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Althea Horan Trenton Judson ENGL-1010-032 Same Sex Marriage: Freedom or Fallacy?

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In the modern world the issues surrounding same sex marriage on a legal and ethical stand point have become far more extreme then would be necessary for those living in the 21st century. Marriage of two people that are of opposite gender is a long standing tradition in society that has been around for centuries. Today we as a society are faced with the battle of wanting to have our own freedoms and beliefs respected and at the same time feeling that others beliefs and freedoms will infringe on ours. The ideals and definitions of marriage are very sacred and honored tradition that is very important to many. Some feel that changing the ideals and definition of marriage will undermine the main purpose and stability of the institution, while others feel that no matter the gender, marriage is a freedom that should not be denied to any couple wanting to pursue a legal recognition of their relationship. Who one is attracted is not a choice, but is a preset part of who someone is. I also believe that if society as a whole, due to the fact that they are very much based in Christian religions, have biased views on same sex marriage based on things they read in religious text. Unfortunately this leaves the meaning of said texts up to interpretation of each individual and is not necessarily the meaning the person who wrote it intended or the proper definition of the written text. Denying this right to same sex couples also leaves them powerless to build a stable home for themselves, their partner and their family. I intend to show how these thoughts processes and views are very detrimental and out dated in todays society. My personal view on this issue is that no one can chose who they are attracted to and should not be denied the basic human right of having that bond recognized by society and the law as well as the benefits that come with it.

Althea

Page 2 It has been a main goal of people in society to strive for stability in their lives and for

their families. One of the best ways we can offer more stability to the people of our nation is to allow for same sex marriage to be legal. Gary Grossman, a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, writes a lot about this aspect of same sex marriage in his writing "Position Paper On Gay Marriage." He starts out with a quote from the APsaA about a statement they made in 1997 that endorsed the following Marriage Resolution: Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage. ( Grossman, Gary) The biggest thing I see that is holding back the full progression of same-sex marriage is that marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a women for so many centuries. Many people fear the change in the legal definition of this institution because they feel it will under mind the base integrity of marriage itself. In an article written for The New York Times, Nathaniel Frank, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, gives examples of opinions on this such as that couple of the opposite sex view sharing the institution of marriage with same-sex couples will diminish the meaning and sanctity of theirs because they do not trust or respect same-sex couples, in fact they fear them. They feel that the rules that dictate what marriage is would be completely undermined by allowing same-sex marriage to be legal. Because of this many will no longer hold marriage sacred and will not be concerned with offending their community by breaking their marriage vows, so they will be more likely to do so. Frank specifies this more by saying, Thus it is inadequate to argue that marriage is a basic civil right because it cannot be extended to all unions -- to the brother who wants to marry his sister, to the man who wants two wives, to the 10-year-old who wants to

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marry her teacher. Marriage could indeed lose some of its current meaning and power if society legalized unions between relatives, groups or children. (Frank, Nathaniel) In my eyes, these views are very outdated and excessive in todays society. They come from a time when marriage was only allowed between a man and a women, even if same sex coupling was often a common practice in many places. Sadly many still fail to see that allowing same sex marriage to be legal would only truly benefit society and help strengthen it by providing same sex couples the means to form a stable household and a family. I believe that people have the capability to see beyond the very biased views and beliefs that are taught to them from their youth. One of these beliefs being that same sex marriage or coupling is immoral in the eyes of their God. These beliefs are based from writings where it is often difficult to decipher the meaning the writer intended by what they wrote as well as the wording itself is often misinterpreted. In doing this, it would allow them to be more accepting and make the world would be a much more peaceful place. But sadly many people in todays society are Christian and this leads to them being less open minded and accepting of difference. A lot of that comes from the teachings and interpretation of the written religious texts. An example of this is stated by Matthew Franck in his writing titled Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom, Fundamentally at Odds | RealClearPolitics."(Franck, Matthew). In this writing he states a very negative view on same-sex marriage. He believes it will only harm how things are for the country. A quote from his writing that shows this best is, Should the truth about marriagethat it unites men and women so that children will have fathers and mothers be defied by the laws of the land, we cannot expect the religious freedom of those who believe in that ancient truth to be respected under the new dominion of falsehood. After all, if redefining marriage to include same-sex couples accords with justice and moral truth, there is no good reason for the new legal order to make room for conscientious religious dissenters, for clearly

