Same-Sex Marriage Rights the Debate About Same-Sex Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Same-Sex Marriage Rights

The debate about same-sex marriage rights is at the forefront of contemporary American civil rights politics. Supporters of same-sex marriage believe that exclusion from marital rights is a form of unjustifiable discrimination. Opponents of same-sex marriage believe that marriage is a concept defined by the biological norm of opposite-gender pair bonding and that making it available to same-sex couples would undermine its validity as a traditional social institution. Strictly from my position as an objective observer who is not directly affected by the issue in the least, a fair comparison of the respective arguments suggests that same-sex marriage should probably be permitted and regulated in the same manner as and according to all the same other principles as traditional marriage because there is no justifiable basis for denying marital rights based on gender preference.


According to proponents of same-sex marriage rights, denying the rights of homosexuals to marry is very similar to the shameful laws from the first half of the 20th century that once criminalized interracial marriage in many states throughout most of the century. That position seems to be strengthened considerably by the fact that marriage is no longer only a ceremonial act and an expression of religious belief and identity. Today, marriage is associated with many legal rights and privileges and benefits that are entirely unavailable to unmarried couples. Only some of those rights and privileges are capable of being established and secured through other means. For example, healthcare proxies, power of attorney, last wills and testaments, and jointly-registered ownership of property and other assets can all be established without the formality of marriage. However, other rights that are automatic through marriage, such as the rights of survivors to inherit property in intestacy, immunity from certain legal obligations to testify in one another's criminal trials, and child custody (among other rights) cannot be established outside of marriage. In any case, it seems unfair that same-sex couples would have to make the effort to secure and every one of those rights when marriage would provide them all at once, just as it does for traditional couples.

Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that the original basis for marriage was religious and that same-sex relationships, let alone marriage, violate almost every known religious faith. In fact, both of those two suggestions may be entirely true. The problem is that once a religiously-inspired ceremony becomes associated with secular rights and privileges, it can no longer be fairly denied to others. Atheists and other on-believers have the same right to marry as the religious, just not with the approval or involvement of any specific religious faith that does not recognize certain types of marriages. Catholics do not recognize the legitimacy of divorce; but that is not a valid defense in a civil divorce court.

More importantly, one of the most fundamental propositions upon which this nation was founded is the notion of separation of church and state. At the most basic level, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly forbids the government from establishing any religion. According to a very long history of…

Sources Used in Document:


Bennett, W.J. "Gay Marriage: Not a Very Good Idea." The Washington Post, May

21, 1996. Accessed 25 July, 2012 from:

Gates, G. (2011). "How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?" The

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