My subject is on discrimination and same-sex marriage. During my research, I looked at what discrimination was and where it came from. Next, I focused my attention towards the Bible and the views of Christianity. Lastly, I took a look at what the law had to say about same-sex marriage. What I found was astonishing. My conclusion was that discrimination is ever prevalent in today’s society, and that if you do not allow same-sex marriage, then you are discriminating against others. Discrimination and Same-Sex Marriages What if someone came into your home today and told you that you could no longer have children.
Why you ask? Well because your annual income was less than $50,000 a year. Would you feel discriminated against? Would you feel that your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness had been stripped away? Would you stand up and fight for those rights? How would it make you feel? Same-sex couples are discriminated against like this every day of their lives. Growing up, I was taught to treat everyone the same. It didn’t matter what their race, gender, or their religious affiliation was. I have tried to teach my child the same philosophy. Teaching her has not always been easy.
Every time she turns on the television, or goes on the internet, she is bombarded with discrimination. Several weeks ago, she finally asked me “Dad, why are people still discriminating against gay and lesbian couples who want to get married? ” I looked at those innocent eyes and told her, “I don’t know sweetheart, but I will find out. ” It has been several weeks since my daughter and I had our conversation. I have spent long hours looking for clues to help me find the answer to her question. My research has led me to believe that there is not just one easy answer.
Your political view, or your religious view, determines whether or not you feel it is discrimination. Based on my data, the conclusion I came to was somewhat of a surprise. Discrimination was alive and well in the good old United States of America (USA). But how could that be? With the number of civil rights organizations that are active in today’s society, you would think that discrimination would have been stamped out by now. Well, I am here to tell you that it has not, and that if you don’t allow same-sex marriage, then you are still discriminating against others. To prove this, I needed to find out more about discrimination.
Not just the definition, but what it meant to our history as a nation. The first place I looked at was Webster’s online dictionary. Webster’s defines discrimination as “unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice” (Cassidy, 1998). Furthermore, it defines prejudice as “a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation” (Cassidy, 1998). Discrimination is rooted in our beliefs and values that we are taught as we move through our lives. I can remember when my daughter was first attending grade school. I was amazed at how well all of the children got along.
It didn’t matter the race or gender. Children are not born with any prejudice. They learn those things later in life. Who do they learn it from? Us. Yes, we teach them how to discriminate. Like I said before, discrimination is rooted in our beliefs and values. Believe it or not, this country was founded on discrimination. The following is from the Declaration of Independence. Pay close attention to the underlined phrase: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
All throughout our history, discrimination has been ever prevalent. The civil war ended in April of 1865. Later that same year, slavery was abolished. In 1870, the right to vote was given to any United States citizen regardless of their race, color, or previous condition of servitude. It wasn’t until 1920 that the right to vote was finally given to women. This discrimination in our history has taken a long time to overcome. Even today, we find ourselves struggling to gain equal rights for everyone. When Arizona passed a new immigration law, people all across the nation rallied to protest.
Those people felt that the new law allowed for racial profiling and was discriminating against people of Hispanic decent. So how then, do we stop the discrimination? The current answer is to pass a new law. As a species, we may be slow to accept change, but once we do, we open our hearts and minds to it. A perfect example of this fact is the formation of law upon law to ensure that discrimination in the work place, the home, or in the streets of this great nation does not happen. And when it does, those that commit the crimes are severely punished for it.
So how is it, with all of the anti-discrimination laws on the books, that we still discriminate against same-sex marriages? That’s easy. We change the rules to fit our own needs. The Constitution clearly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”. Great examples of this occurred back in 2008 and 2009. In Varona’s (Fall 2010) analysis of the elections in 2008 and 2009, he does an in-depth look at why all of the proposed legislation for same-sex marriages failed.
He concludes that until the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists change their strategies, they will be doomed to fail (p. 828). To accomplish this end, they need to get a movement going just like Martin Luther King did to really push their civil rights movement onto the main stage. Martin Luther King realized that without the public support, his dream of equality would never come to pass. History shows that if you are able to gain popular support, your agenda has a much better chance of moving forward. The issue then lies with who’s rights trump whose.
