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Hot Button: Same-Sex Marriage

It's February and we're looking at the role of politics in love — starting with a peek at same-sex marriage. Traditionally, marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman. As gay people gain acceptance in society, voices calling for same-sex marriage have grown louder. At the same time, those who want to prohibit legalization are strongly voicing their opinions.

Arguments made by the conflicting sides include:

For Same-Sex Marriage:

  • Denying marriage is minority discrimination.
  • Homosexuality has a proven biological causation.
  • Same-sex marriage does not hurt anyone in particular.
  • Same-sex marriage encourages family values and stability.
  • Against Same-Sex Marriage:

  • Most religions consider homosexuality a sin.
  • Same-sex marriage will weaken respect for marriage, family values.
  • Same-sex marriage would lead to a slippery slope (e.g. multiple wives).
  • Same-sex marriage would encourage a gay lifestyle.
  • Should we allow gay couples to marry? For a brief recap of where the laws stand now


    Despite growing mainstream acceptance of gay people, they still cannot legally marry in almost every state. But they are gaining rights, as some states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

    In 1996 Congress passed The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. DOMA means that same-sex couples joined in civil unions still do not get all the same benefits as married couples. About 40 other states have passed laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Back in 2004, San Francisco issued marriage licenses in defiance of the California law.

    Join The Conversation
    ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
    I am not an idiot, I know that in order for procreation we need female-male intercourse resulting in fertilization. But who is to say that the attraction between males and females is normal? Bonobos (who are our closest primate relative) have sex with EVERYONE. That is the norm for their culture. That is what I meant by my comment.
    geohiker geohiker 9 years
    I have to say that I am married and I think it is great! Everyone should be allowed to get married. That seems overly simplistic, but what else really needs to be said? (And, if the only reason not to allow gay marriage is that some religions do not believe in it - why should that stop everyone else? I don't believe in your religion, whatever it is, and I'm not going to follow it's rules; so why should people have to follow this rule of your religion? Silliness.)
    silverpenny013 silverpenny013 9 years
    And Pargie, I truly, truly, truly thank you for this: "Even though I don't agree with gay marriage it doesn't mean that American laws should reflect my own personal beliefs." I think that more people should feel this way. I respect your opinions though I don't agree with them - and I love that you said this.
    silverpenny013 silverpenny013 9 years
    As quite possibly the only gay person to respond to this, allow me to clear up a couple things. First of all, trust me when I tell you that there is no "inner struggle" for those who wish to get married. In fact, dare I say, most GLBT people who wish to get married are probably those who are most comfortable with themselves. Also, I cannot believe that (most) people would consciously decide to be gay. Like... "Yes. I think I'd like to not share in the equality of my neighbors. I don't think I'd like to even have the option to get married. I am consistently going to be in the minority and there will always be people who will hate me for no reason. In some states, companies can not hire or fire me just because I'm gay. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg. That sounds really great. Sign me up!" Then, there's the idea that it's a problem to show homosexuality as a positive thing. Why are there so many gay people who commit suicide? Is it because there is a huge portion of society telling them that their life is now a negative thing? Something they can't control is inherently bad? But you know what - I think I'm going to attempt to ignore those ideas and focus on the issue at hand. I support gay marriage (obviously). Why? Because I was brought up to believe that people are equal. This is not Animal Farm where some are more equal than others. I believe that using the Bible to create arguments is a substitute for true beliefs because of all the inconsistencies others have pointed out. And by the way, who is to say that your God is my God? My God is fine with my being gay. He (or maybe she) was a part of making me that way. My God loves me for who I am and would never allow me to believe that my life is a sin. But I'm getting sidetracked. I don't see how gay marriage could damage the sanctity of marriage or cost people money. Like many others, I think the insane number of divorces is what threatens what's left of the sanctity of marriage. And, all the companies I have worked for allow for joint healthcare coverage no matter what your sexuality - it's just a little more difficult to get when it's a partner of the same sex. Oddly, I support gay marriage not for myself, because I think I'm okay with not getting married - but that's just me, personally. I'm for it for the other gay people I know who I think deserve it. For one of my college professors who is possibly one of the most intelligent, sweetest men on earth who got his American citizenship in 2005 (he's Canadian). For people I don't know who can love just as well as any heterosexual person can and deserve the right to all the benefits legal marriage gives. For all the people who deserve equality. It's shameful for me to think that I am a citizen of a country where one of the few things I can't control can deprive me of rights. And to the person who hadn't any experience with gay people facing adversity: I want to share