Point of Contention: Should Gay Marriages be Allowed?
Hirsch writes (35-42) that only female and male are the recognized genders in society. But due to unexplained genetic events happening during birthing resulted with the third sex or gays as we commonly call them. In particular, gay marriages must be legalized, An individual’s right to marry must not be confined based on religious teachings and the norms established by society. Hence, everyone has the right to marriage irregardless of gender.
Point 1: Homosexuals have equal rights with male and female thus gays have also the right to marry.
In 1954, during the rule of Francisco Franco in Spain, when gays violated the Ley de Vagos Maleantes (or Vagrancy Act), they were imprisoned, tortured and killed ruthlessly. Homosexuality was also viewed as a mental illness, and after being arrested, gays were sent to “correction camps” and went through electric-shock therapy. Federico Garcia Lorca, was a famous homosexual playwright who was killed by firing squad in 1936. His tragedies were about the struggle of passions stemming from sex which eventually lead to death because of the need to hide or repress it (Moore, n.d.).
Gays are continuously struggling for equality. During the early times, when homosexuality was considered a sin and those who were found guilty suffered gravely. The religious sector hold on with the divine teachings – the Creator only created two kinds of human beings; thus to be a gay is out of the normal and is a grave sin. Society has confined the norms with the two genders and to be gay is a disgrace for the family. Still true up to present and gays remain in closet to protect the family’s name.
Moats had written that (88-100) everybody is entitled to their own happiness, may it be of material or emotional aspect depending on the individual. In each person’s search of happiness, we must all have equal rights, and when gays are denied the right to marry whoever they choose, this leads to injustice. The people deny the rights of the gay as they deny their right to marriage. The issue is about the right of an individual.
Pinello (57-67) reported that ninety percent of the population can freely engage themselves in marriage and divorce. But the remaining ten percent composed of gays and lesbians are denied of this right. As given emphasis by President Kennedy himself, American gay and lesbians are denied of civil rights protection that others either do not need or assume that everyone else along with themselves, already have. The US in particular, claims that everyone is equal thus the right to marriage must already be granted to gays. The right to marriage is not solely for the purpose of marriage; it just represents a portion of the struggle fought by gays for equal rights and privileges . The acceptance of society of their identity is necessary, since it is their right as an individual despite belonging to the minority 10%. Their relationship must also be accepted and viewed as normal and legal. The only thing contradicting society’s norm is the gender of the people involved (Moats 125-133).
Homosexuals have walked a milestone for the legalization of gay marriage. There are already a number of states allowing gay marriages, namely, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, New Jersey. But still majority of the cities in the U.S., particularly those which are Catholic, are against legalizing it (Cline, n.d.).
Point 2: Marriage is a vow between two individuals who are committed to love, take care and protect one another, regardless of gender.
What is marriage? What does it really mean? Marriage is a commitment between two people which signifies the love that they share for each other. Because of tradition and laws, homosexual couples cannot freely exercise this right. The love felt is in question as it is thought of as mere call of the flesh. The relationships among gays are viewed as immoral, and that it cannot last because it is not bonded by love According to the American Civil Liberties Union in 1996, (3) “The law [against same-sex marriage] differentiate the basis of sex because it makes one’s ability to marry depend on one’s gender.” (Hull 167-182).
An advocate of gay marriage, Mark Strasser, Professor of Law at Capital University in 1999 states that “State interests in the recognition and promotion of marriage include the promotion of stability, the limitation of the disorganized breakdown of relations, and the provision of a home for the production and rearing of children.” To lessen promiscuity in the society, thus must allow gay marriages to be legalized (Moore, n.d.).
Point 3: Morality must not be an issue for marriage.
Koppelmann added (76-83) that the rights of people must be the main concern of the state and not the promotion of morality. Some of the rights denied to gay couples when they are not allowed to marry was stated in the March 2000 issue of the New Jersey Law Journal, “Same sex couples who are prohibited from marrying are excluded from legal benefits specifically tied to legally recognized marriage: for example, access to a spouse’s medical, life and disability insurance; hospital visitation and medical decision-making privileges… workers’ compensation survivor benefits; spousal benefits under annuity and retirement plans…the right to refuse to testify against one’s spouse…” There are 1,049 benefits that are denied to gays as stated by The General Accounting Office of the Federal Government in 1997.
Pinello reported that (57-67) ACLU goes on to say, “Classifications which discriminate on the basis of gender must be substantially related to some important government purpose…tradition by itself is not an important government purpose. If it were, sex discrimination would be quite acceptable; discrimination against women has been in tradition at least as long and time honored as that of discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage.”
People who are gay should not be equated with homosexual activities, there are gays who do not engage themselves with such. As cited, a 34-year old heterosexual had been put into jail, and before entering jail he did not engage himself in homosexual activities, but as he was imprisoned, he started engaging in homosexual activities mainly because it is all that is available for him (Cline, n.d.).
Hull written that (167-182) gay marriages are alleged as immoral because man and woman are not in it, but as we try to examine, at times the commitment among gays is even stronger compared to normal couples. For gays, getting married is not for security as they grow old, but is a personal choice to commit themselves and thus “homosexual acts” are justified as the greatest expression of their love, if in case it occurs.
Point 4: Marriage is a sacrament binding those who are in love and is wrongly premised on the idea that a couple should be able to procreate.
Hull (167-182) stated that determining the validity of marriage is based on values. As mentioned, marriage is not primarily the union of two individuals who are in love neither with one another but instead is commitment of an individual to whomsoever he wants to love, cherish and protect. Marriage is the union of man and woman with the purpose of procreation. Marriage must not be viewed for procreation purposes; instead the reason of love and togetherness of two people regardless of gender . In addition, barren men and women must be discriminated as well, and it is proper to deny the rights of marriage as well because they are incapable to reproduce their own child (Koppelman 76-83).
