For a long time, the issue of same sex marriages has turned out to be a long struggle between those opposing it and those for it. Although some countries have already legalized for this institutions of marriage to exist, a majority have continuously been against it. Many also try to blame the emergence of same sex marriages as the reason for the decline in family and marriage stability. But the questions that linger in our minds are whether same sex marriages should be allowed and if indeed are they there to destroy the traditional institutions of marriage?
Stephanie Coontz in ‘For Better, for Worse: Marriage Means Something Different Now’ (116) tries to assert that it is all about the choices that people have chosen to follow that should dictate how marriage should be. According to Coontz (115), the traditional marriage has changed since the definition of marriage has changed in the modern society. The reasons why people are getting married is because love has become the major force that leads two people to taking the decision to get married. This also explains why people are choosing even to divorce since once love ends there is no need to stay together. Thus same sex marriages should be allowed since it is a choice of the two individuals and the traditional roles that were associated to genders in marriage have changed.
David Frum in Gay Marriage (118) says that it is true that marriage in the United States is slowly losing its meaning and this he attributes to some factors. According to him, marriage has changed from being a commitment that two individuals in opposite sexes will stay together and also from an institution where two individuals start and bring up a family together. He says that marriage has now become just an emotional institution since people getting into marriages are doing so as to affirm that they indeed love each other. Thus due to this shift in the traditional marriage institution, it has become so easy for many individuals to try and come up with means to accept same sex marriages in the society. He also adds that even raising children was much of a way to teach them the morally upright ways but with these institutions in the modern world, more emphasis is given to the adults more than the kids (Frum and Sulivan 119). Andrew Sulivan however strongly disagrees with David’s views and even considers them hostile to those advocating for same sex marriages. He argues that instead of viewing the legalization and acceptance of same sex marriages as a way to destroy the traditional institutions of marriage, it should be viewed as a means to promote the existence and trust in marriages (Frum et al, 120). This is because these are individuals who have been locked out of the marriage institutions and their inclusion should only be viewed as an expansion of the marriage institution. Since they have fought for long to be included into it, they advocate for its existence and thus they should not be blamed for being the cause of its failure but rather be accepted in order to help in promoting its values. According to Andrew every individual should be given the right to decide who to marry but with a condition that the marriage should portray the roles that it traditionally used to (Frum et al 121).
In what’s in a Word by George Lakoff, he claims that marriage should be a union of two people who are in love and among many other factors it is also the only institution in which sex is a benefit. Thus many people openly try to shun the concept of same sex marriages since they do not support gay sex (Lakoff 14). But he claims that the inclusion of same sex marriages in the marriage institution only expands it rather that helping to collapse it. With these different views of people, Lakoff says that although some may allow for the marriages to be civil, the gay activists would want it to be a full marriage that can be commissioned even in the church (Lakoff 23). But now the problem poses with whether religion should allow this since ministers and priests are given the power to commission marriages by the government and not the church itself.
Human rights should be considered whenever the issue of same sex marriages arises. In each country, there are rights that have been given to every citizen and if violated it is undeserving to the particular individual. Thus no particular individual should be violated upon based upon sex or even any status they uphold. In the United States, Dr. Martin Luther king Jr was a pioneer in the fight for human rights and this paved the way for gay activists to claim for their rights. Although they have managed to beat the discrimination that was put on them by the society through hostility, there still remains a big unsolved dilemma due to same sex marriages not being welcomed by society (Hubert 41). But with the transformations that have rocked the marriage institution, it is logically acceptable that same sex marriages should be allowed. This is because currently majority of those individuals choosing to get into marriage are doing so because they love each other. Hence if love is the only factor that would guarantee that a marriage survives its course, then individual should be left to decide the course that they would want their marriage life to take. This is mainly because it is all about a personal decision that an individual has to make and if one feels that this is what they want then they should not be stopped from doing so (McDonald 117).
The rights that straight people are accorded in marriage should also be given to those in same sex marriages. By denying these individuals their rights to marriage, it is a huge shame since no equality is being exercised here. By denying others the benefits that are enjoyed in marriage amounts to depriving them a right to enjoy marriage in it’s fullest. And thus it same sex marriages should be allowed to happen like normal marriages instead of only limiting the marriages to being civil (Hubert 43).
Same sex marriages have also been highly opposed because of the fact that marriages are intended to bear children but how do same sex partners procreate to bear children. It is also a belief among people that same sex marriages would lead to a reduction in the procreation of children (West 40). But this should not be an issue that should drive people to shun same sex marriages. In the same societies that we live in, there are many children born out of wedlock who end up being abandoned in streets just to end up in juvenile homes or adoption. These same sex marriages can still be allowed to occur since they do not in any way hinder the procreation of children since it is evident that children are not only getting born in marriages. Same sex couples can also be able to adopt and bring up children and thus upholding the traditional roles of marriage which involve bringing up children. Children essentially require a loving and caring environment to grow in and this can be readily given to them by their adopted same sex parents. This is because even this marriage is founded on love and a commitment to be together in life also. The notion that children should be brought up by both a father and a mother should not also be used to support the un-acceptance of same sex marriages. With the increased cases of divorce in families and also single parenting, it would be illogical to claim that same sex partners cannot be able to bring up children that will grow up like any other normal children. The issue of teaching the children what is right or wrong solely lies on whoever is bringing them up and that is all what same sex couples would also be expected to do.
Same sex marriages should not be met with such hostility in society. This is because people have now taken to getting married as being a product of love existing between two individuals. Marriages are also getting broken since the love that was once there has now ended. Hence if two individuals feel that they are in love and want to get married their sexes should not be the focus of whether they should get married or not. Same sex marriages cannot also be blamed as the causes of the failures being witnessed in modern day marriages. This is because they have not been there and it is only now that they are trying to get into the institution. They should be embarrassed as a new extension to marriage where people will not feel ridiculed due to their sex status in society. This is also partly due to the fact that gay individuals have been there even in the past and slowly people have come to acknowledge their existence but only rejecting such marriages. These choices of individuals should be respected and they should be welcomed in the marriage institutions as partners who are advocating for the continuity of marriages rather than destroying them.
Hubert, D. (2001). The Responsibility to Protect: Supplementary Volume to the Report of the
International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. International
Development Research Centre; Canada.
Richard, M. (1994). A More Perfect Union. Boston: Sage.
Frum, David and Sulivan Andrew. (1997). Gay Marriage.
Coontz, Stephanie. (2005). For Better, for Worse: Marriage Means Something Different Now.
Lakkof, G. (2004). What’s in a Word?
McDonald, James C. The reader. New York: Longman, 2009. Print.