flag image
Aurora

Pro/Con: Pro same-sex marriage



shadow
shadow
June 10, 2014 | 03:34 PM
Same-sex couples should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment in the same way as heterosexual couples. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation states that many same-sex couples “want the right to legally marry [and] honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer...”

Same-sex couples should have access to the same benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. Many benefits are only available to married couples, such as hospital visitation during an illness, taxation and inheritance rights, access to family health coverage, and protection in the event of the relationship ending.

An Oct. 2, 2009, analysis by the New York Times estimates that a same-sex couple denied marriage benefits will incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over their lifetime compared to a married heterosexual couple.

The concept of “traditional marriage” being defined as one man and one woman is historically inaccurate. Given the prevalence of modern and ancient examples of family arrangements based on polygamy, communal child-rearing, the use of concubines and mistresses and the commonality of prostitution, heterosexual monogamy can be considered “unnatural” in evolutionary terms.

Marriage is redefined as society’s attitudes evolve, and the majority of Americans now support gay marriage. Interracial marriage was illegal in many US states until a 1967 Supreme Court decision. Coverture, where a woman’s legal rights and economic identity were subsumed by her husband upon marriage, was commonplace in 19th century America. No-fault divorce has changed the institution of marriage since its introduction in California on Jan. 1, 1970. With a May 2013 Gallup poll showing 53 percent of Americans supporting gay marriage, it is time for the definition of marriage to evolve once again.

Gay marriage is protected by the Constitution’s commitments to liberty and equality. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1974’s Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that the “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause.” US District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote on Aug. 4, 2010, that Prop. 8 in California banning gay marriage was “unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.”

Denying same-sex couples the right to marry stigmatizes gay and lesbian families as inferior and sends the message that it is acceptable to discriminate against them. The Massachusetts Supreme Court wrote in an opinion to the state Senate on Feb. 3, 2004, that offering civil unions was not an acceptable alternative to gay marriage because “...it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status.”

Gay marriages can bring financial gain to state and local governments. Revenue from gay marriage comes from marriage licenses, higher income taxes (the so-called “marriage penalty”), and decreases in costs for state benefit programs. The Comptroller for New York City found that legalizing gay marriage would bring $142 million to the city’s economy and $184 million to the state’s economy over three years.

Gay marriage would make it easier for same-sex couples to adopt, providing stable homes for children who would otherwise be left in foster care. In the US, 100,000 children are waiting to be adopted. A longitudinal study published in Pediatrics on June 7, 2010 found that children of lesbian mothers were rated higher than children of heterosexual parents in social and academic competence and had fewer social problems. A July 2010, study found that children of gay fathers were “as well-adjusted as those adopted by heterosexual parents.” As Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein argues, “We should be begging gay couples to adopt children. We should see this as a great boon that gay marriage could bring to kids who need nothing more than two loving parents.”

Marriage provides both physical and psychological health benefits, and banning gay marriage increases rates of psychological disorders. The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and others wrote in a Sept. 2007, amicus brief, “...allowing same-sex couples to marry would give them access to the social support that already facilitates and strengthens heterosexual marriages, with all of the psychological and physical health benefits associated with that support.” A 2010 analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health found that after their states had banned gay marriage, gay, lesbian and bisexual people suffered a 37 percent increase in mood disorders, a 42 percent increase in alcohol-use disorders, and a 248 percent increase in generalized anxiety disorders.

Legalizing gay marriage will not harm heterosexual marriages or “family values,” and society will continue to function successfully. A study published on Apr. 13, 2009, in Social Science Quarterly found that “[l]aws permitting same-sex marriage or civil unions have no adverse effect on marriage, divorce, and abortion rates, [or] the percent of children born out of wedlock...” The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association found that more than a century of research has shown “no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.”

Marriage is a secular institution which should not be limited by religious objections to gay marriage. Nancy Cott, PhD, testified in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that “[c]ivil law has always been supreme in defining and regulating marriage” and that religious leaders are accustomed to performing marriages only because the state has given them that authority.

Gay marriage is correlated with lower divorce rates, while gay marriage bans are correlated with higher divorce rates. Massachusetts, which became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, had the lowest divorce rate in the country in 2008. Its divorce rate declined 21 percent between 2003 and 2008. Alaska, which altered its constitution to prohibit gay marriage in 1998, saw a 17.2 percent increase in its divorce rate.

If the reason for marriage is strictly reproduction, infertile couples could not to marry. Ability or desire to create offspring has never been a qualification for marriage.

Same-sex marriage is a civil right. The 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia confirmed that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights of man,” and same-sex marriages should receive the same protections given to interracial marriages by that ruling.

printPrint
emailEmail
CommentFeedback
shareShare

Tags: Staff Editorial

Comments ()
Community Bank
Regional News
Young Auditorium
LAKE GENEVA AREA REALTY