Changes in modern times have traversed politics, religion, the economy as well as society, where positive attitudes involving the acceptance, not only of overt homosexuality but also gay marriages, have increased despite strong sentiments and debates against the trend. While writing his article back in 1993, Eskridge Jr. (1420-3) asserted that the gay community had not made any headway in persuading the government in legalizing same-sex marriages, with prevailing arguments indicating that it was unnatural, among other sentiments. However, various countries in North and South America as well as Europe, have already legalized gay and lesbian marriages with polls indicating a marked shift in acceptance of gay and lesbian marriages. Resolving the extant debates on the subject especially due to the importance of marriage and the potential dangers inherent in lack of effective resolutions, two factors that inform this issue’s relevance, is very important. Gay marriages should be accepted and legalized as they enhance the society especially in relation to caring of orphans among other benefits despite opposition from hardliners.
Legalizing Gay Marriages
The constitution’s major commitment is towards the protection of citizens that it seeks to govern on the basis of equality and liberty with explicit approval that the freedom of one’s choices, in matters of family life and marriage, should not be interfered with. This means that the constitution supports gay marriage, as it an expression of one’s rights and freedoms, where denial of the right to marry can be perceived to be a form of discrimination and denial of basic human rights. This is supported by a ruling made in Connecticut where the court asserted that the same grounds that gender is protected is similar to that of sexual orientation, which implies a strike-down on marriage laws if those states already allow same-sex marriages. Furthermore, the increasing acceptance of gay marriages and results from research studies indicating positive outcomes in gay marriages highlight why gay marriages should be accepted in mainstream society and founded on a legal basis.
Proponents for gay marriages assert that those partnerships have numerous benefits, not only for the individuals involved but also for the society in general. The prevailing argument is that if lesbian and gay people are allowed to marry, many of them would not engage in extramarital affairs so rampantly, like those living together and unmarried. This will promote marriage as being based on love, and since gay and lesbian couples cannot procreate naturally, orphan children will be adopted, which provides legal and financial security to this disadvantaged groups. Research shows that parent’s ability in care and nurture is unrelated to their sexual orientation and that marriage provides positive social, psychological and health benefits. This is supported research which shows that individual in legalized same-sex marriages were less psychologically distressed than those living together but unmarried. Furthermore, Millbank (546-547) asserts that lesbian and gay homes depict high levels of equality and sharing which promote positive well-being for the partners and for children’s adjustment and overall development.
Despite the notion and reality that more societies are becoming more liberal, opponents of gay marriages assert that these associations are detrimental to the institution of marriage. Basically, the prevailing argument being that marriage is meant primarily for procreation and continuity of society and the human race, which implies that children in gay families will grow, believing that it is not necessary for a woman and a man to raise children. As Bernheim, the Chief Rabbi of France argues, even though love is important in marriage, loving a child in a gay marriage and providing him/her with the necessary structure, are two different things (44-6). Moreover, further research indicates that same-sex marriages have higher rates of dissolution and instability, compared to heterosexual marriages, which is not good for the growth and development of children in the family.
Moral degradation is also another argument advanced against gay marriages, where two men are seen as more likely to have affairs among other vices. Many religious groups are against gay marriages as they are contrary to religious beliefs, exemplified by Bernheim’s succinct and insightful arguments, for and primarily against gay marriages. However, a literature review prepared by the Australian Psychological Society basically indicates that support for gay marriages is valid, from issues regarding children’s adjustment and development to parental responsibilities. Furthermore, studies indicate no harm has befallen children in gay families but positive benefits have prevailed for the long run. Despite the negative sentiments on gay marriage legalization, and potential for too much politicizing of the subject, Gilder (74) acknowledges that gay couples just want to live productively and quietly, without inflicting their problems to the society, which should respect them.
Summarily, it is evident that accepting and legalizing gay marriages have positive effects not only on the individuals including the children, but also to the society as well as depicted by adoption of orphans, despite firm opposition from conservatives and religious groups. However, the statistics are shifting quite fast with indications of millennials represented by the age group between 18-29 years, being quite supportive of gay marriages at over 60 percent, even though the seniors, represented by individuals of age 65 and above, are not quite convinced, but showing acceptance, despite their deep conservatism. Furthermore, research shows that parent’s ability in care and nurture is unrelated to their sexual orientation and that marriage provides positive social, psychological and health benefits, which is not restricted to heterosexuals only.
- Bernheim, Gilles. “Homosexual Marriage, Parenting, And Adoption.” First Things: A Monthly Journal Of Religion & Public Life 231 (2013): 41-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.
- Eskridge, William N. Jr . “A History of Same Sex Marriage”. Virginia Law Review 79 (1993), 1419-1514. Print.
- Gilder, George. Men and Marriage. Gretna, LA: Pelican, 1986.
- Millbank, Jenni. “From here to maternity: A review of the research on lesbian and gay families.” Australian Journal of Social Issues, 38 (2003), 541-600. Print.