According to Adler, (Fall 2010) a judge must make a decision by “treating like cases alike”. (p. 601) Unfortunately this is not always possible. An example would be to compare a sweet potato and a regular old Idaho red. While both are potatoes, they are as different as night and day. This forces a judge to make a political call based on his views and those of his constituents. When Proposition 8 passed in 2008, it changed the California constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. This is another example of how to change the rules.
Needless to say, the same-sex marriage advocates immediately went to court and got it overturned. In the case of Perry v Schwarzenegger, there are 12 different bodies of religious originations who have banned together to appeal the lower court’s ruling and reinstate Proposition 8. Their main premise is that the lower court did not view the data with a unbiased opinion (Dushku, 2010, pp. x-xvi). A key point in the court brief was the beliefs of those who were filing. As I have said before, our beliefs and values shape who, and what, we are.
Several times during the brief, each faith repeatedly stated that “they preach love for, not hatred of, homosexual persons” (Dushku, 2010, p. 17). They were attacking the institution of marriage and how it defines our culture and the raising of our children. Not a bad way to get around the discrimination factor. Basically, they are saying that we are cool with you being a homosexual. We will love you and cherish you as one of God’s creations, just don’t get married. Regardless if their hearts are in the right place or not, discrimination is still discrimination.
It would be unfair for us to look at this argument from just one side. While I may not agree with their position, it is hard to deny what the opponents of same-sex marriages have to say. Like most of us, their beliefs and values are rooted in a long tradition of following something they were taught to be true. Simply put, the Bible tells me so. Most people take the Bible at face value. While there are many different versions, made to suit many different forms of religions, most agree on principle that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that homosexuality is a sin.
One of the more popular references to homosexuality is found in 1st Corinthians, 6:9-10: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (Robinson, 2009) According to religious tolerance. org, the term “effeminate”, has a several different meanings. Having little or no virility, or acting unmanly are just a few (Robinson, 2009).
By this definition, would a man who refuses to fight on the battlefield be deemed unmanly and be refused entrance into the kingdom of God? Another passage that most reference for homosexuality in the bible is from the book of Genesis. It tells the story of how the city of Sodom was destroyed by God for their wicked sins. This is also where the term “Sodomite”, meaning someone who comes from Sodom, originated (Robinson, 2009). Depending on how you interpret these passages, it becomes relatively clear why they believe homosexuality is a sin, and that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Most devout Christians believe that homosexuality can be cured through God. One only has to ask for forgiveness of this sin, live a righteous life, and they will be cured of their homosexuality. There are however, passages that do support homosexuality in the bible. Take the story of Ruth and Naomi for instance. Ruth describes her relationship in Ruth 1:16-17, which is also often read out during opposite-sex and same-sex marriage and union ceremonies: Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. (Robinson, 2009) Again in Ruth 1:14, Ruth refers to her relationship with Naomi as “Ruth clave unto her”. The term “clave” is the same word used in the book of Genesis 2:24, to define marriage. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Robinson, 2009). Regardless of what you read, how you interpret the writer’s meaning and purpose will give it weight. The Bible is no different, and in the past several centuries, it has been re-written to fit the needs of the current users.
For example, The Latter-Day Saints (LDS) once openly practiced polygamy as part of their religious beliefs. To this day, there are still those who do. The mainstream LDS no longer practice polygamy. They had to change their beliefs, and their bibles to fit in with everyone else. If their beliefs come from God, why did the LDS change their beliefs, and will they change them to fit the same-sex couples into their religion? Will other church groups, and state and federal organizations change as well? In order for equality among all men and women, something must change. We try to treat everyone equal.
Equal rights however, stops when it comes to your sexual orientation. We treat same-sex couples as second class citizens. Yes we will allow you to have all the rights and privileges as a citizen, except for getting married. The Bible tells us that to be joined under God, you must announce it publicly (Robinson, 2009). How this phrase was translated into you must be “legally married”, I will never understand. I often wonder why our fore fathers did not handle these types of discrimination when our country was founded. Our way of life today would be much simpler if they had defined marriage, or given rights to those who deserved them.
Did they have the same political problems we did? Did they put their own faith and beliefs before those that they were elected to serve? Or did they realize then that discrimination would never go away. Whether you realize it or not, discrimination, in one form or another, will always be prevalent it today’s society. When you chose to buy a Ford over a Dodge, you are making a discrimination. Our own values and belief systems determine what level of discrimination we will morally be okay with. You cannot please everyone all the time, and until we come together as a society there will always be discrimination.