Traditionally, a man and a woman were joined together in marriage, usually for the purpose of procreation. However, the institution of marriage even then was occasionally shadowed by controversial issues such as when it was used to strengthen alliances or unite warring factions. Today the institution is haunted by the same sex marriages or union controversy. The bone of contention is whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry legally, which is quite a new issue to the public.
Two decades ago, open gay relationships were unheard of even though homosexuality has been documented even in the Greek times (Anderson, 2005). The focus has shifted from just social acceptance to issues of legal partnership and shared medical cover among other benefits that necessitate the legalization of homosexual marriages. Some states in the US and countries like Canada have legalized marriage while others have allowed them just to form unions.
Gay couples within legalized states or countries enjoy this right only in those countries but when they move to others countries these marriages are not recognized (King, 2002). This paper therefore supports that the right to marriage of two informed consenting adults be made a universal right irrespective of the sex of the partners involved. The reasons for supporting this argument are outlined in the discussion that follows.
Reasons why gay marriage should be legalized
One of the reasons why homosexual marriages should be legalized is that these relationships are in line with natural law (Riggle & Tadkock, 1999). Natural laws are laws based on reality and not what human beings create or say about the situation. Laws of nature and the mysterious issues arising from natural occurrences form the natural laws which some people associate with religion.
This is how love, which results to marriage between opposite sex arises even between same sex people, who, just like between male-female couples spend their lives together, love each other, are committed to each other and adopt children whom they love the same way straight couples do and generally share the same feelings for their partners. These should be allowed to exercise their right to make their love official and legal and enjoy the legal rights that accompany a marriage.
Another reason why homosexual marriages should be legalized is because the constitution is committed to protecting the rights of the minority from majority dominance (Anderson, 2005). Indeed most people will agree that homosexuals should enjoy equal rights with straight people in terms of housing, jobs, public accommodations and access to government benefits and the protection of the law among others.
However when the issue of homosexual marriage comes up these same people develops cold feet in legalizing it. This means they can not file their tax returns as a couple and therefore end up paying more than their counterparts, they can not also be allowed to share medical insurance cover or inherit their partners property since they are not considered as next of kin as in heterosexual couples. By denying homosexual couples right to marry legally, we are forbidding them the safeguards of the law that others enjoy without constraint.
Failure to legalize homosexual marriages on the basis of morality is baseless. Gay couples live in the communities that we live in and their ideals are often indiscernible from the rest of their heterosexual neighbors. They value and participate in family life by being loyal and devoted to their partners.
Moreover, they engage in activities that make our communities better places and are law abiding citizens. They take part in school boards, volunteer in charities making their lives and those of their neighbors better. This has especially been experienced in Denmark in 1989 where proposal to legalize gay marriage was first opposed by clergy but was overwhelmingly supported according to survey (Riggle & Tadkock, 1999).
Reasons why homosexual marriages should not be legalized
Homosexual marriages go against what religious systems preach. Most mainstream Islam branches and Orthodox Judaism oppose gay marriages as an abomination and disrespect to God and the institution of marriage. In the Bible, God Himself forbids man-man or woman-woman relationships by declaring them an atrocity.
In the Bible, which all Christians abide by; God destroyed two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for sexual immorality. It also holds highly the sanctity of marriage as an institution formed by a man and a woman and family values. With majority of the public in our country professing to these religious faiths, it is futile to ask them and the religious systems to bless this institution which is banned or is considered evil (King, 2002).
Homosexual marriages go against the natural law. Marriage institution is a union between a man and woman who come together for the purpose of procreation.
When a homosexual couple gets married nature is not allowed to take its course in propagation of species. Even if these couples adopt children it is again not an optimum or natural relationship in which a child should grow up in because a child needs to have the attachment the biological mother and father provide of which the gay couple cannot be able to.
Furthermore, children of both sexes have distinctive needs which can only be met parent s of opposite gender. If truly a person desire marriage all they have to do is change their orientation and marry a member of the opposite sex (Haymowitz, 2004).
Legalizing gay marriages will weaken or threaten the building blocks of our societies, the families. Traditionally, the family is made of a man and a woman and children and is the foundation on which any society is based. This is the place where values are propagated from parents to their children.
