status of same sex marriage (or marriage equality) is a controversial argument that has inspired vehement debate on both sides of the agenda. Since 2001, at least 10 countries have conducted same-sex marriages, and supporters allege that more states and countries than do at the moment have shown interest in legalizing same-sex marriage but are intimidated from doing so due to the frenzied opposition accompanying any such motion. Indeed, some of these countries (such as Israel, Brazil, Mexico, and parts of the U.S.A.) that do not perform same-sex marriages, do recognize these marriages when performed elsewhere.
In order to have a clear perspective on the ramification of this subjects, it would be beneficial to touch upon both perspectives of the debate and follow both sides of the reasoning before I conclude with my own opinion on the subject.
Arguments for Same-sex marriage
Proponents argue that denying homosexuals the right is a violation of religious freedom or personal ways of thinking . Most constitutions clearly demands that religion be separated from state and that all be allowed their own personal opinions and rights of thinking. To foist one's way of thinking upon another as legal jurisdiction is unjust and not democratic. Taking this stance, the American Psychological Association in 2004, asserted that "the APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges" (American Psychological Association, 2004).
Proponents also argue that marital benefits (such as joint ownership and medical decision making abilities) should be open to all couples not just to those considered married under the law . marriage extends to far more than two people living together under certain so-called ritual of being 'married'. It involves a host of legal conditions such as fulfilling joint tax filing status, joint ownership of property, insurance benefits, and agency law. Also important is the fact that two people now have the capacity of sharing means to gain access to medical rights. It is not correct that these rights and possibilities be denied them simply because they are not living in a state of 'marriage' that is considered thus according to the law. Similarly, proponents point out that oftentimes, critical medical decisions must be made, such as what to do when one partner is too incapacitated to make his own decisions. Visitation right too are often withheld from those whose marriage does not follow the norm. Is it fair to deny these privileges to people simply because their relationship does not conform to the norm.
Most convincing is the argument that homosexuality has biological origins and is contemporaneously accepted. This argument is strong since homosexuality seems to be a condition that, rather than choice, has biological roots. Animals too show homosexual tendencies, and over and again studies show that homosexuality seems to be innate. Should one, therefore, discriminate against something that is powerful and natural?
Moreover, given the socio-historical stance, homosexuality was condoned and existed in various countries, as, for instance, in ancient Greece, as too in the early Roman empire (Boswell, 1995) ) and in the southern Chinese province of Fujian where contracts were made both between females and males (Hinsch, 1990). It was considered the norm then. Society constructs its norms, and norms of one time may not be the norm of another. Why protest against something just because it is not the norm of the moment.
protesting these marriages, therefore -- adherents conclude - represents minority discrimination . Most countries insist that minorities of all forms should be protected. Homosexuals and lesbians fit into this category. This was the approach that the American Sociological Society took in 2004 when they articulated that:
a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman intentionally discriminates against lesbians and gay men as well as their children and other dependents by denying access to the protections, benefits, and responsibilities extended automatically to married couples ... we believe that the official justification for the proposed constitutional amendment is based on prejudice rather than empirical research ... The American Sociological Association strongly opposes the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman (American Sociological Association.2004).
Finally, it doesn't hurt society whether or not people of the same sex choose to live together effects only themselves. In this way, therefore, society has no right to intrude. And given that marriage is constructed around the concept of love, love is the only thing that should matter in a marriage. If two people love each other, they should marry regardless of what society thinks and regardless of whether or not they are the same sex.
These arguments are strong. Nonetheless, arguments against same-sex marriage also seem to have some valid points.
Arguments against same-sex marriage
Opponents of same sex marriage argue that since most religions consider homosexuality a sin, it is not just the Judeo-Christain approach that considers homosexuality disturbing but most world religions do. Countries should be respectful of this attitude and wary of disturbing the religious susceptibilities of so many people (Blankenhorn, 2008).
Secondly, accepting same sex marriage would weaken the definition and respect of the institution of marriage. marriage has already evidenced serious decline within the last few decades with more than a 50% indication of divorce. More so, sometimes people choose to live together in order to escape a certain country or in order to share medical expenses. All of this, denigrates the institution of marriage and makes it a joke. Encouraging same sex marriage -- a condition where people cannot procreate -- only ridicules the institution further.
More convincing is the argument that accretion same sex marriage could create a slippery slope in the legality of marriage. In other words, allowing same sex marriage could encourage allowance of marriage to an animal, to multiple women, or to family members next. After all, the same excuses can be applied (namely those of the importance of love, of sharing medical expenses, of liberty to do as one pleases, and so forth). Unless clear definitions exist regarding the perimeters of marriage, repercussions of what one can do with this state are endless. One of the not-so hypothetical situations can be of 'marrying' a blown-up doll and the situation continues from there. All of this results in denigration of an institution that is necessary for social health and welfare.
Similarly, implementing same-sex marriage confuses children about gender roles and social expectations. only union of a man and woman can procreate. Marriage has traditionally been the union of man and woman. To teach, and do otherwise would be confusing and bewildering for children as well as possibly the start of other anarchic symptoms. Studies over and again show that children benefit most by being raised by heterosexual parents (e.g. Pawelski et al., 2006). Homosexual parents, however caring, cannot provide this same experience.
Although research indicates that negative health repercussions may be related to exposure of social conflict on the subject (e.g. Balsam, & Mohr, 2007), opponent argue that the gay lifestyle reveals negative repercussions with studies consistently show that gays have lower life expectancies of approximate 20 years or less. Just as other medical problems, such as smoking are discouraged, this sort of lifestyle should be too.
There are convincing arguments both for and against the issue of same-sex marriage. My opinion is that two people of the same sex can choose to live together if they wish to, but that, given the historically loaded image of the term "marriage," they should not do so under the definition of 'marriage' and perhaps preferably too should adopt rituals that are dissimilar to those used by the institution of marriage. Major English dictionaries (including the Oxford English Dictionary) have revised their terms 'marriage' to represent gender-neutral terms and to reflect neutral meaning. Nonetheless, some legal personnel have suggested leaving the term 'marriage' solely for religious context, and employing a different form for civil and other contexts. Their same recommendation could be applied to gay union. Gay union could, perhaps be conceived as conflation of contractual agreement or some other similar term -- instead of 'marriage. Just as the term 'partner' instead of 'spouse is used' to indicate such living arrangements, 'the term' marriage' too could be replaced with some other more agreeable namer.
As of now, people who try to distinguish either place same -sex marriage in quotations marks (as does the WorldNetDaily ) or distinguish by using the term "traditional marriage" (as does USA Conference of Catholic Bishops ). The Associates press refers to same-sex marriage as gay marriage. However, all usage include the term 'marriage," and it is this that rouses conflict.
Allowing same sex marriage under continuance of the same term "marriage' could encourage allowance of legal union to an animal, to multiple women, or to family members as part of some of numerous scenarios. After all, the same excuses can be applied (namely those of the importance of love, of sharing…