Does licensing gay marriage break the constitution? Many courts have ruled that the constitution does not allow gay marriages explicitly. The Supreme Court had recently ruled that denying gays the right to marry violates equal protection rights and due process in the constitution. This made the ban on same-sex marriages that violates the constitutional rights of gay men and lesbians be approved by voters in California. In the article Court strikes down the ban on gay marriage in California, Nagourney reports: “Judge Walker found that ban on gay marriages violated equal protection rights of the same-sex couples, who initiated the suit” (1). It was a big win for same-sex couples in California and the constitution.
There have been many attempts from same-sex couples to get marriage licenses. The courts have denied them this constitutional right by misinterpreting the constitution. Common-law marriage allows partners to live together and society acknowledges them as married. Same-sex couples are equal citizens and this law should apply to them.
The legislature should stop viewing proponents of gay marriage as the lobby, trying to get public support. Under the constitution, they are citizens; they should be treated as the sons and daughters of America. Legalization will not deny heterosexual couples the right to marry. It will allow the gay community to get marriage licenses promoting equality for all citizens. I find no reason for the government to prevent gays and lesbians from the opportunity to make a public commitment to lifelong unions. The government should support them by enacting the necessary legislation. Marriage comes with many responsibilities and obligations beyond those of single individuals. Macedo believes that marriage should be for gay couples what it is for straight couples: “both a right and an expectation” (263).
Thesis: The constitution should clearly give the gay community the right to marry.
What is marriage?
Who should define and enforce marriage? Many religions define marriage as a sacrament required in the spiritual journey. Different societies have different definitions of marriage depending on the purposes they are designed to fulfill. Marriage cannot be defined by a single entity. It has different meanings to different institutions. In this regard, no institution should deny or oppose gay couples the right to marry. The state should respect the gay community and realize their marriages are functional. Whether marriage is between a man and a woman or same-sex people, a social relationship should be recognized and respected.
Society agrees that marriage helps couples care for one another through rough times and good times. Even without children, marriage between heterosexual couples is still recognized. Why should gay marriage be different? Children are just one aspect of marriage. Opponents of gay marriage should realize that procreation alone does not define marriage. Other attributes are required to make two people live together as a family. Opinion polls should not determine whether gay marriage should be licensed. This issue touches on civil rights, religious freedom, and family relations.
Does marriage affect the government’s ability to serve its people?
Currently, the government has the power to license marriages. It also enacts legislation that entitles married couples to specific rights and privileges. Married couples have to fulfill certain conditions to enjoy these benefits. Religious organizations carry out many marriage ceremonies, they help families service through defined virtues that married people should uphold. Society reinforces marriage by recognizing marriage partners and respecting married people.
Each institution has a role to play in marriage, and none can survive without the other. By legalizing gay marriages, the government will serve all its citizens. It does not fully own marriage. Several protestant churches have opened their doors to gay couples. They marry them in church, and the community accepts them. A growing number of governments, employers, and families recognize these marriages. The gay community has a right to participate in social life and form their own families and communities. They do not seek legislation allowing them to be accepted in a religious organization, but just a legal right to marry and be recognized by the constitution.
The law has done enough harm.
Have laws banning same-sex marriages helped? For many centuries, gay communities have been opposed. This has not extinguished these communities because being gay is a matter of biology and psychology. It was stated that “The born-this-way approach carries an unintended implication that the behavior of gays and lesbians needs biological grounding to evade condemnation” (Bruni 3). The opposition to same-sex marriages has only made these communities hide and is chiefly to blame for spreading the AIDS epidemic in America. The gay male community had resulted in anonymous sex and multiple partners.
They had rebelled against monogamous relationships because society had refused to accept them. Today, same-sex marriages are widespread, and we have anti-discriminatory legislation protecting gays and lesbians in many states. This has not stopped the hatred against gays. There is an opinion that “gay marriage legalization would enhance social recognition in the United States because it is a conservative institution that requires a deeper commitment to civic and family responsibilities than unmarried couples undertake” (Freedman 13).
Will positive legislation make the public accept the gay community?
Public opinion is shifting in favor of same-sex marriages, and this can be demonstrated in the passage of legislation protecting gays and lesbians. There is no single reason to explain this change in the public and the judiciary. The lifting of proposition eight goes against public opinion, and this is very alarming. From the opinion polls, it is evident that people are slightly tolerating gays and same-sex marriages. These laws are passed because of constant pressure from the gay community. It also shows that the judiciary and the public do not have valid reasons to oppose and ban gay marriages. The understanding of marriage is very limited. Many people say that gay marriages will harm the family and well-being of children. This has never been proved. Many people are against the gay community just for the sake of conventional family institutions. Modernity has created diverse and unique challenges for humanity. Ancient institutions of laws and society cannot serve the modern people effectively. Today, the majority of marriages break up. The legislature just processes divorce; the root causes of marriage breakdowns are not solved.
The effect of gay marriage legalization
Many conservatives think that licensing gay marriages will increase the gay community. O’Sullivan has another point of view on that issue: “gay marriage licensing will increase the number of gay partners committing themselves to each other for life. It will make them acceptable to their families and friends” (19). The legalization of gay marriage will only change the trend of opposing gay marriage. Many conservatives argue that heterosexual marriages preserve the institution of marriage. However, heterosexual marriages are breaking down at an alarming rate in this century. The gay community has not contributed to this breakdown. Society should thoroughly examine its thinking.
The laws are important in society because they promote social equity and justice. The legalization of gay marriage is necessary as it will provide homosexuals and lesbians with the same benefits as heterosexuals. Getting social approval and specific legal advantages is important. The law will allow gays and lesbians to get married freely. They will be protected from exploitation prevalent in many marriages and their quality of life will improve. The legislation will cultivate social cohesion, emotional security, and economic organization.
Opponents of gay marriage should look at the bigger picture. Their prioritization of gay marriage’s effect on children makes them exclude the gay community itself. They must be fair to all members of society, including the minority and the weakest. Marriage confers tangible benefits to the marriage partners; this should not be limited to heterosexual marriage as it will discriminate against the gay community. All people are citizens; they should not be isolated from other members of society.
The inclusion of the sexual minority in society would help to understand homosexuals and lesbians better. The gay community should not demand their right to marry. They should understand that the constitution gives them these rights. It is the role of the judiciary to interpret the constitution correctly and make all citizens equal. Equality has been enshrined in the constitution. Different perspectives in the judiciary have hampered the efforts to legalize gay marriage.
Bruni, Frank. “Genetic or Not, Gay Won’t Go Away.” The New York Times 2012: 3. Print.
Freedman, Samuel. “Gay Marriages Open Gate to Social Stability.” USA Today 2003: 13. Print.
Macedo, Stephen. “Homosexuality and the Conservative Mind”, 84 GEO.L.J. 1995. 261-263. Print.
Nagourney, Adam. “California Ban on Gay Marriage Is Struck Down.” The New York Times 2008: 1. Print.
O’Sullivan, John. “The Bells Are Ringing.” National Review 2004: 18-19. Print.