a story with you. I work in a relatively small office and one of the men in my office made a few comments to me about when I'm going to start liking guys again. First of all, who is he to determine that my life is a phase? What's this "again" business? And second of all, he lost his job for making those remarks. And it was not me who complained because I knew that he thought he was just being funny. It was a straight male colleague who complained. I'm too willing to look past it and see it as a joke. But really, it's not okay. And I'm glad the other guy said something because otherwise, I'd still be hearing it. And I shouldn't have to. Do I ask him when he's going to start liking guys again? Or, more interestingly, would he make half that kind of comment to the gay man who works in our office? Probably not. It's like I got it twice as bad because I'm gay and I'm a woman. Anyway, I feel like I can't form a logical argument here because my mind just wanders. There are too many things to talk about. So let me quote someone else. This is from Kim Ficera, here: "It's inevitable that history will not look kindly on any dragging of feet or outright refusal to correct the injustice to our community. In the future - the very near future, I think - a majority of Americans will look on the gay-rights struggle as they now reflect on the civil-rights era, the struggle of suffragettes, etc. In due time, those who opposed full equality will be seen as ignoramuses, and those who were forward-thinking, who supported it from the beginning, will be praised as brave leaders." Sorry this is so long!
    pargie pargie 9 years
    I understand that Christianity offends some people, and that homosexuality offends some people. These are facts. But realize that many of your beliefs are offensive to me and others as well. What's cool is that we all can have different belief systems and feel free to do so. Me expressing my opinions on the matter is what the "comments" feature is for. The only difference is that since I am in the minority here, I am the one getting jumped on. If we were all on a forum where the majority of posters were Christians, it would be the opposite. Even though I don't agree with gay marriage it doesn't mean that American laws should reflect my own personal beliefs.
    nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
    I know people who have been disowned by their families it happens all the time Jovian. My friend only started talking to his dad after 5 years of no contact after he came out, his dad even stpped his tuition for him.
    cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
    Mrs. Coyle, Most people have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the Constitution. You will get used to it.
    Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
    And really I have nothing more to say on this.
    Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
    "Each individual's journey through life is unique. Some will make this journey alone, others in loving relationships - maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to ponder our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes and colors and is not finite. It can not be measured or defined in terms of sexual orientation." What happened to Thou Shall Not Judge? Treat Others as you would like to be treated... Pargie you may not be pushing your beliefs and yes you do have the right to religious expression, but I can see where it may become offensive when quoting things from YOUR beliefs. Not everyone shares the same faith and I am sure you are aware of that. As a country we should learn from the past, outcasting and ridiculing those who are different is certainly not the answer. To deny marriage to same sex couples is discrimination to a minority, should we take 10 steps back or move forward. Acceptance is the key. All couples, homosexual or not, should be able to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Why should a couple be denied joint ownership, medical decision-making, etc, just because of their sexual preference?
    mrs_coyle mrs_coyle 9 years
    just in the interest of "knowing how history is written" can you please direct me to the Article and Section of that pesky church and state separation clause - oddly I can't seem to find in in MY copy of the Constitution - don't just buy what their selling
    kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
    i don't even want to read these comments. and i won't (sorry) i spent most of my high school years listening to kids FIGHT about this and abortions. i hate the hate we have for each other over this stuff. i really do. and it's just... i hate how angry this is. sigh. i feel bad for people who want gay marriage. i feel bad for a lot of people.
    JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
    That's terrible!
    AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
    I had a friend in high school who was VERY swishy, and he was constantly harassed with the nastiest comments you can imagine, including the occasional death threat, and even assaulted a couple of times. He was such a nice person. :( He moved to California within months of graduating.
    JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
    I'm just saying, I live in New Jersey, and haven't seen it. Just asking a question.
    chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
    Yes. There are plenty who have been disowned, or told their partners and lifestyle are not welcome in their family's. It is more than "ultraconservative" areas where GLBT receive hostile treatment, gay bashing still exists in NYC.
    JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
