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Date Due
In the United States, homosexuality and consequently, same-sex marriages, has resulted
in a lot of controversy and the trading of accusations and counter-accusations. Conceptually,
marriage is defined as a legal and religious long-term commitment between two people of the
opposite sex. This stretches further to incorporate rights in financial responsibilities and benefits
as assigned to heterosexual couples. However, this traditional view is increasingly facing change
and opposition. Several states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Iowa, the District
of Columbia and, New Jersey have already reflected this clamour for change and adopted
legislation allowing gay marriages (David,18). In these states, therefore, homosexual couples
have the freedom to decide whether to marry or not in a legally acceptable manner. The gay
couples can enjoy mutual couple benefits such as legal spouse representation, medical
visitations, pension benefits and inheritance rights accorded to the bereaved. In a few other states
such as Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, Colorado and Wisconsin have instituted domestic
partnership laws whereby gay couples can enjoy limited rights though gay marriages are out
rightly outlawed.
This has however not influenced the society to radically accept gay couples and end all
stigma and discrimination directed unto them. Proponents of the entrenchment of gay rights into
the United States Constitution argue that barring homosexual marriages is tantamount to
discrimination. The essence of the United States Constitution is to protect and preserve
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minorities' rights and hence gay advocates feel that the federal government or anyone else should
not bar marriage to any minorities. This argument is further supported by the Interracial
Marriage Act whereby marriages across races were prohibited in the United States till 1967.
Therefore, it is crucial to examine the pros and cons of gay marriages and evaluate them from a
basis of whether it is plausible to not only legalise them but also mount awareness campaigns to
de-stigmatize them (Katia, 26).
There are various arguments that have been put forward in support of gay marriages.
These range from rights in freedom in the Bill of Rights, inherent rights, societal perspectives
and biological claims. First, lobbyists and advocates for gay couples feel that if they are not
legalized, this will be tantamount to isolation of their rights to religious freedom. Opponents to
this have expressed the fact that all major religions consider homosexual relationships as a sin.
However, the First Amendment as entrenched in the American Constitution that every person’s
rights and views pertaining to religion or lack thereof be it a minority group or not, must be
protected. The marriage institution is a secular and societal activity in contrast to the widely
acknowledged view as a solely religious perspective of people’s lives. Therefore, the government
cannot base laws on a religious concept. This can be equated as entrenching the mentioning of
God’s name in vain as a crime.
Secondly, benefits that accrue to a married couple such as joint property ownership and
medical benefits are also accorded to gay couples if their unions are legalized. Vital societal and
mutual benefits such as tax reduction, property ownership, insurance benefits and agency laws
affect a couple’s decision-making. For instance, if a partner in a gay couple that has lived
together for twenty years falls ill, visitation rights to the other partner are denied since they are
not recognized by law as the next of kin or spouse. Therefore, critical decisions such as
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incapacitation are not discussed conclusively by the couple. This, as the advocates pointedly
illustrate, is unfair just because these individuals do not fit a state definition.
Thirdly, according to Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage, (20) gay couples
and various couples not only feel that this is an accepted lifestyle but also cite biological
causation. Over time, the widely held conception that homosexuality is a deviant sexual behavior
is fading out. History, dating back to the Greece indicates the existence of homosexual
relationships and the origin of such terms such as Lesbos for lesbians. Psychological research is
underway that has already achieved in showing that same-sex relationships have a biological
causation. However, caution should be taken to differentiate this from a genetic causation which
has no substantial basis. This is depicted by the fact that in most gay couples, one partner
exhibits characteristics of the opposite sex such as softer voices in males and strong cheekbones
in females. There would be absolutely no need for an individual to choose to be gay in a world
that frowns upon the same. This argument therefore renders support to the implied theory that
homosexuality is involuntary.
Fourthly, denying gay couple the right to a legal marriage is discriminatory. America was
founded on the concept of majority rule with the protection of minorities such as the anti-slavery
acts and inter-racial marriages. Furthermore, it does not hurt anyone in particular or the society.
A marriage is deemed as a personal commitment between two people and should not be dictated
upon by society (Katia, 26).
On to the fifth argument for gay marriages, it is important to note marriages are founded
on the basis of love not the mutual benefits accorded by the state on couples. This is a life-time
commitment whereby the partners vow to support each other through thick and thin and forsake
all others till death. It is noteworthy that legal maneuvers accorded to couples in several states
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have not served to quest the clamor for legalization and acceptance of marriages. This implies
there is more to these marriages than just legal aspects.
The sixth argument put forward is that gay marriages will entrench family values
whereby couples will give up high-risk sexual behaviors. This is a two-edged approach whereby
the opposite can be viewed as the erosion of family virtues. However, marriages encourage
people to settle down and give up frivolous lifestyles which expose them to STDs and other
risks. When married couples commit to building a life together, they depict a positive desirable
behavior that should be encouraged.
Finally, it is important to note that gay couples enjoy the same financial benefits and
constraints encountered by heterosexual marriages. Therefore, a homosexual marriage ensures
couples support each other especially in the face of the ongoing turbulent economic times. They
can easily meet their bills and utilities and live the American dream if these unions are legalized.
