"Each individual's journey through life is unique. Some will make this journey alone, others in loving relationships- maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to ponder our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes and colors and is not finite. It can not be measured or defined in terms of sexual orientation." (From the Statement of Affirmation and Reconciliation by the Quaker Meeting in Aotearoa, New Zealand.) Even though is it thought by many that marriage is mainly a religious agreement, it also creates a legal relationship between the couple and the state.
Currently there is much debate on homosexuals couples right to legalized marriage. There is much information available, both for and against. Two articles that are strongly in support of legalized same sex marriage are Iowa Representative Ed Fallon's speech to the House in 1996, and an article from the Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. One article that is strongly opposed to same sex marriage is an article written by Dr. Paul Cameron titled "Same Sex Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part?"
In a speech read to the United States House of Representatives on February 20, 1996, Iowa Representative Ed Fallon discussed why he is in support of the legalization of same sex marriage. He began his speech, by stating of this debate and how their vote would affect the public's point of view. He used the example of "red-baiting," from the 1950's, which today has become "pink-baiting." He felt that by creating gay and lesbian unions, instead of legalizing gay marriage, this would only reinforce homophobia and gay bashing. He stressed the idea that heterosexuals need only to accept homosexuals. In order to do this, Representative Fallon, stated that we need to put an end to fear and stereotypes, and start seeing each other as fellow human beings. He strongly believes that this is a civil rights issue, and poses no threat to the society. He mentions a lesbian couple that has children the same as his son. They are being raised no different than how he is raising his child. His major point is that if same sex marriage continues to be band, there will be a message sent to the public, which condones homophobia, and does not give the equal rights to everyone. (Fallon, Ed. "Iowa Representative Ed Fallon on 2/20/96." firstname.lastname@example.org. 2/20/96)
A second argument in favor of legalizing same sex marriage was written by the co-director of the Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. He believes, like Representative Fallon, that marriage is not only a religious agreement, but also has civil and legal status. According to his article, "Legal marriage triggers 150-250 laws in every U.S. state, as well as more than 1,040 Federal laws." (Demian. "Legal Marriage Primer." Demian @buddybuddy.com. 1999) He points out that there when a heterosexual couple gets married, clergy are not required for a license to be completed, nor does the couple need to belong to a church or temple. The only thing required for a marriage license is being a legal adult and part of an opposite-sex couple. There are many laws that require this piece of paper in order to receive the benefits. A few of these are: Wrongful death benefits, child custody, joint adoption, joint insurance, hospital visitation, and domestic violence protection. Currently no where in the world can homosexual couples receive these benefits. He also discusses the difference between marriage and domestic partnership. The problem here is that domestic partnership only covers insurance, or time off to care of their partner. Also, the employee must an affidavit, stating that the relationship has existed for at least one year, that couple lives together, and are both responsible for each other's economic welfare. None of these are required of legally married couples. (Demian. "Legal Marriage Primer." Demian @buddybuddy.com. 1999) The major theme through out the article is that gay couples simply want the same rights as everyone else, nothing more and nothing less.
Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute does not believe that this is true. Instead he believes that same sex marriage is a threat to the heterosexual community. His first reason against same sex marriage is that homosexual marriages are short lived. He feels that this is more about legitimacy that actual marriage. The second reason he states is that homosexual marriage results in high-risk behavior and unsafe sex. Which leads to AIDS and other such diseases. A third reason, is a high rate of domestic violence. In 1990, nearly half of 90 lesbian couples in Los Angeles reported domestic violence yearly. A fourth reason is that homosexual domestic violence is a larger problem than gay bashing. He believes that cases of domestic violence are much higher than gay bashing, and are much more physically violent. The last reason is that homosexuals make poor parents. According to one study that is based only on half of a percent of Americans who had a homosexual parent, they were more likely to have had sex with a parent, experience homosexuality as their first sexual encounter, be sexually molested, become homosexual or bisexual, and report dissatisfaction with their childhood. He concludes that homosexual marriage is a bad idea and will only hurt our society as a whole. (Cameron, Dr. Paul. "Same Sex Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part?" www.familyresearchinst.org . 1997)
In reading this essay one can see, that there are many reasons for, and many reasons against legalizing same sex marriage. It is important to know all the information, before making a decision where to stand on this issue.