What are the rules of marriage? Who makes these rules and what are they based on? Is marriage for everyone? These are just a few questions that boggle people’s minds when it comes to the matter of same sex marriage. In the ethical issue of same sex marriage, the union of two people who genuinely love each other should be considered over moral reasons against same sex marriage. Many people feel that same sex marriage should be illegal because they feel that homosexual couples are unable to make the same contributions to society that heterosexual marriages are able to make, but this is not so. Homosexual marriages do not affect society in a negative way and should be legal and recognized just as heterosexual marriages are.
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Several factors are considered when trying to determine the legality of same sex marriages. One factor is the economic advantage because of the benefits given by the government to married couples. Another is the issue of children and whether homosexuals can contribute to society by caring for their offspring. The biggest concern is the moral effect that homosexuality has on the society. Although people feel that same sex marriages will lessen the standards of society, should the government be allowed to prohibit marriage because the vast majority of the population is bothered by it? Same sex marriage should be legal.
In the 1990’s, gays and lesbians tried to establish themselves in “main stream” American life (Perkel, Marc). Many people were “coming out,” and society had to find ways to deal with this new outward demonstration of homosexuality. During this time, homosexuality became more common on television, in movies and other realms of media. This caused an uprise amongst conservatives who were against homosexuality. Soon after this new outward display of homosexuality became more prevalent, homosexuals not only wanted to be socially accepted , they wanted the right to get married (Same Sex).
Society and the government have gone back and forth on this issue and many decisions have been made and subsequently turned over. Neither the constitution nor federal statutes offer clear-cut protection for Americans from the prevalent discrimination based on sexual orientations. States were responsible for both laws concerning same sex orientation and same sex marriages. The laws on homosexuality vary from state to state. Vermont is currently the only state to have legalized same sex marriage. Heterosexual couples eligible to marry can have their marriage performed in any state and have it recognized in every other sate in the nation and every country in the world. Couples who are joined in a civil union in Vermont have no guarantee that their marriage protections will even travel with them to neighboring states such as New York or New Hampshire. This is not right and should not be acceptable. If we pride ourselves on being a country founded on the equality of all, how can we deny our own citizens this right on the basis of sexual preference?
During Former President Clinton’s tenure, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act on September 21, st 1996. This denied federal recognition of same sex marriages. Many people feel that same sex unions, which are practically the same as marriage, minus some small benefits, would be more appropriate for homosexual couples. alternatively, some recommend “domestic partnerships.” Under a domestic partnership, homosexual partners have all the same rights as married couples; however, they are not married and are not socially considered married. Today the problem lies with homosexuals feeling that “same sex unions” and “domestic partnerships” are not enough and that marriage should be a right allowed to all citizens regardless of sexual orientation. Comparing marriage to civil unions is like comparing diamonds to cubic zirconium. One is quite simply the real thing, the other is not.
On the contrary, conservatives say that homosexual marriage is an oxymoron and should not be legal. Robert Knight, the author of Same Sex Marriages Should Not Be Legal, claims that “marriage is the union between a man and a woman, the most important social institution around the world. Legalizing same sex marriage would turn the state against those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage.” Many people in America agree with Robert Knight; however, the number of people who are for same sex marriage is steadily increasing. More and more people are realizing that the legality of same sex marriage does not turn the state against heterosexual couples, but rather allows two people who love each other the right to be married regardless their of sexual orientation.
The love one person has for another should not and cannot be confined to sexual orientation. Because people do not agree with the marriage between two people, does not mean that marriage should not take place. What is marriage? Most would say the legal union of a man and a woman. Conservatives say that homosexuals fail to meet the “requirements” of marriage. They say that same sex marriages lessen family values and that having gay parents will make their children more inclined to be gay. These individuals say that homosexuals cannot contribute to society in the form of procreation. Finally, conservatives feel that homosexuals are sinful from a religious stand point. While these arguments are all very compelling and understandable, they are merely opinions and the law should never be based on opinions, but rather on facts, justice, and equality.
Concerning family values, who has the right to set the rules for the way a family should be? All families are different and changes should not be shunned but rather embraced (What’s Wrong). A homosexual marriage does not affect other people of society. Take two men for example. Society has to see the couple together out side of their home. What difference would society see if that same couple were married? The answer in none, homosexual marriage does not affect society in a negative way. Society is affected the same way by a heterosexual couple. Children who are raised by two loving parents will grow up to become their own people because of all the support and nourishment they have been given. It does not matter if those two loving parents are a mother and a father or two mothers or two fathers (Perkel, Marc).
Physically homosexuals cannot procreate, but that does not mean that they can not contribute to society through raising children. There are millions of children who want to be in a home with people who love them. Foster children are often sent from foster home to foster home, which leads to a very unstable childhood. Presently, between 1million and 9 million children are being raised by gay, lesbian and bisexual parents in the United States (Roleff).
