There has been much controversy on the subject of gay marriage for a long time, and in several different areas. There has been conflict in the educational, the legal (governmental rights), and the religious aspects, among others. Amidst all the confusion and chaos that comes from the usually rather passionate opinions on this issue, the question that seriously needs to be considered is this: How would legalizing gay marriage ultimately affect American society as a whole? One of the most common arguments opposing same-sex marriage is that it would weaken the definition and respect for the institution of marriage. It seems that the understood definition of the word “marriage” explicitly uses the phrase “between a man and a woman.” But 50% of first marriages, 67% of second, and 74% of third marriages end in divorce (US-Divorce, n.d.). Doesn’t this harm the sanctity of marriage? Furthermore, the word “marriage” can also be defined as “a lifelong publicly accountable relationship.” This can be applied to any two people, no matter their gender, race, or anything else. Another argument that is frequently used against gay marriage is the fact that gay couples can’t naturally pro-create, and marriage is for raising children.
This claim is a stretch by itself; there are thousands of married heterosexual couples that either aren’t able or choose not to have children. Also, gay couples are able to adopt children, giving them a stable home and family environment to grow in. One common concern of people against legalized gay marriage is also the educational aspect of it. If our children are taught from the beginning that there is no difference between heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage, couldn’t that confuse them? Not according to Professor Michael King of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2007): “It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice” (p. 2).
Children would only become educated about the subject; they wouldn’t be “converted.” In addition to the educational concern, some people are worried about children being raised by a gay or lesbian couple, believing that these influential figures in the child’s life might cause the child to become gay or lesbian. But “the available evidence indicates that the vast majority of lesbian and gay adults were raised by heterosexual parents and the vast majority of children raised by lesbian and gay parents eventually grow up to be heterosexual” (Chaudhury, 2007). Again, sexual orientation is innate, not caused by early childhood environment, choice, or anything else. Putting aside all the direct arguments for and against gay marriage, there are several ways that gay marriage would unequivocally benefit society. First, according to a study done at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, the suicide rate among homosexual females was 6% higher than heterosexual females, and the suicide rate among homosexual males was 24% higher than heterosexual males (Remafedi, French, Story, Resnick, and Blum, 1998). Why was this? Is it possible that, if homosexuals are given the recognition and respect that others are given by receiving the right to be married, these shocking numbers might go down? And wouldn’t this certainly serve to benefit American society?
Legalizing gay marriage would also be encouraging a healthier lifestyle for homosexuals. Some could even argue that denying them the right to settle down and begin a stable home and family with respect would be promoting a more promiscuous way of life. With recognized gay marriage, a homosexual couple is given the opportunity to create a home and start building for the future like any other couple. They would most likely begin supporting schools and the community in general, again only benefiting society. Dr. Laura Schlessinger (2009) notes, “That two people would have that sort of commitment to me is very healthy and very positive thing in their lives and society as a whole” (p.1).
Lastly, the legalization of gay marriage would be expanding true equal rights to include another minority. How can two institutions be exactly the same if they cannot be called the same thing (i.e. “marriage” versus “lifelong partnership”)? To refuse a gay couple to be married is literally denying a minority their rights as a United States citizen and as a human being. It’s denying them their right to “the pursuit of happiness”, their right to a home and family, and their right to respect, not to mention all the legal and social benefits (such as tax benefits) that a heterosexual husband and wife receive. The rejection is unfair and unjust. There are countless reasons that the issue of gay marriage is one that brings up such frenzied controversy—tradition, religion, education, government power, ethics, bound conscience—and no matter how the topic is dealt with, there will be people who oppose it.
But the evidence needs to be considered: equal rights, a recognized and respected committed relationship, a stable family, a home; these are all factors that create and reward a well rounded and working community. By no means would the legalization of gay marriage harm society; the effect of such a union would only by beneficial.
http://educateyourselfonissues.wetpaint.com/page/Gay+Marriage%3A+Social+Implications How could gay marriage harm anyone?
by Matt Slick Harm is a relative term. What might be considered harmful to one person might not to another. There are different kinds of harm: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, etc. Therefore, harm is a personal thing that is experienced and is a bit subjective. So, when we ask how gay marriage harms anyone, we have to look at more than just one aspect. Marriage has been universally acknowledged throughout history as a legal contract between a man and a woman in which there is emotional and sexual fidelity, along with childrearing. But homosexual marriage would change this. Since marriage is also a moral issue, redefining marriage is redefining morals.
