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Same Sex Marriages

Essay by   •  November 8, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  5,734 Words (23 Pages)  •  2,523 Views

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Ask just about anyone. They\\\\\\\'ll all tell you they\\\\\\\'re in favor of equal rights for homosexuals. Just name the situation, and ask. They\\\\\\\'ll all say, yes, gays should have the same rights in housing, jobs, public accomodations, and should have equal access to government benefits, equal protection of the law, etcetera, etcetera.

Then you get to gay marriage.

And that\\\\\\\'s when all this talk of equality stops dead cold.

More than half of all people in the United States oppose gay marriage, even though three fourths are otherwise supportive of gay rights. This means that many of the same people who are even passionately in favor of gay rights oppose gays on this one issue.

Why all the passion?

It\\\\\\\'s because there is a lot of misunderstanding about what homosexuality really is, as well as the erroneous assumption that gay people enjoy the same civil rights protections as everyone else. There are also a lot of stereotypes about gay relationships, and even a great deal of misunderstanding of what marriage itself is all about and what its purpose is.

The purpose of this essay, then, is to clear up a few of these misunderstandings and discuss some of facts surrounding gay relationships and marriage, gay and straight.

First, let\\\\\\\'s discuss what gay relationships are really all about. The stereotype has it that gays are promiscuous, unable to form lasting relationships, and the relationships that do form are shallow and uncommitted. And gays do have such relationships!

But the important fact to note is that just like in straight society, where such relationships also exist, they are a small minority, and exist primarily among the very young. Indeed, one of the most frequent complaints of older gay men is that it is almost impossible to find quality single men to get into a relationship with, because they\\\\\\\'re already all \\\\\\\'taken!\\\\\\\'

If you attend any gay event, such as a Pride festival or a PFLAG convention, you\\\\\\\'ll find this to be true. As gays age and mature, just like their straight cohorts, they begin to appreciate and find their way into long-term committed relationships.

The values that such gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are often indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors. They\\\\\\\'re loyal to their mates, are monogamous, devoted partners. They value and participate in family life, are committed to making their neighborhoods and communities safer and better places to live, and honor and abide by the law. Many make valuable contributions to their communities, serving on school boards, volunteering in community charities, and trying to be good citizens. In doing so, they take full advantage of their relationship to make not only their own lives better, but those of their neighbors as well.

A benefit to heterosexual society of gay marriage is the fact that the commitment of a marriage means the participants are discouraged from promiscuous

sex. This has the advantage of slowing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which know no sexual orientation and are equal opportunity destroyers.

These benefits of gay marriage have changed the attitudes of the majority of people in Denmark and other countries where various forms of gay marriage have been legal for years. Polling results now show that most people there now recognize that the benefits far outweigh the trivial costs, and that far from threatening heterosexual marriage, gay marriage has actually strengthened

it.

So, having established the value of gay marriage, why are people so opposed to it?

Many of the reasons offered for opposing gay marriage are based on the assumption that gays have a choice in who they can feel attracted to, and the reality is quite different. Many people actually believe that gays could simply choose to be heterosexual if they wished. But the reality is that very few do have a choice -- any more than very few heterosexuals could choose which sex to find themselves attracted to.

Additionally, many people continue to believe the propaganda from right-wing religious organizations that homosexuality is about nothing but sex, considering it to be merely a sexual perversion. The reality is that homosexuality is multidimensional, and is much more about love and affection than it is about sex. And this is what gay relationships are based on -- mutual attraction, love and affection. Sex, in a committed gay relationship, is merely a means of expressing that love, just the same as it is for heterosexuals. Being gay is much more profound than simply a sexual relationship; being gay is part of that person\\\\\\\'s core indentity, and goes right the very center of his being. It\\\\\\\'s like being black in a society of whites, or a blonde European in a nation of black-haired Asians. Yes, being gay is just that profound to the person who is. This is something that few heterosexuals can understand unless they are part of a minority themselves.

The Arguments Against Gay Marriage

Well, of course there are a lot of reasons being offered these days for opposing gay marriage, and they are usually variations on a few well-established themes. Interestingly, a court in Hawaii has recently heard them all. And it found, after due deliberation, that they didn\\\\\\\'t hold water.

Here\\\\\\\'s a summary:

Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Well, that\\\\\\\'s the most often heard argument, one even codified in a recently passed U.S. federal law. Yet it is easily the weakest. Who says what marriage is and by whom it is to be defined? The married? The marriable? Isn\\\\\\\'t that kind of like allowing a banker to decide who is going to own the money in stored in his vaults? It seems to me that justice demands that if the straight community cannot show a compelling reason to deny the institution of marriage to gay people, it shouldn\\\\\\\'t be denied. And such simple, nebulous declarations, with no real moral argument behind them, are hardly compelling reasons. They\\\\\\\'re really more like an expression of prejudice than any kind of a real argument. The concept of not denying people their rights unless you can show a compelling reason to deny them is the very basis of the American ideal of human rights.

Same-sex couples aren\\\\\\\'t the optimum environment in which to raise

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