An opinion is a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce certainty; it can also be a personal view, attitude or appraisal. So what’s your opinion about gay marriage?With the recent rulings in Ontario, British Columbia, and now Texas, many are asking if gay marriage is on the horizon in the U.S. If so, what are the pros and cons and how might if affect our society?This is one of the most polarizing issues we face in America today, and we cannot expect 275 million diverse citizens to reach consensus about an issue at the confluence of the secular and the religious.I have no ax to grind with anyone regarding his or her sexual preferences. If someone is titillated by soft porn, hard porn or swinging on a trapeze with a friend of each sex, I couldn’t care less provided they keep it out of my face. If no one gets hurt, what goes on behind closed doors is no one’s business except the participants’.I have gay friends of both sexes, and a member of my extended family is gay. My heart also goes out to many gays because of the attitudes some parts of society project toward them. If one thinks about it for a moment, it because apparent that the most common topics of conversation at work are frequently off limits to gays: conversations about the past weekend’s activities, families, children and relationships.Each of these is a potentially revealing topic when gays are speaking with straight co-workers. What does a person talk about if they feel inhibited or intimidated by the topic? Everyone wants to talk about his or her favorite activities, the people who participated with him or her, or their significant others. Yet only once have I heard a gay person speak openly about relationship issues in a heterosexual setting.With that said, the people who flaunt their sexuality, like those marching in gay pride parades, disturb me. Somehow, I find men sashaying down Market Street in San Francisco wearing heels and fishnet inappropriate and offensive. The issue isn’t about sexual orientation. It’s about appropriateness. Talking loudly in church is also inappropriate. Each is a matter of degree.In the late ’60s, I watched a heterosexual couple on Pensacola Beach pantomime about every conceivable sexual act a man and woman can perform for the benefit of a crowd. Although many of us were entertained by the spectacle (I was an immature 23-year-old flight student at the time), it became uncomfortable when the couple extended their repertoire to include sexual acts that remain illegal in some states.I am not comparing same-sex marriage with performers at gay pride parades or a crass heterogeneous couple on Pensacola Beach, but I do believe that certain aspects of life are meant to remain private. And at the risk of offending those who feel that the Bible is the final authority on the subject, I also believe that certain aspects of life should remain between the individual and his or her creator.It is understandable that people in committed gay relationships want the same benefits that society offers to married couples, and who can blame them? Seven percent of the population represents a significant minority. The Declaration of Independence speaks to the “pursuit of happiness” and the preamble to the Constitution clearly states “promoting the general welfare.” Are gay couples entitled to the pursuit of happiness? Will gay marriage promote the general welfare?Vermont may be on to something inasmuch as it has instituted “civil unionss.” It’s my understanding that these civil unions confer most of the legal rights that married couples have, i.e. health insurance, joint tax returns, property ownership, right of survivorship, limitations on estate taxes, etc.But what if a gay couple joined together by civil union in Vermont moves to New Mexico, what happens then? And what about adoption? Just because someone is gay doesn’t automatically disqualify him or her as a potentially good parent. And of course, we have the critics who cite statistics about the higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse and domestic violence that exist in the gay community.So where does this lead us? I don’t know, but I do know that this is and will remain a burning issue for some time. As responsible citizens, we need to be empathetic, open minded and informed.According to Webster’s, marriage is defined as “the social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live together as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.”So if same-sex marriage is legalized in the United States, be prepared to buy a new dictionary, or at the very least to redact your current one.Quote of the day: “Don’t discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself you are disbelieved.”Butch Mazzuca is a local real estate broker and instructor at the Vail Ski School. He writes a weekly column for the Daily and can be reached at

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