    I'm sorry, I know I've already said a lot in this post (and darnit, I said I wasn't going to! Agh!) but I just have to add one more thing. When, other than in maybe small ultraconservative towns, are gay individuals scrutinized for being who they are? I've not met a gay person who's met that obstacle. All of my gay friends have said that their family and friends accepted them(even though they were surprised). Sure, there are jerks who will hate gay people, but there are jerks for every group. There will always be people who don't like gays, some who don't like black people, some who dislike white people, etc. The prejudices can go on and on. Has anyone had a gay friend who was disowned by their loved ones? I'm not trying to challenge anyone, I'm just curious :-)
    ...Kind of like gay people can't legally do anything about a gentlemen (using the term rather loosely here) sitting in a restaurant loudly discussing their hatred and disgust of gays, and how they're all going to hell, and deserve to be beaten to death. AA fought so hard for the legal classification of hate crimes, however many don't think it should be extended to other groups, such as gays. If a gay man is beaten to death, because he is gay, the beater should be tried with a hate crime in the same manner he would have had he beaten a black man because he was black. Not that this is about hate crimes being extended to all discriminated groups...
    chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
    Pargie, There are many issues between the AA community and Homosexuality in general. However, the struggles are analogous; one group who suffered greatly should find kinship in another group's similar fight for freedom, rights, and equality.
    chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
    As usual, loved reading everyone's posts! ITA with Jessy777! *high five* Would like to add that I think those fighting for same sex marriage go about it the wrong way. They should take the religious and moral aspects out of it, and demand their rights as tax payers. If a hetero couple can be married civilly, receiving licenses, and in some cases, ceremonies performed by a government representative or officials, same sex tax paying couples deserve the same for their unions. It is illegal to deny a certain segment of the population access to a public service. That is taxation without representation. Imo, the Civil Rights Act should be amended to include Gays.
    pargie pargie 9 years
    trésjolie I can certainly see the parralels, but many African Americans (including myself) find it disrespectful to put our struggle on the same level with the inner struggle of homosexuals. Whether I want to see gay PDA or not, I cannot legally do anything about it. During our struggle (which is ongoing), we could be killed simply for existing--forget marriage we didn't have even basic human rights--we were not seens as humans! I cannot stress that enough.
    pargie pargie 9 years
    I was only stating the obvious about church and state, we are still living in a time where they are not completely seperate. If they were, then gay marriage would be legal by now. We are not 100% there yet. Bettyesque, but aren't human rights dictated by human moral? It would prove difficult to seperate the two.
    Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
    This goes back to morals, and the government should not have the authority to decide what is right and what is wrong. The fact that 40 other states have passed laws prohibiting same-sex marriage says one thing to me, politicians are using religious guidelines to govern. Religion and government should be SEPARATE. Laws are to protect the RIGHTS of the people not dictate what moral guidelines they should live by. I think it extreme disjustice to homosexuals.
    trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
    I again disagree that there are no parallel to gay rights today and the civil rights movement back in the day. The thing is that in America, and in the world, there are many hate crimes against gay people. In many countries these hate crimes are supported by law still, and in Iran you can be arrested, go to trial and be executed for a mere suspicion that you are gay. In fact, in most parts of the world it is extremely difficult to be gay. But also in America is this a problem. Hate crimes happen every day, and most gays find it difficult to be accepted. Just imagine being openly gay in High School, or in a small workplace in Utah, or as a politician or teacher. Even in gay friendly cities like New York and San Fransisco do gay couples rarely show public display of affection, mostly because they don't want to offend anyone. They go to gay bars for first dates instead of the movies, and they don't hold hands walking down the streets. Even my gay friends do this, also when they probably don't have to; because it is ingrained in them that what they are is wrong. Just being who they are. Just like being black was a crime in itself 70 years ago. Giving them the same rights as straight couples and families get I think will send a signal not only to the conservative right, religious extremists(a spade is a spade), or any one else who has personal or ideological issues with homosexuality; but also to all those men and women out there who feel left out or discriminated against. They are not murderers, rapists, child molesters or thieves. They just love and lust people of their own sex.
    I did not say that you said that, although stating that we are not gauranteed the separation of church and state hints at it. The two names I mentioned were the only two posters that stated they are against gay marriage, that is what my post was based on.
    pargie pargie 9 years
    BRANDYNICOLE730, I never said that anyone should force their beliefs on anyone else. How did you get that? I simply stated my views on the topic, my God's view on the topic, and why I am against same-sex marriage. Never did I say, "all people should think this way", or try to force my beliefs on anyone. We all have freedom to believe what we want in peace, and that is the beauty of this county.
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