Poll: Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?

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Below are the historical PROS and CONS. What is your opinion?

PRO Gay Marriage

Same-sex couples should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment in the same way as heterosexual couples. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation states that many same-sex couples “want the right to legally marry [and] honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer…”

Same-sex couples should have access to the same benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. Many benefits are only available to married couples, such as hospital visitation during an illness, taxation and inheritance rights, access to family health coverage, and protection in the event of the relationship ending. An Oct. 2, 2009 analysis by the New York Times estimates that a same-sex couple denied marriage benefits will incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over their lifetime compared to a married heterosexual couple.

The concept of “traditional marriage” being defined as one man and one woman is historically inaccurate. Given the prevalence of modern and ancient examples of family arrangements based on polygamy, communal child-rearing, the use of concubines and mistresses and the commonality of prostitution, heterosexual monogamy can be considered “unnatural” in evolutionary terms.

Marriage is redefined as society’s attitudes evolve, and the majority of Americans now support gay marriage. Interracial marriage was illegal in many US states until a 1967 Supreme Court decision. Coverture, where a woman’s legal rights and economic identity were subsumed by her husband upon marriage, was commonplace in 19th century America. No-fault divorce has changed the institution of marriage since its introduction in California on Jan. 1, 1970. With a May 2013 Gallup poll showing 53% of Americans supporting gay marriage, it is time for the definition of marriage to evolve once again.

Gay marriage is protected by the Constitution’s commitments to liberty and equality. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1974’s Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that the “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause.” US District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote on Aug. 4, 2010 that Prop. 8 in California banning gay marriage was “unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.”

Denying same-sex couples the right to marry stigmatizes gay and lesbian families as inferior and sends the message that it is acceptable to discriminate against them. The Massachusetts Supreme Court wrote in an opinion to the state Senate on Feb. 3, 2004 that offering civil unions was not an acceptable alternative to gay marriage because “…it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status.”

CON Gay Marriage

The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as between a man and a woman. In the Oct. 15, 1971 decision Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court of Minnesota found that “The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”

Allowing gay couples to wed will further weaken the institution of marriage. Traditional marriage is already threatened with high divorce rates (between 40% and 50%) and with 40.6% of babies being born to unmarried mothers in 2008. Allowing same-sex couples to marry would further weaken the institution.  As argued by Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation, “In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs… Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.”

Gay marriage could potentially lead down a “slippery slope” giving people in polygamous, incestuous, bestial, and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry.  Glen Lavy, JD, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, argued in a May 21, 2008 Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, “The movement for polygamy and polyamory is poised to use the successes of same-sex couples as a springboard for further de-institutionalizing marriage.”  In April 2013, Slate published a plea for legal polygamy by writer Jillian Keenan: “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.”

Gay marriage may lead to more children being raised in same-sex households, which are not an optimum environment because children need both a mother and father. Girls who are raised apart from their fathers are reportedly at higher risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. Children without a mother are deprived of the emotional security and unique advice that mothers provide. An Apr. 2001 study published in American Sociological Review suggesed that children with lesbian or gay parents are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior. In the 1997 book Growing up in a Lesbian Family: Effects on Child Development, Fiona Tasker, PhD, and Susan Golombok, PhD, observed that 25% of sampled young adults raised by lesbian mothers had engaged in a homoerotic relationship, compared to 0% of sampled young adults raised by heterosexual mothers.

 

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