Gay Marriage: How Jonathan Rauch Offers It as a Common Good

Topics: Homosexuality, Same-sex marriage, Marriage Pages: 7 (2792 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Gay Marriage: How Jonathan Rauch Offers it as a Common Good

The marriage-rights movement headed by gay rights activists has been a relevant issue on the American socio-political docket since 1970 following the Stonewall riots in New York City, New York in June of 1969. The riots sparked an initiative for gay people to join the movement of other marginalized groups in a quest to counteract widespread alienation to obtain the equal treatment and recognition they deserved.  Today those activists joined by a whole new generation of proud homosexuals are still fighting for the right to be able to walk down an isle and commit their minds, bodies, and souls to the one they love in front of the people they love and have it be more than an impotent symbol of affection; they want their union to be recognized both socially and legally as a different but equal lifestyle choice. They want to partake in marriage, not "marriage". The most familiar argument that we hear today in the war fought by traditionalists and activists is the argument for the purpose of marriage. Traditionalists like Rick Santorum would argue along the lines that the purpose for marriage is children. Most gay activist would argue that the purpose for marriage is finding love in a lifelong companion. In Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good For Gays, Good For Straights And Good For America, Jonathan Rauch, an openly gay male, explains how gay marriage would be a universal good. Marriage has evolved over the years “nearly beyond recognition”[1] from wealthy aristocratic polygamy used to impose socially structured dominance over  women, to a business merger whose main goal was financial security for women and a pool of family ties, to an institution bent on maintaining social norms and gender specialization, to our present marriage where love, an unstable chemical reaction, is on the forefront of the reasons to marry.[2] He argues that the marriage portrait is not as distinctively black and white as some would like to boast. Children are no longer their parents’ property and are therefore not 'the' purpose for marriage anymore, but are simply 'a' purpose of marriage along with partnership, kinship, legal and monetary benefits, settlement, social superiority, and that indeed love is a pivotal factor as well. According to Jonathan Rauch, same-sex marriage is not only good for gay people, but is beneficial to heterosexual people and even the institution of marriage. Same-sex marriage offers homosexuals an invitation into the adult American privileged society where the perks are endless, the obligations are unlimited, and the love is supported. Their right to marry would mean that the economic benefits, stabilization, and social equality that heterosexual couples have innately received since the dawn of man would finally be bestowed upon the ever deserving homosexual community. Same-sex marriage is good for gays, good for heterosexuals, and the institution of marriage as a whole.  

In federal law (according to the General Accounting Office), civil marriage is a gateway to 1,138 benefits, rights, and obligations. States provide many more: 210 legal rights and responsibilities in the District of Columbia, for example, according to Richard Rosendall of Washington’s Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which took the trouble to count. Kin creation is a complicated business. Without the toolbox of marriage, spousehood is a legal improvisation, and without spousehood, life itself is a kind of improvisation.[3]  

1,138 benefits are withheld from an entire group of people, not because their love is any different, but because their genitals are the same. A male-male gay couple that has remained faithful and committed despite the utter disregard to their existence and or importance in its society is less deserving of the right to visit his beloved on his death bed than a couple of drunk party goers that had one too many and got hitched in a drive through ceremony with...
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