Top 10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Should Be Legal
The growing need for LGBT rights has become much more apparent, what with increased awareness and the exposition of vicious hate crimes against this particular demographic. More and more people, even those who are not part of the LGBT community, recognize that these crimes violate basic human rights and have begun to take a stand against it. As such, the topic of same-sex marriage is highly controversial these days. The movement in defense of gay rights in the United States began in 1969 during the Stonewall Riots. This is often dubbed the “Rosa Parks” moment of the gay rights movement, when members of the LGBT community protested after a police raid in Stonewall Inn, one of the few establishments that welcomed openly gay patrons at the time. To better understand this event, take note that it occurred in the same period when other social rights movements were reaching their turning point.
The African American Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-war demonstrations were very active at that point in time. Homosexuals faced persecution both socially and legally, and it was illegal to have homosexual relations in every state but Illinois. It has been 45 years, and only half the states now allow same-sex marriages. These years have marked the build-up for a voice for this community, both within and without it, and the same-sex community of today receive much more recognition and rights than the bleak prospects of the LGBT living in the 1960s. Here, we present to you the top 10 reasons why same-sex marriage ought to be fully legalized.
10. Economic Benefits of Marriage
Not many people know this, but legalizing same sex marriages would provide a significant financial boom for both the private and public sector. Members of the LGBT community wish to marry for the same reasons we all wish to get married, and must undergo the same processes if they were allowed to marry. Part of these processes is the financial aspect. Marriage ceremonies entail a significant expense, and it was estimated by the Comptroller of New York that the added infusion from legalizing same sex couple marriages would add $142 million to the economy. This not only accounts for the profits that businesses will receive if same-sex marriage is allowed, but also for the payments these couples must make to acquire marriage licenses. They will also experience higher income taxes as a couple, and different state benefit programs would decrease their costs significantly.
9. Prevents Benefit Exclusion Marriage
is a recognized institution of society, but no government has the right to force it upon people. Conversely, no government has the right to exclude someone from participating in this institution simply because of a particular community they belong to as this is tantamount to discrimination. However, this exclusion is very real for as long as same-sex marriages remain illegal in various states, and the ramifications extend beyond the simple recognition of a couple’s relationship. Marriage provides benefits for aspects like inheritance, taxation, financial and physical protection in appropriate cases (e.g. abusive relationships, allocation of financial assets in case relationship ends, etc.) and even hospital visitation rights (marriage considers you as part of the immediate family of the person). The denial of these benefits create a very real economic cost as well, as the LGBT couples must expend resources (estimated by the New York Times to reach up to $467,562 in their lifetime) as opposed to a legally married couple.
8. “Traditional Marriage” Concept is Historically Inaccurate
There are various reasons while people oppose same-sex marriage, but a common argument of opponents is that the alteration of the traditional views on marriage may weaken the institution and lead to polygamy and even interspecies marriages. Consider this: what is a “traditional marriage”? While many think that this has always been defined as one man and one woman, this is a historically inaccurate misconception. Literature and various artifacts throughout the years of human existence are a testament to the prevalence of forms of marriage that today, would be considered “unconventional” despite being traditional for their time. From a purely biological standpoint, heterosexual monogamy can be seen as unnatural when we consider the common occurrence of polyamorous societies, concubines, communal child-rearing and the like throughout history and evolution. Our society allows people who barely know each other to get married and separate only a few months later. Which is more likely to weaken the institution of marriage- a male and female couple with this flippant attitude or two members of the LGBT community who are willing to take the risk of judgment and discrimination, simply to fight for the recognition of their relationship?
7. Society Evolves, Marriage is Redefined
Building on the previous item, the concept of marriage is constantly redefined, just as society evolves and grows. In the past, many cases of marriages were harmful to the various constituents involved (at times to the extent of being non-consensual like in arranged marriages) and yet their respective societies recognized them. Why do today’s laws refuse two individuals who truly and honestly want to make their union work? Many Americans now support same-sex marriage as compared to the sentiment of the past, which ostracized various cultures for their unconventionality. In May 2013, Gallup conducted a poll that found that more than half Americans support same-sex marriage. Until 1967, interracial marriage was also still illegal in several US states. In 1970, no-fault divorce was introduced on January 1 in California, and has dynamically affected the institution of marriage. These are just a few examples of how marriage and other institutions of society adapt and change over time. It would be backward to think that one definition can remain relevant for all time, especially given that change is the only constant in our dynamic world.
6. The Constitution is Committed to Liberty and Equality
Same sex couples have the right to the very same benefits that heterosexual or non-LGBT couples enjoy, as they are citizens of the same place. If a city allows its citizens to get married, why should a legal citizen be excluded from the same right simply because of their sexual identification? This is especially true because the American Constitution is committed to liberty and equality for its citizens. Gay marriage is covered under this, as demonstrated in the 1974 Supreme Court ruling that “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause”. To promote anti-gay marriage sentiments as well as the banning of same-sex marriage are unconstitutional actions.
