Naturally, most people are generally attracted to people of the opposite sex. This simply means that boys/men are attracted to girls/women and that girls/women are attracted to boys/men. Although this kind of heterosexual relationship is common in our society and has been there from time immemorial, there are also instances where men get attracted to their fellow men and women get attracted to fellow women. When people get married to someone of the same sex as they are, they are referred to as gay and the marriage is referred to as same sex marriage or gay marriage. Many religious institutions and U.S. citizens believe the government ought to place stricter precincts on the issue of gay marriages to prevent the morality of the nation; on the other hand, some activists, NGOs, and politicians claim that imposing severe rules will not solve the gay marriage problem and more so it is their civil right to do so.
Same sex marriage is the union of people belonging to the same sex orientation, a man marrying another man or a woman getting married to a fellow woman. While some people say that they knew they were gay from a young age, others say that it comes as a realization while they are growing up. It can, however, be said that for teenagers, as they grow gradually, sexual hormones make them confused and this is perfectly normal. It can happen that some people may feel attracted to people of the same sex and this is also normal and does not imply that they are homosexual, although this may be the case. It is, however, confusing to say what exactly makes people homosexual or even heterosexual or bisexual (Spilsbury, p.6).
When people decide to come out, tell someone that they are gay - other people’s reaction varies. In countries like Iran or Nigeria, coming out is dangerous because homosexuality carries a death sentence while in other countries, especially western countries, gay marriage is not against the law but people’s intolerance is still high (Spilsbury, p.7). In the past, some cultures like Greeks and Romans accepted and even revered homosexuals. However, religions including Islam and Christianity forbid such alliances. Recognition of same sex marriage spans huge time periods in history and such marriages can be found in different times. This means that same sex marriage has in no way been entirely suppressed (Lahey and Alderson, p.15-16).
Same sex marriage has been banned and illegal in many countries, while others did not have any laws, either for or against such kind of marriages. For example, in 1533, King Henry VIII of England made a law that punished sex between two men by hanging. The law was in force untill 1861 before being abolished (Spilsbury, p.8). Queer couples in the U.S., Canada, and Europe began applying for marriage licenses simply because the constitution only stated that a marriage could be between the two people who intended to marry. For example, a county clerk allowed two men to get married on January 7, 1975 in Phoenix, Arizona, after checking and finding out that there was no prohibition of that kind of marriage. On March 26, the same year, five homosexual couples were given certificates, as there were no specific laws that prohibited same sex marriages. Since then, many documented associations have applied for same sex marriages not only in the U.S. but all over the world as well (Lahey and Alderson, p.18). Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriages in 2001 (Trandafir, p.1). Other countries have followed suit, although in some it is still illegal and punishable by law.
With the legalization of same sex marriages, it has been argued by different people that the value of heterosexual marriages may diminish. The argument is that same sex marriage trivializes the institution of marriage. State constitutions like Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMA) and the Proposition 8 in California argue against recognition of same sex marriages (Trandafir, p.1). The New York Times states that nine states in the US as well as the District of Columbia have permitted same sex marriages. The author, Mr. Mark Oppenheimer, starts by reporting that a traditional-marriage advocate, Mr. David Blankenhorn, has quit his fight against the struggle for same sex marriage and instead would like to “…help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same.” (Oppenheimer, n.p.). This is a clear indication that heterosexual marriage is under threat and its value continues to diminish day in day out. For example a BBC reporter, Ed Lowther, reports that MPs in the UK will be debating in the coming week of same sex marriage, albeit opposed by many religious groups. The government has already published its assessment of any possible impacts and believes that the bill may change many things, including economic stimulus, transgender spouses, and health benefits among others.
However, this does not mean that all people in our society are throwing in the towel- not yet. Many religious organizations, especially the Catholic Church, are still opposed to same sex marriages and, quoting the Bible, back their allegations. Bishops in the U.S. have urged constitutional amendments to protect the marriage institution, the union between a man and a woman. They are strongly opposed to same sex marriages, although they say that gay people should be respected and deserve pastoral care. The Vatican and the head of the Catholic Church are strongly opposed to same sex marriage (Bingham). It should however be noted that the U.S. president, Barrack Obama, suggested that same sex marriage should be legal and couples ought to enjoy constitutional rights like any other normal couple. This is an indication that same sex marriages will be in the near future enshrined in the constitution like heterosexual marriages.
Pros and Cons of Gay Marriage
The arguments concerning allowing gay marriage in the U.S. has been going on for decades now which has seen several states like New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Connecticut amongst others, but many organizations, mainly the religious ones and the citizens, have been fighting against the move to legalize same sex marriages. Nonetheless, there has been civil organizations and politicians fighting for the gay marriage rights and some argue out that it’s no one’s business whether two individuals of the similar sex get married or not. If, at all, they love each other they should freely be permitted to openly commemorate their vow and moreover, get the same advantages of matrimony as opposite gender couples (Williams, n.p.).
