February 21, 2013
Gay marriage is unavailable to many couples in America, because of the laws against it. Many people, especially those who are religious, believe gay marriage to be immoral, especially if they haven’t met an openly gay person. Well, it’s unfair to the couples. Why shouldn’t they be able to be joined in marriage? The effects of legalizing gay marriage are that gay couples would be able to marry. While there seems to be some confusion about this, it really isn’t going to affect America much; it might change it for the better. People would become more compassionate and less prejudice, as well as becoming more tolerant of people who are different.

First thing to remember, gay marriage legalization is inevitable, no matter what people who believe otherwise say. The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community deserves their rights, because they are people too. 7/10 Americans know someone who is openly gay, and that will prompt them to get more bills passed on allowing gays to marry. Additionally, 49% (53% in 2011) of Americans believe gay marriage should be legalized, as opposed to the 47% who said no, and 3% were unsure. People of America are realizing that this needs to be done. Only more love can come from this, and who doesn’t think love is a great thing? According to our very own Declaration of Independence, “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.” I believe that “getting married to your partner” falls under the category of “Pursuit of Happiness.” That means that that not making gay marriage legal goes against the Declaration! Furthermore, homophobia, the irrational fear or hatred of gays doesn’t just hurt gays; it hurts their heterosexual family too. According to Lauri Friedman, in her book Gay Marriage, page 58, “6.4 million gays and lesbians. 6.4 million siblings. 12.8 million parents. 25.6 million grandparents. 6.4 aunts and uncles. 57.6 million people can get hurt from homophobia.” They say that parents can feel their child’s pain. If a homophobic person were to physically hurt and abuse a gay person, it hurts a lot more people than one would think.

Additionally, children who get mixed into the debate, whether they’re a child of a gay or lesbian parent or otherwise, will probably face prejudice, but that is not their, nor their parent’s faults. One argument in the debate about gay marriage is how children of gays will get into bad things and do poorly in school. The 8% of children in America who have a gay or lesbian parent would like you to know that most are doing fine in school, and they are shown to be more tolerant towards people who are “different”. The differences between children with heterosexual parents and the ones with gay parents are that the latter’s child has a better chance of facing harassment if they “come out” as a child of gay or lesbian parents. A problem that can be solved with gay marriage legalization is the very large number of children who are in orphanages. Gay couples, especially the men, cannot conceive together; they adopt; problem solved, yet over half of all orphanages will not allow gay couples to adopt because of homophobia. There are an estimate of 568,000 children who need homes in America, and many more in other places. With gay marriage legalization, the couples would be able to adopt and raise the children, thus reducing a lot of the orphaned children population, and give an unwanted child a home.

In this case, there are many laws opposing gay marriage. In 1996, there was a bill passed, the Defense of Marriage Act, where “no same-sex marriages would be recognized for federal purposes”. Since then, several attempts have been made to completely outlaw gay marriage, but all have failed. One of the reasons people oppose gay marriage is because their religion opposes it. Conservatives believe gay marriage is also morally wrong, and should not be given any recognition either. Our own president, George W. Bush, endorsed an amendment banning same-sex marriage, but it failed. Throughout the United States, 35 states have anti-marriage laws, and the ones who aren’t anti-marriage have a form of marriage, some only allowing a civil union. Society has had a negative impact on the legalization of gay marriage. Gay marriage has been marked as a bad thing to talk about by society, which gives the word “gay” to carry a negative meaning. Society has also shown the responses to the debate being to ignore the relationships, criminalize the couples, or give them a marital status that is similar to heterosexual marriage. It’s because of society that people believe that gay people need to be institutionalized and “cured”.

Furthermore, one of the alternatives to allowing gays to marry that the government has come up with is “civil unions”. These civil unions have most of the rights, that are available to heterosexual couples, available to gay couples, but without actually calling it marriage. Gay rights advocates are against these and domestic partnerships, since “withholding the name of marriage implies an inferior status.” 5 states have legalized gay couples forming civil unions currently, with 10 allowing real marriage. The beginning of legalization of gay marriage began back in November, 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided that refusing to legalize gay marriage violated the constitution of the state. Since then, 9 more have joined Massachusetts, including District of Colombia. Across the globe, many more countries have legalized gay marriage fully, even those whose main religion went against it, like Spain and Belgium. Countries that have limited rights, like France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, South Africa, and Portugal also have legalized civil unions, while countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and New Zealand have legalized partnerships.

As you can see, America needs to legalize gay marriage. Only good things can come out of it, like orphaned children get homes, it will make America a more compassionate place, and several million people will be happier. It so happens that by legalizing gay marriage, the number of heterosexual divorces will drop. If gay people don’t feel it necessary to hide themselves and get a spouse of the opposite gender, then later have the spouse find out and the two get a divorce, then the number of divorces will decrease. All in all, how would you feel if you couldn’t marry the person you loved?

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