In a society that is continually evolving, it is no surprise that some aspects are more accepted than others. One of the topics that has most recently been under the spotlight is same-sex marriage. Although same-sex couples are not a new addition to our society, the laws in which they must abide by are constantly fluctuating. However, one’s perception of same-sex couples may be altered if one were to view same-sex couples through a sociological lens including subculture, ethnocentrism, cultural universals, and nature vs. nurture.
The culture of a society is based upon the values, norms, and materialistic goods of a given group. Within a culture, there are also several subcultures, which are smaller groups that share the same interests or beliefs. Examples of subcultures are religion and race. Same-sex couples have their own subculture known as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). However, certain societies are more accepting of this subculture than others. For example, according to statistics posted on ProCon.org, in the United States same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the country itself encompasses a large population of homosexual individuals (Gay Marriage Background 2014). Unlike the United States, however, countries such as Russia and Afghanistan have little tolerance for such groups. According to an article posted on BuzzFeed.com, in countries such as Afghanistan individuals may be sentenced to the death penalty if convicted of same-sex activity under the Taliban rule (Jones 2013). This cultural conflict is due to globalization and is known as ethnocentrism.
Ethnocentrism is the concept of one judging a culture based on the standards of his/her own culture. In a related event discussed in an article entitled For Austrians, Ho Ho Ho is No Laughing Matter, posted to NYTimes.com, Australians would rather see the symbol of their culture, Christkind, at Christmas rather than Santa Claus. Australians attribute the popularity of Santa Claus to globalization; however, this icon has no relevance to the Australian culture. Although same-sex marriage is an uprising component of American culture, Russia does not share the same cultural beliefs on this topic. Russia exemplified ethnocentrism when placing a ban on same-sex couple propaganda during this Olympics, which resembles the strict laws Russia has pertaining to the sharing of homosexual knowledge (Associated Press 2014). According to More Olympic-Linked Furor Over Russia Anti-Gay Law, posted on ABCNews.go.com, the LGBT community was outraged when companies endorsing the Olympics such as Coca-Cola did not protest the ban (Crary 2014). However, Google did take a stand. On Google’s homepage the logo is Olympic themed but is also rainbow colored. Placed underneath the search bar is a quote about human rights from the Olympic Charter.
The conflict over LGBT rights is mostly focused over the controversy of same-sex marriage. Marriage is seen as a cultural universal. A cultural universal is a trait or pattern hardwired by nature into a human culture. This includes language, marriage, religion, incest taboos, and poverty rules. As stated in an article published to ProCon.org, many individuals against same-sex marriage argue that marriage has traditionally been between that of a man and woman, thus same-sex marriage would weakening the institution of marriage (Gay Marriage Pros and Cons 2014). In addition, many individuals believe that same-sex couples are not fit to raise children and that their children will become corrupt. Conversely, according to About the Children, published on NYTimes.com, research shows there is no disadvantage associated with children being raised by parents of the same sex (Keller 2013). Whether it is homosexual parents, heterosexual parents, or single parents, all are capable of providing basic necessities and love for their children just the same. Each culture has its own variation of marriage and family and although the United...
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