The following opinion piece was posted by "Asgard Ferret" on the Mercury's new Blog Town, USA site, in response to a posting, "How Civil Are Civil Unions?" To sound off about the state of same-sex marriage or other current political issues, drop in to "PDX Politik" in Blog Town, USA! (

On one level, the citizens against gay marriage have got a point—that marriage has been and always will be a religious institution. No other facet of culture or society demands that two people must be married to live together or procreate. Since this is the case, give it back to religion. Cut the word completely from legal jargon and government rhetoric.

Even as a gay man, I have no need to call my three-year relationship a marriage. I love the man I'm with and I'll stay with him until I die. I don't need a priest. I don't need a pulpit. I don't need an intimate gathering of my 200 closest friends. I just need my soul mate. And a tax break. And survivorship rights. And the ability to make emergency medical choices. And if I completely lose my mind one day, the ability to adopt.

I don't need religion. I need the government to protect me from religion—or at the least those within religion who need someone to feel superior toward.

At this point I find myself thinking WWJD? All I can do is live my life, try not to kill anyone or do meth, and let everyone else do the same. In the end, history and God will be the judges of what we did while we lived. I think we're gonna fall incredibly short on both counts if we let a religious prejudice dictate our legal path to the future.

Marriage began as a religious institution that was hijacked by the government to justify a laundry list of privileges and benefits. Now it needs to be handed back to religion and either all legal benefits and privileges associated with it revoked across the board, or change the marriage license to a civil union license and allow people to marry no matter their race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. "ASGARD FERRET"