I think that's my first post about same-sex marriage, on February 3, 2004 — 3 weeks into blogging. I was looking for that post — which critiques presidential candidate Howard Dean's pride in the marriage/civil unions distinction — as a result of reading the Ted Olson/David Boies op-ed in the WSJ today.
Googling for the old post with the search terms althouse + Howard Dean + civil unions, I was surprised to find something I'd written in December 2003. That's the month before I started this blog. It turns out there's an archive from the Religion Law email list — a list of lawprofs — and there's a thread I started called "Civil unions and marriage."
Email lists were a sort of proto-blogging back then. I wish I'd busted loose into blogging earlier. All the bloggable things that didn't get blogged:
We chose not to do gay marriage because there were many people who felt that marriage was a religious institution, and churches ought to be able to make their own decisions about who gets married and who doesn't. But we felt it was really important to do equal rights under the law for every single American, and Vermont is the only state in the country where everybody has the same rights as everyone else....That was Howard Dean, back in 2003. Today, in the Supreme Court, we're still "quibbling" over that name. Is it a tiny thing or a big deal?
[So why are we quibbling over a name?]
Because marriage is very important to a lot of people who are pretty religious.