Can you be against same-sex marriage, but not prejudiced? The answer is, not really. Here is how to break it down and why.
Try rehashing the phrasing — can you be against something but recognize other people's right to engage in it? Let's rehash again — can I believe [American] football is pointless, but respect the reverence other people hold for the sport? You bet. So in theory, it's possible to not support the institution of same sex marriage while not impeding on the right of others to be same-sex married. But then comes reasoning. Why wouldn't you support same-sex marriage? Keeping in mind it is the norm to not support something you can't tolerate/approve/like, etcetera.
Ergo, I dislike football. Ergo, if you don't believe in same sex marriage, it's probably because you don't approve of it in whatever capacity. In that case, no matter how much you want to rehash your reasoning, you are supporting a form of bigotry. In the flailing GOP's case, this form of discrimination will continue to hurt their platform moving forward as the rising generation continues to lean progressive.
Republican superstar Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a speech given at CPAC, "just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot."
Let's try rehashing one more time. "Just because I believe in marriage between men and women and think the states should be left to decide upon marriage equality [which would continue marriage inequality] doesn't make me a bigot [against granting universal rights across the board] ... because I'm definitely not a bigot!"
Right. What's even worse — the crowd ate that rhetoric up while people like Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud were barred from participating in CPAC entirely. The response of Senator Saxy Chambliss (R-Ga.) in an interview asking whether or not his stance on gay marriage had changed was entirely defensive and entirely inappropriate, "I'm not gay. So I'm not going to marry one."
America has seen the ugly face of the "separate but equal" rhetoric in these politically charged instances. There was the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and today it is no different with the LGBT rights movement. Liberal commentator David Sirota appeared on CNN a few days ago to engage in a heated debate on GOP separate-but-equal policies towards same-sex marriage and brought up an interesting point through the example of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Senator Chambliss.
"Here's what the Republican Party is essentially saying through Saxby Chambliss, that essentially if an issue doesn't affect them personally, they don't care … that they continue to project an idea that if something doesn't touch them personally, then that's the way they're going to be," Sirota said.
In response, conservative radio host Ben Ferguson appeared to have taken serious offense at being labeled "intolerant." Yet, he pointed out that despite supporting civil unions, he believes traditional marriage ought to be between a man and woman. In the end, openly gay CNN anchor Don Lemon said that with Ferguson's words, he was still discriminating against him, even thought he didn't necessarily hate him. That is the central concept the "separate but equal" ideology held towards same-sex marriage boils down to.
This is the United States of America. The First Amendment grants citizens the right to say and believe in whatever they wish. However, the fact of the matter is, you can support civil unions, you can claim that you have gay friends, you can claim that you don't have anything against the LGBT community, but when you show support for marriage inequality by crying "traditional," guess what? You're still being prejudiced.