Some in the gay community itself offer arguments against same-sex marriage. Paula L. Ettelbrick offers a different view from within the gay community as she sees no reason for gays to pursue an institution that denies liberation rather than conferring it:
Steeped in a patriarchal system that looks to ownership, property, and dominance of men over women as its basis, the institutions of marriage has long been the focus of radical-feminist revulsion. Lesbian and gay relationships, being neither legally sanctioned nor commingled by blood, are always at the bottom of the heap of social acceptance and importance. (Ettelbrick 20)
For Ettelbrick, same-sex marriage is only a capitulation to this view and a demeaning attempt to prove the value of homosexuality. At the same time, she says that she does not deny the value of domestic-partnership ordinances because such laws can make gays more equal with straights, though their value can always be only partial. Ettelbrick states that marriage will not liberate lesbians or gays and will instead constrain them, make them more invisible, force their assimilation into the mainstream, and undermine the goals of gay liberation.
As noted, one of the primary sources of opposition to the idea of gay marriage comes from certain Christian groups. The Roman Catholic Church opposes such marriages, for instance, and teaches a number of doctrines with reference to homosexuality in general. The Church teaches that homosexuals are to be seen as equal children of God who must be protected from assault, bigotry, and any infringement on their civil rights. Christ is said to love and include the gay in his kingdom. Homosexuality according to the Church is not freely chosen but a given condition. The church further acknowledges that personal qualities and the call to holiness are not determined by sexual orientation. Yet there are clearly problems for the homosexual in the Church, as Sidney Callahan shows when he writes,
But why is it intrinsically disordered for homosexuals and lesbians to act on their sexual orientation, even if they would fulfill all the same moral conditions required of homosexual marital activity, such as commitment, love, and lifelong fidelity? After all, some heterosexual marriages need not, nor can be biologically procreative. I just cannot imagine Christ acting such an unequal sacrifice from homosexual persons with beloved partners who have not been called to vowed celibacy. (Callahan 7)
The Canadian law has an effect on U.S. law as well, as can be seen from a case in New York where a woman working for Monroe Community college sought health care benefits for her spouse from a marriage in Canada. The court decided for these women and noted that the state had to recognize a marriage valid in Canada (Goodman para. 1-4).
Same-sex marriage in Canada has not produced the sort of social disruption or threat to traditional marriage that many of its opponents have claimed are inevitable. Instead, the system ahs simply accommodated the reality, which in legal terms is not that different from what was true of domestic partnerships, and Canadian society has so far adapted to the change.
Callahan, Sidney. "Why I Changed My Mind." Commonweal (22 April 1994), 7-9.
Coren, Michael. " Michael Coren on Canada's Biggest Mistake: Gay Marriage." National Post (15 April 2008). December 8, 2008. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/04/15/michael-coren-on-canada-s-biggest-mistake-gay-marriage.aspx
Ettelbrick, Paula L. "Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?" In Lesbian and Gay Marriage, Suzanne Sherman (ed.). Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992, 20-26.
Federal Parliamentary Commission and Discussion Paper." ReligiousTolerance.org (20 June 2008). December 8, 2008. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marb5.htm.
Gomes, Charlene. "The Need for Full Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage." The Humanist, Volume 63, Issue 5 (September-October 2003). December 9, 2008. http://www.questia.com/read/5002552306?title=the%20Need%20for%20Full%20Recognition%20of%20Same-Sex%20Marriage.
Goodman, Emily Jane. "Rights and Recognition for Same-Sex Marriage." Gotham Gazette (September 2008). December 8, 2008. http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/law/20080926/13/2659.
Graff, E.J. "Same-Sex Spouses in Canada: Gay Rights Activists around the World Are Cheering a Critical Legal Victory." The Nation, Volume 269, Issue 2 (12 July 1999), 23.
Moran, Larry. "Same-Sex Marriage in Canada." Sandwalk (7 Dec. 2006). December 8, 2008. http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2006/12/same-sex-marriage-in-canada.html.
Mrozek, Andrew and Peter Jon Mitchell. "Same-Sex Marriage: Lessons from Canada." Mercator.net (2008). December 9, 2008. http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/same_sex_marriage_lessons_from_canada/.
Salholz, Eloise. "For Better or for Worse," Newsweek (24 May 1993), 69.
Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Canada." ReligiousTolerance.org (20 June 2008). December 8, 2008. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marb.htm.