Same sex marriage is legally protected by the country’s constitutional obligations to equality and liberty. In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court proclaimed during the Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that the “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause.” (Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur,n.p.). In addition, on August 4, 2010 the District Judge Vaughn Walker put in writing that Prop. #8 in California prohibition of same sex marriage was totally undemocratic under both the Equal Protection Clauses and the Due Process.
The institution of marriage presents both psychological and physical health benefits and therefore latest research recommends that rejecting to consent gay couples in their wish to marry may have harmful mental and emotional effects. In September 2007, the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association pointed out, that permitting gay couples to get married would grant them a way into the societal support that by now strengthens and facilitates heterosexual marriages, and is accompanied by all the physical and psychosomatic health benefits allied with similar support.
In the U.S., marriage has been noted as a dynamic and secular institution and overtime it has undergone several key transformations. Actually, before the 1967 Supreme Court’s resolution concerning interracial marriage, because marriages between different races were illegal to in numerous states across the country. In the 19th century, the legal doctrine of coverture, which, basically, meant that upon marriage, a woman’s economic identity and legal rights were considered by her husband, was commonplace. For instance, a married woman was not able to keep her salary, acquire education against the husband’s wishes, or even own property; but all this has changed with time (Gay Marriage ProCon.org, n.p.). When the 1970 no-fault divorce was introduced in California, it changed the establishment of marriage completely. Nancy Cott gave evidence in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case that the general law has at all times been superlative in regulating and defining marriage and thus, religious leaders were habituated to executing marriages simply because the country has granted them that ability (Cott, n.p.).
Gay marriage is a major fundamental civil right of human beings. A Supreme Court case involving Loving v. Virginia in 1967 substantiated that the act of marriage was even from time immemorial one of the fundamental civil rights bestowed to man, and hence same sex marriages ought to be given similar protections awarded to the interracial marriages. On May 19, 2012, the National Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP) labeled gay marriage to be one of the main civil rights’ fights of our era (NAACP Passes Resolution in Support of Marriage Equality, n.p.).
The marriage institution has been defined conventionally as between a woman and a man. The Minnesota Supreme Court in October 1971 passed judgment on the Baker v. Nelson case that the marriage institution was a unification of a woman and a man, and it exceptionally involves the reproduction and nurturing of offspring in a family and the process is as old as the Bible’s book of Genesis (State Courts, n.p.).
The acceptance of same sex marriage could prospectively lead downhill finishing with citizens in bestial, incestuous, polygamous, and even other non-conventional alliances the right to tie the knot. On 21st May 2008, a senior counsel argued in the Los Angeles Times that the lobby group for polyamory and polygamy was on the edge of using the triumph of gay marriage couples as a facilitator for more de-institutionalizing of marriage (Lavy, n.p.).
The issue of same-sex marriage is totally irreconcilable with the traditions, sacred texts, and beliefs of numerous religious associations. The American Baptist churches, National association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church, Islam, Presbyterian Church, and even the Catholic Church have all been opposing gay marriage (Spilsbury, n.p.).
Moreover, same sex marriage will definitely direct to more kids being reared in same-sex families which aren’t the best settings for raising offspring as they require both a father and a mother. It has been reported that girls who are reared in absence of their fathers are at elevated risks of premature sexual activity and also teen pregnancy. Children raised in an environment devoid of a mother are dispossessed of the unique advice and emotional security that comes with mothers. Another study published by the American Sociological Review in April 2001 revealed that kids who have gay or lesbian parents are additionally vulnerable to be engaged in homosexual conduct (Coleus, n.p.).
It is fundamental to note that the institute of marriage is actually a religious sacrament. In accordance with a statement approved by Pope John Paul II in 2003, marriage was originally established by God the Creator with purpose, essential properties, and its own nature. Therefore, no philosophy is able to wipe out from the human spirit the faith that matrimony subsists exclusively between a woman and a man (The Vatican says no to same-sex marriages, n.p.).
Same sex marriage debate has been going on in the U.S. for the past several decades and this has seen some states adopt or rather put into constitution the gay marriage rights and legalize it. The dilemma bears numerous pros and cons at the same time; therefore, it is the high time the central government together with local ones came up with a deliberation on the way forward, since the matter on the table is extremely vital for the society to develop. Civil rights ought to be obeyed but again moral implications of allowing same sex marriages must not be pushed to the back, as they are as important as those of gay marriages are.