29 January 2014
Reflection Paper 1
Same Sex Marriage
While my parents and grandparents were growing up, they never knew anyone who was gay or lesbian (or at least no one that admitted it). Today, I know numerous gay or lesbian people. Same sex couples were something that was unheard of years ago. Today, they are all around us and they are becoming a social norm whether society likes it or not.
In the United States, seventeen states have legalized same sex marriage. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same sex marriage in 2004, and many states have followed since then. In the year of 2013, seven states out of the seventeen made same sex marriage legal. This shows its popularity in society and the impact that it is making across the United States (ProCon.org). In this same year, one professional athlete came out to the public to everyone’s surprise. He is the first professional athlete in the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB to do this. This athlete was 34 year-old African American center Jason Collins, who plays for the Washington Wizards. After coming out he said, “I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.” Because he came out, this makes more people realize that anyone can be gay or lesbian. Even if they are an athlete or a “tough guy,” they cannot help their feelings. Along with professional athletes, other celebrities who announce that they are gay or lesbian have made people more accepting of the idea. Today’s media has also made the idea of same sex relationships a norm. About three years ago, I never remember seeing a gay or lesbian couple on a TV show. Now, there are hardly any shows that do not have a same sex couple. For example, popular TV shows Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Scandal, and Brother’s and Sisters all contain gay or lesbian couples. Exposing people to this on a regular on national television has made it more of a societal norm.
There are many movements going on today that support same sex marriage and/or homosexuality. There are numerous groups, events, clubs/bars, etc., designed particularly for gay or lesbian couples in order to support them. There are various reasons for why people support same sex marriage. They believe that people who are gay or lesbian cannot choose their feelings. They do not “choose” to be gay or lesbian, but are born this way. No one else knows how they feel, and the government should not be able to control who they can and cannot marry.
Some states have legalized same sex marriage, and later made it illegal. For example, on December 13, 2013 Utah legalized same sex marriage only to be reversed on January 6, 2014. Judge Shelby made a decision to legalize same sex marriage in Utah, but Utah officials appealed this. During that short time, 1,300 couples received marriage licenses. This is an incredible number of marriages in just over three weeks, which shows just how many couples had been waiting for this. Even though they received the licenses, Utah government officials did not want to recognize these people as married couples. On January 10, 2014, the Obama Administration announced that the federal government would indeed recognize these marriages (Info Please Data Base). Other states have had same sex marriage reversed due to many citizens protesting the issue and bringing it back to a vote. Many members of society will never see same sex marriage as a norm and will continually protest against the topic. Some protest because of religious reasons. They believe Jesus taught that marriage should only be between a male and a female. They often quote the bible verse Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female” (John). There are also nonreligious people that do not agree with same sex marriage. Reasons vary, but some simply think it just is not right or “normal.”
As I mentioned in my introduction, homosexuality was not a “norm” in the past. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that they use to classify mental disorders. In the first edition, which was published in 1952, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder (SameSexAttraction.org). With this published, one could understand why no would want to admit he/she was gay or lesbian. It was thought to be a psychiatric problem that they would need to seek treatment for. Anyone who was homosexual at this time may think there was something wrong with him/her according to this book. In 1973, the APA decided to remove homosexuality from the DSM-III. Their reasoning was that “people should not be considered disordered if they do not experience distress over their condition and if they show no major impairment in social functioning” (SameSexAttration.org). When the APA did this, there was a lot of controversy because homosexuality was still not popular at this time, and this cut research money on the topic.
Same sex marriage is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and now considered to be a social norm by many. Same sex marriage movements and support groups have made leaps to be accepted by society and their acceptance is growing. However, as I said before, there are a lot of people who do not support it and never will. There are still stereotypes against gay and lesbians that will likely take years to overcome. Overall, same sex marriage is something the people in our world will have to start accepting.
Info Please Data Base, . "The American Gay Rights Movement: A Timeline." Info Please. Info Please; Pearson, n.d. Web. 30 Jan 2014. .
John, Edmiston. "What does the bible say about same sex marriage." Christian Answers. Christin Answers Network, n.d. Web. 30 Jan 2014. .
ProCon.org, . "17 States Have Legal Same Sex Mariage." Gay Marriage. ProCon.org, 06 Jan 2014. Web. 30 Jan 2014.(ProCon.org)
Same Sex Data Base.org, . "The Movement to Deny Treatment." Gay Rights and Gay Activism. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan 2014. .