In the article, “Against Gay Marriage,” author William Bennett asserts that permitting same-sex marriages would result in extensive social damage. He states that marriage serves as the cornerstone of societal structure. He envisions that societal indifference on marriages will leave future generations in a state of identity confusion. Representing a different perspective, the article “American Marriage in Transition,” composed by Andrew J. Cherlin suggests that as the practical necessity of marriage diminishes, its symbolic importance may be increasing. He asserts that marriage evolution has arisen alongside many social issues pertaining to expression of personal choice. He connects the expanding role of individualism to the declining power of social norms and laws that define family life. Although both authors credit that the evolution of marriage, inspired by a growing desire for individualism, effects a sense of more freedom felt by Americans, Bennett contends that this will lead to an unrestrained society while Cherlin would argue that as society changes, so should its freedoms.
American civil rights activists historically have challenged public opinion by using equality as an argumentative aid. During the fight against slavery and segregation, America realized that public opinion can be wrong. The movement for women’s rights brought about the knowledge that the government has had more control over civil rights than previously believed. Both historical movements arose from a common belief: despite public opinion, the government should protect the freedoms outlined in the constitution. Current societal issues related to marriage reflect this principle; however, authors Cherlin and Bennett would dis...
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...as been achieved on this principle. Furthering this principle to include the (im)moral connection of gay marriage and adultery presented by Bennett, Cherlin would state: adultery will never be made illegal; therefore, retaining laws against gay marriage would be an inequity on civil freedoms.
The articles “Against Gay Marriage” by William Bennett and “American Marriage in Transition” by Andrew Cherlin depict a rapidly changing society and analyze how the legalization of gay marriage would influence this change. While the authors disagree about the possible effects of this change in marriage, neither can accurately predict how it will affect issues unrelated to marriage. Opening the doors for marriage equality will either bring about greater freedom in many aspects of Americans’ lives or unlock the gates to a complete separation of morality and law changes.
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