Top 10 Arguments For same Sex MarriagesSuggested by SMS
Same sex marriage is one of the most controversial topics of our time. Whether it’s a national beauty pageant or whether it’s a particular state trying to decide for itself how to define marriage for its citizens, rarely a day goes by when same sex marriage doesn’t find its way into the headlines. Understanding the arguments for same sex marriage is the first step in really being able to get a handle on the issue.
On the one hand, you have people who believe that marriage should only be defined as being between a man and a woman. Often, these people support the idea of same sex partnerships or legal civil unions, suggesting that the term “marriage” be specifically reserved for an arrangement between one man and one woman. On the other hand, you have people who argue for marriage rights for all: that people be allowed to marry, even if it is two men or two women.
Yet, for all of the attention the issue has received, there seems to be little effort on each side of the argument to understand each others’ arguments and have an honest dialogue. Further complicating the matter is the fact that the issue seems to be tied into other political causes. To really grasp the arguments for same sex marriage, you need to be able to break away the ancillary concerns and the hype, and get down to the real basis for the argument. When you do, you’ll find that there are some rather compelling reasons for same sex marriage, even for those who are not directly impacted by the issue.
10. Equal Rights
The most common argument for same-sex marriage suggests that marriage is a right that should be enjoyed by any two consenting adults. The right to marry someone you love, and the right to make a commitment to that person is fundamental. In this way, the argument for same sex marriage echoes the civil rights argument from generations past. Proponents suggest that denying same sex couples the right to marry is akin to denying minorities or women the right to vote. Same sex partnerships or civil unions are not the same, and bring to mind the days of racial segregation when African Americans were forced to drink at a separate drinking fountain or sit in a special section of a restaurant. Refusing the right of same sex couples to marry is the same as refusing Hispanics or African Americans the right to marry.
9. Financial concerns
Same sex couples want to marry for the same sorts of reasons that men and women want to marry. One of those reasons is the financial security that comes with being marriage. Married couples enjoy specific financial benefits under the law, such as different tax rules, Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits, and the inheritance of property. In addition, there are issues like joint ownership that are not normally available to same sex couples that are currently only available to married couples. Some of these concerns can be address at an additional expense and through private legal means, but some of them can only be addressed through marriage. Some companies, recognizing that this is a serious issue for their employees, have already begun extending certain types of benefits to same sex couples, even though they aren’t legally married.
8. Legal concerns
Marriage doesn’t just provide benefits to the partners in a financial way. There are other specific legal matters that marriage provides benefits for. One of these is the issue of medical care. If one member of a same sex couple becomes ill, the other person may not even be allowed visitation rights because the law doesn’t consider them a spouse or family member. In addition, in the absence of a personal directive or living will, the partners may not be able to speak on behalf of one another when the other is incapacitated. Same sex couples should enjoy the same rights in this regard as heterosexual couples.
7. Marriage is about love
The fact of the matter is that most couples, whether they are a same sex couple or not, don’t get married for legal concerns. They don’t get married to get a tax benefit. They get married because they want to express their love and commitment to the other person. Marriage is a way for a person to say to their partner, “I love you so much that I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Through better or worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, I want to be with you.” Denying a couple the ability to express their love in this way is denying them the ultimate form of expression. A civil union doesn’t carry the same kind of social weight as marriage in this regard, and this is one of the main reason that many same sex couples don’t want to settle for a simple civil union. Same sex couples are capable of and deserving of the same love that heterosexual couples are.
6. Marriage encourages commitment
One of the most compelling arguments for same sex marriage is the idea that allowing same sex couples to marry actually strengthens the institution of marriage, rather than weakening it. Same sex couples who want to marry are looking for the same kinds of benefits that other couples are. They want, among other things, to be in a relationship of commitment. They want to express not only their love, but their monogamy and their dedication to one another. Just as marriage helps to reduce sexual promiscuity among heterosexual couples, so this kind of ultimate commitment helps to do the same for same sex couples. Just like marriage among heterosexual couples can help to curb a high-risk lifestyle, the same holds true for same sex couples. Allowing same sex marriage, then, helps to strengthen society and encourage monogamy, which is something that opponents of same sex marriage claim to support.
