The issue of same-sex marriage continues to elicit heated debate across the globe as individuals fight for/against its legalization. Several countries predominantly in Europe, Australia and North America have already legalized it amidst opposition while others especially in Asia and Africa still ban it. While many reasons have been floated against same-sex marriage, this paper seeks to examine the pros of same-sex marriage. As such, the paper is organized in a way that begins by expounding on various aspects of same-sex marriages, cons cited against it before focusing on its pros.
Marriage is an institution in which interpersonal and sexual relationships are widely acknowledged across the world and as such may be considered to be a cultural universal. According to Haviland et al. (5) marriage connotes a socially approved union between two or more people that establishes certain rights and obligations between the spouses, between them and their kids as well as in-laws. People often marry for several reasons ranging from emotional, spiritual, cultural, legal and libidinal purposes. Spousal choice may be influenced by parental choice, religious and cultural traditions as well as individual desire.
Marriage can be recognized by a religious authority, peers, community members or state. Some marriages that conform to certain cultural traditions such as child marriage and forced marriage are outlawed and penalized in parts of the world due to international law requirements. However, there has been an increasing trend towards greater support for allowing and legally recognizing interracial, interfaith or same-sex marriages. For instance, according to a 2011 study carried out by Pew Research Center, Americans were increasing supporting same-sex marriages.
Same-sex marriage also referred to as gay marriage denotes spousal union between individuals of the same sex. Same-sex marriages have been in existence though little spoken of or publicly acknowledged. However, the 21st century as seen the legalization of same-sex marriages in many countries amidst opposition. Major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the term marriage to supplement them with gender-neutral words or drop out gender specifications (The Washington Times n.p). Since the reasoning behind marriage is increasing changing from the traditional beliefs of procreation to the need for love and affection, proponents of gay marriages are of the idea that gays should be allowed to marry to satisfy their need to be loved and cherished.
According to Boswell (81) the first mention of same sex marriages in the world occurred during the early Roman Empire. Emperor Nero was the first emperor to marry a man (Williams 284). The first legal same-sex marriage ceremony in the world took place in 2001 in Holland between one female and three males and was officiated by the mayor of Amsterdam (BBC News n.p). Since then, gay marriages have slowly been legally acknowledged amidst opposition from various religious organizations.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have often cited various reasons calling for it to be banned. For instance, it is often said that gay marriages confuse children especially on how the reproduction system works and misleading them that homosexual relations are okay. Others posit that accepting same sex marriages will open doors for other non-traditional couples to fight for their rights to marry such as incestuous, group and underage marriages. Same-sex marriage has also been shunned due to religious beliefs that it contravenes God’s will and commandments and reduces the sanctity of marriage. What people fail to understand is that allowing same-sex marriages also has its own fair share of pros which should not be overlooked.
Allowing same-sex marriages have various advantages. First of all, acknowledging gay couples minimizes discrimination and the creation of second class citizens. By branding them names and denying them equal rights accorded to heterosexual families, gay couples tend to feel alienated due to their beliefs. Renowned civil rights movement leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, just to mention a few, fought and lost their lives in the fight against discrimination. Sexual orientation should be treated no different from gender and racial attributed associated with an individual. Same-sex marriage is a civil right that ought to be honored
Secondly, allowing same sex marriage will lower the rate of divorce currently experienced across the world. The rate of divorce and separation among heterosexual couples has been increasing at an alarming rate. This can be attributed to various factors such incompatibility, infertility or instances of forced marriages or cultural pressures. By allowing same-sex couples to marry, the world will experience an increase in marriage rates and lower divorce rates.
Allowing same-sex marriages will also promote the separation of the state and church. The US constitution and many other constitutions across the world proclaim the respect of all human rights free from all religious convictions. Same-sex marriages are often banned due to religious interpretation that it encourages sinners. Mainstream churches such as the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the National Association of Evangelicals oppose same-sex marriages. The world is increasingly adopting a secular view and as such religious perspectives of same-sex marriages should not have a place in the legal and federal matters in the state. Many biblical teachings such as the Ten Commandments and the beatitudes do not define the federal and legal system and as such we shouldn’t allow such a perspective to influence the state. Why bind atheists with a religion that they don’t ascribe to? Furthermore, people’s marital lives whether gay or not have no impact on the religious views and individual lives of others.
Allowing same-sex marriage will also lower the rate of teen suicide. In the wake of technological advancement and the spread of the internet, there have been increased cases of bullying across the world. Teenagers are often bullied due to various factors such as race, physical appearance as well as sexual orientation. Owing to the negative view held about homosexuality, homosexual teens often suffer a lot which results to their withdrawal or even forces them to commit suicide. If same-sex marriage were accepted, homosexual teens will feel accepted and respected in society thus lower their chances of committing suicide. Ascribing to a ‘different’ sexual orientation should not be viewed as a social disability nor should they be treated as outcasts.
Accepting same-sex marriages will also increase the number of children that are successfully adopted. There are many children across the street in need of love, care and protection who have either run away from their hostile family environments. According to Lifelong Adoptions.com (n.p), many gay couples especially those offering themselves as adoptive families form relationships that are more stable than many heterosexual marriages. This means that adopted children in these families have a more secure emotional home than those in heterosexual families. These children tend to be more sympathetic to any differences e.g racial or gender differences and believe in equality for all. They also tend to be more open minded about different relationships and lifestyles than children raised in heterosexual households.
Same-sex marriages can help boost the economy by bringing financial gain to local, state and federal governments. Government revenue from marriage comes from issuing out marriage licenses. Wedding expenditures such as venue charges, cakes and meals also circulate in the economy thus boosting the livelihoods of people in the events planning industry.
Allowing same-sex marriages increases rates of psychological disorders. This is because banning them denies them access to the social support (physical health and psychological benefits) that facilitates and strengthens heterosexual marriages. According to a 2010 research analysis, gay, lesbian and bisexual people suffered a 248% increase in generalized anxiety disorders, a 42% increase in alcohol-use disorders and a 37% increase in mood disorders after their states banned same-sex marriages (Shankar n.p). This results in burdening the already burdened health sector which has to meet their health expenses.
Acknowledging same-sex marriages in no way does it infringe upon the rights of other people. In fact, it only extends the rights and privileges that are enjoyed by the majority (heterosexual groups) to an already excluded and discriminated against minority who differ simply because of their sexual orientation. In a world that advocates for equality, respect, sense of belonging and dignity for all, there is a need to uphold the same for homosexuals. Similarly, upholding gay marriages ensures that families do not suffer from the social exclusion of their kin. In conclusion, same-sex marriages are here to stay and as such should be acknowledged. Whereas a gay-marriage has its own fair share of disadvantages such as its impact on the traditional conception of marriage, it has several advantages as discussed above. Not only does it lower rates of divorce, increase the success rate of adoption, but also ensures that civil rights are upheld and respected.
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