Furthermore, marriage is an extremely wide-spread practice within any society and has many legal and moral issues attached to it. So, when marriage is redefined, the society is dramatically affected. Legalizing gay marriage means changing the laws of the land. The ramifications are vast and we are seeing the effects of homosexual legal “rights” affecting housing, education, the work place, medicine, the armed forces, adoption, religion, etc. Are all the changes good? That is hotly debated. But we have to ask, is it morally right to force all of society to adopt the morals of a minority? (See Statistics on the percentage of the population that are homosexual and lesbian) So, how would gay marriage harm anyone? First, let’s define harm. Harm is damage to a person physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, morally, etc.
The definition is obviously broad and subjective, and this is problematic. People experience harm in different ways. Here is a list of ways in which gay marriage can bring harm. 1. It can bring huge financial and emotional stress.
* Homosexuals can sue people who are exercising their religious
beliefs. For example, a heterosexual married couple with children who do not want to rent a room in their own family household to homosexuals could be sued for discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” This can incur significant financial and emotional stress upon the family, not to mention the “prior restraint” effect of the fear of being sued which results in a family not renting out a room. 2. The health risks are enormous to themselves and others. * The fact is that homosexuals do not live as long as heterosexuals due to the health risks associated with the lifestyle, and billions of dollars are spent annually in health care for them. See Statistics on HIV/AIDS and health related issues * But the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not only in the homosexual community. It has crossed over to the heterosexual community. * Whether or not you want to say that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual disease, the fact is that it is highly prevalent among the gay and lesbian community due to their great number of sex partners.
The collateral damage to the rest of society, as far as health risks, cannot be denied. 3. Gay Marriage means having the morals of the minority forced upon the majority. * This can also be said in the reverse. Either way, there is a problem. Normally, morals should not be forced on anyone, though there are exceptions. We force morals on others by preventing them from stealing, raping, murdering, etc. So, it is not automatically wrong to force morals on someone. But the issue then becomes what is morally right and wrong in the first place, and altering morals in a society definitely causes stress. * The percentage of homosexuals in society is less than 5%, yet it is being forced upon the other 95% of society in movies, TV, literature, and political periods. See Statistics on the percentage of the population that are homosexual and lesbian. 4. Gay Marriage means a redefinition of sexual morality, and with it other sexually related practices will be affected and this can be harmful. * See the article Collateral damage effect as a result the change in sexual morals for a discussion on the increase in pedophilia, pornography, child pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking that are occurring in the world. These increases are not due to an increase in conservative sexual morals, but a reduction of conservative sexual morals. 5. Gay Marriage reduces the number of children born in society and we need a stable population base to operate properly. Therefore, society can be harmed. 6. Gay Marriage affects people spiritually.
* Don’t assume that people’s spiritual beliefs are irrelevant. People consider spiritual issues to be extremely important, and the stress imposed on religious people by forcing them to “accept” and/or support homosexual practice and/or intimidate them into silence harms a person’s spiritual and emotional health. 7. It forces government to get involved in changing laws which automatically affect everyone in society. * Homosexuality is being force fed to our youth via the education system. * Civil unions are being recognized by employers which effect co-workers, money payouts, work time, etc. 8. It exposes adopted children within potential homosexual unions to ridicule from others.
Societal Implications of Gay Marriage
Matthew McKinney, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Feb 14, 2007
So what’s the big deal? Why can’t people get married if they love each other, irregardless of their sex? Isn’t that what marriage is about? Well, yes and no. I propose to you that gay marriage should not be permitted. Not because I’m some religious fanatic who believes that marriage is a sanctified religious construction, only honored by God when in a heterosexual relationship. Nor am I a “homophobe.” My boss is homosexual, my cousin is homosexual, some of my friends are homosexual. There are several reasons to which I propose that marriage should be kept between a man and a woman, for now at least. Granted, marriage is a social construct to which we have the ability to define and redefine as often as we wish; yet, one must remember that much of the earth’s populace is currently against gay marriage. Despite this fact, there are several other factors that come into play when considering the legalization of homosexual marriage. I’m not going to delve into the health of a family with homosexual parents, because I find that that really has little or no bearing on how the children “turn out.” However, the societal effects and implications of gay marriage currently greatly outway the positives.