Conservatives say that homosexuals will not be able to provide a stable house for children, but a home with two caring parents is far more stable than a foster home where a child rarely receives attention. Studies show that unmarried people seeking to adopt a child are over 20 percent less likely than a married couple to be given a child (What’s wrong). Same sex marriages provide a foundation for same sex couples care for children, thus benefiting society in the form of supporting off spring into the next generation. If homosexuals should not be allowed to get married based on their inability to procreate, then heterosexual couples who are infertile, who choose not to have children or are elderly should also not be considered married (Henry).
Many people feel that from a religious stand point, same sex marriage is wrong. In fact, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, three major religions, do not condone homosexuality or same sex marriage. However, all three of these religions believe in loving thy neighbor. Bishops Joseph Charron, of the Roman Catholic Church says that “No same sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship expresses” (Ford). As Christians, God teaches us to love everyone and not to punish sinners but to try to have them converted. The Roman Catholic Church does not believe that homosexuals fulfill God’s requirements for marriage. On the contrary, they do believe that they should be treated with compassion. It’s true that most religions do not accept homosexuality as being morally right under God’s eyes. However, society cannot play the role of God. The government cannot decide what constitutes love and whether or not the love between two people is just. That is not society’s place and the government should not make laws based on our religious views and beliefs. Our Constitution requires the separation of church and state, and this must be carried out.
The economic factor that comes with marriage is also something that homosexual couples want. Married couples are entitled to things like shared tax returns, special tax exemptions, deductions and refunds, coverage for the uninsured under the spouse’s medical care, disability and life insurance plans, survivor benefits, social security and pension plans, inheritance free from taxation, next of kin status in the case of an emergency and mental incapacity or death. These are all the things that married couples have and all the things that homosexual couples cannot attain. Should a person be denied these benefits for the rest of their life because they are in love with a person of the same sex and cannot be married?
As a society, people need to be more accepting and less afraid of change. If it were not for change and accepting the unfamiliar, like different races, religions and preferences, America would not be the melting pot it is today. In America, the Constitution declares that all people should be treated equal. Same sex couples live in 99.3 % of all the counties nationwide. When we prohibit homosexuals from marrying, society is treating them as if they are unequal to heterosexuals. Sexual orientation should not be a reason to compromise the principals on which the Constitution is founded. Society’s opinions on what is morally right or wrong should not sway the outcome of what is ethically right. The Constitution does not directly talk about same sex marriage; however, many of the rules in it are directly related to why same sex marriage should be legal. Among them are: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; all men are created equal; lastly, all men should have a chance for justice under the law.
All of these things are taken away from people just because of their sexual preference, and because their lifestyle is not the “average” American lifestyle. It is important to not allow what one feels to be right and wrong affect another’s right to happiness. Remember that marriage is not a creation of law, law relating to marriage merely recognizes and regulates an institution that already exists (What’s Wrong). When the government denies homosexuals the right to marry, it treats them like second class citizens. Just as society treated interracial couples not to long ago. Why should people be punished because they do not have the same sexual orientation and preference as the rest of society? Why should people be denied benefits because they will not give in to gimmicks such as “same sex unions” and “domestic partnerships?” Society needs to change. How many couples will have to suffer before America realizes that the government is not protecting society by banning same sex marriage, but rather hurting it?
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Not every boy wants to date a girl, and not every girl wants to marry a boy. Just because their feelings are different does not mean they are not sincere. Homosexuals have the same thoughts and the same feelings that heterosexuals have, it is just that those feelings are for the same sex. The government cannot make homosexuality go away, and as long as there is homosexuality there will be a desire for same sex marriage. As men and women, it is natural to want to find that significant other, and once you’ve found them you want to engage in that sacred union of marriage with that person and reap all the benefits that it entails. Love is not bias to race, creed or sexual orientation. Legal or not, there will and always should be same sex marriages.
Bidstrup, Scott. “Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives.” bidstrup. 2004. 7 Apr. 2007 .
Ford, Thomas Michael. Out Spoken: Role Models from the Lesbian and Gay Community New York: Beech Tree, 1998.
Gator Gay Straight Alliance. “12 Reasons.” Gator Gay Straight Alliance . 18 Feb. 2004. The University of Florida’s Gay Straight Alliance. 8 Apr. 2007 .
Henry, Charles. Telephone interview. 6 Apr. 2007.
Perkel, Marc. “Same Sex Marriage.” The People’s Legal Front. 16 Apr. 2007 http://www.perkel.com/politics/issues/samesex.htm
Roleff, Tamara L., Ed. Gay Rights. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven press, Inc., 1997.
“Same Sex Marriage ban awaits vote in Senate” Indy Star.com Apr. 8. 2007. The online Edition of the Indianapolis Star. 16 Feb. 2005 The Family Research Council; Defending Family, Faith and Freedom. 8 Apr. 2007 “What’s Wrong with letting Same Sex Couples “Marry?” FRC.org 8 Apr. 2007.