On the other hand, opponents to this legislation have come up with a myriad number of
reasons as to why gay marriages should not be legalized. First and chief among these is the
religious aspect. Most religions in the world today consider homosexuality a great sin.
Homosexuality is not only deeply opposed by the various religions in the country but it is also
deemed offensive. It is seen as limiting the freedom of religion enjoyed by the majority. The fact
that the United States Constitution was founded under a religious perspective and highly borrows
from the Christian Bible further serves to indicate the citizens’ opposition to homosexuality.
Hence, laws prohibiting homosexuality should be upheld (Katia, 26).
Secondly, the legalization of gay marriages shall weaken the definition and perspective
attached to marriage as per se. With rising cases of divorce, which are projected at 50 percent,
the respect accorded to marriages has already been weakened. Gay marriages, if legalized, are
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expected to increase the number of non-serious marriages viewed as making fun of this serious
intuition such as individuals desiring to be tax-exempt. This shall be in utter contrast to the
widely felt view that marriage is a sacred institution that should be well-adhered to. Further, this
is supported by the fact that only people in the opposite sex can pro-create. Most activists against
homosexuality feel that it encourages adoption while ignoring pro-creation, which is viewed as a
gift from God.
Secondly, the full adoption of marriage into the social setup shall ideally weaken the
perspective in which traditional family values are held as the most vital in society. The chief
building blocks of every society is the traditional nuclear family setup of man, woman and
children. This has been the reason as to why societies have managed to remain rational
throughout historical events such as the world wars, the great depression and other similar
challenges. Family members have always stuck up close even when friends and lovers forsake
thee. Therefore, it is noteworthy that our societies are crumbling due to the increasing change in
perception of families and the weakening of their structure. Introducing another perceptive view
to the already weakened family view shall definitely worsen the situation.
Thirdly, this would trigger a slippery slope in the scope of the legality of marriages.
Contrary to the proposition by gay proponents that these marriages would hurt no-one, this
would trigger the onset of a chain reaction that would ultimately lead to a radical change in the
whole idea of marriage. Abhorrent traits such as incest in which closely relate family members
intermarry may come up. There is therefore a need to define the institution of family and
marriage firmly, otherwise, the options and variations might prove to be endless. This may sound
absurd, but it is vital to note that it does not take the majority to change this but a few activist
judges to change these laws by interpreting them under the doctrine of stare decisis so as to
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impose this on everyone just as was the case in where two judges in California declared the
Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.
Finally, the gay culture, under a psychological analysis and review, should not be
encouraged. This is since it leads to psychological disorders, much lower life expectancy which
is indicated at less than twenty years in comparison to the general population which can be
attributed to the hassles experienced by this couples; and the highly likely transmittance of
Sexually Transmitted Diseases as is the case in the studies conducted in Haiti by Centre of
Disease Control. There is therefore a need to discourage unhealthy practices that are detrimental
to humanity.
In conclusion, it is important to note the controversy on gay marriages and homosexuality
is a societal issue that must be resolved. Either the proponents and advocates of homosexuality
will attain legislative and mutual recognition over time or the opponents of this change will
manage to contain this whirlwind. It is therefore vital to analyze various articles that have
appeared in the recent past which act as pointers as to the direction this crucial debate is taking.
New York Times reporter David Dunlap notes that while the licensing marriages does not
explicitly prohibit homosexual marriages at any one time, it “used terms of gender that clearly
indicated that only heterosexual couples could marry.... In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled
that a refusal to grant marriage licenses violated the state constitution. Even though the court
found that the state of Hawaii’s constitution had discriminated against homosexuals, which
should legalize marriage nationally, presently there have been no same-sex marriage license that
have been issued anywhere in the United States . This reflects the situation at the time. There
have been wide-felt changes since then. As of 2010, various states have already passed
legislation in favour of gay marriages and gone ahead to issue licences.
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Conversely, an Online US News columnist feels that one state court should not dictate
marriage laws for the entire nation. If gay marriages become legal in Hawaii, other states may
have to recognize them, as well, because the U.S. Constitution requires each state to grant full
faith and credit to the acts of other states. But, he argues, many states do not want to recognize
same-sex unions, and should not be forced to do so by a few judges in Hawaii.” Hawaii has gone
forth to include various legal rights which safeguard the interests of gays. Is this a pointer that
homosexuality is here to stay?
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Works Cited
Dunlap, David. "Some States Trying To Stop Gay Marriages Before They Start." Wall Street
Journa 15 March 1995: 18.
Hetter, Katia. "The New Civil Rights Battle ." U.S. News and World Report 3 June 1996: 28-31.
"Member Resolution on Proposed on United States Constitution Regarding Marriage." 26 March
2004. American Sociological Association. 17 November 2010
"Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage." 2004. American Psychological Association.
17 November 2010 <http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/gay-marriage.pdf>.
Smith, Susan. "Marriage a Civil Right, not Sacred Rite." The Washington Post 30 July 2009.
"Support of Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Marriage." 6 February 2005. The American
Psychiatric Association. 17 November 2010
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