Obtaining recognition for same sex marriages is only one of a series of intensely contested issues that have arisen since the U.S. gay and lesbian rights movement rose to prominence in the heated political climate of the 1970s. Today, the political implications of same sex marriages do not concern the perceptions of others. Same sex marriages directly implicate the citizenship of gays and lesbians themselves (Smith 1998). Thesis (argument) Constitutionally, gay men and lesbian women have the same rights as other citizens and should be protected by the state from negative social image and violation of rights.
Same sex marriages have the right to exist because they do not violate social norms and values but protect citizens from discrimination (Smith 1998). Homosexuality is not necessarily a form of mental illness and certainly not antisocial or criminal behavior; to demonstrate that gay men and lesbian women are upright citizens who deserve respect (Allen, 2006).
Same sex relations are the same as heterosexual relations, the argument goes, and therefore should be regulated in the same way. In this context, “the same” usually means that both types of relationships are based on love. Beyond this argument, the case is made that marriage is always changing and same sex marriage is a natural evolution in the law.
Most of these people are dressed neatly and conventionally in public trying to downplay images that disrupt “normal” gender expectations. The main driven forces of gay marriage include new perception of the world and self, new interpretation of freedom and humans rights, new science and industrial innovations in comparison with the previous age (Smith, 1998).
The state has a variety of interests in promoting marriage, since marriage promotes stability for adults and children and helps individuals lead happier and more productive lives. The state has an interest in providing a setting for the production and raising of the next generation, which would be promoted by recognizing same-sex unions, since same-sex couples also have and raise children (Smith, 1998). Following Smith (1998) the state’s interest in the next generation is easily misunderstood and has been mischaracterized in a way which purportedly establishes that individuals should not be permitted to marry a same-sex partner. The state has an interest in both the production and the raising of children. Even if lesbians and gays were producing no children and were “merely” providing homes in which the children might thrive, the state’s interest in the next generation would still be promoted by allowing same-sex partners to marry and to provide homes in which the children might be raised to grow up to be happy and productive members of society (Weiser, 2004). Thus, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, the state’s compelling interest in fostering procreation and in providing status and stability to the environment in which children are raised supports rather than undermines the state’s recognizing same-sex marriages. Marriage provides stability for adults as well as for children. Stability benefits the individuals themselves and society as a whole. It is in society’s interest that individuals have homes that are a source of strength and stability, at least in part because the individuals will then be more productive members of society (Woog, 1999). The state has a financial interest in promoting marriage because, for example, the marital partners will provide care for each other, should the need arise, so that the state will not have to do so. Thus, should someone become ill or temporarily in need of financial support because of unfortunate circumstances, society has an interest in the marital partner’s helping out rather than having the state be required to do so (Woog. 1999). By promoting marriage for same-sex couples, the state will be promoting individuals to take care of their (marital) partners in times of need.
In general, the right to gay marriage should be pursued as a political strategy to attain general equality for gay men. Marriage is thought to be so privileged in society that participation in it would legitimate all gay relationships and the individuals who prefer them. Under the present day conception, the state’s recognition and regulation of marriage does not privilege this institution, but merely makes it available to those who wish to structure their relationships in accordance with it (Woog. 1999). The benefits and disadvantages associated with marriage reflect the differences between the situation of a legally couple and the situations of couples and individuals without such legal commitment. Many quarters of American society still view marriage as blessed and noble. Unfortunately, gay couples must reckon with the possibility that the recognition of their right to marry may lower the status of marriage as much as it raises the status of gays and lesbians (Allen, 2006).
Domestic partnership offers legal protections to gay and lesbian couples without seeking outright to legalize their unions; registration as domestic partners is not in most cases limited to such couples, but is also offered in some jurisdictions to straight couples who do not wish to marry but want some sort of official recognition of their situations. Critics (Smith, 1998) suppose that discrimination against gay men and lesbian women is most marked when a couple decides to live together and that the choice to form a joint household is thereby a courageous stand against bigotry. “Marriage is an institution providing social benefits to loving couples and this advantageous arrangement should be extended to other loving couples” (Allen 2006, p. 949). For instance, gay and lesbian activists acknowledge that family is a complex term that must be understood in all its multiple and situated meanings before an assault is mounted against it; in couching her argument in this nuanced understanding, Hunter echoes the views of those who have attested to the enduring and multifaceted meanings of family for many gay people, particularly for those with roots in communities of color. There are practical benefits of gay and lesbian marriage: the ability to share insurance and pension benefits (Kurtz 2000). It is surprising that proponents of such a radical social reordering as redefining marriage to include same-sex couples have offered virtually no evidence of the social benefits of that proposed social reform. Individual freedom means much more than the absence of physical coercion but an equal social status and sexual liberation. The gay and lesbian movement should become an independent movement aimed to grant gay people the right to marry (Smith 1998). Without marriage contracts, gay and lesbian people are deprived their rights and privileges.
