The plan to count married same-sex couples as unmarried partners, rather than as married couples is not surprising. Is it wise? Well, since it's a political decision, I doubt that wisdom has much to do with it. To stereotype and generalize, it's a wise decision if you don't believe in gay marriage, live in a rural area, or are evangelical. It's an unwise decision if you're urban, support gay marriage, etc. And I can hear the voice of Strom Thurmond (didn't he finally die? or was it Jesse Helms? I can't remember) intoning, "This is a wise decision" which sends chills down my spine.

But the fact that we can even have discussions such as this one is sometimes surprising, even shocking, to me. Who would have thought twenty years ago, or perhaps even eleven years ago when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, that we would be having such conversations today? For most of my life, "gay" and "marriage" never appeared in the same sentence, unless "destroy" somehow came between them.

The fact that this is a discussion in the United States government, and not in some liberal enclave, is even more surprising, but before we get all misty-eyed about how far we've come (and we have), we need to look at those countries that have already legalized gay marriage, where for the most part it's now just an aspect of life. We're not there yet. There are going to be bumps and set-backs, but it's going to happen.