In our country, to be legally married, you must have only one form of marriage, and it is a civil ceremony. A church ceremony is not required.
Churches are not being coerced in any way by the changes occurring in a number of states that have accepted gay marriage. Each church makes its own rules as it relates to whether or not same-sex weddings will be performed. Church marriages must include a state certificate, but an ordained minister is not required. You may be married by a justice of the peace, a magistrate, a judge, a ship captain.
Same-sex couples want a legal right to marry, granted by the state. This will publicly demonstrate their love and commitment to each other and give them legal protections that occur when they are married under the law -- health insurance coverage as family members, the freedom to visit in the hospital, inheritance of Social Security income and much more.
Quite a few gay and lesbian couples include children in their families, by natural birth and adoption. They are loving and successful parents and they want the security of marriage to protect their children. Most Americans know gay and lesbian friends, family members, and co-workers and they want these civil rights for them.
Anne C. Pollitzer
St. Helena Island