actually strengthen unions by making them harder to take lightly or dissolve. It is actually a wet dream for the right, except for one little nagging fact: they will have to give up the idea they want government approving their marriage. And if they won't, theey need to explain why a gay person wouldn't want the same.
PS: Re: "This insistence that "we are the same" is on face value incorrect. If the unions were the same, there would be no reason for the fight in the first place."
I think this fails on two accounts.
1) The whole "we are the same" argument is HAPPILY accepted by the LARGE majority of the US population, including the SCOTUS, w.r.t marriages between whites and blacks. And yet, there had to be a legal battle about that,
and decades of water under the bridge before some people with the old way of thinking died and most of the rest did finally agree that while the color was different, the fundamentals were the same, and a black-white marriage is "the same" as a single race marriage (w.r.t. the relevant characteristics).
Bill is going to disagree because he doesn't think race matters but gender does. THAT IS NOT THE POINT here, the point is that people USED to think race mattered and this changed, and also that the argument that a fight about marriage automatically means "we are not the same" is untrue.
2) I don't think this is an issue of "we are the same" anyway. There are obvious (oops, there it is again, but I think, appropriately) differences between same sex and opposite sex couples. We're not saying we're the same. We're saying we are EQUAL and should have the same access to marriage.
Incidentally, DADT repeal passed the house and is off to the senate. I imagine very soon we'll find that this becomes a nonissue, and another barrier to the normality of gay people has fallen. No doubt there will be some hype of things gone wrong, but things always go wrong, eg, when straight soldiers rape civilians or colleagues. That's no stain on the service of the rest of the straight soldiers.
It is also likely to be instant rather than incremental--sometimes, you fight change too hard and you lose your shot to make a gradual accomodation. Oops to that, hardliners. Hopefully it goes smoothly. If not, the people who didn't propose a phased implementation share some of the blame.