A reader writes:

As someone with a Christianist upbringing, I agree completely with your reader's take on marriage being about sex. (My husband and I, happily married -- really -- for 40 years, married at 21 because of it.)

That, combined with the Christianist belief that homosexuality is a choice because the God they believe in could not possibly create a homosexual, makes it unacceptable at its core and in the extreme. 

A couple of days ago you wrote: "So the right has a choice. They either double down and wage a war to strip gay couples of existing marriage rights, and use that reversal of rights to try to increase the stigma of homosexual orientation among the young. Or they can coopt the movement and use it to teach the virtues of marriage and family all round, inclusive of gay people."

As much as I long for them to choose the latter, I believe they cannot. All they CAN do, in their worldview is "humiliate, browbeat and stigmatize those of us building our relationships and families."

But, as you say, that is all they can do. And all the rest of us can do is hope their numbers decrease and that those on the fringe pull away from their intolerance and hatred. Because the core of them cannot change.

The reduction of marriage to sex and the reduction of sex to procreation does explain a huge amount of Christianist panic about marriage equality. Their bigotry is a function of their inability to see nuance of any kind and of their white--knuckled fear that their worldview is wrong, and therefore needs extreme reassertion.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.