The Gay Marriage Debate
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Gay marriage has slowly become a significant factor amongst individuals of today’s society. Similarly, this leads to the discussion of homosexuals having the right to marry in society. Ultimately, conflict from the opposing position of ‘against’ gay marriage may arise that gay marriage can destroy the concept of marriage and mock the importance of procreation. In reference to this; everyone in society has the right to marry regardless of gender, thus it should be socially acceptable. However, this is why it is significant to discuss both sides of the argument, regardless of if you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ gay marriage in society. In relation to homosexuals, contradiction constantly arises that gay marriage should not be legalised. However, homosexuals do not necessarily want to get marriage but may just want the justification of having equal rights. Thus, in the case if homosexuals do want to marry at some stage of their relationship, according to Nagle, “people say that banning same sex marriage is not only unfair, but it is also discriminatory” (2010, p.31). In society, denying individuals rights due to their gender, race or sexual orientation is consequently classified as discrimination. Alternatively, to go against gay marriage and not allowing either two females or to males getting married to one another can become a form of illegal discrimination towards society. It is simply giving equal rights to homosexuals and not judging or blocking them out of the marriage institution.
Homosexuals who are not married are just as committed in their relationship as heterosexual married couples are. Individuals may think that preventing homosexual couples from getting married deteriorates the institution of marriage. However, as society begins to accept homosexuality and homosexuals become openly about their relationships to one another, they become more valued members within their communities and the distinction between living together or being married seems to become a disappearance. As for homosexual couples who want to build and raise a family, adoption is the most popular action to partake in and socially this should be accepted within the rights of society. As part of the ‘against’ position, a discussion will be made in relation to children needed both a mother and a father figure. However, in the context of gay parenting, it is not always that a child needs both a mother and a father figure. In society, either two mothers or two fathers can raise children. As long as they are responsible and love their children, children can be raised just the same as heterosexual couples that have children. It can become noticeable that there are many issues constantly affecting gay and lesbian parenting. There is no grounded evidence that mentions that children are affected with same sex parents. Various assumptions can be put into context that children are affected physically, socially and psychologically, but homosexual couples who want to experience in raising a family should be allowed that same right as heterosexual couples. In Mezey’s book about gay families, Mallon states that “it is estimated that there are as many as ten million children living in families with gay, lesbian or bisexual single parents or couples” (Mezey, 2009, p.11). Alternatively, it becomes that more so as studies show, it is not un-normal for children to be involved with same sex parents. However, in reference to the notion of love within same sex couples, according to Ritchie and Baker, they suggest that “people are expected to have one ‘lover’ and anyone else should fall into the category of a ‘friend’, with strict cultural rules around what behaviour is appropriate in a friendship” (2006, p. 592). Similarly, this statement can be overturned and be seen in the context of same sex couples. Individuals against gay marriage may reiterate and say that ‘lovers’ are considered as man and woman. However, why neglect a lesbian loving her female friend? Gay and Lesbian communities should be respected and seen as any other normal individual. Similarly, individuals who choose to be homosexual are considered as their own personal choice and society needs to respect their choices to allow equal rights. Overall, for years people see marriage as only man and woman. As mentioned earlier, the notion of ‘equality’ needs to be considered and respected amongst society. Marriage becomes a legal and public documentation of love and the ultimate trust that two people share with one another. Ultimately, anyone should be able to marry whom he or she wishes to marry.
The above points discussed can be put into a case study perspective of Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh’s response on legalising gay marriage. In an article in the Brisbane times, Anna Bligh refers to gay marriage being a ‘human right’. She mentions that marriage equality was “an issue of basic human rights and fairness” (Brisbane Times, para 2, 2011). Similarly, Anna Bligh’s response to the issue that gay marriage should be legalised reiterates Nagle’s view that banning same sex marriage becomes a discriminatory situation. Anna Bligh is simply putting her views forward that not legalising gay marriage is going against equal and human rights. Her overall response suggests that same sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples in society. It is that same sex couples should be allowed to marry, have equal human rights, raise children and be accepted within society. Alternatively, in an article in the Australian, Anna Bligh voices her opinion in pushing Julia Gillard in approving same sex marriage in society.
However, with the ‘against’ position, marriage has been justified as a religious and legal commitment between man and woman, through the expression of love as therefore gay marriage should not be legalised. In relation to gay marriage, within Edwards’s article, the National Marriage Coalition put forward a strong point, “that marriage is beautiful and sacred; it is the ultimate expression of a loving commitment between a man and a woman…for life’ (2004 p. 2). Ultimately, throughout society this is what we see as the formation of marriage. As cited above in relation to marriage, the National Marriage Coalition, expresses, sociologically speaking, marriage is indeed sacred. We see this through the formation of heterosexual couples in society that consist of both man and woman. Specifically, in relation to origins of marriage and its sacredness in society, further steps should not be taken to define the term marriage as it is already set in framework that it is known to be kept as man and woman. In Durkheim’s (1965) theory, sacred is to critically examine the religious rights declaration that heterosexual marriage must be protected by demarcating it from same sex unions. Durkheim claims that the sacred phenomena must be set apart from things that are profane. Alternatively, allowing a law that legalises homosexuals marrying one another will cause an increase in the number of marriages that are not serious, for instance; a couple of friends who want to save and minimise on taxes. In society, for individuals to be homosexual is acceptable, however the term ‘gay marriage’ should not be legalised in society. This is because marriage is the most sacred institution within this country and every society considers it as being between man and woman. After all, it makes biological sense that man and woman can only procreate.
