Gay marriage refers to marriage between two individuals of the same gender. In recent years, it has become a hot topic of debate between politicians and religious leaders alike, challenging society’s viewpoints backed by moralistic opposition and our social climate of acceptance and inclusion alike.
Recent studies and polls have shown that more than half of all people in the United States oppose gay marriage, even though three fourths otherwise support gay rights. This means that many of the same people who are even passionately in favor of gay rights oppose gays on this one issue. Those opposing gay marriage often cite numerous reasons why it will hurt our society — that it will destroy the “sanctity of marriage,” ruin traditional values, and devastate future generations through the “dismantling” of a time-honored tradition.
Obviously, the heated issue of gay marriage is often mangled into endless series of arguements brought about by those who fear its outcome the most, but when you step back and take a look at the issue of allowing two adults the same freedom to express their commitment to one another, the answer is undeniable: as humans, and as citizens of the United States, we should all have an equal opportunity to marry the one we love.
“Sanctity” is defined as “the quality or condition of being considered sacred.” Therefore, when those opposing gay marriage state that it will ruin the “sanctity” of marriage, they are saying that the “sacredness” of a traditional heterosexual marriage will be destroyed simply by allowing other couples this same right to marry. Where is the correlation between one couple’s loving marriage systematically ruining or negating the other’s pledge of commitment? This is just one point at which the issues become murky and complicated.
– What they claim instead is a new right: the right to reconfigure the conditions of marriage in such a way as to change its very definition, while denying they are doing any such thing.
– By allowing gay marriage, you would reduce the number of opposite-sex marriages that end up in the divorce courts. If it is the stability of the institution of heterosexual marriage that worries you, then consider that no one would require you or anyone else to participate in a gay marriage. You would still have freedom of choice, of choosing which kind of marriage to participate in — something more than what you have now. And speaking of divorce — to argue that the institution of marriage is worth preserving at the cost of requiring involuntary participants to remain in it is a better argument for reforming divorce laws than proscribing gay marriage.
– the younger generation becomes confused about sexual identity and quickly loses its understanding of lifelong commitments, emotional bonding, sexual purity, the role of children in a family, and from a spiritual perspective, the “sanctity” of marriage.
– people came to this country in the first place for religious freedom, yet we’re now using that as the basis to discriminate on one group of people and suddenly “going back to the bible” in a hypocritical way on this one issue, yet there isn’t this struggle against things like prayer in public school – they have “settled” that this was okay that it was done away with
– most extreme arguement againt gay marriage — that homosexuals won’t reproduce and it will lead to the downfall of society, or if they do have children, they will all turn out gay
– studies show raising biological children by gay parents doesn’t make them any more likely to be gay, same with adoption and fostering children
– Marriages are for procreation and ensuring the continuation of the species. The proponents of this argument are really hard pressed to explain, if that’s the case, why infertile couples are allowed to marry. I, for one, would love to be there when the proponent of such an argument is to explain to his post-menopausal mother or impotent father that since they cannot procreate, they must now surrender their wedding rings and sleep in separate bedrooms. That would be fun to watch! Again, such an argument fails to persuade based on the kinds of marriages society does allow routinely, without even a second thought, and why it really allows them – marriage is about love, sharing and commitment; procreation is, when it comes right down to it, in reality a purely secondary function.
The proponents of the procreation and continuation-of-the-species argument are going to have a really hard time persuading me that the human species is in any real danger of dying out anytime soon through lack of reproductive success.
Why all the passion?
It’s because there is a lot of misunderstanding about what homosexuality really is, as well as the erroneous assumption that gay people enjoy the same civil rights protections as everyone else. There are also a lot of stereotypes about gay relationships, and even a great deal of misunderstanding of what marriage itself is all about and what its purpose is.
The purpose of this essay, then, is to clear up a few of these misunderstandings and discuss some of facts surrounding gay relationships and marriage, gay and straight.
First, let’s discuss what gay relationships are really all about. The stereotype has it that gays are promiscuous, unable to form lasting relationships, and the relationships that do form are shallow and uncommitted. And gays do have such relationships!
But the important fact to note is that just like in straight society, where such relationships also exist, they are a small minority, and exist primarily among the very young. Indeed, one of the most frequent complaints of older gay men is that it is almost impossible to find quality single men to get into a relationship with, because they’re already all ‘taken!’
If you attend any gay event, such as a Pride festival or a PFLAG convention, you’ll find this to be true. As gays age and mature, just like their straight cohorts, they begin to appreciate and find their way into long-term committed relationships.
