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Over the recent past, the legalization of gay marriages has been controversial issue particularly in the United States. Supporters of gay marriage have raised arguments in support of the unification of homosexuals and lesbians in the institution of marriage. Critics, on the other hand, have advanced their claims justifying the retention of the present laws quoting possible destruction of the morals that bind the society. For instance, upon the legalization of gay marriages in by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, several criticisms arose.
Anne Morse and Charles Colson, in their article Gay “Marriage”: Societal Suicide, strongly seconded President Bush’s support of the Amendment of the Federal laws that governed the institution of marriage. According to the law, the controversial topic would be debated four times in an American life. This would ensure clarity on the matter is sustained throughout the future ages. Charles argues that the consequences of legalization of the act would influence everyone in the society and not just the beneficiaries. To back his claims he advances several reasons.
Marriage revolves around the formation and propagation of the society. It is considered the fabric, from which society is woven through the process of unification of a man and a woman for purposes of procreation. The legal acceptance of gay marriages breaks this bond and compromises the process of society progression. It results in increased cases of out-of-wedlock births and encourages the emergence of criminal activities. To back this claims, he quotes his personal experiences in jail as proof. The number of murderers, rapists, school drop outs, and teenage pregnancies all seem to bear a positive correlation to the absence of a male figure in a child’s upbringing. Moreover, he quotes the legalization of gay marriages in Norway, which led to an increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock birth, as a perfect example. Towards the end he admits that heterosexual marriages have resulted in marital complications, but blames that on the participants and not the marriage institutions. He sums up his criticism by pointing out that marriage, as it is, has historical and religious backing.
Katha Pollit, a strong supporter of gay marriages strongly defends criticisms in her article, What’s wrong with Gay Marriages. She offers counter arguments for each of the reasons advanced to prevent legalization of gay marriages. For instance, to the arguments that marriage is there for procreation, she claims there are infertile individuals or the elderly who are permitted, as per the state’s laws, to marry. Also included in this list are those who marry at the reproductive age but have no intention of procreating. However, she admits that marriage is vital for the nurturing of the child.
In response to criticisms of those who perceive marriage as the barbarian-adoption program, she says there are still crimes committed in marriages. Most of these that could entail a husband raping a wife, incidences never make it to the media, but this does not invalidated the fact that they happened. Moreover she argues that the marrying a lesbian could not be sufficient reason to dissuade a man from committing suicide.
Finally, she states that the fact that religion and history refute the legalization of same sex marriages is not a sufficient for people oppose the act. This she views as religious prejudice. After all, there are various activities opposed by the assorted religions yet the society perceives them as right. A perfect example is the Holy Koran that permits polygamous marriages among the Muslims, yet a good number of religious Muslims have monogamous families. Moreover, she says the institution of marriage falls under the responsibility of the state and not the church. There should, therefore, be a clear distinction between the two.
A careful analysis of the two articles will show that both writers have valid arguments. However, as a reader one has to make a rational decision before taking sides. For instance, Pollit’s arguments are addressed from the gay person’s perspective while Charles’ arguments look at the situation form the society’s perspective. Katha, tends to base her arguments more on the present without looking at the long-term effects of the legalization of the same sex marriages. For instance, she recognizes the fact that marriages are essential for child nurturing, but ignores the consequences of the gay marriages. Instead she chooses to pursue the happiness of the gay partners at the expense of the child’s life.
If one has to address the issue of marriage, then he/she should follow it up from its inception to its termination or invalidation. Picture this: A young man falls in love with a fellow man, and they both get married. After all, the laws in the Massachusetts allow it. In order to fulfill their role in procreation, they adopt a young girl and decide to bring her up. Soon she is of age she begins to attend school. Here, her performance is poor and she is asked to report with her parents for a discussion on the same. Being as innocent as children are, she tells her ‘mother’ and father and is taken to school the following day. After much coercion, the girl speaks up and narrates her predicament. Every day she wonders why she is different. She has no mother to tell her girl issues like every other child and everyday she has to handle mockery from the rest of the students. This is the kind of society that Pollit and the Supreme Court judges in Massachusetts envision.
Marriage cannot exist in alternative forms than it already is. The heterosexuality aspect is not only beneficial in fulfilling the intimacy needs of the partners but ushering and nurturing the next generation. Kids do not need advice only; they need to people to look up to. Mothers offer a starting point for their daughters while fathers offer the same for their sons. Besides a mother and a father have different roles in the family. Mothers are better at teaching children how to be responsible while fathers are the best discipline master. Gay marriages overlook this. Children bought up by homosexuals are bound to irresponsible in caring for themselves while those of lesbians are bound to indiscipline. Indiscipline is an ingredient for crime in later years (Janine et al 104).
Similarly, the family tragedies quoted by same-sex marriage supporters are never due the heterosexuality. Rather such tragedies are due to human disagreements that could also be encountered by gay marriages. All relationships have the potential for conflict irrespective of the sexuality of the partners (Rosqvist 108). Lastly, Pollit argues that the fact that religion permits certain wrongs yet denies gay people their rights is religious prejudice. In all fairness, religion should also bend the law to accommodate the gay community and accept their union in marriage. However, failure in one action does not justify another wrong doing. Society should, instead, seek better ways of correcting these mistakes and not legalizing others.
Gay people are human and have feelings just as anyone else. However, it is one thing allowing a few such people to have same sex relationships and it is another enacting a law that permits their marriage. Moreover, it would be improbable to sacrifice the future society for the sake of a few people’s happiness. Marriage should remain the union of two people- a man and a woman- with procreation and nurturing of a better and not a crooked society.
- Janine Parry, et al. "Did Gay Marriage Elect George W. Bush?." Conference Papers -- Western Political Science Association (2005): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
- Rosqvist, Hanna. "A Special Kind Of Married Man: Notions Of Marriage And Married Men In The Swedish Gay Press, 1954-1986." Journal Of Historical Sociology 25.1 (2012): 106-125. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.