Half of Americans say that homosexuality is something that can be changed or a choice, while the other half say that homosexuality is not a choice but something that they are born with and cannot change. So what is homosexuality, exactly? It is the attraction or behaviors, sexual or otherwise, between members of the same sex or gender (Random House, Inc. 2013). The question at hand is should the parties in these types of relationships be allowed to marry and carry the same rights as that of a heterosexual couple? This is something that has been discussed and debated between many groups for a long time and still continues to be so. The answer is simple. Marriage should be the right of the individual, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This country is founded on exactly this point.
The Constitution of the United States of America says everyone should have equal rights. Freedom to marry is no different than freedom of religion. If an individual can choose who to worship and believe in, then that individual should be able to choose who to love and spend their life with. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that in the case of Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause (ProCon.org 2013)”.
Not legalizing same sex marriage only leads people to believe that it is acceptable to discriminate against those who lead this life style. Because of this, laws regarding same sex marriage need to evolve with the times. When laws were created against same sex marriage, it was also not accepted to marry interracially. Since this time these laws have been revised and have allowed for many happy, healthy homes. This goes to show that if laws are not changed to fit the times, the country can never grow. This growth can provide great opportunities in many different ways.
Same Sex Marriage is also beneficial to both the same sex partners and the Government. Federal benefits would be available to a legally married same sex couple. These benefits would include, Social Security Benefits, Tax Benefits, as well Veterans and Military Benefits. For the same sex couple, this would mean a better quality of life and more security later in life.
They would also qualify for Federal Employment Benefits and Immigration. Many people feel that a same sex couple should not have these rights because they believe it will cost the government more money and damage the economy further. However, these benefits would allow the same sex couple to provide a more stable life for their families. As for the government is concerned, the legally married same sex couple would also be liable for the same Federal fees and expenses as a “traditional” married couple.
They would have to file and pay for marriage licenses. In addition, the legally married couple would be required to file as married on their Federal Taxes. Both of these things can potential boost the economy. Therefore, the government would actually benefit from the legalization as opposed to being damaged. The Comptroller for New York City found that over a period of three years, just legalizing gay marriage would bring approximately $142 million to the city’s economy and approximately $184 million to the state’s economy (William C. Thompson, Jr., “Love Counts: The Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality for New York” 2007).
These benefits have already been implemented in many parts of the world and have proven to be beneficial to both parties. There are currently eighteen nations that have implemented laws for same sex marriage to be allowed, in either the entire area or at least certain jurisdictions. These countries include Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), The Netherlands (2000), South Africa (2006), Belgium (2003), England/Wales (2013), New Zealand (2013), Spain (2005), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Canada (2005), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Uruguay (2013), Mexico (2009), and The United States (2003) (Senior Researcher David Masci, Research Analyst Elizabeth Sciupac and Assistant Editor Michael Lipka 2013). Of these eighteen nations the only two restricted to certain jurisdictions The United States and Mexico. In The United States same sex has been legalized in thirteen states.
These include Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008), Iowa (Apr. 24. 2009), Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009), New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), New York (June 24, 2011), Washington (Dec. 9, 2012), Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), California (June 28, 2013), Delaware (July 1, 2013), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), and Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013) (Christian Broadcasting Network, “Americans Question Who Makes a Family,” 2010).
In 2008, Massachusetts, the first state in the country to legalize same sex marriage, had the lowest divorce rate in the country. This has been the case with many other states as well, showing that gay marriage bans correspond with higher divorce rates (Nate Silver, “Divorce Rates Higher in States with Gay Marriage Bans,” 2010). It has been shown that lower divorce rates provide for more stable homes. More stable living environments can provide a plethora of opportunities to people that not have otherwise been given them.
Among these opportunities lies the known fact that a same sex couple who is legally married would have an easier time adopting a child(ren) than a non-married couple. The reason for this is because, the adoption process is believed to be easier when there is a loving two parent household. It has been shown that when considering adoption, a married couple will be much more likely to be approved than an individual because it is more likely that they would be able to best provide for the child and give them the necessary attention. Single parents are very unlikely to be allowed to adopt unless they have extensive means of support.
Many people believe that a child should not be raised in a home with parents of the same sex because it would not be healthy for the child’s growth and development. However, it has been shown that children raised in same sex homes have been proven to thrive just as well as those raised in heterosexual homes.
In this country alone there are 100,000 children waiting for adoption (James G. Pawelski 2006). More stable homes would provide to create more productive members of society. Studies conducted in 2010 concluded that children raised by two mothers scored higher than those of heterosexual parents in multiple areas, including social and academic competence (Rachel H. Farr, Stephen L. Forsell, and Charlotte J. Patterson, “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?,” Applied Developmental Science 2010).” In addition, these children were shown to have fewer social problems. Children of gay fathers in this study were to be just “as well-adjusted as those adopted by heterosexual parents” (Rachel H. Farr, Stephen L. Forsell, and Charlotte J. Patterson, “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?,” Applied Developmental Science 2010).
Allowing more adoptions would also cut down on the need to place unwanted and abused children into the Foster System. In doing this, not only does the same sex married couple get the pleasure of becoming parents, and the children get the chance of a happy normal life, but the government will again benefit by no longer needing to provide the support for these children, as well as providing more foster homes for those children with the possibility of reunification with their families, which there is a great shortage of. All of this information shows that whether or not sexual orientation is a choice or something that one is simply born with is really irrelevant.
The fact still remains that everyone should have equal rights, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. It is unconstitutional to deny these rights to anyone based on these discriminating factors, as the Constitution is supportive of equality for all. In the past similar discrimination was imposed upon inter-racial marriages, which has since been altered. By changing those laws and providing balance between the races, the country has grown in ways that could only have been imagined. The same possibilities are true for the legalizations of same sex marriage.
Unless something is given the chance, it will never be known what could possibly come from it, and it could quite possibly improve the overall quality of life. This is true not just for the parties directly affected, but for those around them as well. This has already been shown through the positive things that have come from the legalization of same sex marriage in many areas around the world. Regardless of the fears of many that legalizing same sex marriage could compromise the functions of society, in the areas where it is already legal, society is still functioning just as well if not better than before the legalization.
Pew research religion and public life project. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.pewforum.org/search/gay+marriage/?site=pewforum
Procon.org. (2013). Retrieved from http://gaymarriage.procon.org/
Waters, H. J. (2013). Proquest. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/docview/1372302648?accountid=458
Cheiner, E. (2013). The gay and lesbian review. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/docview/1322735038?accountid=458
Pearce, C. (2012). Gay marriage. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/docview/1223795294?accountid=458