Every letter that has been published in The Sun so far — whether for or against gay marriage — has gotten it wrong. Rights are inherent, natural and are not granted by government. You have a right to your life, to your property, to freely engage in contracts with other people, and to seek recourse when someone violates these rights. A government can be a proper means of protecting these rights and an objective (but imperfect) means of settling disputes when parties disagree on whose rights were violated. But governments do not create rights out of thin air, and we don't have them because a group of old men got around in a room and voted this way or that.
To call marriage a "right" for anybody is misleading. If two people (or three or more) want to create their own contracts (keep in mind, that this is what marriage is to the state) with their own terms and call it marriage, the state has no business stopping them from doing so, regardless of their gender. Likewise, if a religious institution wants to recognize only the partnership between a man and a woman as marriage, the state again has no business in getting involved. There is absolutely no role for the government to play in marriage other than enforcing contracts in the case of divorces or other disputes.
Getting government out of the business of marriage would solve this dispute much more easily than having the two sides bicker back and forth about what is a "civil" right or what infringes on religious liberty or about changing the definition of a word.
Nickolaus Mueller, Baltimore