5. Marriage is an issue of religious freedom
The reality of things today is that marriage is a religious institution with specific civil consequences. Because both the religious world and the legal world are intertwined, there can be some rough waters to navigate here. The moment you begin to deny marriage to one couple, any couple is now at risk. While today it is only same sex couples that can’t marry, this line of reasoning suggests that one day only Protestant couples could be allowed to marry (or Muslim couples, or any particular religious permutation). In the same way that other religious have directly influenced the way that marriage came to be and what it came to mean to society, so same sex couples should have the right to marry and live in line with their own personal religious convictions. There are even religious institutions that specifically recognize same sex marriage, and that will perform private religious ceremonies to unite a same sex couple. Unfortunately, these ceremonies only carry a religious weight, and not a legal one.
4. Homosexuality is a legal and accepted lifestyle,
and is likely caused biologically. Homosexuality was once considered a type of deviant behavior, engaged in only by moral reprobates. Research today suggests that homosexuality is not caused by reprobate behavior, but instead has a biological cause. This research suggests that sexuality is determined by a hormonal process, and that people don’t “choose” to be gay any more than straight people “choose” to be straight. Because homosexuality isn’t illegal and because it isn’t a choice, there is no reason that same sex couples should be denied access to the institution of marriage. Here again, discriminating against same sex couples becomes an issue of discriminating based on a physical characteristic – how their hormones fire – rather than on an ideological or behavioral basis.
3. Same sex marriage would increase the number of adoptions
Because same sex couples can’t procreate, allowing same sex marriage the same status as heterosexual marriage would help to address the adoption crisis. There are many children in need of adoption, and same sex couples can provide a stable and loving home for these children. While opponents may argue that children growing up in a same sex household will be adversely affected, there is no research to date that fully supports this theory. There is no reason to think that a child that grows up in a same sex household will be any worse or better off than a child that grows up in a traditional household with a man and a woman.
2. Same sex marriage does not hurt anyone
Marriage has always been, and remains to this day, a relationship between two parties. The two parties involved in marriage are the ones affected by the marriage. As an institution, marriage has a place in society. However, which two specific people marry doesn’t have an effect on the greater scale of things. Society isn’t hurt in the process of two people choosing to marry. In fact, there is a case to be made that marriage, as an institution, would be strengthened by allowing same sex marriage. More couples would be allowed to marry, and the institution would continue to be maintained. Divorce and infidelity are threats to the institution of marriage; allowing same sex couples the right to marry is not a threat to the institution.
1. There is no slippery slope
Allowing same sex marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that the next step is to allow polygamy, or to allow deviant forms of sexual behavior. Allowing same sex marriage is simply the logical extension and natural evolution of the institution. Marriage has long been the ultimate way for a couple to express their love and commitment to one another, and to legally sanction their relationship. It exists, in part, to help foster family values and to provide security and financial stability to those couples. Allowing same sex marriage doesn’t redefine marriage as an institution, and it doesn’t open Pandora’s Box. It merely takes marriage as it has been throughout the ages and recognizes the right of same sex couples to reap the benefits the way that heterosexual couples can.
It isn’t likely that this issue will be resolved any time soon. Because homosexuals are in the minority, and because there are still so many social taboos surrounding the issue, it has been an uphill battle. Many heterosexual people have little understanding, or interest, in the issue of same sex marriage. And, while many of them may believe that same sex marriage should be allowed, very few believe in the cause enough to make it a priority. So, the gay community is left with a relatively small number of supporters.
However, as the issue comes more and more to the fore, voices that support same sex marriage are being heard. Courts across the land are ruling in favor of same sex marriage rights. And while there are advances, there are also setbacks. Some states continue to pass or to try to pass amendments to their state constitutions that define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The battle rages on in a state by state basis, as there are no federal statutes that define marriage in a specific way. Many advocates of same sex marriage believe that the ultimate solution to the issue has to be at the federal level. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court tends to rule against same sex marriage rights, and the issue is such a hot button that few legislators are willing to take up the cause.
Still, the tide does seem to be turning. Most social analysts and experts expect that, within a few decades, the right to marry will be extended to same sex couples in the same way that it is enjoyed by heterosexual couples. Time will tell the tale, of course. In the meanwhile, many states find themselves in the situation where they are trying to define marriage for themselves, and to determine whether or not the state can sanction a marriage that isn’t between one man and one woman.