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 Topic: An Argument for Marriage EqualityWhen we advertise our count

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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Posted: 17 Jan 2007, 4:46 pm    Post subject: An Argument for Marriage EqualityWhen we advertise our count Reply with quote

When we advertise our country, we advertise the land of the free, the land of equality. We are supposedly the country that will accept us for ourselves when no one else does, but we have neglected minorities throughout history. So judgmental a society are we that it is wrong to think that we can accept anyone who is different. Although we may not like what people do, think, or believe, we have created an ultimate institution that preserves the right to do such, without being prosecuted. That institution is called the United States Constitution. It preserves our basic rights, and grants us the right to live as we see fit. It is an ultimate protector. It gives us immunities from discrimination, but it is only effective when it is upheld.
Unfortunately, in our time, we have seen many forms of discrimination, and even after 230 years of being a society, a nation, a culture, we still not have progressed so far as to be open-minded in the fact that others might not agree with the values and believes that we hold. They are ultimately not wrong we say, but then act differently. It is sad that, even after the institution of slavery was abolished, we still have discrimination against blacks, over 100 years later. What have we achieved as a society? Have we progressed as a nation from a social stance? It is our duty as our brothers’ keepers to remind ourselves that we are not ultimately right, that our way of thinking might be flawed, that we do not perceive the whole picture. It is our duty to ensure that if another perspective is to be seen, that it is allowed to be viewed, whether or not we see it as wrong or immoral. However, there are some things that we, as a culture, have found wrong, i.e. murder, rape, and abuse.
We are now in an age where we can have a better understanding of people, even if we do not wish to. This allows others different from us to come out and be themselves. In the 2000 election, a major topic was brought up: is same-sex marriage wrong? Brought up only as a mere political ploy to gain votes, we did not need to address this problem at that time. Instead, we should have approached it at a later time when we could of honestly looked at the question, and both views that encompass it. Unfortunately, it was brought up then and we are now compelled to answer it. Is same-sex marriage wrong? The question has many different answers depending on what side you are looking at it from.
To get a better understanding of same-sex marriage, a psychological profile of homosexuality, is needed to better evaluate it. The American Psychiatric Association denounced in 1973 homosexuality as a mental disorder. Also, in 2004, the APA offered a press release that stated, “Denying Same-Sex Couples Legal Access to Civil Marriage is Discriminatory and Can Adversely Affect the Psychological, Physical, Social and Economic Well-Being of Gay and Lesbian Individuals”. In 1992, The World Health Organization reclassified homosexuality as a sexual orientation versus a mental disorder. Yet, the thought of homosexuality being an illness that can be cured still exist in groups such as NART, Exodus International, and PFOX. All of these groups happen to be religiously affiliated, but being religiously affiliated is not what is against them. They just happen to take “the word of God” to an ultimate level where science is always overruled. Still, when we have a theoretical authority always overruling a practical and reasonable authority, we eliminate reason. We cannot silence those people though, because what they believe is ultimate and true to them, and we cannot argue with that. (Wikipedia, Homosexuality and psychology)
Religious arguments are very numerous. Many of the arguments against same-sex marriage are from a religious stance. The most pronounced interjection is that, if the state allows or accepts same-sex marriage into society, it undermines the traditions and conventional meanings of marriage established throughout the centuries. According to Wikipedia, such people fear that it “will lead to a direct attack against religious institutions, limit their constitutional right to free speech, force them to perform marriage ceremonies of which they do not approve, and that established churches would be eventually bankrupted by lawsuits brought against them.” None the less, churches never had to be equal. They are granted to worship how they wish under the first amendment, freedom of religion. They do not have to perform marriage ceremonies of which they do not approve. We never see a Hindu get married to a Jewish person in a Catholic cathedral just because they thought it was nice. Because the church does not believe a certain way, it grants them immunity from being prosecuted. There has not been one case brought to court about interracial marriage, so why does the church fear that homosexuals will bring the issue to court? Many different Christians have many different beliefs. Most Christians unite with the fact that homosexual marriage is wrong and sinful, but not all Christians think that it should be banned just because they think that it is. There are many different passages in the bible condemning homosexuality (First Corinthians 6:8-10, Romans 1:24-27, Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, and Genesis 19:5), but there are many things in the bible that are not practiced. As a society, we eat pork, wear mixed fabrics, and work on Sunday, biblically, all of which are condemning acts against God. Throughout time, we have made religion fit our beliefs. When slavery was an institution that was practiced, the Southern Baptist Church was created for those that like the Baptist Church, but wanted to practice slavery as well. The Catholic Church prosecuted people of different faiths, but now has interfaith communications. Also, the Catholic Church practiced the theory of creationism and condemned all those who believed in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, but now they embrace the fact that evolution has been proven, but the Vatican has gone one step further in calling it an actual law instead of a theory. The church is always changing to fit in with society; God should not be viewed as a barrier. Ultimately, we have to remember that we are all God’s children and, as long as we live a good life, enjoy the things that he has made for us, and we are kind and loving to all, he shall accept us into his great kingdom. (Wikipedia, Same-sex marriage)
