While marriage has traditionally been prescribed as a union between heterosexuals, there has been a shift towards giving marriage rights to homosexual couples. This change has been brought about by the prevalence of homosexuality in the society and the widespread acceptance of gay relations.
While at the onset of the last century homosexuality was shunned and even criminalized, the 1960s saw many states making laws that decriminalized same-sex conduct and abolished discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Volokh 106). Gathering from this momentum, gay activists have been calling for the legalizing of gay marriages and the affording of gay couples the same rights and benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.
Due to media popularization of gay rights, opposition of gay rights to marriage is normally equated to intolerance. However, this is not always the case and there are many legitimate and sound claims against legalization of gay marriages.
This paper shall examine several of the arguments raised both in favor of and against legalizing gay marriages. The paper shall then effectively demonstrate that an objection to gay marriage stems from not just moral grounds but also the need to protect marriage which is a fundamental and important institute in our society.
A Case Against Gay Marriages
Proponents of gay marriage argue that denying gay people a right to marry is a violation of their civil rights. To underscore this point, gay right activists draw parallels between denial of gay marriages and the discriminatory apartheid system that prohibited interracial marriages in the USA.
Blocher states that this is a misleading statement since homosexuality is not a “natural” condition and as such, it cannot be dealt with on the same level as skin color which is natural (1). Homosexual is a matter of personal preference and one makes a conscious decision to become gay.
Therefore, homosexuals should not be afforded the same legal protections as race since if this were to happen, the same legal protection would be demanded by other classes of people such as smokers or even pedophiles.
A troubling reality as with regard to gay marriage is that once gay people are afforded the rights to marry, it will invariably lead to legalization of polygamy and polyamory. Kurtz argues that legalizing gay marriage will lead to a transformation of the marriage institute from its currently well defined form as a contract “solely between a man and a woman” to a union of undefined form (1).
This is a concern that is echoed by an ardent gay rights opponent, Blocher, who declares that if sexual preferences become a protected class, then it will be expected for the same protection to be offered to those who wish to marry blood relatives or even multiple partners (2). As such, the very legitimacy of marriage as a valuable unit on which our nation is build will be eroded if gay marriage becomes legitimized.
Gay marriage right activists view the lack of legal recognition of gay marriages as a denial of the gay person’s right to enjoy a fulfilling life with his/her partner. This is because marriage is an institute that is fundamentally built on love and the need for companionship by the two parties involved. Gay activists suggest that the only difference between same sex and opposite-sex couples is the procreation ability of opposite-sex couples.
However, since procreation is never the basis of legal marriage, they argue that gays should not be denied marriage since they union is not unlike that of heterosexual couples. Crawford refutes this claim by revealing that gay couples are only encouraged to marry so as to undermine the significance of the marriage institute in our society (244).
The fact that gay rights advocate see gay marriage as a step towards the abolition of the marriage institute as they seek to reorder society’s view of the family demonstrates the reality that gay people do not respect marriage but rather see it as a means to an end (Kurtz 4).
A case for Legalizing Gay Marriages
The notion that gay marriages are inherently evil and detrimental to the society can trace its root to the traditional American society whose functioning and principles were markedly different to those of the modern day society. Feldblum proposes that the world is changing significantly and as such, the principles which guide our society should also change towards a system whereby liberty for all is guaranteed (6).
Feldblum contends that since homosexuality has become acceptable and is not viewed as being harmful to the society’s moral fiber, gay people should be afforded the same rights as heterosexuals (10).
To reinforce his assertion, he reveals that according to surveys only 40% of the people object to legal recognition for same-sex couple (11). This is an important assertion since legal recognition of same sex marriages is mostly objected to on the basis that the general public is against such establishments.
Refusing gay couples the right to marriage is tantamount to unjustified discrimination and as a nation founded on the grounds of democracy and equal rights for all, the United States of America should not engage in this discriminatory behavior.
While the government is adamant that it protects all citizens equally in spite of their sexual orientation, this is not the reality since gay couples continue to be deprived of right to live together in consensual relationships (Volokh 106).
Feldblum agrees with this view by observing that while the government purports to be neutral in the “gay marriage debate”, it in essence takes a stance on the moral question every time it fails to take action to ensure that gay people can life openly and safely from harassment.
While the rights of gay couples should be respected, this should not extend to allowing them to marry with same privileges as heterosexual couples. This paper set out to demonstrate that objection to gay marriages is not fired by discriminatory attitudes but rather the desire to protect the marriage institute.
From this paper, it has been highlighted that for most gay right activists, the advocacy for marriage rights is only a step towards ensuring the collapse of the traditional marriage institute. Furthermore, this paper has shown that affording gay people the right to marry will only result in other groups such as polygamists demanding the same rights.
However, denying gay people the right to marriage should not be a basis for discrimination since as this paper has shown, there is more widespread acceptance for gay people today than was the case a few decades ago.
Bearing in mind that we are aiming to form a cohesive and undiscriminating society based on tolerance and mutual respect and understanding, gay couples should not be discriminated against even though marriage between them should not be legally recognized.
Blocher, Mark. A Case Against “Gay Marriage”. Christian Worldview Concepts. Vol 1. 2004.
Crawford, David. Liberal Androgyny: “Gay Marriage” and the Meaning of Sexuality in our Time. Communio: International Catholic Review, 2006.
Feldblum, Chai, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion. Jan 2006.
Kurtz, Stanley. Beyond Gay Marriage. The Weekly Standard. Volume 008, Issue 45, 2003.
Volokh, Eugene. Same-Sex Marriage and Slippery Slopes. Hofstra Law Review, Vol 33.
P., Alyssa. "Gay Marriage Should not be Legal." Custom-Writing, 8 Jan. 2020, custom-writing.org/free-essays/gay-marriage-should-not-be-legal/.
1. Alyssa P. "Gay Marriage Should not be Legal." Custom-Writing (blog), January 8, 2020. https://custom-writing.org/free-essays/gay-marriage-should-not-be-legal/.
P., Alyssa. "Gay Marriage Should not be Legal." Custom-Writing (blog), January 8, 2020. https://custom-writing.org/free-essays/gay-marriage-should-not-be-legal/.
P., Alyssa. 2020. "Gay Marriage Should not be Legal." Custom-Writing (blog), January 8, 2020. https://custom-writing.org/free-essays/gay-marriage-should-not-be-legal/.
P., A. (2020, January 8). Gay Marriage Should not be Legal [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://custom-writing.org/free-essays/gay-marriage-should-not-be-legal/
P., A. (2020) 'Gay Marriage Should not be Legal'. Custom-Writing, 8 January.