Introduction and Effects
For thousands of years heterosexual couples have been wed into the institution of marriage. Until recently, the population of same sex partners who are denied equal familial rights was primarily only an issue within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GBLT) community. Same sex relationships parallel those of traditional marriage such as commitment, sacrifice, and sharing of responsibilities (Smith, 2009). However, homosexuals are only afforded a private contract rather than public recognition. Some of the hurdles that marriage equality faces are religion, children being brought up with a lack of acceptance towards people who are different and legislation.
Same sex couples cease to receive benefits equivalent to those of heterosexual couples. For example, health care benefits; since gays cannot marry—they cannot be carried under spousal health insurance. Also regarding health, if calamity arises and life changing decisions are required the significant other would legally have no say in decisions that would need to be made. Should death arise, the living partner could be left with nothing due to next of kin.
Although marriage inequality is clearly discrimination against homosexuals, there are currently laws to strengthen this oppression. In fact, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) states that only thirteen out of the fifty United States have “[n]o same- sex marriage prohibitions (2013). The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents homosexual couples from receiving benefits traditionally given to a spouse by defining the word ‘marriage’ as a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” (H.R., 1996). It is difficult to pose an argument with this traditional definition.
Theory and Causal Explanations
Social systems theory
Marital type relationships have always existed but began to gain national attention in 1993 with the ruling of a Hawaii case in which judges declared that there must be a compelling reason not to extend equal marriage rights to gays (Fingerhut, 2011). This has sparked controversy both for and against gay marriage because the homeostasis of many subsystems is at stake.
People often fear what they do not know or understand. It is also common to for humans to blindly follow social norms based on dogmatic principle. This is of course true within the macro environment. Through the lens of the systems perspective we can begin to understand how fear plays a significant role in marriage inequality. Communities naturally feel secure when they are at a state of homeostasis. A large part of this balance has traditionally been due to heterosexual norms of a husband performing male duties and a wife having her specific obligations as well. These standards filter out into the larger community where members interact with each other. Homosexuality blurs these boundaries of what is expected of each gender creating a fear that that the larger population will cease to have its needs met. Functionalist Perspective
The ban on marriage equality is also a religious debate because many fear that the shifting of familial makeup will disrupt religious values. Applying a functionalist theory to the problem can help us understand the causes for people adhering to the dogmatic “rules” of religion. This theory posits that people value what they perceive is best for society and the greater good. Due to this, many religionists protest gay marriage; they feel they are doing a social justice.
Since all of society’s parts are interrelated it makes sense that if homosexuals are doing “the wrong thing” a stop should put to it. Their manifest goal is to eliminate the evil gay acts thus creating stability in their community. They really just want what is best for the community and mean no harm. They are however blind to what is actually going on that is producing latent...