In America, people hold on to the Declaration of Independence as an implementation of their rights. Part of the Declaration of Independence clearly states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Jefferson 80). Gays are human beings too, and they should equally be able to enjoy the human rights.
If we believe that human rights are equal regardless of their sexual orientation; then why do gays have to struggle for equal positions in the church, law, and psychological equality? Gay people, their families, and their friends are fighting for these rights.
They want equality for gays including legal marriage, and marriage benefits that the regular man-woman marriages enjoy. Gay marriage becomes an option because many gay couples want the equality of human rights.
Gays realize their rights are being abolished by the fact that they are not allowed to legally marry and enjoy the privileges as married couples.
Only twelve states in America and District of Columbia legally allow gay marriage. The twelve states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington (Millstone). Massachusetts is the first state that legalized gay marriage on May 2004 (Tying the Knot). Although gays can legally marry in these states, the couples have limited rights.
DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) restricts federal marriage benefits; therefore, it prevents gays from receiving the insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns (Burns). The documentary, Tying the Knot shows that many gay couples stay together for a long period of time, whether they are married or not. They share their lives: mentally, physically, and economically. But when a spouse dies, the other spouse does not get his/her rights as a normal opposite-sex spouse would get, which includes pension benefits and/or the house (belongings).
The movie shows a sad reality to this current unfairness toward gay couples. While gays’ rights are being suppressed, the questions start to come up, “Is being gay an option? ”. This question becomes a part of controversy for gay marriage. According to Dan Eden, a writer for an online journal Viewzone since 1996 on his research, “Homosexuality is a congenital condition much like being ‘left-handed’. ” He provides a scientific point of view that homosexuals are born that way; hormones also affect sexuality, beside chromosomes. Homosexual is not a lifestyle, homosexuals are born gays and they do not choose being gay as a lifestyle.
The National Memo, a political newsletter since 2011, interviewed people and asked them, “Do you think people born gay or choose to be gay? ” When they answered, the interviewers added another question, “When did you choose to be straight? ” which made people think. The National Memo wants people to think about this, while Eden wants to make a clear statement that “being gay is not an option”. The Obama Administration has been trying to bring equal rights for gays, by stating that LGBT’s rights (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) also part of the human rights (Clinton).
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the US secretary of state in 2009 stated, “All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love. ” It is clear that people have an equal rights and freedom to love, to choose their partner, and to get married despite their sex’s orientation. On the other hand, according to Ben Newman, a public relations director who had been in position as a “healed gay”, being gay is an option and can be cured. His name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Newman explained this in his story regarding how his family background and childhood experiences made him being attracted towards men, although he was already married to a woman and had children from her. Later on, he followed a reparative therapy: a reverse treatment through psychotherapy to change his sexual orientation. He succeeded to come back to the society as a “straight” man after 2 years and 3 months in the reparative therapy (Newman). In this situation, although gay marriage is already legal in some states, gay couples still struggle with their positions in government and law, and also with their positions between church and state.
In government and law: when will gay couples receive an equal law for their marriage? Does government have the power to define marriage? It seems that even when gay couples are allowed to marry, they are without any marriage rights, because of DOMA. In regard to their position between church and state, there is much religious objection towards gay marriage. In the United States, Christianity and Catholicism are the primary religions. These religions believe in God and believe that the marriage is rightly between a man and a woman.
Although certain churches approve gay marriage (Tying the Knot), the fear is, how it might affect the government, and how it might cause people manipulate the marriage to get the government’s benefits (Boston). Furthermore, in State of the Union 2004, President George W. Bush stated: The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.
Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society (Burns 7). President Bush described marriage as cultural and natural way to expand the society, because of the fact that marriage between man and woman would produce and foster children. These man-woman marriages are honored by faith and beliefs. He does not want the changes in marriage values affect the society in a bad way. In addition, for people that do not agree on gay marriage, they have skepticism about how gay marriages will affect children in the future.
Although people assume that gay couples will not have children, but in reality they do, either from previous relationships, adoptions or simply have to raise children from other family’s member. However, children who are raised by gay couples need legal assurance from their “gay parents”. According to Anne Pollock, a graduate student in social studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “The first priority of civil marriage should be to provide a secure environment for all children.
The religious right’s claim that children benefit from their [antigay activists] assaults against gay families is nothing less than hypocritical. Burns)” If the gay parents do not have equal legal rights, like what stated in DOMA; so that, if something happens to one of the gay parent, their children also will suffer from the consequences. For example, if a working gay spouse gets into accident at work and dies, the problems would show up for the other surviving spouse when they are denied for the support, which she/he needs to live with the children. For this reason, the benefit is future’s assurance for children themselves; lastly, it seems self-righteous to take away these rights from the children.
The other skepticism towards gay marriage is that it will harm children. An author of several books about marriage, Maggie Gallagher states, “First and foremost, children need stable families to become the kind of adults who will in turn provide stable families for their future children… Legalizing same-sex marriage would sanction families that would deprive children of the experience of either motherhood or fatherhood. (Burns)” Gallagher wants people to think that a normal family has a father and a mother to raise their children; these children will look upon their parents to build their own family in the future.
The family that does not have man-woman parents will create a different effect to their children. Therefore, Gallagher believes that man-woman marriage will produce children, and on the other hand, gay couples could not produce children. Specifically, gay marriage will harm children mentally and in long term, our population. Moreover, there are other questions toward gay marriage: will it promote social stability or harm society? For years, gay people have been struggling for their recognition, although they get married in a party with friends and families, but they did not get marry legally.
However, they have not think about their future assurance such as: the insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security benefits, immigration, or the filing of joint tax returns. Their futures seem uncertain; something might happen and take away the rights that a normal opposite-sex marriage would legally have. In addition, The California Health Interview Survey held a research regarding physical distress from legal same-sex marriage and how they legally recognized themselves affect their mental heath, and it showed various numbers about how important the recognition from society for whom they are (Wight).
If gay marriage becomes legal, there is some assurance for their future; and, if they are socially accepted for whom they are, the society will move forward and become a stable and better society. On the other hand, there are skepticisms that gay marriage will harm the society. According to Sam Schulman, a popular New York writer, gay marriage is selfish and degrades moral values from our society (Burns). People deserve to love and choose their partner, but if their choices are not base on acceptable morality, then they should not do it.
Gallagher is strengthening Schulman’s opinion; Gallagher points out about how marriage is the needs of man and woman, in terms sexually, to produce children, financially, and socially (Burns). In conclusion, in term of human rights, gays are human too. They have rights to be treated equally. The searching of equality has been happening for years, from the rights of black people, women’s rights to mix-race marriage rights. People have the rights to choose their own partner, their love, and their assurance in the future. Why legalize gay marriage if the marriage itself has taken its rights (DOMA)?
People mention morality and society in terms for our children future, by rejecting gay marriage and its rights. Gay marriage is not the only problem that people have nowadays, there are other occurrences that ignore the morality and society; there are crimes that ignore morality values (rape), shooting in schools or public places, robbery, and many other crimes that occur. We live in a world that demands morality in society; but, what kind of morality and society that we have now – do we value ourselves better than gay people?