These ideals have upheld our social order through wars, a great depression, and many other catastrophes over the centuries. When these values are threatened or abandoned, our cultures and values weaken, families fail and introduction of another form of “family” will only make it worse (Haymowitz, 2004).
According to extensive studies done around the world (Riggle & Tadkock, 1999), people leading gay lifestyles are shown to have lower life expectancy than the heterosexual people. They are also said to be more prone to psychological disorders and other health problems. This shows that such unhealthy lifestyles much less a marriage should be discouraged.
Legalizing gay marriages will curve a road to erosion of the legality of marriage according to Haymowitz,(2004). Activists working towards this course claim that the institution hurts no one. However, this is likely to trigger a chain reaction that will leave the sacred institution of marriage in shambles.
People will come forward claiming a right to marry six or so wives or husbands, or others will want to marry their pets, after all marriage is about a supportive and loving relationship. Others will want to marry their relations while some will want to marry objects like dolls. This shows that we need to outline clearly what a marriage institution is otherwise an interpretation of the statutes by a judge can open a can of worms with the most absurd things coming up even if we are against it.
Homosexuality is multifaceted, just like heterosexual relationships; they are based on love, commitment, affection, mutual attraction, and support. And just like straight people cannot be able to explain love and how they come to be in love so are the gay, they simply follow an unwritten and hard to explain natural law.
Many people associate homosexuality with sexual perversion and think that it is all about sex but, that is not the case. Sex is a way of communicating love just the way heterosexual people do. This means that being gay is an identity which if not accorded the rights due to it such as legality of marriage discrimination is shown (Riggle & Tadkock, 1999).
Our constitution protects the rights of the minority from majority dominance, in light of this it should protect gay people as the minority group by legalizing the gay marriages so that they can enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by the heterosexuals. The rights of gay people should be protected as it stated in the Bill of rights, anti-slavery and equal protection amendments (Anderson, 2005).
Our constitution is secular meaning there is clear separation between religion and the state. Failure to legalize the institution based on the fact that marriage is sanctity is putting a religious responsibility on the state. The Bill of rights or the first amendment of the Constitution vows to protect a person’s religious views or imposition of the same. Religious stands on marriage and government’s law making are different things and should be treated as such (Strasser, 1997).
The argument that gay marriages will erode the family values is baseless. Gay marriages are forming basis for strong families and abandoning high risk lifestyles which further strengthens the society. Our society is experiencing many problems regarding sexuality such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases arising from carefree and irresponsible sex behavior which are experienced across the board.
Marriage encourages peoples to lead a more settled lifestyle where commitment to the other partner and building a better life together is the main thing. This is the type of behavior our society should encourage instead of dwelling on the gender of the people involved (Strasser, 1997).
Heterosexual marriages were the norm in the traditional society, though occasionally they were marred by controversies. Today, marriages have gone through changes to adopt to changing times, for example, marriage at the age of fourteen is not only illegal but also frowned upon though it was the norm in traditional society.
The same way some aspects of marriage institution have changed is the same way views, beliefs and practices have changed with changing times and circumstances. Debate on whether gay marriages should be legalized is merely time wasting and inappropriate.
Gay marriages should be legalized to allow these couples to enjoy the same rights their counterparts are enjoying as stipulate in the constitution. Gay relationships just like straight ones are multidimensional and the view that it is focused on sex or is as a result of sexual perversion is misinformed and judgmental. The reason but forward by opposers of gay marriages that it goes against what religion stands for is based on pure arrogance.
Atheists get married yet they do not believe in any one religion. This shows that marriage is a cultural rather than religious issue. On the hand, those who want to be united in a gay marriage should not expect religious systems to accept and bless their marriage because to these systems gay marriage is an abomination and a “sin.”
Anderson, E. A. (2005). Out of the Closets and into the Courts: Legal Opportunity Structure and Gay. University of Michigan Press.
Haymowitz, K. (2004). Gay Marriage vs American Marriage. City Journal , 54-59.
King, B. M. (2002). Human Sexuality Today. Prentice Hall.
Riggle, E., & Tadkock, B. L. (1999). Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process:Public Policy, Public Opinion and Political Representation. Columbia Universty Press.
Strasser, M. P. (1997). Legally Wed: Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution. Cornell University Press.