Gay marriage has been legalized in nine states in the United States.
Recently, Washington, Maryland, and Maine, were the first states to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote (Dalton, 2013, para. 2). The legalization of gay marriage is an ethical issue that impinges on citizens moral values causing a larger interest from the general public in its political enactment. Those with liberal views are advocating equal rights. While Conservatives believe that marriage is not a political or social invention, but a social reinforcement of biological reality: male, female, offspring (Van Gend & Wilson, 2011, p. 6).
Conservatives argue that same-sex marriage violates the traditional family structure. The traditional family structure consists of one man and one woman. It is also proven that same-sex couples cannot physically produce offspring, which violates family tradition. It is necessary for one man and one woman to produce children and to repopulate (Zorn, 2012). Contrary to this belief, the traditional American family has changed and developed significantly over the last decade. Many households consist of same-sex partners or a single parent with children.
At the same time concerns are raised by those against gay marriage that legalizing same-sex marriage will promote the illegal practice of polygamy (Zorn, 2012). Polygamy is the practice of a single person having more than one legal spouse. Single partner marriages are completely separate from polygamous marriages and have independent laws. Legalizing same-sex marriage would still be in the guidelines of two persons per marriage and polygamy remains illegal in the United States.
To adapt to the evolving “traditional family” same-sex marriage should be approved and legalized.To protect the traditional values of marriage, same-sex marriage should be illegal. Studies show that children raised by gay parents experience less social interaction during early childhood. This is because children of gay parents experience exclusion from their peers. Young children reject things they do not understand and peers with parents rejected by society are more likely to withdraw themselves from social activity because of exclusion.
These children withdraw to protect themselves from any future pain of rejection and exclusion.This type of withdrawal leads to social and academic decline (“Schoolyard blues: impact of gossip and bullying,” 2006). As these children age, they have the tendency to avoid peers by skipping classes resulting in a decline in grades. As these children continue to withdraw, they are avoided by peers for behaving in an anti- social way and are labeled as weird. This type of rejection can lead to depression and anxiety in these children as they enter their teen years (“Schoolyard blues: impact of gossip and bullying,” 2006).
Finally, 69% of adult children of lesbian parents reported lower income levels, and poorer physical and mental health. This is higher than the 17% of adults from in-tact heterosexual families (“Adult children of parents in same-sex relationships report varied outcomes,” 2012). Ultimately, society depends on heterosexual relationships to produce future generations. Adoption group studies report most gay couples become parents through adoption and foster care.The 2007 report shows that 14,100 foster children lived with homosexual parents (Gandossy, 2007).
These children are products of a heterosexual relationship. Although the same-sex couples are providing homes for these children, the social, and psychological ways these children are affected should not be the only reason same-sex marriage should become legal. If gay marriage becomes legal and more children are raised to consider homosexuality natural, over time there will be less heterosexual marriages and therefore less natural human reproduction.Additionally, homosexual parents are more likely to have homosexual, bi- sexual, or sexually confused children (“Study suggests lesbian and gay parents influence their children's sexual orientation,” 2010). By and large, gays and lesbians argue that it is an American citizen’s right to marry whomever they want. It must be shown that even heterosexuals are not permitted by law to marry whomever they want.
Currently, most states define the criteria of marriage with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to one man and one woman.However, there are restrictions that go beyond love and mutual commitment. Two people cannot be any closer related than third cousins ("Find Law," 2013). If, the man and woman are elderly and unable to reproduce, a judge may grant the couple permission to marry. Additionally, both parties must be considered mentally stable enough to understand that they are entering into a marriage.
Individuals who lack the capacity to understand the institution of marriage will not be allowed to enter it. The man and woman entering into marriage must be 18, or have parental consent.However, some states make exceptions when the under aged bride is expecting a baby ("Find Law," 2013). People who are already legally married must show proof of a divorce before obtaining a license to marry someone else.
There are no exceptions to this law as it makes no difference how long the married couple has been separated ("Find Law," 2013). As it is illegal for an individual to marry another person while still legally married to someone else, it should also be said that polygamy is also unlawful. In conclusion, marriage has been defined to include one man and one woman.Over the past 50 years Americans have fought whether or not to legalize gay marriage, and there continues to be arguments, hearings, and debates over this topic.
The Supreme Court has examined the topic on numerous occasions and has not reached a definite answer but will hear the case in June 2013. Many societal benefits will result from the legalization of same-sex marriages such as making it easier for same sex couples to adopt children. In Detroit, Michigan, there is a big case concerning a same sex couple by the names of April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse.This couple is suing for the right to jointly adopt their three children as well overturn the Michigan Marriage Amendment on the basis of it being unconstitutional (Blitchok, 2013, p. 1). Based on the Children's Bureau report from the U.
S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 104, 236 children in public foster care in 2011 (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012, p. 2).
The Michigan Marriage Amendment was approved by voters in 2004, and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Therefore, this amendment is unconstitutional because the U.S. Constitution states that “In America there is a separation between church and state, and we are all entitled to equal rights under the law. " The Supreme Court is left with the final decision (Blitchok, 2013, p. 1).
