By: Valerie Tickles
Soc 215 Business Ethics December 4, 2008
Gay and Lesbians Marriages
What is “Gay”? Some would say that it means being happy, joyful, merry, lively, and full of sprit. But the topic that I speak of refers to a person’s sexuality, having a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex. Is this ethical? As a nation many people are undecided on this issue; the controversy about this topic is never ending. I hear about this issue on TV, radio, and even at school. Should two men be together? Should two women be together? Should they be allowed to marry? Should they be allowed to adopt and raise children? In my eyes, there is no difference then a heterosexual couple. I believe that gay and lesbian people are entitled to the same rights and protections as all Americans. Including the right to be married, and the right to live freely without discrimination. Though not everyone may share my views on this topic, I’m okay with that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I believe that gay and lesbian marriage should be legalized simply because I believe that marriage is something between two consenting adults who love one another. During the last several decades, homosexuality has increased significantly; this was hugely impacted by people not hiding their sexual preference anymore. Homosexuality has become more visible in the public eye, as well as gained more recognition and support from many people. It has been, and continues to be, a major topic of debate on legal rights such as marriage and/or civil unions, parenting rights, and equal access to health care, amongst other topics.
Legalizing gay and lesbian marriage is important because it is as much a part of discrimination as slavery was. The bible was quoted to show that slavery was beautifully ordained and approved. History shows that the bible was used to justify slavery, segregation, and to deny women the right to vote. But we have clearly grown away from these beliefs and now know these beliefs to be evil. The right to freedom was long overdue when it was finally given. Gay rights are now long overdue. So now we are left with the question “When?” How long will homosexuals have to wait? Will they have to wait for their rights for as long as the slaves waited for theirs?
I believe a major concern of those that frown upon gay and lesbian unity can be attributed to religion. Religion has certainly lingered as a main argument point on this topic. Many religious people argue that marriage is solely a sacred thing between a man and a woman. Many people interpret the bible very differently and continue to come up with totally different conclusions about the meaning of the words found within it. With that being said, I must disagree with this argument that states the bible says homosexuality is wrong. It has been found that the bible has no standing in America Law and this continues to be proven in day to day life.
Another argument is that gay couples shouldn’t raise children. Yes, it’s a known fact that two people of the same sex can not conceive a baby. But does that mean they are not capable of raising a child. Many same sex couples are not able to conceive. That does not mean that they should not become parents. Many same sex couples seek fertility assistance just as heterosexual couples do. Being gay does not prevent you from being able to love or nurture. It does not stop you from being able to read a bedtime story to a sleepy child or from being able to assist a high school senior with filling out a college application. It is my opinion that it is the type of person that you are that determines your ability, or inability, to parent. It is not my opinion that your sexuality plays a factor in that.
As a mother, I ask the question, “Do we really want our children to hide this from us?? To grow up with a secret that will eat away at them. “According to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide? In fact, gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth.”http://gaylife.about.com/od/gayteens/a/gaysuicide.htm). With this said is it fair to make our children feel like there is something wrong with them? People get pregnant out of wedlock. People lye, cheat, steal, and, murder and they are looked at as normal people making unethical decisions. But when two people of the same sex that are in love want to share their life together we as Americans say “NO”, that’s wrong. Now I pose the question, is that ethical?
Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only two states currently recognizing same sex marriages. Vermont, California, New Jersey, and New Hampshire passed a law that allows homosexual couples the right to participate in civil unions. While still not legally married, civil unions do allow these couples to participate in the same benefits as a married couple. Other states such as Maine, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have created legal unions for same sex couples that allow various rights and responsibilities of marriage under the laws of those jurisdictions. Thirty six states have passed legislation banning gay marriages. Outside the United States, there are several nations that recognize gay marriage such as, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Spain.
This topic also relates to emerging business ethic issues. I believe that this topic heavily affect fairness and equality in the work place. There are so many views and differences of opinion when you speak of gay and lesbian people, how do you know if one is being fair? This applies to business ethics because questions arise such as, is it right to promote or not promote a person based on their sexual orientation? I’ve even read about homosexuals being abused and intimidated in the work place because of their sexual preference. This, in many cases, could be considered a hostile work environment. These people are abused to the extent that they are and bullied, harassed, belittled, both verbally and even physically. These are all signs of discrimination as a result of ones sexual orientation. This with out a doubt causes ethical issues within the business world. Companies can be sued for discriminating against an employee on the basis of gender, race, age, and other grounds. As covered under Title VII a lot of states do not have a law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. There are no federal laws that directly protect discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation. There have been attempts to pass such laws in the workplace on a federal level, but to date these attempts have yet to be successful. There are a few states that do protect gay and lesbian workers from discrimination in the workplace. In the states where sexual orientation is not protected, depending on the nature of discrimination homosexuals can still be protected under harassment, deformation, and even wrongful termination. In the business world today companies need to respect their employees. This includes treating all employees equal.
This is a big ethical dilemma in America. Because some states have legalized gay and lesbian marriages and others have not, it still is a big topic for debate. As some may recall it was a topic brought up during the most recent vice presidential debate between vice president elect Joe Bidden and vice president nominee Sarah Palin. The question was asked do you support gay marriage. Both agree that they do not support same sex marriages. As individual human beings, we don’t all agree with the opinions of Biden and Palin. So it is proven still that, America remains divided on this very important and relevant topic.
• As Connecticut Allows Same-Sex Marriage, the Debate Continues in California By Justin Ewers
Posted November 13, 2008-US NEWS
Bans in 3 States on Gay Marriage
By JESSE McKINLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN-NYTIMES
New Research Finds Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Amendments Spark Distress Among GLBT Adults And Families
Main Category: Sexual Health / STDs
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry; Anxiety / Stress Article Date: 19 Nov 2008 - 4:00 PST
• George Chauncey, "Why Marriage? The history shaping today's debate over gay equality," Basic Books, (2004).