One of the more extreme implications is the “slippery slope” argument. If a person loves another person of the same sex, and wishes to get married because he loves them, what about the individual who wishes to marry his pet, because he loves it. Now, take a deep breath before you start ranting at the computer screen. I understand that the mainstream person is not going to marry his pet, even if he does love it. And, I understand that in nature, while homosexual activity does exist, however rare, animals of different species almost never interact sexually. Nevertheless, one cannot assume that there would not be one person in this world who would not want to marry his pet, out of some strange psychological disorder, or for some cheap laughs. But, the high improbability of this argument explains why I stated that this argument is one of the more extreme and impractical ones. Secondly, there is the bigotry argument. When we break down the boundaries of marriage, we have to be willing to accept all types and reasons for marriage. If two people of the same sex love each other and want to get married, why can’t three people who love each other get married? Or one man who loves four women, if they are willing? Or vice versa? This, as well as many of the other arguments, show that love cannot be the only reason for marriage. Love is a fickle emotion, as well as a broad emotion, full of interpretation and subjectivity.
Is the world ready to accept bigotry as a form of marriage? Is this regression, or is it progression? Finally, the topic of age barriers presents itself. Currently, we have laws in plave to protect the youth from older predators. Age limits are erected in order to keep the young people in the world from being taken advantage of. If however, we erased the construction and boundaries of marriage, we then must cope with the removal of the age boundaries. Again, love is not a good enough answer to this complex issue. A thirteen year old and a twenty-seven year old can be in love, but does that make it acceptable for them to enter into matrimony? Why or why not? As a society, we must be able to answer all of these question. Gay marriage is not a simple issue. We can neither “Send all the gays to hell” nor “Live and let live.” Homosexual marriage presents one of the most profound crises of the twenty-first century. We must be willing to accept all of these residual effects, and answer “It’s okay” to all of the above issues, as well as many more. Again, I am not claiming that gays should never be allowed to marry, merely that our society is not ready to fully accept the disassembly of the construct of marriage. Maybe one day, maybe one day… Published by Matthew McKinney
Majoring in Political Science, and wanting some experience in the field of journalism.
What’s The Point of Marriage, Gay or Straight?
Marriage, Kinship, and Social Obligations
By Austin Cline, About.com Guide
One of the fundamental questions underlying the debate over gay marriage is, quite simply, what the point is for gays to marry. Aside from certain property and legal issues which could, in theory, be solved by other laws, what point are gays trying to make in attempting to get married? Why is it so important to be able to hold up a marriage certificate and say “we’re married” instead of simply saying “we’re a couple” without a certificate?
Chris Burgwald asks this question on his blog:
Gay marriage advocates argue that this is an equal rights issue. But what is it that a married hetero couple can “do” that an unmarried gay couple cannot “do”? Under current law, gays can commit themselves to one another… they can live together… what can’t they do that married people can do? Nothing, as far as I can tell. So why is it so important for these gay (and lesbian) couples flocking to San Francisco to be able to hold up an “official” marriage certificate after their one-minute wedding? I surmise that it’s about validation: gay and lesbian marriage is about their relationship being recognized precisely as a marriage. But my question is this: why am I being forced to acknowledge gay relationship as marriage? That is, after all, what marriage is: a political (i.e. public, on behalf of the people) stamp of recognition. Hence, my conclusion: in many ways (albeit not for all those involved), gay marriage is about forcing the body-politic to recognize homosexual unions as legitimate. Burgwald is right — and he is wrong, and all on the very same point.
He is right that being married is about nachieving a sort of validation for gay couple; he is wrong that there is nothing that a married heterosexual couple can “do” that an unmarried gay couple cannot do — and it is precisely this point of asserting social validation for their relationship. Finally, he is further wrong that he is being forced to acknowledge a gay relationship on a personal level. It is worth noting that there is nothing in these questions about gay marriage which could not be asked about marriage generally. What is it that a married heterosexual couple can do that any couple living together can’t do — especially if we imagine changing a few contract laws to allow for things like property sharing? What is so important about a marriage certificate that any couple, gay or straight, would want to hold it up? What do they hope to gain by having society acknowledge their relationship as a marriage?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Marriage equality” redirects here. For other uses, see Marriage equality (disambiguation). Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or gender identity. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality, particularly by supporters. Since 2000, eleven countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden) and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Brazil, Mexico and the United States) have begun to allow same-sex couples to marry. Bills legalizing same-sex marriage have been proposed, are pending, or have passed at least one legislative house in Uruguay, France, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Taiwan as well as in the legislatures of several sub-national jurisdictions (in Scotland as well as parts of Australia, Mexico, and the United States). Introduction of same-sex marriage has varied by jurisdiction, being variously accomplished through a legislative change to marriage laws, a court ruling based on constitutional guarantees of equality, a ballot initiative, or a referendum. The recognition of same-sex