Constantly addressing bigotry gets us nowhere in our effort to come to a consensus. It is a distraction from the real issue. Bigotry is a liability to its own cause. And so is the lashing back by its opponents.
For a long time, the concepts of and terms for "civil marriage" or "lawfully wed" have been an integral part of the definitions of "fidelity" and "adultery." This is what sticks in the craw of religious people, bigoted or not. To legally redefine marriage unequivocally alters the doctrine of sexual fidelity as understood by citizens, religious or otherwise.
The debate about whether a "civil union" in California is the legal equivalent of "marriage" is not a question of equality or bigotry. It is a question of conflicting legal and religious definitions.
If they choose, same-sex couples can and should have something analogous to marriage. Let them call it "marriage" in their homes and churches.
Nevertheless, if the state is going to restrict or expand the legal definition of something so integral in religious doctrine, the state should go with the majority of its citizens, or risk dictating alterations to longstanding religious doctrine.
Michael B. Shelton