My practise as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public.
Why I support same-sex marriage: Three reasons
Only bigots could have cynically used the name Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for a law that needlessly prevents people from getting married. Today those bigots are unhappy bigots, as the US Supreme Court (or at least the non-bigoted 5 of the 9 Justices) has finally ruled a key section of the 1996 law unconstitutional.
I'm all in favor of full marriage rights for same-sex couples. Why? I can name three specific reasons: a good reason, a selfish reason, and a secret favorite reason.
Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 1 (the good reason)
The right to marry is a basic human right. Full stop. Can you think of a more ridiculous and wrong reason for denying people two people a human right, than because a government does not approve of the pairing of their genitals? Or because some bigot claims to have heard the voice of a magic sky man who wants the right denied because of the wrong genitals?
Removing this bizarre anti-marriage roadblock will extend a human right to those currently denied it. It will increase social and financial security for those people, and will let them be happy. Why object to that?
Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 2 (the selfish reason)
Putting aside the benefits to those who can now get married, what does same-sex marriage do for me personally? Nothing that I can see – good or bad. I've genuinely thought hard about this, and I can't think of any downside for me. Letting gays get married won't upend my sexual orientation ("Sorry, honey. New law. Gonna gay it up now."). It won't turn people around me gay. It won't harm me, my wife, my marriage, my kids, or anyone in my family. It won't harm people who are complete strangers to me, in any way that I can think of.
Of course, just because I can't imagine the harm doesn't mean there isn't any. But by all appearances, the staunchest foes of same-sex marriage can't think of any harm either. They've had years to do so – thousands of years, really – yet I haven't heard one reasonable suggestion for a means by which same-sex marriage might carry a shadow of a possibility of a risk of a threat of maybe hypothetically inconveniencing one human being. Nothing.
Well, it does seem likely that striking down DOMA will make wedding planners, photographers, and cake bakers more busy. But they swear that they want that, so we're back to no demonstrated harm. Anyone got something?
Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 3 (the secret favorite reason)
Okay, Reason 1 is the real favorite, but Reason 3 is a major guilty pleasure all the same: Same-sex marriage drives the fundamentalist bigots insane(r). The thought of Pat Robertson and Rick Santorum sputtering and spewing in anger on Fox News, and Jerry Falwell pounding at his coffin lid in a seething rage, just makes me smile. (Oh, you say Jesus and Mohammed are weeping too? Boo-hoo.)
The cries of impending national doom because now married couples are teh gay is just awesome entertainment. Best yet, we'll get to see it play out over and over as individual states crawl out of the Dark Ages to join the pro-marriage bandwagon.
These are good times for good people. Congratulations to all the soon-to-be newlyweds!