Not-LGBT: It still bothers me that you think gay people shouldn't have the same rights as straight people.
FT: Well, what do you mean by that?
Not-LGBT: You know what I mean. Why can't gay couples have the same tax breaks and access to medical benefits that straight couples have? They say that there are 1000 legally-sanctioned benefits that married couples have that gay people can't get to. Is that fair? Is that equal protection?
FT: I see. What if I told you that I think it's unfair to single people that they don't have access to those benefits, either? In other words, what's the reason these benefits are not merely a universal benefit of citizenship -- if they are somehow "rights"?
Not-LGBT: [thinks for a minute] Well, married people are in a different circumstance than single people. Being married is not the same as being single. I think you said it someplace -- Marriage has a "special meaning."
FT: Huh. I didn't actually say that -- U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker actually said that when he ruled against Prop 8 in California. But do you believe that -- that there's a "special meaning" in marriage?
Not-LGBT: Yes. [thinks about it again] Yes I do think that.
FT: So it's different than, for example, people who only live together for a very long time.
FT: But it's a right? See: I think you're confused about what you mean to say. What I think you mean to say --
Not-LGBT: No. What I mean to say is this: because marriage has special meaning, and it gives special benefits to people, the law has the responsibility to give it to whoever wants it. There's no reason to deny it to two people who love each other.
The Law shouldn't decide who gets special benefits and who doesn't. There should be equal treatment under the law.
FT: Well, then I'm stumped.
Not-LGBT: You mean you agree? You give up?
FT: No, I mean I have no idea what you're trying to accomplish. See: when we started, I thought that the problem was that you didn't understand the men and women were different. Well: that's not true. You know they are different because you wouldn't marry a man, only a woman -- and you know that seeing it that way is not like racism because the differences between men and women are real, not imaginary or ideological.
Not-LGBT: No. Stop. Don't even go there.
FT: Go where?
Not-LGBT: Polygamy. Just stop it -- nobody is saying polygamy is a great idea, but even if they were, I'm ready to accept that at face value. I'm ready to say that two is not a magic number. You can't scare me into thinking that somehow gay marriage is a bad idea because maybe I can't imagine other kinds of marriages that might make somebody else happy.
FT: I see: not that there's anything wrong with that. right. No, actually -- I'm still stuck on one. I'm still stuck on the idea that somehow the government has the charter to keep special privileges away from citizens. Two people can have those benefits; you just said maybe 3 or 4 or 5 or some number "x" people could marry up in any permutation of men and women. But it sounds to me like the people getting unequal treatment is single people -- people like yourself.
Why can't you have all those privileges? What's the government have against you?
Not-LGBT: Well, I'm not married. I choose not to be married right now. If I would choose to be married, those other benefits would be an incentive to seal the deal. If I had any doubts, the tax benefits, and the inheritance benefits, and the employment benefit, um, benefits -- they could help me overcome my doubt that I was doing the right thing.
FT: What? The "right thing?" Listen: that's not on your list of objectives here in affirming that any two people are the moral equivalent of a man and a woman joined in marriage. There's a whole list of right things you're walking past to get right here to suddenly claim it's the "right thing" to do anything.
Not-LGBT: Well, it would be an incentive -- you can see that, right? That it's an incentive to do something.
FT: Look -- you have to stop teasing me, OK? Because if that's what you really really mean now, you have to simply change your mind and go back to traditional marriage.
If the Government doesn't have that kind of charter, then it's absurd to say that the government has the charter to license drivers, or to issue permits for guns, or to enforce any laws -- because what is law enforcement if its not a system of incentives and disincentives? If the government can't choose how to encourage what's in the best interest of the country -- that is, the general welfare of the citizens -- how can it claim the authority to punish anyone for doing the wrong thing?
Not-LGBT: Wow. You're forgetting Justice now? To win an argument?
Not-LGBT: Nope? That's it - just "nope?"
FT: No, I was just going to open my Bible to Romans 1-2-3 so we can talk about Justice so you can understand what my real objections are here -- what my purpose is in trying to reason with you through your very confused state of thinking. Do you want to talk about Justice? Let's start in Romans 1, and talk about what the basis of Justice is ...