Mike Huckabee made "marriage" about rights and social stability, and in that argument, the "liberals" -- meaning, people who want this to be about so-called "human rights" -- win the rational argument. Valiant effort by Huckabee to win from a losing position. And kudos to Jon Stewart for really being civil while beating down on a position he doesn't agree with.
FWIW, this is what I think the political thinking for the relationship of government to marriage looks like:
- There is no question: the Christian definition of marriage is a good thing. The idea that a man and a woman bond for life in a covenant before God for the benefit of the other person above one's self and to obey God's commands, and that union produces children is a good thing, especiually for any society.
- Government benefits from the consequences of this kind of marriage. Stable, moral family units require less government and produce more economic benefits than bands of loosely-confederated clans in it for self-interest (among other social arrangements).
- In that, Government has the opportunity to encourage that kind of social structure -- not the obligation to encourage such a thing.
- Government also did not invent marriage, so it has some kind of philosophical obligation to define terms accordingly -- meaning, it doesn't create marriage but receives it or otherwise recognizes where it comes from and what it is for.
- If there are other social arrangements that a government deems necessary for its social agenda, whatever -- but government should think deeply about why lesser forms of the arrangement "lifetime partnership of mated human beings in service to God" are beneficial. It seems to me that lesser forms are the problem which create all manner of social ills.