Same-Sex Marriage Equality There are over 105 million households in the United States today and out of those households, there are over 1. 2 million gay people living with same-sex partners (“Census on Gays in America”). This makes the proposed legalization of same-sex marriage one of the most significant issues in contemporary America. It is presently one of the most discussed reforms in law reviews and the American court systems. If legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of America, along with women’s rights, interracial marriage, and slavery.
There are many people who are opposed and feel it is morally and ethically wrong and others who feel that same-sex marriages are acceptable. Prior to writing about this topic, I had no strong feelings toward or against the issue on same-sex marriages. After researching and finding out more information on the topic, I became in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages. Many people ask themselves why gays and lesbians even want to attempt to get laws passed to be allowed to get married. Why would they want to be married? Are they not happy with the relationship in which they have?
Gays and lesbians are just like heterosexuals, they want their marriages to be recognized by the law. They are like any normal couple and want a marriage to prove and show their love for each other. Same-sex couples want that simple document the government gives to heterosexuals, which legally binds two people into a marriage. What exactly is marriage? Marriage is defined as a legal relationship between two spouses; it is established by a civil or religious ceremony and takes place between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners. So, why would so many Americans be against the union of same-sex partners?
In January 2004, an ABC News polls, showed that fifty five percent of Americans oppose the right to same sex marriages; and in 2004 Fox News released a poll that said sixty three percent of Americans are against and only twenty five percent favor same sex marriages. The majority of people who oppose gay marriage are religious conservative groups and people who believe in keeping marriage a sacred thing between a man and a woman. While this may be their belief system, this country was founded on religious freedom, where the people are allowed to worship how they see fit.
A ground rule, set up from the beginning, states that separation needs to be made between religion and government, so the two shall never come together to become a theocracy. With the issue of gay marriage, lines get blurred and religion rears its head to influence a government’s decision of who shall be married and who will be refused. Denying the authenticity of one group of people’s love is claiming that their love is inferior, which is just not the case. Love is central to everyone’s life (Moats, 2004), not just those who others deem worthy.
If gay marriage were to be legalized, people would gradually become more accepting of it as it becomes more commonplace. “? People’s minds are changed through observation, not through argument'” (Rogers, 2005, from Mohr, 1994). The more visible gays and lesbians become, the more accepting people would be of homosexuality as a whole- a principle that is already beginning to take effect in society today. We can go back, decade after decade, and see how our country has taken many strides in overcoming prejudices, such as civil rights, women’s rights, and interracial marriage.
Now that we have recognized and combated prejudices based on overt characteristics, our society should be ready to take that next step and tackle prejudices based on a more personal level. It is time for the people of this country to finally recognize and accept gay marriages. In an essay by Thomas Stoddard, he tells the story of a lesbian couple who live their lives in a manner that represents marriage in every facet except legally. This couple is not only missing out on a legal acceptance of their life long bond to one another, but also missing out on a number of financial benefits available to couples of legally accepted marriages.
Stoddard tells of a situation where one of the women was involved in a horrible car accident leaving her paralyzed and the parents of the woman stepping in to prevent her partner from gaining guardianship. Nobody should have the right to speak for another person if it is going against their wishes. If someone doesn’t agree with couples of the same sex exchanging vows of eternal companionship, that is fine, you have the right to disagree. To totally disallow a same-sex couple of a legal marriage is on a completely different level.
In the case of the lesbian couple, we see a woman who loved her partner dearly and displayed every intention of a lifelong partnership and in a blink of an eye it is all taken away by a legal technicality. Stoddard points out some of the benefits and rights that are given to married couples. Some of these being, sharing of an estate, entitlement of life insurance and pension plans, as well as tax advantages. People need to wake up and get past their own moral issues with what marriage really is about and let everyone have the opportunity to take advantage of these benefits.
Stoddard states that “the decision whether or not to marry belongs properly to individuals, not the government. ” Face it, marriage is not what it used to be. Divorce rates continue to climb and domestic violence cases have become second nature. Before one can say that a gay marriage diminishes the meaning and value of what marriage is intended, one should realize that marriage’s traditional values are not as perfect as they seem. On some level, down through the years the “traditional marriage,” has always been compromised. There has always been some kind of discrimination, whether it was race, gender, or now sexual preference.
Our society as a whole needs to wake up and realize this and break the cycle. How would heterosexuals feel, if the tables were turned, would they fight for their rights? Of course they would! We as a people, do not want to be told how to live and same-sex couples are no different. Today is a time when what is right and what is wrong is overshadowed by opinions and prejudices. Perhaps more people need to recognize marriage for what it is- the celebration of two people’s love for one another, regardless of skin color, and in the case of gay marriage, regardless of gender.
Now, imagine finally meeting the person you can spend the rest of your life with. They are perfect in every way, even in their faults. You love that person more than yourself and they feel the same. You are not, however, legally allowed to marry that person– and for no reason beyond people who are different from you not accepting your identity, because you have the “misfortune” of being gay. This is not and never will be equal rights! Work Cited Mohr, Richard. “The Current Position of Gays in America. ” Qrd. com. 1994.
Web. 22 Feb. 2010. Moats, David. “Civil Wars, A Battle for Gay Marriage. ” Radicalacademy. com. 2004. Web. 22 Feb. 2010 Stoddard, Thomas. “Gay Marriages, Make them Legal. ” Faculty. mdc. edu. 1988. Web. 22 Feb. 2010 ABC News Poll. “Same-Sex Marriages: Most oppose it. ” Abcnews. com. 2004. Web. 22 Feb. 2010 Fox News Poll. “Opposition to Gay Marriage. ” Foxnews. com. 2004. Web. 22. Feb. 2010. U. S. Census Bureau. “Census 2000 Special Reports: Married Couples and Unmarried Partner Households. ” Census. gov. 2003. Web. 22