Brief Remarks on Bigotry
Doug Mataconis looks to the definition of a bigot to show that the word does not accurately characterize all opponents of same-sex marriage. He is correct. Bigotry involves obstinate devotion to one’s hatred and intolerance of members of a group. It’s focused on people.
If I were to say that the State has an interest in upholding the institution of life-long monogamous relationships ordered toward procreation, I would be speaking of an institution, of a convention, and not directly of people, so the statement itself, taken on its own, would not be bigoted. Of course, saying such a thing and working to institutionalize it in public policy affects people, the lives they live and want to live, the families they have and want to have, so there are grounds on which you could call this particular opposition to same-sex marriage bigoted.
If my reason for seeking enshrinement of this meaning of marriage in law were to arise from hatred and intolerance of gay people and same-sex couples, the, yes, you could justly accuse me of bigotry. However, if my reasoning were to do with, say, a belief or conclusion that marriage as defined this way is better overall for society, and were to be free of hatred and intolerance, then my opposition would not be bigoted.