The following article is intended as a general overview on the pros and cons of legalizing gay marriage and not my personal opinion on the subject. However, just for the record, I should state that I am a heterosexual male and, as far as gay marriage is concerned, it is a matter of little importance to me personally.
If two people, of whatever gender, decide they want to tie the knot and make their love for each other both public and legal, that is entirely up to them and won’t spoil my day in the slightest. The burning topic of the day seems to be not should gay people be allowed to marry, gay marriage has existed in various forms for years now, but should it be legalized thereby conferring the same rights and legal entitlements that pertain to a “normal” married couple on the newly-weds.
America Says “I Do”
It doesn’t really matter anymore whether you are totally in favor of gay marriage or its most vehement opponent, gay marriage is now legal across the entire United States of America since June of 2015. On the 26th of that month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Obergefell versus Hodges case that, according to the Fourteenth Amendment all federal states must allow same sex marriages within their jurisdiction as well as recognizing similar unions performed elsewhere.
The Fourteenth Amendment, originally enacted into law to guarantee equal citizenship rights for former slaves, states that all people receive equal protection under the law which, legally, also covers the rights of citizens to same sex marriage.
Like it or not, gay marriage is now legal but is that a good thing or bad thing? Well it certainly has many pros if you are a married gay couple or thinking of getting hitched but is the legalizing of gay marriage a good thing for America in general or is it to the detriment of society?
The Pros of Gay Marriage
1. Equal Rights.
Rightly, under U.S law, no citizen should be discriminated for the color of their skin, religious beliefs or differing opinions. Being gay often means being discriminated against because of who and what you are as in not being allowed to marry the partner of your choice. Legalizing gay marriage has addressed this issue.
Since the introduction of legal gay marriages, the social structure of America has not totally collapsed as opponents of the legislation strongly suggested. If anything, society may have benefited from the acceptance of gay couples as “just another married couple” as it has opened formerly closed minds.
The subject of children in a gay marriage was one of the biggest issues surrounding the legalization process. Despite the naysayers, gay couples have been shown to be even more caring and loving parents than straight couples as they seem to truly appreciate the wonder of having children and take their responsibilities more seriously.
4. Financial Burden.
There was a lot of talk in some camps about legalizing gay marriage being a financial burden on the state, or states, as it was merely subsidizing homosexual and lesbian lifestyles. While it is true that there are tax and insurance advantages for gay people who marry, it is the exact same as those that apply to all married couples so maybe all marriages should be forbidden to level the playing field.
Probably the biggest single obstacle to gay marriage legislation, and certainly the biggest bone of contention. Leaders and members of all religious faiths came together to oppose the legalization of gay marriage on ethical, moral and, above all, religious grounds. Using biblical quotes and verses of scripture to illustrate their points, religious leaders “proved” that even being gay was a terrible sin against God and man but the thought that a gay union would be condoned and legalized was the beginning of the Apocalypse. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their beliefs but everyone is also entitled to live their life in peace and love and the sky has not, as yet, fallen in.
The Cons of Gay Marriage
1. Equal Rights.
All U.S. citizens are entitled to equal rights and that includes gay people. But the law applies to ALL citizens so where does it end. Freedom of religion is also enshrined in the constitution so if your religion allows you to have multiple wives, shouldn’t this also be recognized in American law? If not, isn’t that discrimination on religious grounds?
Statistics can show that gay couples are more stable than the traditional male and female set-up but other statistics will disprove those so-called facts. There is no reason to believe that gay partnerships are any more volatile than any other sort of relationships but the fact that a gay couple cannot, as yet, procreate means that the ties that bond parents and children to create a family are lacking in a gay marriage.
This is a frightening subject for most opponents of gay marriage. The doomsday scenario of two paedophiles arranging a “marriage” with the sole intention of later adopting their own children is part of urban myth but what if it turns out to be a reality? Even one such case would be one too many.
4. Financial Burden.
While gay couples are subject to the same tax and insurance laws and regulations as other couples there is the question in some people’s minds as to whether two gays or lesbians are simply getting married for financial gain. This is true in some cases for male/female marriages so why not in the gay equivalent.
It’s back to the BIG question of religion and religious beliefs. Okay, being gay is not a religion but the legalization of gay marriages opened the door to the topic of people being discriminated against. Where two people of the same sex could not be legally married previously simply because it was “against the law”, that law has changed and other laws can now be challenged on that basis. If I am a Mormon fundamentalist can I challenge the law against having multiple wives on religious grounds. Or if I profess my love for a fifteen-year-old and want to marry her, am I being discriminated against because the law says she has to be eighteen to consent to marriage?
Indeed, is she being discriminated against because of her age? In many African countries the age for a woman(?) to get legally married is fourteen. If I am a native of one of those countries, isn’t it discrimination to forbid me to marry my fourteen-year-old fiancé or even my fifteen-year-old cousin? And if I happen to be a citizen of Equatorial Guinea, then, by the law of my country, I am legally entitled to marry my twelve-year-old girlfriend. Am I being discriminated against because of my ethnic background, my religious beliefs or is it discrimination against women or girls?
Fair is fair and nobody would, or should, deny another person the right to happiness. If two people love each other and want to make a lifelong commitment to each other then that is their choice and their right. The fact that those two people may both be male or both female is just a minor detail in my personal view. The arguments for and against the legalizing of gay marriage have been heard and the arguments will continue for years to come but it is now legal and my parting words to both sides in the war of words is simply to move on and enjoy life! Life is too short for what is, in my humble opinion, a very insignificant matter in the greater scheme of things.
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