Madam Speaker, of course blacks never asked to be called whites. However, they did ask for access to the same institutions, churches, restaurants, voting locations, washrooms, in short, for access to all the same institutions and places as whites.
I do not know of any homosexuals who are asking to be called heterosexuals. That is not what homosexuals want; they want access to the same institution to which heterosexuals have access, namely, the institution of marriage.
I tell my Conservative friend that allowing homosexuals access to the institution of marriage will actually strengthen that institution, which has seen better days. It is heterosexuals who have messed it up: the divorce rate is now about 50%, many children are born out of wedlock, and so forth. I am not making any value judgments. If there is a crisis in marriage today, and I hear my Conservative friends talking about it a lot, it is because of heterosexuals who have decided, rightly or wrongly—I am not making any value judgments—not to attach the same importance to it as they used to.
Homosexuals are people who have fought, spent time and energy, battled ridicule, and been called all kinds of names, for access to the institution of marriage, which is solemnized and accorded great significance all over the world. I would say that giving homosexuals, who have fought so hard for it, the right to marry means opening the door to people who believe in marriage and in this institution, which has no equal and which creates a bond between two people. That would strengthen this institution, which has been quite badly treated by heterosexuals over the last 50 years.