Legalizing same-sex marriage will make it easier for same sex couples to adopt because with the passing of the law, all laws currently restricting their adoption rights will be abolished. To deny a child in the foster care system the right to a loving family, a stable home, and the chance to establish a balanced life is immoral.Furthermore, to deny capable, willing, and competent citizens the right to exercise their humanitarian values in committing the selfless act to care for and raise a foster child is morally wrong. Presumably, the denial of same-sex marriages will negatively affect children of same-sex couples as they have a higher possibility of being subjected to discrimination, ridicule, bullying, and psychological trauma.
An average child from a heterosexual household faces abundant challenges; the legal prohibition of the existence of a child's same-sex parent will cause immense psychological damage.Therefore, by legalizing same-sex marriage, children with same-sex parents will secure the right to live life free of public ridicule based on his or her household dynamics that is out of his or her control. The abolishment of the same-sex marriage ban will help children lead more balanced, tolerant, and morally sound lives. Accordingly, many politicians, and special interests groups such as The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), are aggressively pursuing the legalization of same-sex marriage.The NAACP is a historic organization, which 103 years ago set on a path to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all people.
A misconception of the NAACP is that the organization only stands for the African American community. However, as Roslyn M. Brock, Chairperson of the NAACP Board of Directors has stated, “One of the crucial roles played in the NAACP is to ensure its equal rights mission, which helped define America in the last century and continues to be implemented with the assistance of our Association during the second century” (Brock, 2012, p. n. d.
”). The NAACP has always stood against laws that demean, dehumanize, or discriminate against any person in this country and it is the legacy in which the NAACP was established. While the nature of the struggle may change, the NAACP’s bedrock commitment to equality of all people under the law never will. Ella Baker, considered one of the greatest leaders of the NAACP best described this when she stated, “Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind” (Brock, 2012, p.
n. d. ”).Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP stated, “Marriage equality goes at least as far back as the Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967” (Jealous, 2012, p. “n.
d. ”). Prior to her death, Mildred Loving, who successfully sued to end legally sanctioned marriage inequality based on race, wrote a powerful piece that ended, “I am proud that Richard’s name and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, commitment, fairness, and family so many people black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life” (Loving, 1967, p. n. d. ”).
Marriage equality has expanded to an ever-increasing number of states; other states have supported enshrining discrimination in their Constitutions and some members of Congress are utilizing budget votes and other partisan connections to restrict marriage equality. Jealous wants the record to state that the NAACP stands firmly on opposing all efforts that restrict marriage equality. The NAACP will oppose threats to the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal rights under the law in any state where this topic raises issue.Jealous closed his remarks by stating, “This is one of the key civil rights struggles of our time” (Jealous, 2012, p.
“n. d. ”). Civil marriage, like all civil rights provided by the government, must be provided equally to all Americans. On August 4, 2010, Vaughn R. Walker, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on handing supporters of such unions at least a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court.
The ban, known to most as Proposition eight, was passed with 52% voter approval Judge Walker wrote, “Proposition eight cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. ” Judge Walker also mentioned, “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest” (McKinley, 2010, p. “n. d. ”).
Although this decision was a huge set-back to Proposition eight, the decision only applied to California. This decision did not affect federal law, which at the moment does not recognize same-sex unions.Theodore Olson, representing the plaintiffs mentioned stated that the decision was a victory for the American people. Jennifer Pizer, the director for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles added, “Being gay is about forming an adult family relationship with a person of the same sex, so denying us equality within the family system is to deny respect for the essence of who we are as gay people” (McKinley, 2010, “n. d.
”). The case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, two gay couples who said Proposition eight impinged on their constitutional rights was heard in May 2009.During the trial plaintiffs offered evidence from experts on marriage, sociology and political science, and emotional testimony from the two couples who had generated the case. However, Judge Walker remained skeptical of claims from proponents of Proposition eight in which same-sex marriage damaged traditional marriage as an institution.
Marriage was historically rooted in the need to foster procreation, which same-sex unions cannot, and was thus fundamental to the existence and survival of the human race (McKinley, 2010, “n. d. ”).On May 9, 2012, President Obama became the first United States President to declare his support for gay marriage during an interview for ABC News with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, stating: "When I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet, feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is gone, because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage; at a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. When I meet gay and lesbian couples, when I meet same-sex couples, and I see how caring they are, how much love they have in their hearts, how they're taking care of their kids, when I hear from them the pain they feel that somehow they are still considered less than full citizens when it comes to their legal rights, then, for me, I think it just has tipped the scales in that direction" (Calmes, 2012, p. A1).
Many laws being referenced and interpreted do not apply to today's ever-evolving society.Same-sex couples should have access to the same marriage benefits and public acknowledgment bestowed upon heterosexual couples, as the prohibition of gay marriage is unconstitutional. Same-sex couples share many of the same values and challenges as heterosexual couples such as finances, family values, interdependence, and their expression of commitment through a firm foundation. Same-sex couples merit the constitutional and civil right to create a legal foundation of their union to provide security to themselves and their families.
Gay marriage should be legalized nationwide to employ an acceptable cultural status to same-sex couples that would strengthen public policy and the institution while setting a worldwide example of our continued collaborative efforts to lead as a progressive and free democratic nation.