Same-sex marriage (also called gay marriage or homosexual marriage) is the union of two people of the same gender. Gay and lesbian couples experience discrimination on both the personal and the legal level. Not only are many people appalled at seeing a couple of the same sex together, same-sex marriage is illegal in most of the United States. Although the United States Constitution does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages, the federal government does not recognize the validity of such marriages. Because it is not dealt with directly in the Constitution, there have been several cases brought by gay rights activists and homosexual couples, questioning the legality of the de facto ban on same-sex marriage. In the United States today there is a big dispute about whether gay marriage should be allowed, or not. Arguments that are made against allowing homosexuals to marry is that it is morally wrong, but usually because a religion says so, that it is unnatural, or the general homophobic statements. Many are concerned with what allowing gays marry means for the future generations and the entire meaning of marriage. Allowing this new family model has benefits for many individuals and society as a whole. In a recent article written by Jost, Andrew M. Koppelman a professor of law and NU said: The sexual revolution is not merely the story of the decay of the old ways. It has also seen the emergence of a new ethic that in many ways produces stronger, more functional families that serve children's needs better than the old model. We now have two different family systems. The more traditional model demands marriage before (or very soon after) sexual activity begins, identifies responsible parenthood with marriage rather than maturity or economic self-sufficiency, aims at socialization into traditional gender roles and embraces authoritarian models of parenting. The appropriate response to unplanned pregnancy is the shotgun marriage. Same-sex marriage, by ignoring gender and separating sex from reproduction, seems to flout this complex of values. In states where this model prevails, divorce rates are the highest in the country. Similar trends exist for rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and single motherhood. There are many good things that homosexual relationships demonstrate. Same sex couples have the ability to make decisions and solve issues without using gender based generalities (Prudence 1). For instance, in a same sex relationship, if the house needs cleaning and the yard needs mowing they would have to work together to decide who would do what instead of relying on the normal gender roles. Many heterosexual couples could learn good problem solving skills and how to work better from looking at majority of homosexual relationships. The traditional model, as mentioned in the quote, creates an idea that when people are married they are ready for children and a family, when in actuality, a family is best achieved when two people are mature and financially stable. By allowing gays to marry and letting people see a second option when it comes to family situations, many will realize that sex and reproduction should and can be separated.
A major argument that is made is that gay marriage and the new family model is that holy matrimony should be kept sacred. The sacredness of holy matrimony went down as divorce and teenage pregnancy rates went up. With divorce rates at 50%, only about half of the marriages in the United States last (Clark). Many people get remarried multiple times throughout their lives, so the meaning of holy matrimony lost much of its value. But for those who do not affiliate with any particular religion, holy matrimony plays no role. Many claim that ‘marriage is ceremony performed in a church,’ but in actuality, people also get married on nice beaches, in fancy backyards, and at simple courthouses. Religion should not be a factor on everyones life because part of the population ‘lives’ by that particular set of guidelines.
While the American public is evenly split on the subject of gay marriage, the majority of states either have not approved it, or have explicitly rejected it. Massachusetts was the first state to issue marriage certificates to same sex couples, when its Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that prohibiting same-sex marriage was contrary to the state's constitution. Starting on May 17, 2004, the marriage rights of same-sex couples in Massachusetts have been identical to those of opposite-sex couples; since then, more than 8,100 same-sex couples were married in the state within the first two years following the ruling. On March 30, 2006, The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that same-sex couples from out of state could not be legally married in Massachusetts, basing its decision on a 1913 miscegenation law. The law was repealed in July 2008, and non-resident same-sex couples can currently marry in Massachusetts.
In today’s society, marriage seems to be a basic right and many have risen up to protect it. United States President, Barack Obama, as even stated his belief on gay marriage and how values should turn along with the centuries (ProQuest Staff). Obama stated in his inaugural address that “ [. . No one should ever have to walk down the street with someone they love and be affraid to hold their hand because of the injustice that will be put upon them.]” Obama, although viewed to be a ‘President that does nothing’ by certain groups, has done plenty for the current civil rights issues. He refused to make any statements about the constitutionality of DOMA so the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional and also helped the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell act to pass. The DOMA would ban gay marriage at a federal level. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell helped to end discrimination and hate crimes against homosexuals in the military. By the time Obamas term ends in 2016, he hopes that everyone will be treated equally and allowed to marry. Time Magazine claimed Obama as one of the most influential men in the world, so if he can see the good behind allowing gay marriage and a letting the new family model, the rest of society should take a chance to do the same. Although gay marriage and the new family model undermines the morality of many religious faiths, socially it should be accepted and people should be at least be tolerant of the idea and the people involved. In this situation no one is forcing homosexuality on to anyone, so why should anyone be personally offended if two people of the opposite sex marry each other. In twenty years people will look back and think how ridiculous it was that gay marriage was even an issue to begin with, just like many do in relation to the civil rights of the sixties.
Clark, Charles S. "Marriage and Divorce." CQ Researcher 10 May 1996: 409-32. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. Gourguechon, Prudence. "Ten Reasons to Support Gay Marriage." Psychology Today 10 May 2012: n. pag. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.