Thursday, February 15, 2018

Same-Sex Marriage in America








“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 


(Article I, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). 


Sexuality is defined as the state, condition or quality of being sexual, taking part in sexual activity and expression of sexual receptivity or interest. This definition is a factor that all human beings possess regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification and classification. 

Sexuality is a state of being and an inherent basic need for human beings. Without sexual activity, relationships falter and needs of individuals are not met. Sexuality is healthy. It is the recognition that one is human, alive, and comfortable with self.

Sexuality is an expression of love. One’s own sexual activity and preference is private to each person. This is not law or something that neither can nor should be decided by government, community, religion, family or the public. The birth of each human being signifies the beginning of a journey towards adulthood where identity is formed. Part of that identity includes sexuality. 

Sexuality is a part of birthright. It is not a psychological disorder or a state of existing that needs to be cured. Sexuality, sexual preference and gender identification is how and who a person feels most comfortable being.

A 57% majority of Americans now favor allowing same-sex marriage and 39% oppose. As recently as five years ago, more opposed (48%) same-sex marriage than supported it (42%).” (Pew Research Center, 2015). 

In 2015, the highest level of support in America towards same-sex marriages has increased in twenty years, however, there are still Americans divided on this issue. The main component regarding anti-same-sex marriage is religious law, institution and belief. The key ingredient for the massive increase in support for same-sex marriages is due to younger Americans, or millennials.

For example, my eighteen-year-old son, his friends, colleagues, and students, are open and accepting regarding one’s choice of sexual preference. This is a different world than most of us were raised in where religion, society and politics were absolute. 

The majority of millennials envision the human race as moving forward, progressing, instead of going backwards. Although religion will always play a factor in deciding lifestyles, it is indeed due to how one is raised regarding religion and faith that determines opinions regarding basic human and civil rights and needs of others. 

In addition, most Americans now know someone who is homosexual or lesbian. Due to the shift in opinion, more same-sex couples feel comfortable in recent years coming out for themselves and with one another, to their families, workplaces and the public.

In regards to religious belief and practice, there is nothing wrong with standing by your faith, however, the prophets, leaders of faith and all holy texts do not teach hatred, they all embody love. The ideal that religion is about judgment, hatred, bias and determining how another must and should conduct their private lives is a societal issue, not a religious one.

There are numerous pro and con arguments regarding same-sex marriage. For example, basic pro same-sex marriage attitudes lean towards “Denying some people the option to marry is discriminatory and creates a second class of citizens.” (ProCon.org, 2018). 

In addition, same-sex couples deserve to enjoy benefits equal to heterosexual couples. With the ever-changing traditional ideals of marriage, conventional society changes and people must adhere to constant flux. Not only is marriage a human and civil right, but marriage is about love and sharing your life with another, it is not only about procreation. 

There are no studies reporting that homosexual and lesbian couples make bad parents and the addition of same-sex marriages will aid to boost American economy. Lastly, within a same-sex marriage, children involved face constant struggle and bias when they have to explain that their parents do not have the right to be married.

In contrast, con attitudes lean towards, “The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as being between a man and a woman.” (ProCon.org, 2018). This is an outdated opinion. 

Furthermore, the belief that marriage is only for procreation denounces that marriage is a romantic-love relationship. The argument that children need both a mother and father is fruitless because growing numbers of heterosexual households in America are single parents and the sexual preference of an adult does not determine sufficient parenting ability. 

Same-sex marriage is not a disease. It will not bring society to a “slippery slope” involving deviant sexual behavior. The fear that the institution of marriage is weakened by same-sex marriages is irrational, as people will marry if they want to marry regardless of the “type” of marriage that is socially acceptable.

Despite the changing legal landscape with regard to marriage, same-sex couples still face inequality. This is in part due to miseducation by media, government, and the public. Familial upbringing and extremist, unrealistic religious affiliations add to miseducation of same-sex marriage. 

Bias in the home, school, community, and the unwillingness for parents to raise their children in a nondiscriminatory fashion add to inequalities for the LGBTQIA communities. In addition, when a teenager is growing into an adult, it is up to that individual to make conscious, educated choices on their own, away from what they learned via family, religion and society.

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and Washington DC, but was banned in the remaining 13. US public opinion had shifted significantly over the years, from 27% approval of gay marriage in 1996 to 60% in 2015, according to Gallup.” (ProCon.org, 2018).  

Social institutions most impacted by this Supreme Court decision include religious, judiciary institutions and businesses. For example, religious clergy have the First Amendment freedom not to perform a religious wedding ceremony contrary to their beliefs. The decision then is focused towards public officials who do not have religious objections to same-sex marriage. This can result in refusal of performing a ceremony and legalization of marriage licenses. 

Businesses have the right to deny a same-sex couple provisions for a wedding that involves goods and services. Religious opponents are concerned with court rulings over tax-exempt status of religious affiliated educational institutions. State anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom restoration acts will be critical to resolving conflicts.

The ethic of life is premised on the doctrine of Imago Dei, the inherent dignity of every human being as a creature uniquely crafted in the image of God himself. Why do we care about the poor, oppressed, and suffering? Because they are human beings.” 

(Teetsal, 2013).




References: 


Pew Research Center. (2015). Support for Same-Sex Marriage at Record High, but Key Segments Remain Opposed. First paragraph. Retrieved from: http://www.people-press.org/2015/06/08/support-for-same-sex-marriage-at-record-high-but-key-segments-remain-opposed/


ProCon.org. (2018). Should Gay Marriage be Legal? First paragraph. Two quotes from second paragraph. Retrieved from: https://gaymarriage.procon.org/#pro_con


Teetsal, Eric. (2013). Religion and Politics. Why I Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage. Seventh paragraph. Retrieved from: http://religionandpolitics.org/2013/06/25/why-i-fight-against-same-sex-marriage/


United Nations General Assembly. (1947). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article I. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

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