Gay marriage is strangely—for being an obvious natural right—perhaps the most controversial subject you can bring to the dinner table. While other biases do exist, this particular one—which seems to push tradition to the side-lines and ignore religious commentary—has done an (almost) unprecedented job at dividing people. Voices in the same religion, in the same social class, group, gang, work-place, or even family, speak out in different direction regarding this topic.I will be speaking for it. Thus, not surprisingly, I believe the reasons against gay marriage to be generally based on tradition, religion, and social/moral values, none of these being valid arguments. As such, the purpose of this essay is not only to show you how these assertions are invalid attacks on a natural right, but to show you why it is within the bounds of two same-sex individuals to get "married". We start this first with the central argument of this essay: that of rights.
Rights are, first and foremost, just words, and I will admit this before I go on any further. For words are things created and defined by man; in a "natural" world, no concept of rights would exist. Nevertheless, in society, these words are not only followed by judicial authorities, but hold weight in the lives and views of other humans. Of these rights, the right to love is one of the most obvious. You should be able to pursue a life of happiness with the person you love, so long as doing so does not infringe on the rights of your lover (Thus meaning mutual consent and understanding must exist in a relationship between two physically and mentally mature individuals). Some people agree to this, after all, you can hardly call a society free if it bars you from the person you love. Some; for there are more than a few places in the world were that exact pursuit is banned for same-sex couples, either struggling through social stigmatism or legal ramifications if they dare follow their natural propensities. In fact, marriage or even a mere relationship is illegal or not even recognized in the majority of nations (Robinson, Religioustolerence.org, 2008 ). This is an obvious violation of the right aforementioned. To wit, these nations’s exclusion of same-sex marriage (or relationships) is violating human rights. No leader will come to the podium, in front of a throng of reporters and the public, and deny the right for a heterosexual to pursue those who you love. However, if the subject pertains to whether someone who is gay can do the same, hypocrisy gets spewed out and, at best, we get a dose of political aversion. What results is a clear case of discrimination where the common views of tradition trump the rights of a minority whose actions do no one harm.
With that said, let me talk about something other than the argument of natural rights. As I said before, rights are merely words. Thus, it is understandable if those against gay marriage need further reasoning to convince them, and for this, they need look no further than their own arguments. Essentially, I am going to attempt to show now that there is no reason why gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed, before giving one last grain of evidence for it in the following paragraph. Now-- we can organize the arguments against gay marriage as follows: Arguments which pertain to tradition, arguments which pertain to morality, arguments which pertain to semantics, and arguments which pertain to society. Most common is the first, the notion that gay marriage is wrong simply because religions expound it to be, or it breaks from tradition. One can easily say that the first is not valid, due to the inherent nature of faith that all religions and traditions rely on. Religious individuals assume that their morals are asserted by an all-powerful being, thus validating them. Ergo, same-sex relationships are wrong because their god(s) will it to be. Because this is all based upon faith however, it leaves little authority for those who don’t prescribe to the religion itself. Moving to focus on simple tradition, one can give the explanation that, simply because people in the past have done something one way, does not mean that future generations are obligated to follow suit. Not to mention that, in many parts of the world, gay relationships were either accepted and/or the norm, these traditions predating Judeo-Christian religions (Herdt, 1993; James 2009; Boswell, 1995; Scarre 1995). Morality, being always present, was thus accepting of homosexuality in the normative sense at one or more points in time. In fact, no matter the time, whether or not gay relationships are "wrong" depends upon the culture and the person itself. To elaborate, unless someone can prove an innate sense of right and wrong, gay marriage cannot be called "wrong" in the objective sense. It isn’t wrong—it is only wrong to that individual or group who makes it so. Such skepticism rolls over to the semantic arguments, which mainly consist of a bunch of lexicons arguing over whether or not "marriage" applies to "same-sex unions". Needless to say, we are much better spilling ink on the social arguments, that