Ethics Paper Same Sex Marriage
Gay marriage has been debated heavily in recent years. In this ethical dilemma, there are two sides: people are either in favor of gay marriage or they are opposed. Those against gay marriage generally use a deontological argument or slippery slope arguments. Those in favor of gay marriage tend to use arguments for human needs, civil rights, and justice. The most ethical view is to allow gay marriage.
The issue of whether it is legal for same-sex couples to marry has been going on in the court systems since the 1970’s. One of the first cases was trying in the State of Minnesota. The Court determined that homosexuals did not have the right to marry because marriage was defined as being between a man and a woman. Therefore, same-sex couples could not marry legally. In several other cases during the 1970’s and 80’s the court came to the same decision based on the historical definition of marriage. The results of these decisions were consistent with the thinking patterns of the majority of the population during these decades. So the basic theology seems to be that sex is for procreation only. The idea that sex is above all a way to have children and should only is engaged in with procreative intent (Stack, 1996).
All human beings have certain needs they should not be denied. While views differ on exactly what these needs are, one example would be physiological needs come first. Let’s just say, if you were unable to eat nothing else would matter to you as far as needs at that time. Once physiological needs are fulfilled, humans need to feel safe. This goes all the way to self-actualization and transcendence. In between safety and esteem needs, are love and a sense of belonging? This can be viewed in many ways. Humans could need the love of their family and friends. This could be viewed as the human need for meaningful and sexual relationships. If heterosexuals meet their needs for love by marrying someone of the opposite sex and homosexuals cannot marry, so what I’m saying is as a society do we not want homosexuals to meet this basic need? It is unethical to not allow part of the population to meet this basic need for love just because the person they want to marry is of the same sex.
While many of us think marriage is no longer a big issue, it still provides many important rights. For example, a spouse can make a decision in a time of illness and can still visit their husband or wife in the hospital when only family is allowed in. A spouse can also file a wrongful death claim and also can claim emotional distress when their partner is injured. Unmarried couples are denied these rights. Why should it matter if a couple is heterosexual or homosexual when important decisions about medical care need to be made? What if we put on the veil of ignorance, and you had to not see your significant other in the hospital because you were in a same-sex relationship? It is not ethical to give some people the right to marry, with all of these included rights, and not allow others this right to marry.
Along with legal system not allowing the same-sex relationships to make decisions for each other on the legal aspect of things, they are also banning them in certain states from rejecting them from jobs on religious grounds, photographers, refusing to bake them cakes and flower arrangements or other services pertaining to same-sex couples (Koppel & Jones). These couples should be able to get the same respect that a man and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend get. This wouldn’t be any different than a black man and a white women so why does are society and government today make things so difficult?
Let’s go to the other end, a deontological argument is based on duties and rights. This argument is that gay marriage is inherently bad, no matter what the consequences are. Saying that God says homosexuality is wrong or claiming that the Bible tells us that homosexual relationships are wrong is not a strong argument. Which God told who that homosexuality is wrong? Different people interpret the Bible differently, but even if everyone did agree on what the Bible said, not everyone would believe in it. These arguments just do not stand up. Back in the old times the population might have been easily convinced that someone understood God’s will. Now, despite being a fairly religious country, not everyone is going to fall for this argument that those who just happen to also be homophobic are against gay marriage because they know that God’s will is for gay marriage not to occur.
In conclusion same-sex couples are currently being denied equal rights by not being allowed to marry in some states. Justice is not being served, and basic human needs of homosexuals are not being met. When the opposition says that the marriage of two people of the same sex is an abomination in the eyes of God, we have to remember that the opposition has said this many times to avoid giving groups equal rights. It is not a reason to deny these groups equal rights as human beings and taxpaying citizens of this country. The only ethical solution in this case, is to legalize gay marriage.
Koppel, N., & Jones, A. (n.d.). Firms Balk at Gay Weddings.
Stack, P. (1997). An Ethics for Same-Sex Marriage. Sunstone Symposium (p. 14). Salt Lake City: Thomas J Mathews.