Soon, the world will be overpopulated as people tend to reproduce more offspring; hence if gay marriages will be legalized then it can prevent overpopulation, too. Moreover, upon legalization of gay marriage, it may open our eyes and minds to the idea that marriage is about love and togetherness of two individuals despite their incapacity to reproduce. Gay marriage showed us that love is far beyond what one can give, and it teaches people that love must not confined to having children; instead, the yearning to be with that person despite his shortcomings, and still being happy in love with that person. And thus, gays themselves deserve to get married because they have within them the reason for such – the longing for love and togetherness (Pinello 57-67).
Point 5: Church marriage and state marriage must be viewed separately.
The contradiction to same sex marriage is from the religious, as stated by the Bible that marriage is for man and woman. The religious definition and legal definition of marriage is different. The meaning in the Bible does not necessarily apply to the legal definition of marriage. Hence, the meaning of the two are unrelated. Marriage must be viewed in different aspects since people are of different kinds and find themselves in differing situations as such the meaning and usage of marriage is varying (Moats 125-133).
Hirsch (35-42) writes that the US government, holds on to the religious definition of marriage though there are some states allowing these marriages. The US government does not require people to adhere to a religious definition of marriage. Licenses are given to atheists, agnostics and people of all faiths or no faith at all. It is just fair to issue licenses to these people who want to get married. Many religious sects decided not to recognize same sex unions. As individuals, we all have the right to approve or disapprove a decision on this issue. One must also keep in mind that legal recognition is different from religious recognition.
Point 6: The divorce of couples is allowable, but gay marriage is denied from society’s acceptance, wherein in fact, gay couples have lasting commitment compared to usual couples.
Marriage and divorce are common legal acts in the country. Marriage is not done for the reason of love as it is being held as a contest for single men and women in finding their life time partners. In Las Vegas, getting married can be done in 10 minutes, if in that instant, the couple feels that they want to get married. They are then allowed to do it freely. Along the process of their marriage and upon realizing their differences, divorce can be undergone to regain freedom, despite weak arguments of being out of it. The state does not encourage couples to stay as couple if simple differences cannot be settled among themselves. Hence, the reasons of the state in not legalizing gay marriage is illogical (Cline n.d.).
Moats (125-133) reported that there are thousands of gay and lesbian couples living together for more than ten years still enjoying fewer rights compared to outlaw. Gay marriages must be legalized for it is a right of the gays as an individual and religious marriage is different from state marriage. Religion adheres to what is written in the bible while the state must adhere to the law stating that gays are equivalent with men and women hence their rights and privileges must be given to them.
Change does not happen overnight. But eventually it will come. We must never give up in fighting for the rights and freedom of our fellow gays. Equality will be achieved as long as we believe that what we are fighting for is good, and that our cause is for the betterment of all members of society. In the end, this valuation of purpose is what matters.
Point 7: The struggle for the legalization of marriage often results to psychological illnesses for most gays.
When gays are not allowed to marry, most experience a psychological and physical health decline. They battle with depression or seasonal affective disorder. Chuck Colbert stated that he was nasty to other people. “It was just poisonous!” When he and his longtime partner were denied the right to marry each other. Gay couples feel “minority stress” in places were same-sex partnership is not recognized (Moats 125-133). The debate over legalizing marriage rights which features discriminatory policies and are intentionally demeaning also have negative effects on gays and lesbians and straights alike.
Point 8: Legalization of gay marriages results to good health benefits.
Allowing same-sex couples to marry have good health benefits. Researcher Darren Sped stated that “Legalizing same-sex marriage leads to an emotional security.” Sped also learned in his studies that there is a lower rate of sexually transmitted diseases in countries allowing same-sex marriages, making couples faithful . Also upon its legalization, it will give gay couples a more comfortable and better self-image. Divorce rates in Denmark went down as well as out-of-wedlock contradicting that legalizing gay marriage will have bad effects on the institution of marriage (in Hirsch 35-42).
Point 9: Upon its legalization, economic benefits will be gained as well.
Hull (167-182) had written that economic benefits will be achieved as gay marriages will be legalized. 1) It will boost federal taxes by $400 to $700 million since when same sex couples marry they will move into a higher tax bracket; 2) Gay households that are newly formed are cut from programs such as Medicaid because they move up in income which saves 450 to $200 million; 3) Federal costs drop by $190 million when uninsured gays and lesbians healthcare costs join their spouses’ insurance plans; 4) A wedding industry boom amounting to $2 million if most of the same-sex couples get married like what happened in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Cline, Austin. Gay Rights vs. Religious Freedom. 7 May 2007
Hirsch, Harry. The Future of Gay Rights in America. Routledge. 2005.
Hull, Kathleene. Same Sex Marriage: The Cultural Politics of Love and Law. Cambridge
University Press, United Kingdom. 2006. 167-182.
Koppelman, Andrew. The Gay Rights Question in Contemporary American Law. University of
Chicago Press, Chicago. 2002.
Moats, David. Civil Wars: The Battle of Gay Marriage. Harvest Books, USA. 2005. 285-300
Moore, Leah. Points In Defense of Gay Marriage. April 21 2001. Mary Washington College
USA, May 7, 2007. < http://www.angelfire.com/home/leah/index.html>.
Pinello, Daniel. America’s Struggle for Same Sex Marriage. Cambridge University Press. 2006.