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Marriage has been regarded as one of the most important social institutions in the society. This is because it forms the basis of the organization in any given society. “Marriage refers to an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found” (Dziengel 56). Marriage is treated quite differently depending on the norms and values that exist in a given society. The current society is experiencing many social changes, which have influenced the nature of relationships among human beings. Marriage has also been affected by these social changes.
Today marriage is very dynamic and people treat it differently from what it used to be in the past. Same sex unions are becoming popular in many countries. They are more prevalent in the European countries than in others. Same sex marriage is commonly known as gay marriage. “It refers to a legally or socially recognized marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender” (Goldberg 12).
The early practice of this type of marriage was witnessed when Emperor Nero married a man who was a servant in his Roman Empire. Apart from Rome, this practice occurred in China during the Ming Dynasty and also in Spain. This type of marriage had a very bad reputation, and it was strongly rejected by many individuals and countries. The twenty first century has witnessed a drastic change in the way people perceive this type of relationship.
In 2001 the Netherlands emerged to be the first country to allow gay relationships. In 2003, the government of Belgium accepted this type of union. Both Canada and Spain formally accepted gay marriages in 2005. In 2006 the people of South Africa were allowed to practice gay marriages. Sweden permitted it in 2009. Last year, Argentina, Iceland and Portugal also accepted this kind of relationship. In Mexico it is legalized, but with some restrictions in the sense that it can only be practiced within the city of Mexico. However, all Mexican states acknowledge it. Apart from South Africa, other African countries still remain conservative and they are not willing to accept this relationship. “In the United States, although same sex marriages are not recognized federally, same sex couples can marry in five states and one district” (Smith 24).
The subject of gay marriage has been seriously debated in many places. This issue has been discussed both in religious and political circles. The following arguments have been used to reject gay marriages.
The general question is why people should practice this kind of relationship. The majority of people oppose to this issue when it is raised in any discussion. Such individuals contend that legal relationships are only those between men and women. Hence, they do not see the sense of people engaging in any other type of intimate relationship.
Marriage is often seen as a religious rite and people look at it from the religious perspective. They, therefore, believe that if gay marriage is legitimized it would undermine the religious principles. This is because religion has always been used to sanctify marriages.
The dignity of the church has been affected because of the different attitudes adopted by religious leaders in accordance with this matter. Some churches are likely to get split because they cannot come to an agreement on how to handle this issue. This has adversely affected their capacity to spread the gospel. Some members of the church have even lost their faith and trust in religion because they do not agree with the church leaders who support this kind of relationship.
For example, the Anglican Church members and their leaders have been arguing about gay marriages. Since some of them support it, they have now formed a separate church. The Catholic Church has also had the same problem. For instance, some Catholic monks have been accused of child molestation, and this has really influenced their reputation.
Gay marriages are understood as unnatural unions. “This premise influences other arguments and lies behind many negative opinions about homosexuality in general” (Acevado and Wada 34). Since gay relationships are not normal, they should be reduced to the social unions instead of being authenticated by the national leaders in a given country. This is because if such abnormal behaviors are allowed, they are likely to become very prevalent in our society in the near future. This may cause many social problems.
It would be difficult and expensive to integrate these people into the society. This is because people have to be taught to accept them. “Teaching people to become tolerant to gay individuals would be expensive” (Smith 79).
Although gay marriages are not supported by some people, they should be legalized because of the following reasons. Marriage enables people to have access to social and economic needs. “Studies repeatedly demonstrate that people who marry tend to be better off financially, emotionally, psychologically, and even medically” (Dziengel 90). Therefore, if gay couples are guaranteed the right to marry they will probably have the chance to benefit from marriage. This will be helpful to the gay community at large. For example, the gay couples would remain committed in helping each other because of the marriage vows.
It would be wrong for gay relationships to be treated as civil unions. This is because if the gay individuals can get married, they stand a better chance of enjoying several opportunities. This can not be possible if they are in the civil unions. “Equality before the law means that creating civil unions for gays will lead to civil unions for everyone else, and this type of marriage will be more of a threat than gay unions could possibly be” (Ronner 37).
The stability of our society can be enhanced if gay individuals can be given a chance to marry. Even the people who oppose this relationship believe that the family is the basis of our society. Therefore, if more families are formed through gay marriages, there will be a great society. In the society the family dictates the general trends. Consequently, marriage would facilitate the integration of gay people into the society. Therefore, accepting gay relationships will strengthen our communities.
Many children are leading poor lifestyles, and they cannot even access the common basic needs. Destitute children can have a chance to lead a better life if they can be adopted by married gay individuals. This is because they can provide emotional and financial support to such children. It can only be possible if they can be allowed to get married and adopt children.
Many people and groups are increasingly becoming conscious, and more concerned about the human rights. “Another argument that favors same sex marriages is that denying same sex couples legal access to marriage and all of its attendant benefits represents discrimination based on sexual orientation” (Dziengel 102). A lot of people and institutions promoting human rights concur with this assertion. This is because people in the same sex unions do not access the rights given to the married ones.
Gay couples have faced myriad challenges. Most of them have experienced psychological problems associated with a verbal and physical abuse. For instance, some of them have been attacked and killed brutally. This happens because many people are not willing to be associated with them. Hence, they always intimidate them. The only way of eliminating this stigmatization is by making it legal for them to get married.
It has been noted with a lot of concern that HIV/AIDS is spreading among the gay people because they live an illegal life. Marriage would make these people more faithful to their partners. This can mitigate the chances of them contracting HIV/AIDS. It is because they will be more responsible.
From the above arguments it is obvious that many countries and individuals are increasingly accepting the fact that gay relationships are equally good. Therefore, it is important for people to stop being conservative only when it comes to marriage, yet they accept other serious changes that take place in their society. For example, if abortion can be legalized, why not gay marriages? “Legalizing gay marriages will probably make the social economic and political institutions in our societies more effective” (Ronner 14). This is because people will have similar goals, and they will not have differences based on the sexual orientation.