Term Paper: Should Gay Couples Be Allowed to Marry

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¶ … Gay Couples Be Allowed to Marry?

The debate on whether or not gay couples should be allowed to marry has been going on for quite a long period of time. In the modern society, heterosexuals marry for a variety of reasons including but not limited to financial benefits, love, and child bearing. Homosexuals should be allowed to marry for those same reasons.

The relevance of the institution of marriage cannot be overstated. Indeed, it is through this very institution that people of the age of majority express (and celebrate) not only their devotion but also their commitment to each other. It is also through this institution that people find fulfillment to their emotional, financial, social, or physical needs. In that regard, there exists a need to ensure that two consenting adults are not barred from marrying on the basis of their gender.

Should Gay Couples Be Allowed to Marry?

The support for gay marriage has been on an upward trend in the recent past (Knox and Schacht 240). Indeed, recent polls show that members of the public are increasingly becoming more tolerant towards gay marriages. If these trends are anything to go by, gay marriages could soon become legal across the U.S. (and indeed across the entire world). In the U.S., gay marriages as Hallowell points out are currently legal in a total of nine states. Gay marriages are also increasingly being embraced across the entire world.

In Support of Gay Marriages

To begin with, any move to deny gay couples the right to marry is (and must therefore be seen as) a form of discrimination. More specifically, such a move is a form of minority discrimination just as the ban on interracial marriage was in the 1950s. Discrimination in the words of Starr and McCormick "frays the human spirit" (39-10). In that regard, the modern society should come to the realization that any law barring two people from marrying on the basis of their gender is not only draconian but also unjust. When two consenting adults marry, they are simply exercising their liberty and for this reason, gay marriage remains a basic human right that must not be interfered with. We must not deny others a fundamental freedom just because our personal preferences do not align with theirs.

Loving (and being loved in return) is essentially a natural occurrence. According to Starr and McCormick, regardless of their sexual orientation, people have a desire to not only love but to also establish lasting relationships (39-10). When a heterosexual couple decides to get married on the basis of love, the society endorses and indeed supports such a union. In that regard, when a gay couple decides to marry on the basis of love, the society has no obligation whatsoever (moral or otherwise) to frustrate such a decision. As I have already pointed out in the introductory section, marriage is essentially a celebration of the devotion as well as commitment between two individuals. The sex of those engaging in the said celebration should therefore not be an issue. If heterosexual couples are permitted to settle down in marriage on the basis of love, why shouldn't homosexual or same-sex couples also be allowed to settle down in marriage on the same basis?

Third, it should also be noted that as Starr and McCormick (39-10) point out, both adaptation and change are critical when it comes to the creation of a society that is not only psychologically richer but also stronger (39-10). Contrary to popular belief, same-sex marriages do not have a negative impact whatsoever on the society, heterosexual marriages, or even individual inhabitants of the said society. If anything, same-sex marriages contribute towards the building of a more harmonious, diverse, and tolerant society. In so many ways, the legalization of gay marriages could end up opening doors for the recognition of many other civil rights. Indeed, the many freedoms we enjoy today have been built on gains made in the past. This is particularly the case when it comes to the voting rights of women which were essentially founded on the recognition of the expanding role of women in the society. Recognizing (and embracing) the evolving face of marriage through the legalization gay marriage will in the very end make our society more equitable and just.

Next, there exists a need to ensure that same-sex or gay couples access rights similar to those of their heterosexual counterparts. In the words of Knox and Schacht, any law outlawing gay marriages essentially "denies same-sex couples the many legal and financial benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples" (239). Some of the rights gay couples miss according to the author include but they are not limited to inheritance rights incase a partner passes on intestate, the right to make serious decisions of a medical nature for a partner, etc. Other rights gay couples could miss out on in this case are "social security survivor benefits; and health insurance coverage under a spouse's insurance plan" (Knox and Schacht 239).

Recognizing Dissenting Views

In seeking to present a strong case for the legalization of gay marriage, it would be prudent for me to recognize the various arguments that have been presented in the past in opposition to same-sex marriages. One such argument is that from a religious perspective (at least according to many religions), homosexual behavior is a sin. For this reason, any product of such a behavior including but not limited to same-sex marriage is a sin -- by default. According to Starr and McCormick, adherents of this point-of-view are of the opinion that the perfect order of creation is violated by homosexuality and for this reason; the same is inherently ungodly (39-11). To back up their claims, those opposed to homosexuality according to the authors cite a number of biblical verses including but not limited to "Genesis 1:27-29, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13…." (39-11). Some of the religions that have taken a relatively strong stance against homosexuality and gay marriages include the Catholic Church and Islam. It is however important to note that from a critical perspective, this particular argument against gay marriage does not seem convincing enough. From the onset, it should be noted that everybody has a civil right to belong to a denomination of their choice. In the same way one chooses to be a Catholic, so can one elect to be an Atheist. No particular religious belief should be regarded a monopoly. We must never therefore force individuals to subscribe to our own religious beliefs. Indeed, as a sign of expanding religious tolerance, some religious organizations have in the past embraced the relevant reforms so as to support same-sex marriages. Such organizations according to Knox and Schacht include but they are not limited to the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Quakers, with the latter being the largest Christian denomination to have endorsed the said unions in recent times (239). In basic terms, the U.S. cannot be regarded a theocracy and for this reason, the country should (and must) be governed only in accordance to the constitution.

Yet another argument that has been presented in opposition to gay marriages is that they provide a bad environment in which to raise children. Those in support of this point-of-view claim that the best familial environment in which to bring up a child is that comprising of male and female adults (Knox and Schacht 242). This they claim is the optimal or ideal nurturing environment in which children can truly learn the importance of gender roles. Taken to a higher level, it is also argued that a child can only be born in a heterosexual union, i.e. In a union between a man and a woman, and hence any other union is unnatural. For this reason, those opposed to same sex marriages… [END OF PREVIEW]

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