Same sex marriage has become a polarizing issue in both state and national politics as well as religious platforms. In the United States alone, fourteen states including California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington among others, states have legalized same sex marriages either through court decisions, state legislations or through popular votes. Research also reveals that voters in about 10 states in the United States of America passed state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the relationship between one woman and one man. However, some other states such as Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, Kentucky, and Missouri among several others have banned same sex marriages by constitutional amendments and state laws, or constitutional amendments or state laws only. The polarizing views on gay marriages can also be witnessed on religious groups with some groups supporting the marriages, and other rejecting the same. The ethical considerations surrounding enlistment of gay people into the military has been a greatly contested opinion in the history of the United States. It is imperative to consider pros and cons of same sex marriages, and reasons why it should be banned.
The most recent controversial religious viewpoint on same sex marriage was witnessed when the newly elected Pope Francis challenged his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI on the same sex marriages. Pope Francis maintained that he is not God to judge the people involving in same sex marriages, which are considered to go against the conservative nature of the Catholic religion. On the same note, the United Church of Christ also affirmed equal marriage rights to all its followers notwithstanding their gender just as the case in the Anglican church (Goldingay, 2011) However, the church does not permit its ministers to perform these marriages. Additionally, in the American history, the House of Representatives and the Senate have enacted legislations such as the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ act that was later repealed with the efforts of the same political institutions.
Different opponents and proponents argue for and against such same sex marriages based on different perspectives. While some people consider the spiritual aspect of marriages, others are believed to be cultural conservatives. These marriages, however, have different impacts in child rearing, adoption, and marriages alongside a list of other related phenomena. While reviewing different literature from different researchers, it is imperative to establish the challenges faced by the same sex couples and their families, including the children they raise.
According to McVeigh (2009), despite the increasing liberality of the gay rights in the United States, it has been established that a sizeable proportion of the American population oppose same sex marriages just because they oppose homosexuality. These opponents do not feel compelled to provide justification for their rejections of these marriages, but they just hate them for their definitions. According to a Battle and Bennett research of 2002, Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans faced additional hardships of sexual orientation-based discrimination (Dang, 2005). For instance, these people faced racism at mostly white gay events and venues; and experienced homophobia in black heterosexual organizations, from straight friends, from their families of origin, and also in religious institutions such as churches, mosques, and temples, which do not support such marital institution. Americans as well as other members of the global community differ in opinion regarding same sex marriages based on the religious and cultural definitions of marriage among other factors. According to Goldingay , E. (2011) in the article, “Same-Sex Marriage and Anglican Theology: A View from the Traditionalists,” the modern definition of the institution of marriage has changed from the traditional bond between one man and one woman to the modern sexual relationship in which two women or two men may also be committed to each other. These latter marriages also seek recognition to have the corresponding rights of parenting, support, inheriting, adopting, divorcing, and separating as well as other obligations and privileges that spouses in a marriage expect to enjoy.
Most countries in the world have today either legalized same sex marriages, or ruled that restricting marriages to heterosexual relationships is not only unlawful, but also unjust. Religious institutions have also given contradicting reactions toward same sex marriages with some advocating for principles of tolerance, fairness, and compassion supporting moral features of same sex marriages, and others such as the Catholic Church giving a rather dissimilar stance. Rose (2011) describes the family policy in the Canadian context primarily as the legislation and governmental programs that support parents in raising their children. She describes children as the source of renewal of human capital in an economy, or as an investment in the nation’s future. Therefore, the family is the societal multigenerational unit of parents that raises children. There are several factors that can lead to the implementation of a national family policy such as national values, political structures, and demographic trends, for instance aging population and declining fertility. In contrast, lack of consensus about the importance of gender equality in nations such as the United States or whether children versus families should take precedence in policy decision making such as in Australia have contributed to the lack of national family policies in the aforementioned nations. Nevertheless, research also reveals that nations such as Sweden that have traditions of socialist governments are more likely to formulate national policies. Decentralized systems of governance such as in the United States also lead to conflicting interests, which lead to the lack of national family policies, the result is an increasing population of same sex couples as the heterogeneous couples population decline (Luke, 2012).
Biologically, same sex marriages cannot produce children, which have been indicated herein as the source of continuity of the society and the source of future human capital. Therefore, in nations and states allowing same sex marriages, the constitutions provide for the adopting and raising of children is such families. Eipsten (n.d.) indicates in “The nuclear gay family: same-sex marriage in children's books” that most of the books with LGBTQ characters published were picture books, aimed at young children, and that this was because of increasing number of same sex couples adopting children. He indicates that same sex families also require literature that featured families like theirs, thereby mirroring the same sex marriages as societal acceptable. Despite the limited study on LGBTQ parents and children raised in the same sex families; these researches indicate that children in same sex marriages can be raised into healthy and happy adults. The family policies discussed above allow for the raising of children as a family role. Therefore, parents in the same sex marriages also comprise the family definition, especially in nations and states that have allowed for such relationships. Consequently, same sex parents are legally permitted to adopt and raise children with societal values possessed by the other children in the heterosexual families.
