Gay marriage is one of the most prominent social issues of our time, deeply affecting how we think about one of our foundational social institutions, that of the family. Those against gay marriage suggest that legalizing homosexuals to wed erodes the family foundation, plunging the stability of this social form into chaos, and thereby inciting chaos into society itself. However, this is a caricature of gay marriage, based upon unfounded speculation about consequences: when we consider the issue from the perspective of social normativities and the letter of the law to which we are all obliged, alongside fundamental ethical concerns, this makes a compelling case in favor of gay marriage’s legalization.
In terms of the letter of the law, there appears to be no legal foundation for opposing gay marriage’s legalization. Rather, to oppose this would oppose civil liberties and constitutional rights. Namely, marriage allows Americans to have 1,049 legal rights, according to the website arguingequality.org. By not allowing homosexuals to marry, they are essentially being denied legal rights. This is incomprehensible in any society that calls itself a democracy.
The defense of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA for example is a proposed anti-gay marriage law, which as Frank Bruni notes, essentially entails “codified unequal treatment of gays and lesbians.” (Fuchs, 2013) Here, codified entails that any type of legal argument that would try to limit marriage to heterosexuals is discriminatory when contrasted with democratic principles and laws of civil liberties.
But detailed legal arguments are not necessary for showing why opposing gay marriage is problematic. The argument here is one of ethics, and one that addresses our humanity: why should we openly discriminate and encourage division in our society? As Dr. Prudence Gourgechon writes, “discrimination frays the human spirit.” Opposition to gay marriage is an opposition to individuals to freely choose their paths in life; it is discriminatory, as it leaves certain life-choices only open to others.
The public consensus in the gay marriage debate has radically shifted. The majority are now in favor. This was unthinkable twenty, even ten years ago. This shows the robustness of the arguments in favor of gay marriage, both from ethical and legal perspectives.
- Author Unknown. (2013). “Chapter 1: A Matter of Justice.” Arguing Equality. Retrieved at: http://www.arguingequality.org/chapter1.htm
- Gourguechon, P. (2012). “Ten Reasons to Support Gay Marriage.” Psychology Today. May 10. Retrieved at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psychoanalytic-excavation/201205/ten-reasons-support-gay-marriage
- Fuchs, E. (2013). “There is Absolutely No Legal Argument Against Gay Marriage.” January 25. Retrieved at: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-oppose-gay-marriage-2013-1