Our society generally accepts homosexuality. We see it in many different and important industries, the obvious being the fashion and entertainment industries. Unfortunately, even though it is generally accepted, we cannot extend equality to those relationships. There are many different benefits to being married, such as financial benefits, along with adoption rights, child custody and visitation, foster care, and reproductive health services rights and privileges.
Legally, a state does not have to recognize a same-sex marriage due to the DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law September 21, 1996 by President Bill Clinton. This was obviously a scared attempt to contain same-sex marriage because, at the time, Congress feared that states would have to address the matter and one would at least recognize same-sex marriage. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, other states legally have to recognize marriages legally made in other states; the DOMA allows for the second party to disregard that clause in the event of a same-sex or polygamous marriage. It is ironic the language used in this act. In the article referring to the powers of the state, “No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.” (DOMA) Why choose the word respecting? That implies that it is an establishment that should be viewed as equal, but unfortunately isn’t. If there is a state respecting a relationship, shouldn’t others follow in suit due to the fact that it is a relationship? Everyone is granted the same rights to equality no matter what race, gender, creed, or religion, so long as they are a citizen of the United States, under Amendment 14 of the US Constitution. Private consensual conduct is also protected under this amendment; this was affirmed in the US Supreme Court case Lawrence vs. Texas. The court stated, “Moral disapproval does not constitute a legitimate governmental interest under the Equal Protection Clause.” There was a so-called agreement made when civil unions were allowed for same-sex couples and the separate but equal term was brought back into play. It was shutdown in the state of Massachusetts Supreme Court during the case of Goodridge vs. the Department of Public Health. It stated the following: “the dissimilitude between the terms ‘civil marriage’ and ‘civil union’ is not innocuous; it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status” and also that “The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal.” Brown vs. Board of Education disproved the separate but equal theory. The Supreme Court found also that by separating the two ethnicities psychological damage done. The same can be said when separating the two orientations. The American Psychological Association states “Discrimination of all kinds takes a toll on people's health and psychological well being. In the context of the huge social and political debate that is currently going on, APA and psychologists had to grapple with the issue of what psychology believes is in the public interest in this controversy.” We are in a contractual society and not all marriage is done out of love. Some marriages, and certainly most civil unions are done out of convenience and because of the benefits produced from it. We know that wealthy men do not always love their wives, and visa versa. Not only do they not always love each other, but also they do not always trust each other. Under the new marriage amendment passed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, if a person is wealthy, and does not trust his or her counterpart, he or she cannot look to the same sex to be a power of attorney and to carry out his or her wishes. Civil Unions provided this legal ramification to have a desirable outcome after a person passed away.
Another social aspect of this is that when same-sex unions or marriages are allowed, so is the right to adopting children. Through the breakthrough of modern technology, same-sex marriage can produce offspring. This is looked at by some to be a horrible thing. They think homosexual couples can only raise homosexual children. This is proven true because heterosexual couples only raise heterosexual children. Another argument against homosexuals adopting is that they do not provide for a children’s needs that only heterosexual families can provide. This stance has been shot down by the American Psychological Association saying that “discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation detrimentally affects the psychological, physical, social and economic well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, that same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.” (American Psychology Association Press releases
Same-sex marriage is not a problem to society. Barring same-sex marriage is the problem. It does not allow for society to grown and encompass a minority of the society. The homosexual society represents anywhere between 5 to 15% of the population. Our founding fathers created the Constitution in order to protect the rights and equality of all, even the minority. One of the founding fathers, James Madison, wrote in his Federalist Papers, number 51, “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.” Still, the Constitution is only a document. We are the enforcers. Shall we choose not to enforce the words that govern us? If so, we are no better than any other society that oppresses and violates the rights of its citizens, the very same ideology that we go to war against to this very day.
We are the land of the free and just. We are the “city on a hill” that other countries look at in awe and astonishment. We say we have created the greatest government that protects the rights and liberties of all. Let’s enforce that belief. Allow the legal marriage of same-sex couples. It is the church’s duty to carry out and decide what they believe is to be morally right and wrong. That is exactly why they created cardinal law. It is their responsibility to perform the “sacred” institution of marriage within how they believe. Yet, it is the State’s responsibility to overlook religion and see that equality is ultimate and right and it is the State’s responsibility to govern everyone in an equal manner separate from God. Thus, we have instituted the separation of Church and State for that very reason. We should abolish the wording of marriage in the legal context and reserve that for the church to perform. The Civil Union should be the only part done on the States end. This distinction, according to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, states that this would create a greater wall between Church and State.
In an age where that distinction is becoming more and more grey ever year, it is imperative to put up the defense of the First Amendment that both states freedom of religion and implies freedom from religion. We as a society do not wish to oppress, but we as a society practice oppression daily. Let’s start the end of oppression and begin and age of equality. Allow for same-sex marriages and allow for our beliefs as a nation to survive.

Just a few thoughts. Let me know what you think

Jacob Young
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