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Many people oppose the issue of same sex marriage vehemently, some out of religious prejudice while others out of personal opinion and taste. Others believe it is a human right which should not be denied or attract any kind of discrimination and intimidation.
Same sex marriage is gaining acceptance in many countries and societies; however, it faces a lot of resistance especially in conservative and religious communities. Just like the racial discrimination of the 1960’s in the United States, proponents and opponents of equal marriages are involved in an ideological battle but the major victims remain to be those directly affected, homosexuals.
Marriage is an institution found in every society bearing similar responsibilities in each. Its significance has been appreciated with virtually all cultures in the having clear distinctions between responsibilities of each member. The accepted norm in almost all cultures is marriage between members of the opposite sex.
Heterosexual marriages have ensured survival and continuity of human beings for ages despite other species facing extinction. Whether or not the legalization of same-sex marriages will affect the role and effectiveness of this fundamental institution, is a mystery every side tries to unravel.
The Civil Marriage Act
Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, received a lot of support from Egale Canada and Canadians for Equal Marriage, arguing that the Charter should be free from any religious influence. The proponents argue that, any kind of restrictions on equal marriages, which do not apply for heterosexual marriages, are discriminatory because, “…excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…” (Canadian for Equal Marriage Para. 7).
Marriage has undergone evolution, and according to them, sexual orientation in marriage is an issue that has to be incorporated in the same, just as voting rights for women was introduced in the last century.
Bill C-38 creates an equality platform in that, same sex couples would not have to fight for their rights through petitions unlike their heterosexual counterparts. The right of choice in marriage should supposedly be left to an individual. Proponents of equal marriages argue that imposing religious legislations on people not belonging to the respective religion amounts to abuse of human right. It is the right of every citizen to choose when, where and whom to marry as long as it does not infringe the rights of other people.
Bill C-38 ensures this by giving a homosexual protection and access to marriage privileges enjoyed by couples in heterosexual relationships. Bill C-38 protects officials willing to marry same sex couples and those against such marriage. Opponents of equal marriages have a right of choice based on their religious beliefs. Under the bill in section 2 (a), they will not be coerced by the government or any individual to rent their places of worship for equal marriages.
Marriage as an Institution
Many organizations, like the Focus on the Family Canada, uphold high morals for the family and the institution of marriage. Marriage should be viewed as the foundation of a society and “as a unique relationship between a man and a woman” (Focus on the Family Canada Association Para. 1) which has remained for many centuries and civilizations. Deviation from such an institution forms something else rather than marriage.
If problems arise from the family, it reverberates to the entire society. Studies on the same-sex marriage are very few and distributed within an extremely short time, compared to heterosexual relationships, which have been there since history. Many researchers that claim same-sex marriage to be better than heterosexual marriage base their arguments on unrealistic reports that lack any credibility due to flaws in their methodology.
Every child needs a father and mother figure to grow perfectly. In a homosexual marriage, a child lacks either of the two, since men and women are unique naturally. A father plays a very significant role that a mother cannot play. Dire consequences are followed by absentee fatherhood in any family. For instance, “…children suffer when they are denied the nurturing influence of a mother and father” (Focus on the Family Canada Association Para. 9).
According to Arasteh (1988), boys who grow up without a father figure in their lives have a higher risk of engaging in antisocial behavior. Moreover, Children without a father figure in their lives experience drugs and sexual problems in their teenage years (49). When children grow around an effective father figure, they develop a sense of security and belonging. Many children blame themselves in case of an absent father, leading to low self-esteem and antisocial behaviors later in life.
Arasteh (1988) posits that, girls lacking a father figure turn to other men to compensate for that need, a situation that usually leads to their exploitation (68). Fatherhood is a pillar in the development of a healthy society due to its influence in a child’s development. A heterosexual relationship is the only one that can produce children, hence not unique but also natural.
Some argue that there is an increase in sexually transmitted diseases in heterosexual marriages; nevertheless, that is not the root of the problem but sex out of marriage. Homosexual activists put their own interests first, negating the importance of the family unit that is fundamental for the existence of any society. They themselves exist because there was an incentive from both a male and female figure.
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A child gets personal identification both socially and biologically from the family, which is responsible for building the child’s character and self-esteem. This is then reflected to the society if only the basic unit, the family, has played its part. The family is therefore a very sensitive institution meaning that any form of imbalance in its structure causes effects in the society.
It is now clear that marriage is an institution that should be guarded if the society is to remain intact. Moreover, from a medical point of view, people engaging in anal sex have a high risk of having anal fissures and hemorrhoids. The anus is home to many disease-causing organisms and sex opens the door for more infections. Anal sex is also painful to many, simply because the anus is not designed for that job.
It is the supreme mandate of every nation to protect its citizens. The fact that gays and lesbians are citizens like any other, in spite of their sexual orientation, they have the right of protection against any form of discrimination. However, this should not be done in a manner to destroy the very foundations of society. The homosexual lifestyle is devastating to the individuals as depicted in the high prevalence of depression, substance abuse, and suicidal attempts. It is evident that before the collapse of major kingdoms, there was degrade in morals and especially in the institution of marriage. It is absurd to see pro same-sex marriage argue that, homosexuality was allowed in ancient societies, without realizing that aspect. The long term effects of legalizing same-sex marriages should be the focus of the debate on whether they should be allowed or not. It is the argument of many that gay marriage hurts no one, but the sad truth is that, it eats away the moral network of a society, weakening it. The basic human rights need to be re-defined. Same sex marriage will ultimately affect the institution of marriage. The lifestyle and nature of family may change with time, but the role it is supposed to play and contribute to the society will never change. Therefore, in the light of these observations, Focus on the Family Canada Association presented valid and stronger arguments by exploring the pertinent issues surrounding heterosexual marriages as opposed to same-sex marriages.
Arasteh, Josephine. Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting and Step Parenting on Children. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988.
“Canadians for Equal Marriage.” Egale / CEM to Appear before C-38 Committee at 3:30 Pm Today, 16 May 2005. Web. <https://egale.ca/bill-c-38-submissions/>
“Focus on the Family Canada Association.” Redefinition of Marriage: A Focus on the Family Q&A, 2002. Web. <http://web.archive.org/web/20020818233343/http://www.fotf.ca/familyfacts/analysis/110401.html>