gay marriage causes problems within society. That a group of men or woman, carrying out something they have no control over (I.e. their choice in whom they love) cause problems and/or harm to a local population. Primarily, arguments of this type resort to a pitfall: that anything not "normal" is damaging to society. Take gay parenting. Often argued is that gay parenting results in sub-par—or even detrimental—child rearing. Research shows this to be false, observing that a stable marriage, regardless of the parents sexual orientation is universally beneficial--without sexuality of the parents taken into account (Smith & Gilfoyle, 2010; Herk, G.M. 2009). Furthermore, the competence of gay parents has been shown, through observation, to be equal to that of heterosexual parents and the children equally as healthy (Short, Riggs, Perlesz, Brown & Kane, 2007). Parental attacks aside, some claim that gay couples, if allowed to marry, would pave the way for other sexual "fetishes". Without spilling an unnecessary ink on this, it suffices to say that such people spend far too much time not thinking. Simply because some people have a natural tendency, which they cannot control, towards someone of the same gender does not mean that such expressions of love are to be taken on par with anything else. That is basic logic, and as it stands to reason, all other major arguments discussed here can be debunked with equally obvious logic. There exists no valid reason to deny the rights of gay couples. Best one can come up with is that it is "gross", or that they have a personal hate of it, backed by religious conviction or discrimination. That's all--that as far as the con-arguments go. Thankfully, the pro-arguments do not stop there--as we can show via an argument of inevitability. This will will comment on first by looking at certain studies and observations...
Studies have shown that sexual preferences come into play at an early age, and that people who perceive themselves as gay have no choice over the matter (APA, 2011). They cannot control their preferences, why should we punish them for this by stigmatizing them and removing a fundamental right? Is that not any better than throwing them in a cage and swallowing the key? After all, if you can get a raise from your girlfriend, or turned on from your husband, gritting your teeth is hardly an option (As an acquaintance of mine once said). What would be better is if every nation and territory realized the inevitability: that gay individuals will exist, and that they will demand marriage. Realizing this, they can then see that no harm comes out of granting them a fundamental right that has unlawfully been stripped from them. It does not take an awful lot of insight to grasp the situation these people are in, that what they experience for another is just as intense and real as what heterosexual’s experience. Why then, should we regard them—or their commitment—as less than us heterosexuals? There hardly exists a division, in fact. Love is love, whether or not one chooses or has no choice, is attracted to someone of the same gender or the opposite, their preferences should be respected. Respected, that is, so long as they do not bring harm or infringe upon the rights of others.
Recapping, not only is it a right for gay couples to get married, and the result of something which is beyond their control, but no valid reasoning for robbing such an inevitable right can be given. There are those who are festering in a traditionalistic ditch, running through it being the compliance to the social norms of society. There are those who like to hide under words and punctuations, those who like to think the religion’s morals should be forced onto other (Separation of church and state, sadly, where present, doesn’t do much in the way of this…). All nice ways of showing a base dislike of the same thing. For, you can justify your hate or dislike by parading it around as religious convection, or social concern. However, what you cannot do—not with a shred of humanity—is say that anything justifies divesting or withholding something as fundamental as the right to marry who you love.
APA Help-center, (2011): Sexual Orientation
Boswell, John (1995). Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe (New York: Random House, 1995) Pages 80–85.
Brown Rhonda, Short Elizabeth, Riggs Damien W., Perlezs Rhonda, Graeme Kane (2007). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) Parented Families:
Gilfoyle, Nathalie F.P. & Smith, Paul M. (2010) Brief of the American Psychological Association… :
Herdt, Gilbert H. (1993). Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia:
Herk, G.M. (2009). Marriage of Same-Sex Couples – 2006 Position Statement
Canadian Psychological Association:
Neill, James (2009). The Origins and Role of Same-sex Relations in Human Societies:
Robinson, B.A. (200 cool . Same-sex Right by Country: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_mar4.htm
Scarre, Christ (1995). Chronicles of the Roman Emperors, (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1995) Page 151.
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