In response to:

Beyond the Supreme Court: A Guide to Settling Gay Marriage

Intimate Human Relationships between more than two people are problematic for other reasons. First, they present a whole range of practical difficulties that do not arise with two people. How do you fairly divide property? What about child custody disputes? I shudder to think of having to deal with such things. A whole different objection is that such Marriages would, I think, confer unfair advantages on their members relative to other people. Such a relationship could survive the death of a participant, it could accumulate jointly-held power and wealth forever. It'd be like a corporation whose members have sex.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to tackle two gay marriage issues, those of us looking for some sweeping overall conclusions on the issue should temper our expectations.

The cases to be examined by the high court involve some specifics-- the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the range of benefits the federal government should grant in states choosing to recognize gay unions.

Both will necessarily involve some examination of what role the federal government should play in matters of gay marriage, but neither is likely to settle the biggest questions:

What is the proper...