The following paper compares and contrasts some of the similarities and differences between gay marriage and homosexual marriage. This issue has become increasing prominent over the last five years internationally as many countries have for the first time allowed gay marriage. To these ends the following paper will be divided into two sections, first outlining the main points concerning straight marriage before turning to gay marriage.
One of the main aspects of straight marriage is the stereotypical division of labor between the genders. While obviously not every marriage is constituted in this manner, there are certain aspects related to difference in gender which manifest themselves within a straight marriage. One example of this is the division of labor, both internal and external to the relationship. One such characteristic is the idea that a man’s ‘job’ within a marriage is to be the ‘bread maker’ to work and provide for the family while the women’s role is to be the ‘homemaker’. While such definitions are ultimately outdated, this stereotype still operates in many straight marriages.
Another characteristic that can be attributed to straight marriages is that it represents an institution which is built around procreation; that the legally binding bond between a straight married couple serves to create a stable environment for procreation and raising children. To a certain extent this aspect of straight marriage also related to gender roles within the relationship as previously discussed. Prior to turning to compare gay marriages, the final characteristic of straight marriages is the fact that this union represents to society the deep commitment between two people which ensures certain legal safeguards in relation to property, benefits, social inclusion and family disputes.
The first point of comparison to explore is the gender roles within a gay marriage. While straight marriages are often based around (to various degrees) gender roles and differences, gay marriages have to redefine roles within a marriage. At the same time, by removing the gender difference within a gay marriage, there is a certain amount of freedom in the distribution of tasks as this inevitably becomes based on agreement and cooperation rather than by virtue of a pre-established gender difference and norm.
The second point of comparison between same/different sex marriages is the question of children. Indeed, one of the main arguments used by some individuals who oppose gay marriage is the fact that marriage is an institution which is developed around children. However, in recent history there has been a surge in same sex couples adopting, surrogacy or other means to start their own families. While the internal dynamics of such a family clearly differ from the ‘norm’ of same sex marriages, this by no way indicates that such a family arrangement acts as a detriment to the children. Finally, the last point of comparison is the question the equality that should be afforded to all couples whether in a same sex relationship or not. The benefits and recognition socially and legally (mentioned earlier) between couples should be universal for all couples. Without this safeguard, same sex couples become openly treated by society as less of a couple then straight couples. Such a principle clearly undermines some of the basic equality’s that should be afforded to all.
In conclusion, it seems while there are understandable differences between gay and straight marriage the essential qualities of marriage still remain the same. Furthermore, there are few logical and concise arguments that gay couples should be treated any differently to straight couples. While the internal dynamics of such relationships will always differ between same sex and different sex marriages, this only adds to the collective diversity and should be celebrated as a milestone of equality.