Same-Sex Marriages In the United States
How do most couples show the world that they are in a loving, devoted, committed relationship? How does one express that they want to spend the rest of their life with one particular person? This is normally done through a marriage, celebrated by a wedding, certified by a marriage license. Homosexuals are human; therefore they are capable of loving another person just as any heterosexual human. Yet, homosexuals are unable to obtain a marriage license. This needs to be changed.
Currently in the United States there is much legal and cultural activity surrounding the possibility of the legalization of “gay marriage”. As of December 1995, a law case underway in Hawaii may lay the ground for legal recognition of same-sex unions. Such legal moves, as well as the efforts by lesbian and gay couples to be recognized as such, face denunciation from some conservative voices who assert that by nature and divine will only relationships between men and women can be considered “natural”. And, to be honest, there is also an unease expressed by some lesbian and gay activists who, recalling the critique of patriarchy made by 1970’s feminism, see “marriage” as an irretrievably heterosexual institution.
Same-sex marriages should be legal everywhere in the United States of America. According to the Constitution, marriage is a civil right that all Americans are born with. Our country has decided by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 that two people of the same gender cannot get married. By taking away this basic civil right, America has defied what our Founding Fathers based our country one, freedom. Homosexuals are allowed to speak freely, to bear arms, to have privacy, to be protected. What about to marry? It is wrong to base a person’s civil rights on sexuality. Along with the basic civil right to marry, there are other rights that the Defense of Marriage Act denies homosexuals. Rights that married people take for granted, such as the ability to visit a sick or injured spouse in the hospital, are denied to gay and lesbian people. Because of the law, hospitals and other institutions do not have to respect the basic human rights of gay and lesbian couples. Likewise, if one partner in a married couple is seriously ill and incapacitated, the other spouse should be able to make decisions regarding their care and guardianship. This basic right of guardianship is denied to gay and lesbian couples, because, again, their committed relationships are not recognized under the law. If one partner is incapacitated, the other partner is not given the right to make basic health care decisions. If homosexual couples had legal partnerships, there would not be any cases of confusion over guardianship or visitation in places like hospitals.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, many of the benefits of marriage that homosexuals are denied include: government benefits like Social Security and Medicare; hospital visitation rights; special rates and exemptions on tax returns; joint child custody; joint insurance policies; automatic inheritance in the absence of a will; making medical decisions on a partner’s behalf; and choosing a final resting place for a deceased partner. While none of these are reasons to get married, they are all benefits and perks that homosexuals should not be denied simply because of their choice of a partner. They are rights that homosexuals are entitled to and deserve, and are rights that they would be able to benefit from if same-sex marriages were legalized. It is predicted that there would be a large income tax revenue, and that should make most tax-paying citizens happy. In most same-sex couples, both people hold jobs so they are both earners. A married couple with two earners normally has a high income tax, meaning more money for the government. Therefore, if same-sex marriages are allowed, the tax revenue will increase due to more marriages consisting of two earners. It is clear to see that they deserve these rights as much as heterosexual couples do, and that their choice of partner should not affect these basic rights.
In the internet source: www.lambdalegal.org, the article states, “Same-sex couples want to get married for the same variety of reasons as any other couple: they seek the security and protection that come from a legal union both for themselves and for any children they may have; they want the recognition from family, friends and the outside world that comes with a marriage; and they seek the structure and support for their emotional and economic bonds that a marriage provides. All gay people, whether in a relationship today or not, whether they would choose marriage or not, deserve to have the same choice that all heterosexuals have.” That is true. Same-sex couples are just like any other couple; they have feelings and they want the rights that any U.S. citizen should have. They look for the structure and support that marriage has emotionally and economically – the things that heterosexual couples may take for granted. Homosexuals are normal people like the heterosexuals. They have feelings and their sexual orientation of attracting the same sex is innate. They have no control over this destiny. Counseling, therapy or the environment can’t change this so since we can’t convert this then why don’t we accept this and give those homosexuals all the respects and rights that they deserve like any other heterosexuals. We have to understand that they are people to and even though we might not agree with the way they live their lives, we must respect them, the same way that they show respect to us. Allowing all families access to marriage, if they believe the structures and protections of marriage are appropriate for them, promotes stability for communities overall. Same-sex couples build their lives together like other couples, working hard at their jobs, volunteering in their neighborhoods, and valuing the responsibilities and love that their family commitments provide to them and to the children they may have. These families have everyday concerns, like being financially sound, emotionally and physically healthy, and protected by adequate health insurance. These concerns heighten when there are children in the family. Marriage provides tangible protections that address many of these concerns. Promotion of support and security for families is a benefit to the entire community; it does not de-stabilize other families. Equal access to marriage will also emphasize equality and non-discrimination for all of society.
