Responding to the furor over the Arizona law that "codified what used to be a basic principle of commerce," GayPatriot absolutely nails it.
See also "Who are the real gay marriage bigots?"
And yet, that appears to be insufficient for some gay marriage proponents. They don't just want to win the legal right to marry. They don't just want most Americans to recognize and affirm the equal dignity of their relationships. They appear to want and expect all Americans to recognize and affirm that equal dignity, under penalty of ostracism from civilized life.
That is an unacceptable, illiberal demand.
As I've argued before, liberal democracy is a political theory designed to allow people who disagree about the highest human goods to live together in peace and civility despite their differences. Like it or not — and a certain militant class of gay marriage proponents clearly do not like it at all — traditionalist religious believers are our fellow citizens and neighbors, and the United States is as much their country as it is ours.
That's why the premier liberal virtue is toleration and not recognition. Toleration is perfectly compatible with — indeed, it presupposes — a lack of unanimity, or even majority consensus, about ultimate goods. It leaves the diversity of views about ultimate goods intact, forcing consensus on as few issues as possible, so that people belonging to specific regions, classes, ethnicities, and sociocultural and religious groups can build rich, meaningful lives together in freedom.
And also see William Saletan, "Does Opposing Gay Marriage Make You a Bigot? No."