Relationships between sexes have been traditionally streamlined into the heterosexual standards of behavior. Marriage, as a union of two people before the law and the church, is mostly perceived as such comprising representatives of different sexes, a man and a woman.
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However, apart from heterosexual couples, there also emerge occurrences when two people of the same sex desire to form a matrimonial unit. In such cases, the term of same-sex marriage or gay marriage is applied whenever such union is officially recognized by the legal system of a country. The attitude to gay marriage has differed throughout the existence of humankind, varying from approval to indifference to persecution.
After a historical wave of human rights movement, modern society appears to be reconsidering its attitude to gay marriage on the whole, and a number of countries have already accepted gay marriage as legal. Despite this change, the opposition between the proponents and the opponents of gay marriage remains tense, nurtured by a wide range of mutually exclusive arguments for and against gay marriage.
The first argument typically used to defend gay marriage in public opinion is the populist slogan of human rights movement that every person, irrespective of sexual background, has the right to love and family life. Indeed, by denying marriage among representatives of the same sex, the principle of majority rule, minority right is violated (Messerli).
If homosexually oriented people are viewed as a minority, then it appears that denying marriage to them is similar to denying marriage to people of non-Caucasus race, etc. In fact, such prohibition of gay marriage appears nothing less than mere discrimination, a phenomenon that modern society is trying to eradicate by all means.
Counteracting the argument that prohibition of gay marriage appears similar to discrimination is the idea that marriage, in the traditional understanding of the word, is the union of necessarily different sexes, a man and a woman. The main function of a traditional heterosexual marriage is viewed in producing children of their own, a function that a same-sex marriage cannot physically perform.
Adopting children or getting offspring via artificial fertilization (in couples consisting of homosexual females) cannot be viewed as reproduction proper since either both or one of the partners are not directly involved in the process of conception and childbearing. Therefore, due to the inability to perform the basic function of the family, gay marriage can hardly be recognized as marriage proper.
Another argument in defense of gay marriage is viewed by some of its proponents in the fact that the practice of adopting children by gay couples promotes adoption rates and benefits the situation with parentless children. The more gay couples are legally married, the more chances there are that they will be officially allowed to adopt and raise children (Messerli).
Considering that the numbers of parentless children in the world is overflowing, gay marriages could be a beneficial solution to this problem. In addition, gay marriage would promote the sense of family among the homosexual couples and make this sense complete with adopting a child.
Opponents of same-sex marriages arduously refute the argument of the beneficial effects of child adoptions by gay couples. For one thing, the standard type of family accepted in a traditional society and still dominating in modern world is a family where one of the parents is a man (or a father) and the other parent is a woman (or a mother).
In case with gay marriages, this balance of sexes would be impossible to maintain, and therefore the child may get confused about his or her family composition. In its turn, this may lead to misunderstanding of masculine and feminine roles and messy behavior with lack of own definition. For another thing, parent-child relations in a gay marriage are quite obscure.
It is a widely known fact that many people who grew up homosexual used to be sexually abused in their childhood. This closed circle may engross the adopted children into unwanted sexual practices that would streamline their life in a direction undesired by them.
A legal case in support of same-sex marriage is the idea that marriage as a social institution is readily recognized by the general public. Having concluded a legal marriage, a homosexual couple can enjoy the same citizen and family rights as traditional heterosexual couples.
Moreover, being officially registered as spouses brings homosexual more understanding in daily situations. In an interview to the Bay Area Reporter, policy director for Marriage Equality USA Pamela Brown states that “No one questions your spouse in the hospital if you’re married; but in a domestic partnership, you’d better bring your paperwork” (Laird). Community welcomes legalized marriage and demonstrates more tolerance if a homosexual couple is joined by official conjugal ties.
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Despite the arduous support of institution of marriage on the example of gay marriages, there exist certain dangers connected with accepting same-sex marriages as legal. The basis of social respect for the institution of marriage lies in the uniqueness of the union between the man and the woman, since they are the only couple between sexes able to procreate (Messerli).
The traditional understanding of family as a husband, wife, and children has been the sacred notion that has helped people survive through most dreadful challenges. The dream of true family has led soldiers to fight for their motherland, and the vision of homely comfort and cozy family hearth is the one that helped survive economic depressions.
If this standard of family is changed, the consequences might be drastic. Expanding the borders of marriage to the point where they are blurred is threatening the stability of the institute of marriage. People will then be tempted to claim that any union be called a marriage, be it a union of one men with ten wives or a couple of blood relatives. Therefore, the borders of marriage should be kept inviolable, otherwise the whole institute can collapse.
Last but not least, the most stable basis for decision on legality or illegality of gay marriage should be the Scripture that has served as a guideline for moral standards for thousands of generations. However artfully it might be misrepresented by wishful interpreters, the Bible clearly states the standards of sexual behavior since the very first days of existence: a couple is heterosexual, “male to female, joined as God intended them to be” (ProCon.org).
This absolute truth should be taken as a model on which the whole institute of marriage is based. Any other digressions and variations can only be viewed as transient and therefore cannot be accepted as a standard, since they violate the ultimate dispensation granted to humankind.
Laird, Cynthia. “Pros and Cons of Gay Marriage Debated.” The Bay Area Reporter Online. 2 Aug. 2007. Web.
Messerli, Joe. “Should Same-Sex Marriages be Legalized?” BalancedPolitics.org. 24 May 2009. 21 Jul. 2010. Web. <https://www.balancedpolitics.org/same_sex_marriages.htm>.
ProCon.org. “Top 10 Pros and Cons: Is Sexual Orientation Determined at Birth?” BornGay.ProCon.org. 6 May 2009. 21 Jul.2010. Web. <https://borngay.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000005>.