Alternatively, this concept of man and woman reiterates through the notion of how gay could marriage affect families and children that are involved within homosexual relationships. Firstly, in relation to the idea of forming a family with homosexual parents becomes unnatural as homosexual parenting represents an attempt to disrupt that ‘natural’ order of forming a nuclear family. According to David Cheal (2008, p.5), this is evident throughout his representation which explains the ideology is that of the nuclear family. He claims that this approach defines the nuclear family as the natural basis for family life. Cheal clearly states that “the modern nuclear family with a particular sexual division of labour has been writ large as The Family and elevated as the only desirable and legitimate family form (2008, p. 5). To build upon this idea, the social and legal institution of marriage is the unification of both male and female who accept one another as husband and wife and begin to build upon and form a family. Alternatively, if homosexual couples require the have children, they can do this as an adoption through the de-facto system law. The de-facto system provides homosexual couples the same rights and benefits as a heterosexual married couple as this type of system becomes the end solution for homosexual couples. It is simply where two people live together but are not married.
Alternatively, Jane Edwards raises the issues that it is important to consider that; “women and men’s differing biology creates a highly functional psychological, emotional and social division of labour that, ostensibly, produces unique benefits for children” (2007, p.250). Throughout this notion, a child needs the reassurance of both a mother and father figure. Once again, individuals who are ‘for’ gay marriage and parenting will possibly disagree and point out that a homosexual couples does not necessarily need to have children or the case that children will not be affected with same sex parents. As for the argument ‘against' this topic, that is not necessarily the case. In order to build upon this idea of children having both a mother and a father figure as apart of their lives, Jane Edwards’s article builds on Rod Benson’s claims in relation to arguments against same sex marriage laws. Rod Benson (2011, para 5) argues that “marriage has a place in the law because a relationship between a man and a woman is the kind of relationship that may produce children. Marriage is linked to children, for the sake of children, protecting their identity and their nurture by a mother and a father” (2011, para 5). Similarly, both Edward’s and Benson’s articles represent the importance of the existence of children who are situated in a family with homosexual parents. The life of the child is a significant aspect to consider, especially for the children’s upbringing and their future goals in life. Alternatively, Clarke justifies that the appropriate image for children is that they “are portrayed as innocent and vulnerable, and in need of the care and protection of “appropriate” adults” (2001, p. 565). Specifically, children are not brought up in what society sees as an acceptable relationship which could lead to bullying or mental problems in later life. For the sake of the children, as Clarke mentions if the parents are not appropriate then this situation of being involved with homosexual parents could confuse children or lead them to think that their parents are not normal.
To put into perspective a case study in order to evaluate the above discussion ‘against’ gay marriage, we can look at Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s thoughts towards not legalising same sex marriage in Australia and Overseas. Primarily both Gillard’s and Abbott’s views show a distinct understanding of issues of legalising gay marriage, unlike Anna Bligh’s response who is ‘for’ the legalisation of same sex marriage in society and allowing same sex couples to have equal human rights. According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 30th June, 2010, Julia Gillard opposed her thoughts in relation to same sex marriage. In her article to the Sydney Morning Herald, she said that “we believe the marriage act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples” (SMH Website, 2011). Similarly, this links with the strong point that the National Marriage Coalition makes reference to in Edward’s article in relation to marriage being sacred. It is purely a commitment between a man and a woman and that is what becomes socially acceptable in today’s society in how they view the term marriage. Alternatively, comparison can be made between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader, Tony Abbott’s judgment in relation to gay marriage. In an article on a news website, Toby Abbott gives his direct view in relation to the concept of gay marriages in society. He mentions that, “however deeply affectionate or long lasting it may be, the relationship between two people of the same sex cannot be a marriage because a marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman” (News Website, 2011). Similarly, both Gillard’s and Abbott’s thoughts on gay marriage intertwine with one another. Ultimately, they argue that marriage is sacred term and is purely not for same sex couples. However, it is not that Abbott is against gay people, he goes onto further discussing that “the Australian government is now seeking to overturn nearly all discrimination against gay relationships but will still not allow same-sex marriage” (News Website, 2011). Ultimately, Abbott’s claims interrelates with Durkheim’s theory mentioned earlier that the notion of same sex marriage should be kept separate from and not included within the sacredness of the actual term of what society considers marriage to be. Throughout the judgments made from both politicians, it becomes evident that the notion of same sex relationship are allowed in society, however the idea of same sex couples marrying one another goes against societies claims on the term ‘marriage’ and its sacredness. To put both Gillard and Abbott’s claims towards not legalising gay marriage can significantly relate to a real life story involving a lesbian couple and a three year old girl in Carolina. A brief overview of this story, involves a lesbian couple whom serve life in jail for murdering a three year old girl when the toddler was in their care at the time. The three year old girl was beaten repeatedly with a belt which led to her being murdered by this lesbian couple. On the other hand, this is reiterated through the governments opposed decision on not legalising gay marriage. The reasons for doing this are instances like this lesbian couple torturing and murdering this young child. It significantly relates to Gillard’s and Abbott’s push to stop gay marriage in society. In the case of gay marriage becoming legalised, it is purely going against societies view on marriage and the sacramental factors of the institution of marriage being between only man and woman. The action of the lesbian couples torment towards that young girl significantly justifies those children who are involved with same sex parents becomes socially unacceptable and leads to a negative upbringing in life.
Overall, it is evident above those arguments made both ‘for and against’ gay marriage can become an immense controversial topic throughout society. On one hand, gay marriage should be legalised due to equal rights and on the other hand gay marriage should not be legalised due to controversial issues such as; affect to children and their upbringing and weakening the institution of the sacredness of marriage in society. In summarisation of both the ‘for and against’ arguments of same sex marriage, the case studies of Anna Bligh, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and the incident in Carolina, significantly put the notion of same sex marriage into a clear perspective on the way these issues are faced with society.