Most people are usually 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, 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 themselves, they are referred to as homosexuals or gay (lesbians for homosexual women). This paper will discuss same sex marriage (also called gay marriage) by giving a description, the process, association, examples, cause & effects and the negation of such events in our society.
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 as 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 other people 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 intolerance is still high (Spilsbury, p.7). In the past, several cultures like Greeks and Romans accepted and even revered homosexuals. However, religions including Islam and Christianity decree such associations. 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 has been 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 till 1861 before being abolished (Spilsbury, p.8). Queer couples in the US, Canada and Europe began applying for marriage licenses simply because the constitution only stated that marriage was between two people who intended to marry. For example, a county clerk allowed two men to get married on January 7th, 1975 in Phoenix, Arizona, after checking and finding out that there was no prohibition of that kind of marriage. On March 26th, 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 US but all over the world (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, had quit his fight against the struggle for same sex marriage and instead could like to “…help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same.” (Oppenheimer). 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 to back their allegations. Bishops in the US 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 US 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 the heterosexual marriages.