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their consciences are malformed and unworthy of respect. Thus the fate of religious freedom, for scores of millions of Americans, stands or falls with the fate of conjugal marriage itself.(Franck, Matthew) The fate of religious freedom and the stability and sanctity of marriage is not at risk here. I also believe that if the people with these beliefs, or all people for that matter, could see along the same lines of Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California, He states that marriage is not a privilege but instead restriction by the government on couples rights when it comes to their relationships. In his writing, Gay marriage 'rights', Sowell speaks about how advocates for same-sex marriage arguments are phony, especially the argument of equal rights. People can define their relationships however they like no matter if they are a same-sex couple or a opposite sex couple. They can chose to enter into what ever type of contract within that relationship that they want and they do not need the government or any laws to tell them how to do so or when to end the relationship. The following quote by Sowell states his opinion on society stake in this matter. Society has no such stake in the outcome of a union between two people of the same sex. Transferring all those laws to same-sex couples would make no more sense than transferring the rules of baseball to football.(Sowell, Thomas) He feels that marriage is a restriction to any type of couple because it takes away a couples rights of making certain decisions for themselves such as the specifics in a contract that defines their relationship as well as the type of ceremony they would hold to celebrate their union. In this Sowell is not condemning same-sex marriage but the institution of marriage itself. I do not agree with all he says here, but I do agree that the government is far to involved in some aspects of peoples relationships, and that this often makes being in one hard. I lean more towards marriage being simply a legal form of showing the love bond they already share. It would be beneficial for the common definition of marriage to be that it binds a couple, no matter the gender preference, in a public and legal show of their love, thus allowing them to benefit from the rights

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that come with marriage and to define the specifics of their marriage for themselves. This would give them a much needed freedom in their relationship, which I believe would alleviate a lot of the stress and social pressure on those who are married because they would not feel as much need to have to impress society, instead only to focus on each other and their happiness as a couple. Really the only question to me lies in if the upset and anguish caused to both sides of the issue is worth continuing not allow same sex marriage, especially based off of such out dated views. Contrary to what many believe, a person in a religious position has the right to refuse service to anyone they like when it comes to performing marriages. It is still very much their choice and they are dramatizing how much making same sex marriage legal will truly effect them in this aspect, or any aspect for that matter. Many feel that allowing same sex marriage would, or does, infringe on their religious freedoms. The reason they believe this is because they feel that it will force religious icons to make a choice between performing same-sex marriages or being able to practice their First Amendment rights. This is an opinion shared by Matthew Franck as well. He also believes that it will also affect small business owners who do not condone same-sex marriages. He says that it will make it so that they have to provide services to these people for fear of being sued or ridiculed even if they do not agree with them being married. He also shows concern over same-sex couples regarding employment. It is law not to discriminate against anyone for religion, race, sexual orientation, color, sex, national origin, disability and age. And Franck believes this will have an adverse effect on business owned by churches, religious organizations and people whose religious beliefs are against same-sex marriage. Can they continue to do so in the redefined-marriage legal regime? If a church ministry hires someone in a same-sex marriage, or employs someone who enters such a marriage; or if it declines to hire such a person, or treats him or her adversely if already

Althea employed in any of these scenarios there is trouble ahead, if federal, state, or local

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employment law considers it wrongful discrimination to treat persons in same-sex marriages differently from men and women in marriages, Frank states. This is another aspect that many make to much out of. They preach acceptance and love of all fellow men, but it often seems that to them, fellow men means that those that believe and follow the same religious beliefs and them. They should let go of these hurtful and detrimental practices, beliefs and discriminations. Finally I want to discuss is that of the inability for a same sex couple to feel stable and to not only provide stability to their partner but to any children they may have as well. I have touched on this trough out my paper, but wanted to go into more detail on it. Without being able to be legally married, there are benefits that same sex couples are denied such as they can not get health care for their from their place of business, receive financial or medical assistance for their children if they need it, and joint parenting and joint adoption .Gary Grossman gives the opinion that the current not allowing same sex marriage laws also effect the child of same-sex couples in that they feel the instability both parents are not able to provide health insurance for the children. If the relationship does not work out, one of the parents may lose custody of any child, and this will leave the children in a even more instable situation. This stigma and discrimination often causes psychiatric problems for gay men and lesbians so they are more likely to seek psychological treatment. Children of same-sex couples are affected by this because their parents are unable to legalize their marriage, it gives the children a since of being illegitimate. There is also less ability to make sure that the health and well being of the child is met when a gay or lesbian couple separates because they are not legally married so there is no proceedings or procedure as there is in a opposite sex separation to make sure the child is properly provided for and is in a stable place. ( Grossman, Gary). I very much agree with this view on the subject,

