Benefits of Marriage Equality
Legalizing same-sex marriage would benefit our country both socially and economically without a negative impact on family values. President Obama is the first president in history to publicly support same-sex marriage. His opinion, like that of most people in this country, has evolved from originally stating marriage should be between a man and woman to finally giving his support to same-sex marriage. (Kellard)
President Obama recognizes the need for equality for all U.S. citizens, not just those who are heterosexual. If same-sex couples were allowed to legally marry, it would lead to more money for the state and local governments. There would be an increase in the number of marriage licenses applied for each year thereby increasing the state and local governments' income from the fees for such applications. There would also be more income tax collected because when taxes are filed together with combined income the couples are most often pushed into the next tax bracket. This means more tax revenue both locally and nationally. New York City reported "$259 million of economic benefits from same-sex marriages in the first year of the law allowing the practice." (Goldman)
Legalizing same-sex marriage would also attract more businesses. Companies are always on the lookout for a young and vibrant workforce. Young people have always been more accepting and tolerant than their parents' generation, therefore businesses have a much better chance of finding the individuals they want in an area that is supportive to the gay and lesbian community. In fact, many gay and lesbian couples themselves will choose a lower paying job in a supportive community as opposed to a higher paying one in a highly prejudiced community. (Eskridge 162) The same can be said for their heterosexual peers. Most people prefer to live in a supportive and nurturing environment not one filled with hate.
In these supportive communities, there will be a decrease in divorce rates because fighting for the equal right to marry will make same-sex couples regard marriage more seriously. This has already been proven in Massachusetts, which was the first state to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. They have been allowing gay and lesbian marriage for four years now and they retain "the national title as the lowest divorce rate state." (Wilson) These communities would also see a decrease in welfare money needed because single people qualify for more financial help than do married people.
In addition, adoption rates would increase because more people would be able to adopt after becoming legally married. As it stands, a lot of loving and stable gay and lesbian couples cannot adopt because they are not married. Allowing these couples to marry would give a home to many children who would otherwise not get the opportunity to know what it feels like to have a home. According to the 2000 Census, "at least eight thousand children are being raised by two lesbian or two gay parents in Massachusetts" alone. (Rimmerman 162) Children are already growing up in loving and stable same-sex family environments, yet they are often ridiculed by their peers because their parents' marriage is illegal, therefore socially unacceptable. THe law needs to catch up with what is already happening in society. When these parents are allowed to legally marry the stigma will lessen and these children will know that their family is no different than any other family.
Opponents to same-sex marriage say that it would weaken family values. In actuality, the opposite is true. Allowing same-sex marriage would strengthen families immensely. Children would no longer have to hide who their parents are and would instead be proud to have two loving and devoted parents no matter their sexual orientation. Children are already being raised by gay and lesbian parents who are not married. Not allowing these parents to legally wed is teaching children that marriage is not really that important. If these children are raised in a home with married parents, they are more likely to take marriage seriously thus strengthening family values and allowing marriage to be more sacred and not just a piece of paper.
Others who oppose same-sex marriage contend that it is a slippery slope that will lead to polygamy and even interspecies marriage. This kind of reasoning is pure nonsense. In order for two people to marry they both have to sign documents. There are no animals as of yet that can sign their agreement to anything. Also, there will still be laws protecting marriage as between only two people so polygamy is out the window. The core reason behind many peoples' views on gay and lesbian marriage is religion. Religious views are not valid arguments when dealing with laws. This country was founded on the basis of church and state being separate from each other. Religious beliefs are a reason a lot of people are against same-sex marriage and these people are forcing others to live by their beliefs or religion regardless of that individual's personal beliefs. Religious views of any particular group of people cannot be forced upon those who may have a different belief system.
This country has evolved in its opinion of gay and lesbian marriage. Over the past 20 years, gay and lesbian people have become included in society's definition of normal. A generation ago, even the idea of being gay was taboo. Today, people are more open towards same-sex marriage. President Obama has witnessed this through his own children. He noted in an interview with ABC that after seeing how his daughters' handled some of their classmates' parents being gay, he decided it was time to make up his mind and announce that he thinks it is a good idea to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. (Kellard)
Obama's opposing candidate, Mitt Romney, contends that "marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman." (Tamps Bay Times) He is a perfect example of allowing your personal religious beliefs to dictate policy in this country. He does clarify that to be his own personal opinion not necessarily the opinion of America. Why, then, would he not strive to legalize same-sex marriages so that everyone else in the country can exercise their own personal belief? Obama is the clear choice on the issue of same-sex marriage.
There are many economic and social benefits to legalizing same-sex marriage. The people of this country are ready for a change to this legislation. The laws of a society must grow, develop and change with its people. The people of the United States have become more accepting and tolerant of gays and lesbians, therefore, the laws of the United States should evolve also. President Obama will help this country's marriage laws represent its people.
Eskridge, William W Jr. and Darren R Spedale. Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse. New York. Oxford UP. 2006, Print. Goldman, Henry. "Gay Marriage Produced $259 Million for New York City Economy". Bloomberg. Bloomberg LP. 24 July 2012. Web. 4 October 2012. Kellard, James. "Gay Marriage Should Be Legal". Gay Marriage". Ed. Debra A Miller. Detriot. Greenhaven Press. 2012. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 28 September 2012. Rimmerman, Craig and Clyde Wilcox, eds. The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage. Chicago. University of Chicago P. 2007. Print.
Tampa Bay Times "Mitt Romney has maintained consistent stance on same-sex marriage". Politifact. 09 May 2012. Web. 09 October 2012.
Wilson, Bruce. "Divorce Rate in Gay MArriage-Legal MA Drops ro Pre-WWII Level". Huffington Post. N.p. 3 September 2009. Web. 28 September 2012.