01/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rick Warren And Obama: What Is 'Traditional Marriage' Anyway?

So, I'm pretty much on the record as expressing dissatisfaction with President-Elect Barack Obama's tone-deaf and unnecessary choice to have Rick Warren, the Prop-8 supporting pop-preacher/celebrity author, give the invocation at the Inaugural. It doesn't mean I object to "dialogues" between people and it doesn't mean I'm taking a crap all over the Obama presidency as a whole. It seems to me that there's just no good reason why the Inauguration has to include a moment where a group of citizens gets insult rubbed in their faces when it could just as easily be avoided without wrecking whatever amazing dialogues Obama wants to have with the religious right.

Nevertheless, I get emails that say things like:

Please get it right-- Warren is not "antigay," he is anti gay marriage. He understands that in all societies in the history of the world, marriage has been exclusively an institution between men and women. He gets that the majority of people in America think it should stay that way. He gets that although marriage to someone of the same sex has not been a "right" for anyone in any culture in human history till now, folks like you have magically made it a "right".

Uhm, yeah. People maybe need to think before they glibly hold forth on what "all societies" and "history" has said about what constitutes "traditional marriage." Point of fact, the tradition of marriage in American society has undergone repeated, radical changes in definition. I mean, once upon a time, "traditional American marriage" was between a man and some chattel! Author and blogger Ariah Fine has done a lovely job capturing these changes pictorially:

The above emailer, by the way, demands that I "please tone it down." No!