Controversy over gay marriage

Controversial issues have been the building blocks of revolution since the beginning of America, and, needless to say, nothing has changed. Social issues tend to have a way of existing but don’t raise political concern until they are brought to the surface by passionate constituents.

Gay marriage rights first were catapulted into the spotlight in 1993 when Hawaii essentially stated that for gay couples to be denied being wed, there has to be a very good reason. Congress proposed, then President Bill Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which denies traditional marriage rights, such as joint tax filing and Social Security benefits to same-sex couples.

Presently, 27 states have passed constitutional bans on gay marriage while 10 have ruled it acceptable. According to Time Magazine online, polls demonstrate that an overall majority of Americans oppose gay marriage; this is what puzzles me.

Being open-minded and being able to understand opposite views is important when you have opinions on controversial issues. But, I can’t say I think there are any valid arguments to oppose gay marriage, and I’ll explain why.

Some religions will protest that being wed is for the sole purpose of having children. If we follow this rule, then we must also deny the right to be married to men and women who are unable to reproduce, older women who can no longer bear children and couples who don’t desire or can’t afford children, right?

Other religious groups say that if two people of the same sex get married, it diminishes the value of marriage. But if we’re talking about making marriage less sacred, Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage, Brittney Spears 56 hour marriage and J-Lo’s four-month marriage do a fine job of making marriage seem meaningless. That’s just a couple of well-known examples, not accounting for the countless annulments and divorces that happen every single day in America. Speaking of which, if two people of the same-sex being wed makes marriage less holy, so does divorce, right? If we outlaw same sex marriage we ought to out law divorce; both are detrimental to the marriage system.

Some people are afraid of the gay population, also referred to (but hardly admitted) being homophobic. Younger communities feel this way because seeing two people of the same sex showing affection makes them uncomfortable. But, the way I look at it…just don’t look. You can’t really complain about something that nobody is forcing you to watch. Additionally, people commonly think that if they are around someone that is gay, that person will start to like them. It’s important to realize that just because someone likes girls, they don’t like every girl, and vice versa. Just like being straight, human attraction is based on several things, and obviously doesn’t happen with every interaction. Let’s not be so self-centered and think everyone who likes our gender will like us.

Similarly to homophobia, parents sometimes fear that if their children are around homosexuals, they too will turn gay. It is unclear how sexual orientation is determined, whether it be genetically or through experiences. But, it certainly is not a disease or transmittable, and that’s a fact. Parents also worry that this will open students up to experiences and ideas that differ from what they teach at home or preach in the family church. Heaven forbid children grow up to be tolerant; that would just be awful. Acceptance of everyone’s differences, that would make a safer, more peaceful community, and we certainly don’t want that.

Many argue that the dictionary defines marriage as “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” or compare it to Adam and Eve. If we all abide by the theory that things shouldn’t change and we should follow traditional definitions and practices, slavery would still be in effect, you’d have to be a white, male land-owner to vote in elections, women would have no rights and our 10-year old children would be working in sweat shops. And if we were living our lives through the Old Testament, men would be stoning their cheating wives. And I can’t buy the argument that that’s why we have a new testament, because then why are we still listening to parts of the old one?

But frankly I don’t want to get into a religious debate or argue the politics. This is undeniably a human rights issue. The heart wants what the heart wants, and you can’t control the person you fall in love with so why should we place restrictions on it? So let’s cut the intolerance and go back to classic kindergarten teachings: only worry about yourself.