Civil marriage, in our society, is the primary way to recognize our most intimate, committed relationships. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals should be granted this right.
One argument that opponents of same-sex marriage make is that marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman. There is no such thing as a “traditional” marriage. Throughout history, there have been periods when concubines, polygamy, etc, were considered “traditional.” In recent history, it was untraditional for a black person to marry a white person, however it happens frequently now. Traditions don’t last forever and have to, and do, change at some point.
Another argument made is that the allowance of same-sex marriage is incompatible with many religious views. While this is one of the main arguments, it is ignorant to the fact that in the United States, church and state are completely different entities. Religion should not affect issues dealt with by the government, like marriage. The first amendment states that “a state may not establish a religion. The state may not take principles of religious beliefs from a religion, any religion, and establish it as the law applicable to all.” Also, interestingly enough, many churchgoers hold different opinions than their own church officials. For example, in the catholic church, while the Pope vehemently opposes gay marriage, 45% of Catholics support same-sex marriage, and only 43% oppose it.
Marriage is a legal union between two people, and if marriage affects federal benefits, it should be kept as a legal union. Marriage through the state and marriage through the church should not be considered the same thing. If a church does not want to marry a homosexual couple, it should have no effect on the couple being married by the state. The couple married by law should still receive the same benefits, both on the state level and the federal level, that a heterosexual couple receives by being married through the church.
Another common argument of those opposing gay marriage is one that involves reproduction. Opponents claim that the point of marriage is to have children. However, if this is the case, why are infertile women allowed to marry? Many couples are married and choose not to have children. Should they be forced into divorce? These couples possess the same “disability” that a homosexual couple possesses, yet are granted marriage licenses when homosexual couples are not.
The biggest roadblock to the legalization of same-sex marriage is morals. However, as decided in Supreme Court Case Lawrence vs. Texas, “moral disapproval” alone is not a suitable cause for discrimination. Morals seem to be the main reason people oppose same-sex marriage, but it has been decided that this is not a legitimate reason to discriminate against homosexuals. By not granting marriage licenses to homosexuals, unlawful discrimination is occurring.
Finally, it should be nobody else’s business to deny marriage between two men or two women who love each other and want to legalize their commitment. Legislators, governors, mayors, and justices should have no right to bar a couple from getting married just because they don’t feel that it is right. Marriage allows couples the right to do things from hospital visits or choosing a final resting place to filing joing tax returns and being able to cover a spouse under Social Security and Medicare. As seen in the recent Supreme Court case, if a homosexual partner chooses to leave a house they share to his or her would-be-spouse, they are forced to pay sometimes heavy estate taxes on it. A spouse in a heterosexual relationship would not have to do this. If a homosexual couple functions identically to a married heterosexual couple, it is not fair for one party to be granted these rights and the other to be denied them.
In some of my favorite words by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and to make a full circle to my first post “Marriage is a basic human right. You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love.” Homosexual couples should be allowed to get married.