The comment by Michaelsclass (#93790) on this post contains so much misdirection, untruth and distortion that it cries out for fact checking and rebuttal.
The nub of Kit McCormick's objection was what she saw Hutcherson as hypocritical in his simultaneous support of civil rights for African Americans and vehement opposition to civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The commenter willfully ignores that it is Hutcherson's hypocrisy that is at issue. They ignore Hutcherson's objections to all civil rights for GLBT people including his well documented opposition to anti-discrimination and hate crimes protections which he wholeheartedly supports for race, ethnicity and religion. The many legal inequalities that GLBT people suffer are ignored and the commenter focuses on the singular hot-button issue of same-sex marriage.
Chalk one mark into the "Misdirection" column.
Then the commenter cherry picks a single definition from a five year old dictionary that is nominally "current" (not available online), to whit:
The dictionary definition of marriage is "the legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children." Source: The 2003 Oxford American Dictionary of Current English. It's been the definition for more than two thousand years.
Firstly, there is some argument about the actual edition year. 1999 is the main edition and the online version carries edition dates of 2002 and 2003. The complete definition of marriage from the 1999 edition is:
The Oxford American Dictionary of Current Englishmarriage /márij/ n.
1. the legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children.
2. an act or ceremony establishing this union.
3. one particular union of this kind (by a previous marriage).
4. an intimate union (the marriage of true minds).
5. (Cards) the union of a king and queen of the same suit.
by marriage as a result of a marriage (related by marriage).
in marriage as husband or wife (give in marriage; take in marriage).
According to the plurality of Reference librarians I spoke to including those at the Seattle Public Library and the Library at the University of Washington, the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster are considered the more commonly accepted citation sources with The American Heritage Dictionary as an outlier. The source you cite is seldom used based on the number of copies available in WorldCat.org.
The Oxford English Dictionary (SECOND EDITION 1989) defined the primary meaning of marriage as:
Note that even in the 1989 definition, there is no prescription that the marriage pairing is only husband and wife. This framing includes same-sex and opposite-sex couples equally.
Examining the latest revisions to the OED as of December 2007 includes the addition of an explicit reference to same-sex usage:
1. a. The condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony.
The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.
Cherry picking a single definition from one non-canonical source that happens to support your contention is dishonest.
Add a mark in the "Untruth" column.
The claim that marriage has had a single monolithic definition for two thousand years is preposterous. Marriage has had different meanings in different cultures and across different times. Examining the full definitions from the abovementioned dictionaries makes it clear that marriage has at various times been defined as polygamous, a property contract, a political contract, an act of barter, an act of kidnapping, and an act of commerce. It also denies the rich historical and cultural record of accepted same-sex unions and marriages.
What is most interesting is what is not there. There is no reference to marriage being for children or any requirement for procreation and the rearing of children in order to enter into a marriage. More about that in a moment. Then the commenter states:
In the United States, all people are treated equally under the law - all PEOPLE are equal. But all RELATIONSHIPS between people are NOT equal - because all relationships do not provide equal benefits to society. Men and women who decide to marry are afforded special privileges because American society long ago decided that encouraging men and women to have children - and raise them together for the rest of their lives - provides a unique benefit to society. Creating children, especially, is a benefit that can not be provided or duplicated by any other form of relationship.
Both the first and last statements in this paragraph are untrue. All people are not treated equally when their rights are parsed as you have attempted to do. The supreme law of the land, The United States Constitution, makes no such distinctions.
Let's add a mark under "Distortions".
Children can be and are raised within opposite-sex or same-sex couples or by single people not in any kind of durable relationship. Sex and conception are not bounded by relationships and orientation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 examined in The Williams Institute's "Census Snapshot: United States" in December 2007, 20% of all same-sex couples in the United States are already raising children under the age of 18 years. These same-sex couple meet the child-raising test you seem to be proposing, yet despite being parents they don't qualify for the "special privileges" you defined.
Many couples marry with no intent to ever have children or past the age of child-rearing. If your claim were true, then why would they be allowed to marry at all and be afforded the "special privileges" that accrue only to couples raising children.
There's another mark under "Untruths".
So, providing special benefits to married men and women is NOT illegal discrimination, nor is it unfair. Illegal discrimination - and unfairness - occurs ONLY when two things that are the SAME are treated DIFFERENTLY. The union of a man and a man (or a woman and a woman) is NOT equal in every way to the union of a man and a woman. The relationships are truly different - so it is entirely fair to accord them different privileges.
Same-sex and opposite-sex relationships are fundamentally the same in all relevant dimensions. You've made no cogent argument to the contrary.
Regardless of it's current legality, providing "special benefits" to married opposite-sex couples that don't apply to same-sex couples is discrimination. As with many other injustices like legal slavery and miscegenation laws, they just haven't been determined to be illegal - yet.
Because providing special privileges to men and women who marry is NOT unfair in any way, gay rights activists have devised an UNDERHANDED WAY to acquire the privileges of marriage while circumventing the will of the majority: They seek to change the very definition of marriage, thereby automatically conferring the privileges of marriage on same-sex couples.
The argument you are making that something isn't wrong because it isn't illegal is entirely fallacious. The supreme law of the land, the United States Constitution says that providing "special privileges" to one group of citizens over another group is unfair as do many U.S. State Constitutions. It is frequently because many State Constitutions make it clear that discrimination is unfair that civil rights for same-sex couples has moved forward at all.
In response, almost every state in the union has passed "defense of marriage" laws and amendments - essentially using the law and state constitutions as dictionaries! It's silly that such laws have to be passed and upheld, but they do.
It is because this discrimination will ultimately be found unconstitutional and unacceptable that state and federal politicians have been passing so-called "Defense of Marriage Acts" (DOMA) to slow down the pace of progress. This bears more than a passing resemblance to the Black Codes used to regulate and restrict the advance of civil rights and liberties for African-Americans.
Marriage is "the legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children." Because this is different from all other forms of relationship, and provides unique benefits to society, we afford special privileges to men and women who marry. What is so hard to understand?
If gay activists want to be afforded the same privileges as men and woman who marry, then they must convince the majority that their "gay marriage" relationship deserves them.
So far, they haven't. And changing the definition of marriage - treating us all as fools - will not work.
Your opening statement is misleading and the definition you are using doesn't jibe with the three most authoritative dictionary sources I cited. Legally, marriage requires nothing regarding children whatsoever. The issue of raising children is just the latest in a long list of "reasons" why same-sex couples should not be given the same rights as opposite-sex couples. A bad "reason", as it happens, since it ignores the 20% of same-sex couples who are already raising children today in the United States.
Public opinion continues to show strengthening support for recognition of same-sex relationships. In a nationwide ABC News/Facebook Poll conducted in December 2007, 54% of respondents said that same-sex couples "should be allowed to form legally recognized civil unions giving them the legal rights of married couples in areas such as health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage".
How big a majority of public opinion supporting same-sex relationships do we need before you accept the the advance of civil rights?
Experience has taught me that a "gay activist" is anyone who objects to the discrimination they experience and refuses to accept it in silence. Not at all unlike the "uppity negro" stereotype used to put down African Americans in the wake of the Black Civil Rights Movement.
But you know this issue isn't about civil marriage equality at all.
It's about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people being treated equally and fairly in any way. Kit McCormick couldn't sit silently while a vocal opponent of GLBT civil rights reminisced about the hardships he suffered before securing his own rights. Silence became intolerable when facing an oppressor who hides behind his own experience of oppression and uses it as a shield.
The hypocrisy was too stark.