Gay Marriage is a “hot topic” right now, and I thought I would weigh in on the issue. I'm sure that some of what I am going to say will earn me the wrath of my fellow Christians, since I do favor legalizing gay marriage, but let me explain why I do so.
I believe that Christianity is about how we, as Christians, live our lives. If we believe something is immoral, then we should try to refrain from doing it. But that doesn't mean we should try to make it illegal for others to do it. Jesus told us how to live our lives, but never told us to tell non-Christians how to live theirs, and the idea that we should make laws forbidding non-Christians from doing things we oppose, if we simply oppose them on moral grounds, seems ridiculous to me. If we, as Christians, believe that marriage between same-sex couples is immoral, then Christians should avoid marrying members of the same sex. But for us Christians to make it illegal for non-Christians to marry members of the same sex does come across as religious persecution.
If we were truly a “Christian nation” (that is, if everyone in the United States was a Christian), then making gay marriage illegal might be more justified. But since we are a religiously-diverse country which has a long-standing policy of recognizing minority rights and avoiding religious persecution, I don't believe that forcing non-Christians to live according to Biblical principles makes any sense. People of all faiths, and even those who lack faith, should be free to act according to their own beliefs, and shouldn't be forced to act according to the beliefs of others.
Now, that's not to say that everything the Bible forbids should be legal. The Bible forbids murder, rape, and robbery, for example. But since there are very good, non-religious, reasons for these things to be illegal (and even atheists or people of other faiths generally agree that these things are wrong) then they should be illegal. Not because they're immoral, but because they cause pain and sorrow for their victims. But we shouldn't be legislating morality. Personally, I feel the government already legislates too much and would like to see Americans be more free to do what they want, as long as no one is being hurt or unnecessarily offended in the process.
It should be pointed out that the main thing the Bible forbids when it comes to homosexuality is the sexual act itself. But even most Christians agree that “gay sex” should not be illegal, since sexuality is a private matter. They want to keep the government out of people's bedrooms and let the gay people do what they want, as long it's between consenting adults and no one is forced to see them doing it. On this, I absolutely agree, and would expand this idea to the marriage. If you're opposed to gay marriage, then don't marry a member of the same sex. But I don't see a good reason to forbid others from doing so. If you personally define marriage as between a man and a woman, then you're free to consider married gay couples to not be married, but in the eyes of the law itself, they should be.
I, as a Christian, certainly don't HAVE to favor the legalization of gay marriage. Even if I recognize the idea that the government has no basis for denying marriage between gay couples, I certainly have the right to “sit this one out” and not voice my opinion one way or the other.
But I do favor legalizing gay marriage, and have no problem saying so.
First, I do recognize that “being gay” is not a choice. A gay man cannot choose to fall in love with a woman any more than me, as a heterosexual male, can choose to fall in love with a man. So what's a gay man to do? I don't believe adults should have to live without love and romance in their lives. And I believe love and romance is better if it's within a loving and committed relationship, rather than among multiple partners. This is true whether those within the loving and committed relationship are gay or not, so I encourage marriage among anyone. Gay people are better off, in my opinion, within a marriage than they would be not within a marriage, so I do encourage gay people to get married if they want to do so.
(note: I'm talking about gay couples here exclusively as man and man, and not woman and woman, for two reasons: One is that the Bible mostly talks about homosexuality as between males. The other is to avoid using confusing phrases like “a gay man (or woman) cannot choose to fall in love with a woman (or man)” Assume everything I say about gay marriage applies to men or women equally, please)
If “being gay” is not a choice, as I believe, it's still a good point that “gay sex” (which, again, is the main thing the Bible opposes) is a choice. Even if a person doesn't choose to be gay, he still chooses to have sex. A gay person can, of course, choose to be abstinent instead. If I was gay and still a Christian, I likely would choose abstinence (though I can't say for sure, since that's not a situation I've been in). But it's simply unrealistic to say “don't have sex”, especially if the gay person is not religious and thus would have no moral objection to sex. We can't tell gay people not to have sex, just because WE find it immoral. That would be like a Hindu telling a Christian not to eat beef, since Hindus find it immoral. There's simply no way this would be convincing or effective.
There is, of course, the argument that gay people having sex helps the spread of the AIDS virus. But we can counter this by encouraging monogamy among gay people, as “gay marriage” does. If a gay man is in a monogamous relationship, there's less chance of him acquiring the AIDS virus than if he's not in a monogamous relationship. Thus if our concern is really over the spread of the AIDS virus, then we should be encouraging gay marriage, not opposing it, since marriage encourages monogomy.
I should add that I totally oppose forcing churches to perform, or recognize, gay marriages. I definitely believe that the government shouldn't have the power to tell churches what to do, as long as the churches aren't hurting anyone. If a gay couple wants to get married, then they should have that right, but to tell the couple that they can force a church to perform the ceremony violates that church's rights, and is a violation of the separation or church and state. The couple can just as easily perform the ceremony in their home, in a public venue that allows gay marriages, or even in those churches that willingly decide to perform such ceremonies.
The Chick-Fil-A company has become a focal point of this issue, when their President, Dan Cathy, publicly voiced his opposition to gay marriage. To many, this has become a first-amendment issue, when I'd say the first amendment is only marginally involved. Yes, Dan Cathy has the right to speak his mind on gay marriage, and to hold the views he does. I absolutely support his right to believe what he wants and say what he wants, and I would not personally boycott Chick-Fil-A over this (though I won't eat there, since I'm allergic to poultry). However, it should be pointed out that most of those who are boycotting the company aren't doing so because Dan Cathy spoke his mind, but because he also donates millions of dollars of Chick-Fil-A's profits to groups that oppose gay marriage. He is, of course, within his rights to donate the money however he wants. But those who favor legalizing gay marriage, understandably, don't want to give money to a company if that money will ultimately be given to groups they oppose, especially if they have other restaurants that don't do so. And for this reason, I would refuse to eat there, even if I wasn't allergic to chicken.
Of course, people who refuse to spend their money on Chick-Fil-A, or who encourage others to boycott the company, are also well within their first-amendment rights. So long as people are simply speaking their minds on issues, or spending (or not spending) their money how they see fit, the first amendment is not being violated. As long as no one is talking about throwing people in jail or making the government stand in the way of their business, no one's rights are being violated here.
However, the mayors of some cities, including Boston and Chicago, have pledged not to allow Chick-Fil-A to open businesses in their cities. Since these are government officials threatening to interfere with their business practices, I do believe that this is a violation of the first amendment. The mayors certainly have the right to express their disapproval of Chick-Fil-A, but to pledge refusal to allow them to open their businesses there is wrong and should not have been done.