Cultural integrations have posed challenges to outlawing same sex marriages in different nations including the United States. Due to cultural mix and societal civilization, the growing acceptance of homosexuality has challenged religious leaders against maintaining the cultural and religious values that define marriage. For instance, the Anglican Community has struggled with the issue of same sex relationships in several and different contexts, which have included the Lambeth Conferences since 1988, the Primate meetings, and the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council. Nevertheless, despite these efforts, the Anglican community has increasingly approved same sex marriages asserting that such institutions serve the companionship purpose of the institution of marriage.
Same sex marriages not only have an impact on the society such as children raised in these families or special interest groups anti-campaigning the agenda, but also has been identified to have weight related problems on the same sex partners. According to Mortein (n.d.), a high number of excess overweight has been identified among same sex female partners. However, this research study reveals the reverse of this statistics indicating that gay men may be slightly lighter and shorter than their heterosexual male counterparts may. The effects of obesity and being overweight are some of the current health challenges facing the world. Therefore, in same sex female marriages, the chances of contracting these weights related disorders are very high compared to the heterosexual females. These statistics do not only threaten the lives of the same sex partners, but also the nation’s Department of Health. The United States and other nations of the world are struggling to reduce the overweight and obesity related diseases. Therefore, reducing the same sex marriages, especially women marriages would lead to a reduced population of the sick nation.
The social work faculty is additionally important since it plays an important role in the preparation of future social workers for competent and ethical practice, which also includes advocacy for social policies including the sexual minorities such as the same sex partners. Even though some studies have revealed that only a section of the same sex partners intend to adopt children, the few percentage that chooses to adopt and raise children require policies that protect them against the development and pursuing of their interests. According to the adoptions laws, a single male or female cannot adopt a child of the opposite sex. However, this therefore implies that a grown up can adopt a child of their similar sexes. Consequently, same sex families should also be allowed to adopt and raise children of their sexes. However, according to consequential arguments against same sex marriages, traditional marriages are characterized as an altruistic space wherein adults subordinate their self-interests to their children’s welfare. According to these opponents, this altruistic space provides a critical public function since it trains good citizens, creates happiness, and rear superior children in the long run. Nevertheless, this has not been the case anymore. The society is increasingly approving of the same sex marriages, and it is no longer a new idea in the society as it was when these definitions of the family were given (Mortein, n.d.). Therefore, the definitions of the institution of the family should be changed to accommodate the same sex families, and give them equal considerations as their heterosexual counterparts.
The National Urban League demographics indicate that the African Americans are significantly disadvantages in the education, income, wealth, income, and other measures notwithstanding their sexual orientation or gender expression and identity. Research also indicates that the state and federal constitutional amendments outlawing same sex marriages in the United States will affect the black same sex partners than the blacks married to the opposite sex couples because the former are generally economically disadvantaged compared to the latter and the white same sex couples. The African American same sex couples earn less salary and are less likely to own properties such as homes than the white same sex couples are. Therefore, they are most likely to feel the effects of being barred from the legal and economic legal protections and benefits provided for marriages in the constitution. These consequently diminish their saving abilities. As a result, these families have hard time providing for their children. The children adopted in African American same sex marriages have hard time in getting the basic requirements that other children in other families receive. The hardships in these families include the inability to take advantage of a partner’s health care plan, which even burdens the couple’s financial constrains.
In conclusion, the same sex marriage debates in the United States and other countries of the world seem to have unending arguments both for and against such arrangements. While the proponents believe that every person should be given the right to express their sexual orientations, the opponents consider such marriages as unethical, unconstitutional, and against cultural and religious definitions of the institutions of marriage. The opponents believe that the institution of marriage is meant to serve the purpose of child bearing and rearing. The opponents however consider the latter (rearing), as the basic function of marriage alongside companionship and sexual satisfaction between partners of any sexual orientation, and not necessarily between a man and a woman.
Children brought up in the same sex families might have challenges, especially those brought up in the African American same sex families. These families are usually economically disadvantaged, thereby forcing the members to live in very low standards such as cheap and substandard schools. They also access poor health services, which make the children even more vulnerable. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, the proponents believe that same sex partners should be given the opportunity to rear children as long as they satisfy the qualifications for adoption such as age between the child and the adoption parents as well as the gender of the adoption parents and the adopted child. Despite all these contradicting debates, the disadvantages of rearing children in same sex marriages in the United States and other countries in the world far outweigh its advantages. Additionally, the religious, cultural, and economic aspects of the society are the foundations of moral. Since the same sex marriages contradict the former’s definitions of the institution of marriage, same sex marriages should be outlawed in the state and national constitutional amendments. The nation should also ensure that national family policies are universal and cater for the needs of all the citizens
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Dang, A. (2005). Black Same-Sex Couple Households in the 2000 U.S. Census: Implications in the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/pqcentral/docview/200357155/5E50477219F74EB4PQ/13?accountid=87314
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