Same sex marriages became a major issue during the presidential election in 2004; both George Bush and John Kerry presented their views in their campaigns. Since then, Massachusetts has been the only state that it became legal to perform these marriages in with all the same legal benefits of a heterosexual marriage, but only if the couple’s home state does not have a gay marriage ban. There are a total of 19 states, including Arkansas, that has such a ban. Though the struggle is difficult, and most Americans disagree with it, gay marriages deserve respect and should not be denied to anyone.
There are certainly quite a few reasons why so many Americans oppose gay marriages. Many traditionalists believe that “gay marriage would impair the honor conferred on the institution” (Dent 425). Most societies throughout history have not recognized same sex marriages and usually look down on it; they believe it is a “caricature of the real thing…an insult to a relationship that they consider to have a sacred as well as a legal dimension” (Dent 425).
One of the possible reasons for wanting a gay marriage is for its tangible benefits, though this does not often occur. Homosexual couples are unable to have their own children and are not encouraged to marry by traditional or cultural standards, so it is very possible that the marriage would be a marriage of convenience. As a matter of fact, neither of the individuals would even have to be gay or committed to each other in any way; they may just want the financial benefits. If this is so desired then why not marry someone of the same gender? “Gay marriages of convenience would be more harmful [than heterosexual marriages] because they would be viewed particularly offensive examples of a noxious theme” (Dent 424).
There is also the matter of children. Many believe that marriage is an institution created for the purpose of having kids, which is something homosexual couples cannot do naturally. “The role of raising children is entrusted…to married heterosexual couples because…we have found nothing else that works as well” (Wilson 38). If they wish to have kids, gay couples would have to involve a third party; this could be a donor, egg or sperm bank, etc. “There is no settled language for even describing, much less approving of, such persons” (Wilson 38). These children would either have two mothers or two fathers, therefore lacking a mother or father like figure to look up to.
Probably the strongest argument against gay marriage is of religion. In the Bible it says directly that homosexuality is a sin. In Leviticus it states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Not only is it against the beliefs of Christians, but of various other religious groups as well. Homosexuality is grouped with other things in the Bible, such as killing, stealing, even having sex with a woman during her menstruation period. “All of these injunctions were written on the same moral level and hence can be accepted or ignored as a whole” (Wilson 35). A sin is still a sin no matter how small it seems and anyone who commits them is wrong.
First of all, there are many of the same benefits in a gay marriage as in a straight one. Let’s say there is a heterosexual couple that is sterile. It would still be perfectly acceptable for them to marry, even without the possibility of procreation. A homosexual couple is much the same; there is “pleasure, communication, emotional growth, personal stability, long-term fulfillment,” etc. (Corvino 512). To traditionalists, “the point is not whether homosexual relationships make people happy. The point is rather that such relationships are wrong in themselves” (Corvino 514). However, all the things a nonprocreative heterosexual couple has, a homosexual couple has as well. What is so wrong about that?
Also, these sterile individuals are allowed to serve in the military as well as enter a nonprocreative marriage. They are not much different than homosexuals then. Yet many people just want “the form observed even when the practice varies; a sterile marriage, whether from choice or necessity, remains a marriage of a man and a woman…Homosexuals are a ‘natural foil’ to the heterosexual union, ‘a variation that does not eclipse the theme'” (Wilson 36). This foil; however, is not as great a threat as divorce and adultery, so to be consistent, “society would have to ban adulterers from the military as it now bans confessed homosexuals” (Wilson 36).
It may not be as obvious, but government has a lot to do with people’s stand on gay marriage. “If the government treats traditional marriage as the norm, citizens are also more likely to view it that way than they would if government treats traditional marriage as but one of many equally valid choices” (Dent 421). Some people may not have enough facts to make assessments of their own, and so they tend to lean toward whatever the government is saying about the topic. The government has created a chain reaction about how the population feels about things such as gender and race through “public exhortation led by the expressive and educational function of government” (Dent 423). Just because the government disagrees with it, doesn’t mean everyone else should. There shouldn’t be anything in the Constitution that keeps any state from recognizing gay marriages just because that state thinks it’s immoral.
Furthermore, homosexuality is in no way related to incest, polygamy, or bestiality. As a matter of fact, all of those can be either homosexual or heterosexual. In the Bible, it talks about all of these things, but does not say they are related; only that they are wrong. However, homosexuality is talked about in the Old Testament, so how relevant is it to us today? The Bible also says not to plant your field with two different kinds of seeds, not to wear clothing woven of two kinds of material, and not to eat meat with the blood still in it. Do these things apply to us today? These things are all found in Leviticus as is homosexuality. It seems that this book is somewhat outdated because we do many of the things it tells us not to do, but we don’t consider them to be morally wrong. Why is it that we can do all these other things, but being gay is still considered a sin?
Today marriage is seen more like a business transaction instead of what it really is, a publicly recognized commitment of love between two individuals. There are many legitimate reasons for wanting to keep gay marriages illegal, but think about all the reasons why it should be legal. Preventing it is just a way of separating homosexuals from mainstream society. It’s a form of discrimination; just as racism and sexism is wrong, so is suppressing people because of sexual orientation. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions, but if it keeps others from being happy, if it is detrimental to them in any way, then why would you want to act on such beliefs? Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals all have feelings, wants, and needs. They are just as human as anyone else and they should have the right to marry who they so choose. They have the right to love just as anyone else, so why not let them?
Dent Jr., George W. “Traditional Marriage: Still Worth Defending.” BYU Journal of
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Corvino, John. “Homosexuality and the PIB Argument.” Ethics 115.3 (Apr. 2005): 510-
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Wilson, James Q. “Against homosexual marriage.” Commentary 101.3 (Mar. 1996): 35-
38. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Torreyson Library, UCA, Conway, AR. 14 Mar. 2008 http://0-search.ebscohost.com.ucark.uca.edu/>.