Gay Marriage

The ancients had rather more relaxed views about homosexuality; the change in attitudes is at least partly attributable to religious doctrines stressing sex for procreation and not recreation. This leads many to regard gay sex as sinful—and many straight people are baffled by same-sex attraction and repelled by what gays do.
Gays mostly insist they were born that way, and didn’t choose it. The evidence supports this. Studies have found physiological brain differences between most gays and straights, whereas there has never been any valid evidence tracing homosexuality to “nurture” rather than nature. This is confirmed by the virtual impossibility of “curing” homosexuality.
So gays are indeed different. But let’s not forget that everybody is, after all, different from everybody else. One can even say that being different is normal; variation among individuals within a species is the rule throughout all nature. It would be a dull world if all people were identical. Furthermore, though 100 percent gays are a small minority, many others are not 100 percent heterosexual, with some degree of same-sex attraction being quite widespread.
All this makes clear that stigmatizing homosexuality is irrational. Gays do what they do not because they are willful transgressors of societal norms but because of how they were made. And meantime, most of us have moved some distance away from thinking sex should only be for making babies, accepting instead that nature has made us to enjoy sex. Nature’s purpose is merely to promote DNA replication, but we need not enslave ourselves to that narrow remit, being free to use this gift from nature to enrich our lives however we can, just as we use our other gifts. And if that is okay for heterosexuals, it should be equally okay for gays. They, too, have a fundamental human entitlement to enjoy sex.
Yet gay marriage still seems too big a bite for many people to swallow. Some of the arguments are couched in terms of seemingly legitimate societal interests. Gay marriage does offend against deeply ingrained cultural tradition, which merits some serious respect and weight. However, culture evolves. Not so long ago, firmly established cultural tradition barred interracial marriage—and sanctioned numerous other forms of racial discrimination, including slavery. Our culture has changed, and for the better, broadening our concepts of human dignity and rights.
Some still say that same-sex weddings undermine the institution of marriage—yet it’s never clear how. Obviously, the immediate result is more, not fewer, marriages. If marriage is a good thing, and it’s better for men and women to be married than not, or better than cohabiting informally, why isn’t the same true for gay couples? Further, it is fanciful to imagine that heterosexual marriage would decline if same-sex marriage is an option. Again, sexual orientation is not a choice, and people do not generally go gay on a whim. For a straight person like me, the opportunity to marry another man would be no temptation! It’s true that some people are bisexual or confused about their sexuality, and many gays do enter conventional marriages in an effort at conformity. But such marriages are clearly not made in heaven; they tend to be problem-ridden and failure-prone. Isn’t it preferable to allow people to make marriages that fit them better? If you truly care about the institution of marriage, you should rather see a lesbian successfully married to another lesbian than unhappily married to a man.
Parenting is also a concern. Some say marriage is for procreation, and hence should be forbidden to gays. However, it’s not forbidden to octogenarians, and others incapable of procreation; while in fact gays can have (or adopt) children. Another argument is that a child is best raised by a father and a mother and that every child deserves both. That is a fine sentiment, and such dual parenthood should be encouraged. But society does not insist upon it—does not prohibit single parenthood. Though we do take children away from parents who are proven unfit in specific ways, parenthood is otherwise a universal right. A teenaged unwed mother is allowed to raise her child. Why then shouldn’t we let two mothers, or two fathers, do so? Aren’t two parents better than one? Moreover, gay couples often get their children through adoption. Surely those children are better off having two same-sex parents than no parents at all!
Some might still object that a gay couple would raise a gay child. Even if this were so, would it harm society? Gays will never be anything but a small minority. But, again, the truth is that sexual orientation has nothing to do with upbringing, it is inborn; so a child raised by gays is no more likely to turn out gay than one raised by straights (though if he does happen to be gay, he is likely to be better adjusted).
And let us not forget that gays can, in most states, legally adopt and raise children even without being married. So barring their marriages does nothing for the children. Allowing such couples to marry should, in fact, provide a more stable and nurturing family environment. One thing you can be sure of with gay couples is that their children are wanted; gays don’t have “oopses,” but actually must go to great lengths to become parents.
In the end, the issue is really all about love and joy and happiness. Even if you do see valid social policy points against gay marriage, surely those rationales must yield to the more fundamental human right at stake. What can be more crucial to the pursuit of happiness than to marry the person you love? Gays are human beings, entitled to seek fulfillment in whatever ways work for them. If same-sex marriage is a vehicle for pleasure, love, and self-realization—we should welcome it.

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4 Responses to “Gay Marriage”

  1. bp Says:

    My theory is that we are all bisexual, but somewhere down the line most of us “learn” to use heterosexual behavior because it is reinforced with positive feedback and peer pressure. Most of us have those “is it a guy or a gal?” moments when looking at an unknown person – surprisingly enough until we know… we can be interested. Homophobes are confused bisexuals.

  2. Gregory Kipp Says:

    I agree .. there is nothing inherently immoral about being gay, and I can see only positive benefits from any loving, supportive relationship regardless the sex of the partners. You’re probably right about the source of our christian morals with regard to the classical marriage arrangement, although I suspect venereal diseases also played a role in developing a system that discourages multi-partner sexual behavior.

    While I’m not against gay partnerships per se (as long as they don’t try to force their lifestyle on me), there does still seem to be a logical discrepancy that is not being addressed. Marriage has both a legal and moral definition. The legal definition of marriage in this country is at least partially oriented towards enabling procreation and the rearing of children. As such, the statutory rights and responsibilities granted married people provide certain benefits that may not be necessary to grant couples without children.

    The logical approach would seem to be some kind of duel system, i.e. marriage vs domestic partnerships. “Marriage” would include all the existing features promoting families with children, while a “Domestic Partnership” would establish only rights and responsibilities directly involving the two partners and would not deal with anything involving children.

    So, how do we deal with the those who don’t fit neatly into one of these two categories, you ask .. people like older hetero couples who can’t have children, or gay couples who want to adopt. The application of a bit of logic provides an answer. Simply put, couples (either homo or hetero) in a domestic partnership without children would automatically be reclassified as having a full marriage if children are born or adopted.

    This system would have a number of benefits. For one, the legal definition of a “domestic partnership” could be more flexible that for that of a “marriage”. A domestic partnership could be a legal contract stating the partnership will remain in force for an agreed number of years, to be renewed if both partners want that at the end of the contracted term. The law could also allow more flexibility in spedifying financial and property matters since there would be no children involved. Such a domestic partnership could be used by both gay couples and hetero couples who don’t want to make a life-long committment at the outset or perhaps older couples who have complicated financial issues to negotiate and who will never have children together.

    Not being a legal expert, there are likely technical issues to be resolved, but these would not be insurmountable. There would probably be some cultural/moral backlash as well, from those who have already decided their conservative ways are the only ways that can be allowed. But my reading of the Amercian public is that the majority support a duel system similar to what I described above as the most logical way to proceed in this matter. If we could get rid of the outspoken extremists who demand a solution representing their far end of the political spectrum, the issue could be dealt with once and for all.

  3. From my own perspective,gay marriage should not b legal. Apart from the Biblical phase of life,it does not go well. The essence of coupling with each other or having any thing with body contact for pleasure is fulfiling physical laws. Marriage is mainly f Says:

    Non

  4. truthful Says:

    faglovers

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