Religious people want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, as if there is any left. Divorce rates are high, infidelity is high, society has turned it into reality TV fodder, many of the younger generations (and mid-30's) aren't even wanting to participate it in because they have witnessed the marriages of their heterosexual parents, many times full of neglect, misery, abuse, hate, alcoholism, divorce and distrust.
Add the media coverage and law to the equation, and the idea of restricting marriage to being between ONLY a man and a woman becomes such a conflicting jumble of bullshit being ploughed into the minds of the public.
Many developed countries in the world recognize same-sex marriage. The few countries in the world that refuse to recognize it as a right (and in some cases don't even recognize homosexuality exists [China]) are countries many citizens of United States, that oppose same-sex marriage, would be hard-pressed to alight themselves with. Enemies, terrorists, countries not generally recognizes as developed (most of Africa and the Middle East).
We were channel surfing the other night and landed on a news show (not sure what channel it was, could have been msnbc) where a group of woman were talking about prenuptial agreements (for those who may not know what they are, while we abhor Wikipedia, in this case it'll give you the gist of what it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenuptial_agreement), and the fact that marriage is a contract agreement between two people, and that's why prenuptial agreements are so important because it helps clearly defines rights and protects both parties in the event of the dissolution of the contract (some even include clauses regarding pets).
Separation of church and state, true separation, where the religious beliefs of a group of people do not impact the overall laws of those who are not a part of that religion is part of what American was founded on - it's part of the Constitution of the United States of America. You can see here where separation of church and state, and religious freedom, TRUE religious freedom, go hand in hand. American freedom is great, as long as you have access to that ever fleeting illusive ideal, lately it seems like freedom is fine as long as the freedom you want doesn't make the religious people uncomfortable (*cough* pro-choice abortion rights and Planned Parenthood in Arizona *clears throat*)
It's fine that people whose religious beliefs dictate that marriage is between a man and a woman adhere to that belief. It is their right to believe what they want. It is not fine, or their right, to unfairly shape the lives of others, using those beliefs. Churches have a right to deny a religious ceremony, just like they can deny heterosexual ones, if they so choose, based on their pre-determined criteria. Plenty of heterosexual couples get married outside of religious institutions, in courthouses, in parks, in Vegas, by non-clergy. Why not extend those rights to any human being, of adult age, who love each other enough to enter into a binding legal contract?
And as a side note, those people who like to interject with "Well then, why don't people just marry a sandwich/sheep/vehicle/etc" you look like a fucking idiot when you indicate that homosexuals/gays, are not even the same species as other humans. But looking like an ignorant fool is also your right.
The law that was recently passed in North Carolina is a step in the opposite direction of progress, progress being equal rights, part of the definition of a developed county (you need only look at undeveloped, third-world countries to see that).
Furthermore, who somebody loves sexually is none of anybodies business (with the obvious exception of a child, or another person who is married)...at least the people entering into that permanent relationship recognize they love each other, just as a heterosexual couple getting married love each other, and are willing to make that commitment.
And finally, mind your own fucking business. If you oppose same-sex marriage just remember, it doesn't affect your life, affect your "after life", hinder your freedom (which it ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT in any way), so what's your fucking problem. Just because you don't understand it, and therefore fear it/hate it, doesn't make it any less legitimate. It just means you have a narrow view of love...and meanwhile, how dare you love the person you love? Some people think them unattractive, too fat, too skinny, too bitchy, too nice, too slutty, too mentally ill, they're of a different ethnic background as you, a different financial class as you, they've already been married once, twice, maybe more, they have children...how dare you love them.
Let people love who they want, in a world full of people who increasingly find love to be an alien and distant concept, or worse, reality show entertainment, let somebody be an example of true love...they fight hard for their right to love the people they love.
~ Ivy et al
'Same-sex marriage legislation around the world' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_legislation_around_the_world (complete with map)