Taking into account ethical arguments it is possible to reject the benefits mentioned above and underline that homosexual unions are also less likely to fulfill reproductive social interests than heterosexual unions (Kurtz, 2000). Opponents of gay marriages suppose that legalizing gay marriage would foster the creation of a new class of disadvantaged children, produced by medically assisted procreative techniques and intended to be born as part or full orphans and reared without both a mom and dad. Legalizing gay marriage would sanction, and therefore increase, rearing of children without mothers. The most forceful advocates for gay marriage are religious leaders (Woog, 1999). In Hawaii itself, leaders of many faiths have been at the forefront of the pro-marriage campaign. And whereas most progressive national groups have yet to take a strong stand in favor of gay marriage rights, religious groups have been faster on the draw (Woog. 1999).“There are faith-based arguments (homosexuality is a sin and should not be promoted by the state) and slippery slope arguments (if same-sex marriage, then why not polygamy)” (Allen 2006, p. 950).
Some critics (Woog. 1999) suggest that same-sex marriage cannot have the desirable civilizing or “domesticating” effect, since individuals who seek to marry their same-sex partners are allegedly promiscuous and, in addition, incapable of not being so. Such an argument is unpersuasive for at least two reasons. First, the initial claims are inaccurate, since the promiscuity is at the very least exaggerated. Second, the implication that gays are subject to uncontrollable urges is clearly false, since the AIDS crisis has brought about a change in sexual behavior. “Sexual relativism would reign supreme with no lines drawn and moral distinctions made between traditional and nontraditional, same gender “marriage” relationships” (Smith, 1998, p.54). Critics admit that recognizing same-sex marriage would promote but not guarantee long-term, monogamous, same-sex relationships, just as the recognition of opposite-sex marriage promotes but does not guarantee long-term, monogamous, opposite-sex relationships. Insofar as marriage might lessen promiscuity and insofar as promiscuity is viewed as bad, one would expect this to be a reason to allow such marriages. Critics admit that the civilizing effects of marriage are not discussing the sexual habits of the parties but, instead, whether allowing same-sex couples to marry would somehow co-opt them into adopting traditional roles and becoming more mainstream. Of course, some same- sex couples are already mainstream, and others are not and will consciously choose to reject traditional roles even if allowed to marry. It is simply too difficult to predict how allowing individuals to marry would affect the roles they adopt, although it seems plausible to believe that many couples would not adopt significantly different roles than they have already adopted in their long-term, not-yet-legally-recognized relationships. Some critics claim that recognizing same-sex marriages will somehow dilute the worth of traditional opposite-sex marriages (Woog. 1999). Unlike adulterous relations, same-sex marriages are not a threat to opposite-sex marriages, since adulterous relations would undermine feelings of marital love and trust and same-sex marriages would not. It would be most surprising if married couples would seek divorces because same-sex couples had married, whereas it would not be at all surprising for couples to divorce as a result of one of the members of the couple having committed adultery.
To refute these arguments, it is possible to sat that the necessity of marriage is evident because marriage (and same-same marriage as well) is an institution that supports society, defines how people think about one another, formalizes contact with families, neighborhoods, employers, insurers, hospitals, governments. Allowing two people of the male to marry will help to avoid numerous problems faced by gay people today (Smith 1998). The main problem is that society cannot change these people, but it must help them to socialize and adapt to social institutions. Since so much has been written in support of legalizing gay marriage, the absence of substantial credible evidence of social benefit stands out in stark contrast to the abundance of passion and intensity offered. Because advocates of same-sex marriage should carry the burden of proof to justify the proposed legal reform, the paucity of evidence is a serious failing in their campaign to persuade men and women of reason. Gay and lesbian people should have the right to marry because constitution is aimed to protect social and sexual rights of all people and all citizens of the USA (Weiser, 2004; Yoshino, 2007).
Sexual liberation is a factor which had a great influence on the national idea during the XX century. Men paid particular attention to the role of sexual relations and sexual freedom in the society and their role in formation of self and universal order. The possible solution for this problem is to allow gay couple to marry and receive license as an official reorganization of their union. It is possible to agree with activists which suppose that gay marriage is a fundamental challenge to the status quo. When the state withholds law, it acts on people’s lives in an entirely different way than when it withholds funding. The legalization of gay marriage would amount to a pivotal event in the present day struggle. If it occurs without the enthusiastic support and involvement of major gay and civil rights groups, it would also amount to one of the most breathtaking lapses of organizational vision in the history of the modern left.
- Allen, D.W. (2006). An Economic Assessment of Same-Sex Marriage Laws. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 29 (3), 949-967.
- Yoshino, K. (2007). Marriage Trademarked. Web.
- Kurtz, S. N. (2000). What Is Wrong with Gay Marriage. Commentary 10, p. 6.
- Smith, George P. (1998). Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century. Praeger Publishers. Westport, CT. Publication Year.
- Woog. D. (1999). Friends & Family: True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies. Alyson Publications.
- Weiser, J. (2004). Foreword: The Next Normal-Developments since Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples in New York. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 13 (1), 48.