According to the Bible, same-sex marriages would be immoral and sinful; it is undeniably addressed and it is undeniably condemned. “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their heads.” (Leviticus 20:13). “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…homosexual offenders…. will not inherit the kingdom of God”(1 Corinthians 6:9-10). “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22). Being gay and loving another person is certainly not illegal, but uniting that couple in marriage is not only rejected by most of society but also by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Many people argue that homosexuality is dirty, unclean, or disgusting. They say that most gay people have sexually transmitted diseases. The only reason that society still has this view of homosexuality is that they do not see the relationship side of it. With same-gender marriages being illegal, the only kind of sex that can go on in gay relationships is out of wedlock. This is what promotes the viewpoint of promiscuity in the gay community. When homosexual marriages are made legal and become popular, society’s view of gay people will become more positive. The nation as a whole is looking at gay marriage as a moral issue; everyone must hold the same beliefs and values. In this country, there are a so many different religions and ethnicities, making it impossible for all citizens to have the same beliefs. This issue of same-gender marriages should be looked at much the same way as the issue of abortion was looked at. Hank Nichols explained this quite well by saying, “The Supreme Court did not require that we all approve of abortions, only that we accept the right to abortion” (Nichols 2). No minister should be required to marry any same-sex couple, but these marriages should be recognized in all states.
Marriage has always been seen as a personal decision in this country, but obviously it is not. The government has the power to say that two people of the same gender cannot get married; are two, law-abiding, tax-paying adults not responsible enough to decide for themselves who to spend the rest of their lives with? What ever happened to tolerance, “live and let live” (Nichols 2)? Marriage is a civil right that belongs to everyone. Loving, committed same-sex couples form families and provides emotional and economic support for each other and for their children just like other couples do. When heterosexual couples apply for a marriage license, the state does not ask them whether their relationship is worthy of its recognition, because the government has no business deciding whom a person should marry. That is a completely private, personal choice that every individual has the right to make for him or herself – a basic principle that should be as true for same-sex couples as for other couples. The government controls so many aspects of our lives, it is time to stand up for this country and say that they cannot control whom we want to marry.
In our social norm, male attracts to female and female attracts to male. Many psychologists and psychiatrists had attempted to “treat and counsel” the homosexuals. New York psychiatrist Kenneth Paul Rosenberg believes that we, as people, should be more open-minded to the study of homosexuality because it could help to fight for gay and lesbian rights in this society. It also could decrease an escalating hate crime rate and the discrimination toward homosexuals. “In addition, homosexuals are frequently the targets of discrimination and violence. The treat of violence and discrimination is an obstacle to lesbian and gay people’s development. In a 1989 national survey, 5% of the gay men and 10% of the lesbians reported physical abuse and/or assault… 47% report some form of discrimination over their lifetime. Other research has show similarly high rates of discrimination or violence toward homosexuals.”
The main type of discrimination against the homosexuals’ people is Homophobia. This is the fear of gay people. This is not an argument to criminalize or imprison homosexuals, but an analogy to the relation between strong inclinations and moral responsibility. We could easily apply the “Just that way” defense to a number of social problems that may involve deeply ingrained (even biological) causes — violence, substance abuse, racism, schizophrenia, pedophilia — but we do not, because we recognize that an explanation for the behavior is not a justification for the behavior. This is the worst everyday social problem for the openly gay person on a daily basis. Many people would not hire a gay person based on the thought that he can interrupt office peace or cause many problems and tensions between the people that work there. The way most of our society views sexuality is that anything aside from being heterosexual is wrong.
Marriage is both a religious and civil institution, with rich variations among different religions in this country. Civil marriage is state regulated and is independent of religious practice, a distinction that reflects the core American value of the separation of church and state. This distinction also is at the heart of this publication, which provides resources and inspiration for people from communities of faith who wish to support the nationwide struggle to help lesbians and gay men win the freedom to have civil marriages.