Questions about morality, family relationships, freedom of expression, and sexuality are at stake in the gay marriage debate. The main argument of the issue of same sex marriage is how much we should allow the government to control in issues like marriage in our private lives. “At Issue: Gay Marriage”, which is a book written by Debra Miller in 2012, includes a broad spectrum of views on the subject. One of the biggest issues in the gay marriage debate is the meaning of the separation of church and state in the United States.
Some organizations and churches argue that state support of same-sex marriage is a breach of their religious freedoms which are protected by the US Constitution and if they are forced by laws enacted to include same sex marriages that they are being forced to accept acts that are against their religious beliefs. In a statement made concerning same sex marriage; some religious organizations and churches claimed that homosexual acts go against their religious beliefs and the natural moral law and that they should not be forced to perform marriages that go against their beliefs.
Religious organizations say that to legalize homosexual marriage is religious persecution in their eyes. People that approve of gay marriage make the point that marriage is a legal right and a religious right as well because church and the state are separate. Activists argue that homosexual couples have a right to a marriage the same as heterosexual couples do. Another point that is called on is that people do not have to marry in a church but can do so in a court house as well and that no church or religious organization is bound to marry any couple.
They are basically saying that churches are not forced to do anything against their belief system. One side will argue against federal laws that encompass and over rule state laws. Others will argue that each state should be able to make and enforce laws that concern each state as they see fit within their state governmental departments, like those concerning marriage laws. President Bush believed and stated that “the voice of the people is being compromised by the actions of a few judges in isolated cases”, (President George Bush, 2003).
Former President Bush believes that laws like these could threaten every state in the union because of the “full faith and credit” clause in Article IV of the Constitution, (The United States Constitution, Article III, Section 2, 2013), which requires all states to honor the laws of every other state. President Bush said in an interview that the full faith and credit clause would require all states same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Bush, 2003) Civil Unions include heterosexual and same sex unions according to The Department of Internal Affairs, (The Department of Internal Affairs, 2004). Civil Unions differ from marriage because they are entered into by two people who chose to live together as man and wife and present themselves to the public and in private this way without an official marriage or marriage license. They consider themselves married but the government, whether state, local, or federal do not.
At one time heterosexual civil unions were accepted and now are no longer recognized in most states. What this means is that people with a marriage license issued by the state are guaranteed certain rights, responsibilities, and privileges that people in civil unions are not given. These rights extend to the work place where insurance is guaranteed to a spouse of heterosexuals that are married but not to civil unions between same or opposite sex couples working in the same place.
If same sex marriage and civil unions are both accepted and laws are enacted to approve of them then I believe this opens the doors to many other types of behaviors in the future that will do more harm than good to our society. These behaviors would include the right of an older person to marry a child for instance or to marry an animal or inanimate object even. We must ask ourselves one question and that is where we are willing to draw the line in our inclusions and amendments to the laws that were written to protect us in the beginning. The more we accept the more we are willing to accept as a society.