The values that such gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are often indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors. They’re loyal to their mates, are monogamous, devoted partners. They value and participate in family life, are committed to making their neighborhoods and communities safer and better places to live, and honor and abide by the law. Many make valuable contributions to their communities, serving on school boards, volunteering in community charities, and trying to be good citizens. In doing so, they take full advantage of their relationship to make not only their own lives better, but those of their neighbors as well.
A benefit to heterosexual society of gay marriage is the fact that the commitment of a marriage means the participants are discouraged from promiscous sex. This has the advantage of slowing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which know no sexual orientation and are equal opportunity destroyers.
These benefits of gay marriage have changed the attitudes of the majority of people in Denmark and other countries where various forms of gay marriage have been legal for years. Polling results now show that most people there now recognize that the benefits far outweigh the trivial costs, and that far from threatening heterosexual marriage, gay marriage has actually strenghtened it.
So, having established the value of gay marriage, why are people so opposed to it?
Many of the reasons offered for opposing gay marriage are based on the assumption that gays have a choice in who they can feel attracted to, and the reality is quite different. Many people actually believe that gays could simply choose to be heterosexual if they wished. But the reality is that very few do have a choice — any more than very few heterosexuals could choose which sex to find themselves attracted to.
Additionally, many people continue to believe the propaganda from right-wing religious organizations that homosexuality is about nothing but sex, considering it to be merely a sexual perversion. The reality is that homosexuality is multidimensional, and is much more about love and affection than it is about sex. And this is what gay relationships are based on — mutual attraction, love and affection. Sex, in a committed gay relationship, is merely a means of expressing that love, just the same as it is for heterosexuals. Being gay is much more profound than simply a sexual relationship; being gay is part of that person’s core indentity, and goes right the very center of his being. It’s like being black in a society of whites, or a blonde European in a nation of black-haired Asians. Yes, being gay is just that profound to the person who is. This is something that few heterosexuals can understand unless they are part of a minority themselves.
A simple civil liberty is being denied to a large group of people on the basis of religious interpretation.
– Although most Americans are indeed opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage, large numbers of these same Americans do not consider homosexuality itself a sin, and they welcome greater tolerance for homosexuals. Favoring equality, they do not wish to see anyone denied his rights.
– custody rights, tax-free inheritance, joint ownership of property, health care and spousal citizenship, and much more
– partner benefits, life decisions, hospitals, don’t have the protections of a married couple
– married relationships are taken more seriously
– Gay relationships are immoral. Says who? The Bible? Somehow, I always thought that freedom of religion implied the right to freedom from religion as well. The Bible has absolutely no standing in American law, as was made clear by the intent of the First Amendment (and as was very explicitly stated by the founding fathers in their first treaty, the Treaty of Tripoli, in 1791) and because it doesn’t, no one has the right to impose rules anyone else simply because of something they percieve to be a moral injunction mandated by the Bible. Not all world religions have a problem with homosexuality; many sects of Buddhism, for example, celebrate gay relationships freely and would like to have the authority to make them legal marriages. In that sense, their religious freedom is being infringed. If one believes in religious freedom, the recognition that opposition to gay marriage is based on religious arguments is reason enough to discount this argument.
Denying gay couples the ability to marry is akin to the same racial discrimintion against blacks which took place throughout the 20th century.
– once we arbitrarily redefine marriage to take in couples of the same sex, what would be the stopping point? Why not legalize polygamy, even incest? This last point Sullivan himself was, in turn, quick to disparage as irrational fear-mongering, likening it to the disaster scenarios trotted out decades earlier during the debate over interracial marriage. “To the best of my knowledge,” he scoffed in reply to Bennett, “there is no polygamist’s rights organization poised to exploit same-sex marriage and return the republic to polygamous abandon.”
– why can’t we broaden and modernize our definition of marriage as we did with racial inequality?
– fear of the unknown (gay relationships) is being perpetuated, similar to the KKK’s perpetuation of white supremacy
- we should judge people based on who they are, not what they are
- love doesn’t see color or race, why should gender be any different
- The US Supreme Court has declared marriage a fundamental right under the constitution.
- Without the legal right to marry, same-sex couples do not have rights like family health coverage, medical and bereavement leave, child custody, tax benefits and pension plans.
- Tradition can’t justify discriminating. Not long ago, marriage was traditionally limited to members of the same race and religion, and married women were virtually the legal property of their husbands.
- Civil and religious marriage are two separate institutions, Civil marriage binds a couple in a legal contract consisting of obligations and benefits.
- Legalizing same-sex civil marriage will not require any religion to legalize or recognize these marriages.
- The rights that married people take for granted, such as the ability to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse, are denied to committed lesbian and gay couples.