Gay marriage continues to be a hot topic of discussion in the United States. Proponents and opponents can argue for their position based on many things. This paper will briefly discuss some of the common issues to consider when answering, “Should Gay Marriage be allowed?”
Many people still argue that on religious grounds gays and lesbians are sinful, and/or that marriage is a religious institution, essentially concerned with reproduction. They also believe that this institution can only be between a man and women and is as old as the book of Genesis. In Leviticus, God says not to lie (have sex with or love) a man as you would with a women. He includes homosexuals with thieves and drunkards. If he will not permit thieves and drunkards into heaven and he groups homosexuals with them does this mean that they will not be afforded the opportunity to go to heaven?
Most religious groups believe that America is, or should be, in some fundamental sense, a Christian nation, whose laws and social structures spring from, or at least don’t openly contradict, Christian scripture. As of Nov 7, 2012, gay marriage has been legalized in the following nine states: Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Connecticut (Nov 12, 2008), Iowa (Apr 24, 2009), Vermont (Sep 1, 2009), New Hampshire (Jan 1, 2010), New York (June 24, 2011), Maryland (Nov 6, 2012), Maine (Nov 6, 2012), and Washington (Nov 6, 2012). 31 states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Six states have laws banning same-sex marriage. The District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage on Mar 3, 2010.
As of Sep 12, 2012, 11 out of 194 countries allow same-sex couples to marry. Religious groups would argue that marriage is already threatened with high divorce rates and allowing same-sex couples to marry would further weaken the institution. But if you look at Massachusetts, which became the first state to legalize gay marriage, had the lowest divorce rate in the country in 2008. Opponents to gay marriage also argue that altering the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and women will further weaken a threatened institution and that legalizing gay marriage is a slippery slope that may lead to polygamous and interspecies marriages. They also believe that same-sex marriage is not a civil right, and conflating the issue with interracial marriage is misleading.
However deeply felt the battle against gay marriage is it has its political usefulness, too. Proponents argue that same-sex couples should have access to the same marriage benefits and public acknowledgment enjoyed by heterosexual couples and that prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional discrimination. Nitya Duclos stated “same sex marriage would be most likely to benefit those who are already well off and hence would exacerbate inequalities within the gay and lesbian community”. The main benefit that same-sex couples want by getting married is the ensuring legal and financial protections afforded everyone else. They believe that marriage is all about getting certain rights in everyday life that straight couples who are in terrible marriages still have. These benefits alone include immigration preferences for spouses, the right to enter restricted areas reserved for immediate family such as hospitals and jails, tax deductions for dependent spouses, health insurance, adoption, interspousal transfers of property by will or trust, death benefits, spousal support, tort recovery for wrongful death, spousal privilege regarding testifying, and a variety of family discounts.
Now if people are starting to be all right with same-sex marriage, then why have only six states allowed it? Why haven’t others changed it? One reason people are against same-sex marriage is for the benefits it would provide, and the opposition thinks they’re just trying to get out of paying more money for taxes. But in reality same-sex marriages can bring financial gain to state and local governments. Revenue from gay marriage comes from marriage licenses, higher income taxes (the so-called “marriage penalty”), and decreases in costs for state benefit programs. Sweden began offering same-sex couples benefits in 1987, followed by Denmark in 1989 and Norway in 1993. Proponents also believe that legalizing gay marriage will not harm heterosexual marriage or “family values.”
A study published on Apr 13, 2009 in Social Science Quarterly found that laws permitting same-sex marriage or civil unions have no adverse effect on marriage divorce, and abortion rates or the percent of children born out of wedlock. From 1988 to 2010, public support for gay marriage increased at a rate of 1 to 1.5 points per year. On Aug 11, 2010, CNN released the results of the first national poll to show a majority support for gay marriage, with 52% agreeing that “gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid.” A Gallup report released on May 8, 2012 found that national support for same-sex marriage peaked in 2011 at 53%, dropping to 50% in 2012.
Gays and lesbians who would like to be married cannot be dismissed as irrational or ignorant or as seeking to participate in an institution that is irredeemably corrupt. Today’s governments adopt more leftist attitudes and political policies, questions of human rights and equality have taken center stage. The idea that every citizen is granted equal treatment in today’s liberal democracy, has come the idea that individuals should be given the right to marry those of the same sex. Today the controversy over allowing or disallowing same-sex marriages is a hot topic. The debate over this issue has many opinions. Most people feel that traditional legal and social idea of marriage encompasses the coming together of a man and woman. Others feel that marriage should be a more flexible institution and one that should not restrict its binding powers and traditions exclusively to heterosexual couples. Whether you like it or not our society is changing everyday and I believe that in the years to come gay marriage will be legalized throughout the United States. The point of the gay-rights movement, after all, is not about helping people be gay. It is about creating the space for people to be themselves.
Severino, R. (2007). Or For Poorer? How Same-Sex Marriage Threatens
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