A few posts down, when I wrote about why terrorism works on liberals, I touched on the conservative's intellectual falseness in their desire to retain a glorified version of a non-existent past.
A young zealistic (note: made up word meaning: one who is driven by zeal and the ideal is merely secondary to the opportunity to be zealous.) Rabbi once told me how he yearned to live in the Ghetto like his grandparents and generations before. He was jealous of their simple peasant lives. He wanted the community and family closeness that comes from huddling together for warmth. I had to assume that this vision of the ghetto was under the condition that their were no Nazis, no pogroms, no specific anti-Jewish laws. I also assume that his vision of the ghetto included: antibiotics, toilet paper, plumbing, rights as citizens of the state. I thought it might be rude to ask and challenge his implanted memory.
The conservatives have the same problem that afflicted that Rabbi, they refuse to accept the past as a whole human reality. There is nothing traditional about marriage. In the world of today and the past, there are and always were, a wide range of what constitutes marriage from culture to culture and time to time.
In a free society, where change is recognized as unstoppable and ever present, there is no reason to limit any groups wishes based on the concept of what is traditional. Traditional does not exist. Tradition is a fiction of the mind.
The honest solution for a free government is to offer civil unions to any group of two or more consenting adults.
If people wish for marriage they can go to their respective religious/cultural organization and receive their version of marriage. When married, they would automatically also receive a civil union certificate.
The government should not be in the business of retaining specific groups versions of what is traditional.