Equal rights between heterosexual and homosexual couples have been a growing dispute in recent times. Homosexuality in general has been an issue throughout history. In contrast, in ancient Greece sexual intercourse between men was considered masculine and men were free to do so as long as the sex was in the dominant position because that dominant position was considered sophisticated and signified higher social class (Nussbaum 11). Today, discrimination amongst straights and the lesbian, gay, bi, and transgendered or LGBT community is prevalent and continues to be a taboo and uncomfortable subject in society. Not until the 1970s was homosexuality decriminalized in the developed countries of the world ("United States Sodomy Laws"). Letting marriage be allowed for all persons no matter their sexual orientation is a given civil right for all human beings and banning marriage is against the constitution of the government.
The demographics of homosexuals are essentially unknown due to the taboo around the subject. Most people choose not to reveal their sexual identity because of the discrimination. With regards to the taboo surrounding homosexuality, research has shown children in homes of homosexual couples live and grow up in the same environment as children of heterosexual couples (Bernheim 46). This taboo becomes a problem when the rights of heterosexual couples supersede same-sex couples. Comparing same-sex marriage equality to the Black Civil Rights Movements has also been controversial because of the view that homosexuality is a choice. However, would it matter even if homosexuality is a choice?
The religious affiliation to the opposition of homosexual marriage is also debated because of the deep view amongst religious people that the religious texts have stated by God that homosexuality is sinful and should be punished (NeJaime). However, the same religious people ignore other parts of their religious texts. For example, the Bible and the Quran state that if a woman has sex outside of marriage, she should be given the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10; Azim). There is this entire social stigma around something simple like marriage. Whether society likes to admit it or not, discrimination against the LGBT community still exists as well as subtle racism in the workplace, sexism, and other issues that can be taken care of if everyone stood up for these issues, but these issues are instead swept under the rug because no one wants to face them. Not everyone has a religion with the same rules, and one group does not have the right to force its rules on other people.
A recent article about a gay man who was arrested for refusing to leave his partner in the hospital has surfaced. Even though he has power of attorney, there is now a restraining order stopping him from visiting his partner (Edwards). For everyone still asking, what's the big deal with gay marriage, why not just give them civil unions or some other separate-but-equal label, this is why: until the laws recognize gay men and women as being the same as heterosexuals, the LGBT people will still have to deal with this sort of hateful discrimination. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Most people do not realize that this story is not an isolated incident.
One of the main arguments against gay marriage is that if gay marriage becomes legal than what’s to stop incest, pedophilia, or bestiality from becoming legal? (Bernheim 44). First of all, marriages between members of the same-sex are all consensual. Bestiality is between an animal and a human. An animal cannot consent to anything. Pedophilia is between a child and an adult. The child is not psychologically capable of making decisions about sex or marriage. Also, having sex or being in a relationship with the child can harm the child physically, psychologically, and physiologically. For example, sex can harm them with birth defects and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Homosexual couples consent to sex; they are infertile unless they adopt, surrogate, or get a sperm donor. They choose to have children unlike when straight couples often times don’t have a choice in having children. Marriage does not always have to involve sex, but involves being recognized the same under the law as everyone and as well as being socially accepted. This goes to the next argument, which is incest. Incest also causes birth defects and psychological problems. However, because of the view towards homosexuality today, the psychological trauma is also associated with same-sex marriage because of the ridicule and harassment one would receive by bigoted individuals. Another argument is that making gay marriage legal would make it the norm for gay men to be more adulterous; therefore, everyone would follow their lead. There have been developed nations where same-marriage is legal, and they are some of the most powerful nations in the world. The religious argument is the most complicated and popular argument. However, interpretations of religious texts have changed over centuries and many human beings throughout history have added to the texts to embellish their own selfish agendas. Catholic priests have been involved in child molestation more than non-religious individuals.
A person living in a country where all citizens supposedly have their rights and everyone is equal under the law is considered ideal. However, when citizens fail to recognize that one person is not receiving the same rights as them, that’s when human rights are at stake. According to Michael D. Shear, White House Correspondent, “Indeed, as both law and culture have increasingly recognized lesbian and gay equality, discrimination against lesbians and gay men has shifted from per se rejection of homosexuality toward rejection of lesbians and gay men as same-sex couples, including but not limited to married couples. Mitt Romney’s position is illustrative of an increasingly common conservative position- professed opposition to anti-gay discrimination and simultaneous opposition to legal recognition for same-sex couples” (qtd. in NeJaime 1175). This statement directly reveals the fact that many people are still against rights for same-sex couples.
In 1979, “A number of people in Sweden called in sick with a case of being homosexual, in protest of homosexuality being classified as an illness. This was followed by an activist occupation of the main office of the National Board of Healthcare. Within a few months, Sweden became the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness” (Quistbergh). In 1944 homosexual acts were legal in Sweden and in 1972 transsexual people could legally change their sex in Sweden. However, this primitive view of homosexuality is still apparent in recent times in different parts of the world. The laws may change, but the discrimination is still alive and western culture is reluctant to adopt the modern view.
Humans are naturally sexual beings and natural parts of the body are not in the control of humans at all times. Humans have no choice when it comes to sexual orientation. As geneticist, Sven Bocklandt explains, “Human sexual preference is a sexually dimorphic trait with a substantial genetic component” (et al. 1). However, human beings do not like others who are different from them in the slightest. They still abhor change and diversity in the world. Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Australia are some of the few developed nations who are on the way to equality in terms of marriage and in terms of equality between straights and non-straights. Homosexuality is becoming ‘normal’ in society, but the process is slow and this process will take society some time because it is still a foreign concept to some. Even in the United States, where about 70% of the population identifies as Christian, several states have legalized same-sex marriage. Yet, Christian nations today, like Uganda where a homosexual person can be put to death, are still suffering. There are Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, where capital punishment is possible for same-sex sexual activity or even just a man being seen in public holding hands with another man. Returning to the main point which is that loving other human beings and making this love legally binding under the law is a natural right that belongs to all individuals because no one can choose their sexual orientation just like no one can choose their own skin color.
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Bocklandt Sven, Horvath Steve, Vilain E, Hamer DH (February 2006). "Extreme Skewing of X Chromosome Inactivation in Mothers of Homosexual Men." Hum. Genet. 118 (6): 691–4. Print.
Edwards, David. "Missouri man arrested at hospital for refusing to leave gay partner." Raw Story. (2013): n. page. Print. <http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/11/missouri-man-arrested-at-hospital-for-refusing-to-leave-gay-partner/>.
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Nussbaum, Martha C. "Other Times, Other Places: Homosexuality In Ancient Greece." Annual Of Psychoanalysis 30.(2002): 9. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
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