As someone else already pointed out, marriage ceremony was always between one man and one woman in Judeo-Christian culture, although one man could end up with more than one living wife in several cultures in history (including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) up to the turn of the 20th century).
The lurid ideas that some people seem to have (I have personally heard some tell of their own ideas, although they could have done that for sport) of group sex and so forth were never a part of the teachings. Brigham Young sounded off a lot about a lot of things, but let’s remember that for believing Mormons there is no problem with new revelation, which corrects some misunderstandings and false traditions of their fathers.
On the other hand, I as a European Mormon have at times been uncomfortable with what I’ve seen as “trying to curry favor with the fundamentalist” Christian right (as inhttp://huff.to/xe5lX9 on Feb 9th) in the USA (e.g. Romney’s change of opinion regarding abortion). But I’ve always seen that as personal opinion. Myself, I’m as liberal as you can dream of in that the line for me is that the churches should have the right to decide what kind of marriages they accept, while keeping the Government out of people’s personal affairs. I lean towards libertarianism in that any individual rights should not be restricted, unless their actions cause real harm to others.
My recommendation would be to altogether remove the word “marriage” from civil law, and let any recognised church decide what “marriage” means to them, and call it such. Or call religious unions between whomever, as long as they’re consenting adults, whatever else would give them a separate status from civil unions if they wish. This would avoid any trouble with somebody suing the LDS Church, for example, for the right to have their union solemnised in the temples of the Church, as long as the Church does not sanction SSM. That that issue may change in the future, when a younger, better educated and more cosmopolitan people from Europe, Asia and Africa become the new leadership. I’m not saying it should (or shouldn’t), but that it could.
I realise mine is not a popular view in any circles, but I think it would be a start of normalising gays and gay unions in society, so that a gay person can be just another human being among other human beings. That would clear a lot of bad feelings and high-volume contention. I think so, that is. Also, if it so happens that the Church will recognise civil unions between gays (which it socially more or less advocated through some high representatives in 2008), and that would mean that their relationship with the Church would be normalised from the Church’s point in regards of chastity.
To pick an issue from that Huffpost article linked to above, if you count LDS members’ volunteer work as donated dollars, then any other organisation (including pro-gay marriage ones) should be treated the same way. The Church has an infrastructure in place for that, so there’s no extra monetary outlay for that. And a lot of members did not participate, because they didn’t feel they could go along with the idea.
I don’t believe in forcing others to live by the same standards I try to live by myself. That’s called freedom, in my humble opinion. I am not necessarily criticising what the Church did in the 2008 campaign, but I know it created bad blood among membership and wider society.