Society’s View Towards Gay Marriage
In society today, gay and lesbian couples are looked at in a different light than what is ordinary. The standard couple in society is believed to be man and woman. In other cases, people fall in love or are attracted the same sex. This is seen as deviant behavior because of the fact that it is not the custom couple. “If two openly gay men walk down the street holding hands and show general signs of affection… they will likely receive remonstrative stares, be viciously derided, and avoided.” (Lowes). This is punishment in itself. Essentially all people want is to be accepted and to fit in. Gay and lesbians are consistently denied rights that are typically taken for granted by the average American. Even if they are upstanding citizens, they are denied marriage. This discrimination is solely because of their sexual orientation. Only nineteen states have legal same sex marriage leaving twenty-six states to ban it. This means in some eyes, gay marriage is seen as criminal and in others it is seen as non criminal, legally speaking. On May 17, 2004 Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage. Between 2003 and 2008 the divorce rate declined 21%. The statistics prove the development in lasting marriages after legalizing same sex marriage. The theories describing gay marriage as deviant are the labeling theory, differential association theory, and functionalism. The theory that best depict gay marriage is differential association theory.
Becker said labeling theory is deviance created by society. (Adams, 9/24) This theory can describe or classify an individual. It shows how self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by society. Although, the flaw in this theory is that people who have been labeled deviant are not all the same. This process makes mistakes. For example people can be accused of something wrongfully that they did not do. Also, people actually committing deviant acts may not be labeled as deviant. Gay marriage is an act that is labeled deviant. This idea is created by society because what is intended is man and woman. Technically, this is so the cycle of life can continue reproducing. Realistically, love is involved, and some people are attracted to the same sex. “Labeling theory is based on the idea that behaviors are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. “(Crossman) Society sees two people of the same gender and views it as socially unacceptable. They are thought of or labeled as something other than what is ‘normal’. The process of labeling deviance is paying attention to the reaction of the people surrounding in society. Those people view being gay or lesbian as something unnatural and abnormal. Thus the reason it is thought to be deviant is due to society’s traditions. Hughes said being labeled as deviant becomes the single most important defining characteristic of a person. Being seen this way can cause major changes in one’s public identity. (Adams, 9/24) Being gay or lesbian becomes their master status and their most important identity; any other qualities the person may have are disregarded.
Sutherland’s theory of differential association is intended to show that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for criminal behavior. Differential association theory is a theory in criminology which aims to answer the question why do people do the things they do criminally. “The theory is based on the idea that criminals commit crimes based on their association with other people. In other words, criminal behavior is learned by associating with other individuals. Criminals can exist in any income, race or sociological background. “(Schubert) Sutherland stated nine basic propositions explaining his differential association theory. In the sense that gay marriage is criminal, the ninth proposition relates which is, criminal and non-criminal behavior is an expression of...
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