The debates on civil unions and same sex marriages have generated controversy among various groups in the United States of America. The lobbyists for same sex marriages argue that these marriages support individuality; according to them, individuals express themselves through same sex marriages. The opponents of the same cite social problems such moral decay. Several sociological forces such as morality, family laws, and traditional beliefs have generated these controversies. Same- sex marriages and civil unions also have several ramifications on the society. A ramification refers to an effect caused by a given occurrence. These ramifications include the disregard of family laws, the prevalence of polygamous relationships, and the rejection of heterosexual marriages. These ramifications will have adverse impacts on the society, hence social changes.
Sociological forces generating controversy over same- sex marriages and civil unions
Sociological forces refer to societal opinions regarding an issue. Same sex marriages have been criticized over the issues of morality. The critiques of the same sex marriages and civil unions argue that these unions disregard moral values in the society. Morality requires adherence to what is deemed right according to the society’s perspective. The society views those who engage in acts that promote same sex unions as immoral. Additionally, traditions condemn immorality and uphold virtues that promote morality.
Family laws are a force generating the arguments about same sex marriages. According to sociological theories, the family is a unit that promotes socialization. The opponents of the same sex marriages base their arguments on the creation of family units. They argue that same sex marriages discourage socialization because it is difficult for those involved, to create families in which children are raised. This is because same sex marriages discourage reproduction. The proponents, in contrast, state that couples in same sex marriages have an option to adopt children and live happily (Thornton, 2007). The society views the family as a fundamental institution for its growth because it is the basic unit where individuals acquire values. The conflict over family development, therefore, generates controversies over same sex unions.
Traditionally, the marriage institution is sacred and is initiated between a man and woman. Same sex unions disregard these traditions based on arguments about individual liberties. The supporters of the same sex unions argue that homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals, and traditions should not rule over their decisions. Marriage is an institution that fosters social solidarity and cohesion, therefore, should not be abused. According to sociologists, marriage creates a societal network through the creation of the family unit and moral values. The critiques of the same sex marriages, therefore, say that these unions demean social cohesion because majorities of people view them as inappropriate; thus, they find it hard associating with couples in same sex marriages (Thornton, 2007). Traditional beliefs about the marriage institution, therefore, create a platform for controversy about the existence of same sex unions.
Conflicts arising over gender roles are also a social factor contributing to the controversy on same sex unions. This arises, for example, when there is no clear guidance over who takes the masculine or feminine roles in such a relationship. The children reared in these unions, also experience role and gender conflicts because they look up to their guardians. Such children are likely to be socially withdrawn from the society. A male child, for example, brought up in a union with two men may have trouble in what roles to assume in the household. Such a child also lacks a female figure in their upbringing, which may affect their cognitive development.
Ramifications of the same sex marriages and civil unions
The family unit may become disregarded in light of the same sex marriages activism. The intention of some of the individuals involved in same sex marriages is to achieve companionship. According to studies, a majority of people engaged in such unions does not aspire to adopt children, but are rather in the union for companionship. The prevalence of the same sex marriages and unions might lead to decreased social cohesion, because the family unit and law will be endangered (Thornton, 2007). This might to a decrease in the population because marriages will no longer raise children.
Polygamous relationships resulting from same sex marriages and unions are likely to prevail. The approval of the same sex marriages, for example, will lead to an increase in the number of couples who get married. This is because other groups, such as those that advocate for polygamous relationships, may be encouraged to demand similar rights to marry. This might encourage polygamy, and consequently increase the spread of diseases, especially those transmitted sexually (Majeed, 2004). This will encourage moral decay and will lead to a decrease in social cohesion. The prevalence of diseases will also affect the services provided in the nation’s health care centers, as there will be an increase in the population in need of these services.
Another ramification of the same sex marriages and civil union is the rejection of heterosexual marriages. A majority of people live in fear of the society’s wrath upon them if they confessed their sexuality. According to research, a significant number of individuals, even those in heterosexual marriages are homosexuals, who live in fear of public condemnation. This implies that the legalization of the same sex marriages, for example, will insight such people to opt for same sex marriages, hence disregarding the heterosexual unions.
Same sex marriages and civil unions may lead to an increase in other social evils. The approval of these marriages, for example, may lead to an increase in smoking; this is because smokers would also demand similar rights as those of same sex unions. This example implies that smokers would argue that smoking is an action less influential when compared to same sex unions. This would affect the rule of law because the lawmakers would be faced with ethical dilemmas regarding what regulations to impose.
A significant effect of the same sex marriages and civil unions concerns the economy. Entrepreneurs and taxpayers will be forced to subsidize those engaging in same sex marriages. An example of such a subsidy is the homosexuals working in government offices; individuals in such a union may name their partner as their dependant so that taxpayers’ revenue covers their health insurance fund (Ripke, 2005). Organizations will be obligated to provide social benefits to same sex couples, the same way they do heterosexual couples. This might affect the overall performance of the economy because of the misappropriation of revenue generated by taxpayers.
Same sex marriages and civil unions create platforms for controversy; this is because a portion of individuals advocate for them while another criticizes them. The advocates cite individual liberty while the opponents argue that they promote moral decay and disregard the family laws. The primary social forces causing this controversy are morality, family laws, and traditional beliefs. The ramifications of the same sex marriage unions include a decrease in the population, the rejection of heterosexual marriages, and the increase in polygamy. This shows that same- sex marriages and civil unions are controversial especially in the United States of America.
Majeed, D. M. (2004). "THE BATTLE HAS BEEN JOINED": Gay and polygynous marriages are out of the closet and in search of legitimacy. Cross Currents, 54, 73-81.
Ripke, J. L. (2005). Employee ERISA benefits after goodridge v. public health: Do same-sex marriages qualify as legal marriages under employer-created ERISA plans? Journal of Corporation Law, 31(1), 267-285.
Thornton, A. (2007). America's struggle for same-sex marriage. Journal of Church and State, 49(2), 366-368.