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unlike the very negative and opposite view stated by Stanley Kurtz (a fellow at the Hudson Institute ) in his blog, "Stanley Kurtz on Gay Marriage on National Review Online." In this writing he states that the real difficulties that plagues gay and lesbian couples is not "discrimination" of marriage but is in fact that they have a different sexual preference then that of most of the world. Changing the marriage laws can not remedy this. Some Americans, out of empathy for the plight of same-sex couples, want to offer marriage to help lessen the challenges they face. He believes that marriage can not fulfill the needs of these couples and that using it to attempt this will bring about the end of marriage and the protection it provides our children. How many children are in danger of being effected by the collapse of marriage is far greater then the amount of people that will be effected if same-sex marriage is not allowed. In a direct quote he
says, The number of single people who will never marry is substantial and growing, yet society

is right to "discriminate" against these single people in ways that are relatively modest but which sustain an institution that protects children. (Kurtz, Stanley) Basic human rights should never be denied to anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. This includes being able to have their marriage legally recognized and the benefits that come with this right. Doing so only causes an overall negative effect on society and many of the people in it, both for and against same sex marriage. I have given quotes from sources speaking on both sides of this debate as well as those that are not on either side. But with all the stated pros and cons on same-sex marriage and all the facts people present, I believe that everyone fails to see that society was formed from beliefs that are very close minded. People as a whole have a hard time accepting that same-sex attraction has been around for longer then the legalized institution of marriage. That ones gender orientation, despite the beliefs of many, is not a choice but a part of who and what a person is. They do not develop homosexuality but instead are born with the attraction to the gender they will be for the rest of their lives. No one should

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have to sacrifice who they are or their happiness to appease the beliefs of society. The United States was formed on the desire to not be persecuted for ones personal and spiritual beliefs as well as how someone wants to live. So as long as it is not morally wrong, within the confines of basic human morals, then laws should not inhibit the freedom of same-sex couples being ability to marry. Love is not restricted to heterosexual couples, so the legal way to show that love and the commitment that they share because of that love, should not be restricted either. Society as a whole needs to accept that same-sex couples can provide just as much love, happiness and stability as opposite sex couples, especially if they are given all the rights and opportunities of the being legally recognized through out the country.

Bibliography 1. Frank, Nathaniel. "Joining the Debate But Missing the Point." The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Feb. 2004. Web. 21 July 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/29/ opinion/joining-the-debate-but-missing-thepoint.html>. 2. Grossman, Gary, PhD. "Position Paper On Gay Marriage." Gay Marriage. American Psychoanalytic Association, n.d. Web. <http://www.apsa.org/About_APsaA/ Position_Statements/Gay_Marriage.aspx>.19 July 2013. 3. Franck, Matthew. "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom, Fundamentally at Odds | RealClearPolitics." Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom, Fundamentally at Odds | . Public Discourse, n.d. Web. <http://www.realclearpolitics.com /articles/2013/06/19/same-sex_marriage_and_ religious_freedom _fundamentally_ at_ odds_118864.html>.19 July 2013. 4. Sowell, Thomas. "Gay Marriage 'rights'" Townhall.com. Http://townhall.com/, 31 Dec. 2004. Web. 21 July 2013. <http://townhall.com/ columnists/thomassowell/ /12/31/ gay_marriage_rights/page/full>. 5. Kurtz, Stanley. "Stanley Kurtz on Gay Marriage on National Review Online." Stanley Kurtz on Gay Marriage on National Review Online. National Review Online, 05 Feb. 2004. Web. 21 July 2013. <http://old.nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200402050842.asp>.