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Gay Marriage: Evaluation Argument Essay

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Updated: Nov 11th, 2021

The focal point of the paper is to evaluate and present the argument related to the article by Thomas B. Stoddard titled ‘Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal‘ published on March 4, 1988, in the New York Times. The basic theme of the article was to present advocacy of gay marriage and a thorough presentation of arguments in favor of the legalization of gay marriages. The arguments formulated by the author are highly agreeable and clear in the context of the issue.

The author is a positive advocate of gay or same-sex marriages. The argument of those in favor of same-sex marriages is that this is more important than the legal, biological, or social factors rather than marry someone simply because that person is of the opposite gender. This may suffer a loveless life, these advocates of this system ask if it is not wiser to marry someone they love and care for, the only limiting factor being the gender of that person. The author categorically states, “The decision whether or not to marry belongs properly to individuals —not the government” (Stoddard, 1, 6)

The author in support of same-sex marriages argues that they simply have no choice; homosexuality was what they were born with, and hence it is only same-sex marriages that can consummate their feelings for each other. If they had the chance to take to homosexuality by choice, why should they take it, they ask, when the topic is still very much hushed up, and largely, homosexuals are maligned and persecuted in most parts of the world.

Their argument also runs into something like this –the true democracy goes by the majority, but respects the sentiment of the minority. The author indicates, “Depriving millions of gay American adults the marriages of their choice, and the rights that flow from marriage denies equal protection of the law. They, their families and friends, together with fair-minded people everywhere, should demand an end to this monstrous injustice” (Stoddard, 1, 10).

On an ethical ground, it can be stated that disallowing same-sex marriages is a mark of double standards of governments that claim to be democratic, but practice persecution of the minority that does not count for votes. The urge for love is internal and personal; what is more important is to find emotional and mental stability in a relationship. As for productivity or childbearing, the author rightly mentions that this argument is not agreeable, “Otherwise, states would forbid marriage between those who, because of age or infertility, cannot have children, as well as those who elect not to “(Stoddard, 1, 9).

The relationship is expected to last a long time; when this most important foundation of such a relationship, trust, is not to be found in the opposite sex, but in someone of the same sex, is it not sheer need that should drive these people towards a marriage? More importantly, they argue, the emotion of love, so central to a human being, is not monopolized in heterosexuals. The logical argument in favor of same-sex marriages is that the central element on which this relationship is built is friendship. Friendship, so very indispensable an element of happiness, is not bound or obliged to be only between those of opposite sexes.

Further, there is the argument that any kind of activity that results in sexual gratification need not involve only what the majority accepts as acceptable behavior; if this is the logic of this argument, what about any kind of orgasmic pleasures, such as masturbation, in which only fantasy is involved, but is pleasurable nevertheless? If pleasure that is got by some kind of stimulation, illusory or real, is acceptable, why is the pleasure that is derived by sexual activity with the same sex not? (Ting-Toomey and Korzenny, 123)

There are the opinions that just allowing the status of same-sex partners to remain what it is would be just sufficient. They argue, if all the expectations that they have from same-sex marriage are being met by a civil union, then why the clamor for legalized marriage? Is it not a redundant formalization of a relationship? There are counterarguments, too, to this belief: once the state recognizes by law the institution of same-sex marriages, they make partners of these marriages eligible for the same benefits that other humans are entitled to.

These laws would legally place same-sex couples on an equal footing with other categories such as racial minorities, and preclude them from the discrimination they face in substantial areas of life such as employment, housing, governmental benefits, and so on. There is another extremely strong social component of legalizing same-sex marriages –in religious beliefs; marriage is considered the ultimate crowning glory and the finest culmination of people who love and care for each other.

Legalization is believed to be the state’s recognition of such a feeling in the same-sex partner’s concern. Lisa Schiffren’s article, “Gay Marriage: An Oxymoron”, looks into this parameter of ethical and social ruling against gay marriages. (Schiffren, 1)

However, one limitation of Stoddard’s article is that it looks at the issue predominantly from the Western perspective. Although homosexuality, even if it is not solemnized by legal protection in most cases to be called same-sex marriages, is universal, this paper restricts itself almost purely to the situation of same-sex marriages, as it exists in the West, in which too, most of the issues are from an American viewpoint.

Secondly, this paper does not make compartmentalization of social, moral, religious, and legal issues concerning same-sex marriages, instead of looking at the issue of mixed marriages as a blend of these factors. Finally, in the concluding section, in which a prognosis is made of the issue, no claim is made that this is by any means an infallible one, whose certainty can be guaranteed. This forecast is at best a pointer made based on very great variables, based on the way the issue has grown, which is liable to change at any time in unforeseeable altered circumstances.

Same-sex marriages have been on the rise in the last four decades or so. Pro-same sex marriage lobbies have articulated that these need to be treated on par with conventional marriages, since most of the parameters apply to heterosexual marriages, such as love, caring, commitment, fidelity, promiscuity, and so on apply to these marriages as well. They see it as the exercise of natural choice and refute the procreation aspect by claiming that they can have offspring, too. Testimony to this claim is the fact that no less than a quarter of the estimated 600,000 same-sex couples in the US has adopted children. (Rauch, 1)

They claim, with credibility, and backed up by facts, that when it comes to habitation, they go by the same set of conditions –they have the same commitment to their children as heterosexual people, live a life in which they cooperate in all major aspects of life, pay taxes and contribute to society. All these would be given a greater impetus if they were legally allowed to live as couples. Another important consideration is that gay couples, too, need to be given the right to make important decisions about the partner, such as possible euthanasia in the event of incapacitation of one of the partners. (Ting-Toomey and Korzenny, 116)

In conclusion, it should be stated that given the developments taking place over the decades, and because of the openness being generally witnessed in the West to same-sex marriages, there is the likelihood that the day is far off when these marriages would be legalized. Another strong reason to believe that its legalization would happen eventually is that the West has a tradition of liberalism; the tradition that was the product of the Revolutions has touched virtually every aspect of life, and there is no reason to believe that only same-sex marriages would be exempt from this sweep.

It is a possibility even more plausible considering that rights have been obtained, some easy and some after a struggle. It is rather anomalous that the US, which champions itself as the protector of rights and freedoms of all clans and cultures should still find it necessary to keep in place laws that are anachronistic to its liberalism-steeped attitude and philosophy. In this regard, the article is a very relevant and important work and it is helpful for any research or study relating to the issue and from a personal note it can be stated that the points raised in the article in favor of gay marriage are extremely agreeable.

Works Cited

Rauch, Jonathan; “Society Has a Compelling Interest in Allowing Gay Marriage: For Better or Worse?” New Republic, 1996: A3.

Schiffren, Lisa. “Gay Marriages: an Oxymoron”. Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings, Sixth Edition. ED. Barnett Bedau. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2002. 495.

Stoddard, Thomas B. “Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal.” faculty. 1988. New York Times. Web.

Ting-Toomey, Stella and Felipe Korzenny. Language, Communication, and Culture: Current Directions. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 2007.

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