5. Illegal Marriage is a form of Discrimination
In the United States, only 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage to date. The remaining 25 currently declare gay marriage as illegal, or incorporate various forms of bans in their laws or constitutional amendments. Those in favor of gay marriage argue that these couples have a right to the benefits and recognition that heterosexual couples receive, as they are people with individual rights and citizens of the same country. By the prohibition of same-sex marriage, lawmakers discriminate against the LGBT community, violating their human rights. When you prevent same sex couples from marrying, it sends out the message that discriminating against others because of their sexual orientation is okay. Worse, it implies that people who identify with the LGBT community are inferior because by denying their rights, the law effectively doesn’t recognize them as equal citizens. It tells other citizens that it is okay to judge other people and base your actions upon these quick judgments, even when you only know one aspect of their life, like sexual orientation. This is a crucial consequence, because these types of judgment can severely affect someone’s life. Discrimination in the workplace can affect a person’s financial stature and their emotional and mental health, especially if this judgment is freely and repeatedly acted upon. People in the LGBT community experience startlingly high levels of discrimination in school, at work, and fighting for marriage equality is one step closer to the equal rights that marks a civil, humane society.
4. Effect on Adopting Children: Marriage Equality has a Positive Effect on Adopted Kids
Did you know that in the United States alone, approximately 100,000 children wait hopefully for the day when they would be adopted? How often do we hear about the failings of our system and the numerous orphans or children in adoption centers who fall through the cracks? If children are indeed our future, should we not look for loving and supportive parents for each child left waiting for adoption? Legalizing same sex marriage would facilitate the adoption of these LGBT couples, allowing for stable homes for kids who heretofore had none. Those who oppose LGBT and same sex marriage would argue that gay parents will result in difficulties for the child, but this has proven to be untrue. This argument rests on the assumption that same sex parents will inherently cause problems for the kids they adopt, and have a much higher chance of being poor parents than heterosexual couples. If you examine that assumption, one can easily find very poor foundations. Gay couples are willing to fight for their rights and face discrimination just to celebrate their love; as such will they not be more likely to shower the same love upon the children they adopt? Pediatrics released a study in 2010 that the adopted children of lesbian mothers were more socially and academically competent than children of heterosexual couples. A similar study published in July of the same year showed that children with gay fathers were as well-adjusted as their counterparts. In fact, these children often tend to be more understanding and less judgmental of their peers, leading to a positive, harmonious outlook. Quite often the children left in foster care and in state homes long for the love and presence of good parents. Gay couples long to shower their love and leave a legacy in the form of kids. Why shouldn’t we be helping the two parties find one another, when it leaves everyone better off than before? In fact, if we legalize marriage between same sex couples, it will be much easier to monitor the care of the children, just like Child Protective Services can monitor and possibly intervene in cases of heterosexual marriages. Also, when the children see that their parents union is recognized, they will benefit greatly and the possible discrimination and stigma can be alleviated.
3. Legalization Can Decrease the Rate of Psychological Disorder
As legal citizens whose rights are recognized, we receive a significant amount of social support. In many countries, no government or social system is perfect, but having at least the basic rights recognized can mean a great deal. We have illustrated in our previous examples how this extends far beyond personal fulfillment, going as far as the workplace, school, and even a person’s mental health. Being able to marry someone and be recognized for that union provides a certain amount of physical and psychological benefits. On a simple level, one does not have to go through the legal difficulties when it comes to property and communal rights. It also facilitates the process of leaving one’s legacy behind through inheritance. The American Psychological Association as well as numerous other notable organizations published in 2007 that allowing same sex marriage will help give these couples access to social support systems that can even help make their marriage healthier. This support system comes with many physical and psychological benefits, and the American Journal of Public Health published findings that confirm this. After a state imposed a ban on same sex marriage, the homosexual couples living in those states showed a 37% growth in mood disorders, and 248% increases in generalized anxiety disorders. This can stem from the discrimination and challenges that correlate to anti-same sex marriage laws and gay marriage bans. On a psychological level, many also confessed to feeling as though they were branded inferior and less capable of love and a functional, stable relationship. The mere fact that legalities result in these things means that great change must be made in our systems and the way we look at things.
2. Aligned with Human Rights
For the heterosexual couples who believe in the institution of marriage and/or choose to participate in it, it represents a public celebration of one’s commitment to their life partner. Same sex couples have every right to enjoy this benefit, as they are legal citizens and members of society as well. Anti-same sex marriage laws and bans don’t just disadvantage couples who wish to marry, but they discriminate against members of the LGBT community as well. The negative consequences and tribulations they must go through when faced with the prospect of marriage may discourage them completely from it, and the discrimination that abounds because these inequalities still stand greatly affect even single LGBT people. Around 60 years ago, it was illegal to marry interracially. As times change and our society develops, people see that equality needs more of a voice. Modern society recognizes the injustice of racial discrimination, especially so when it comes to marriage. Today’s concerns regarding same-sex marriage are the same in that no government has the right to deny marriage between two individuals who care and love each other, for to do so is to infringe upon our fundamental rights. For as long as these legal inequalities and discriminations stand, we send the message that homosexual couples are inferior and unequal to their heterosexual counterparts, which is a violation of basic human rights. Indeed, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a segment of my freedom.”
1. Promotes Family Stability
The legalization of same sex marriage does not harm other heterosexual marriages nor will it cause the downfall of society. The fact that it has been allowed in half the states in the U.S. and yet the apocalypse has not arrived stands testament to this. The fact that a same sex couples can get married and celebrate their love will not affect what you do in your marriage. Many fear that the legalization of same sex marriage may harm “family values”, “traditional marriage” or other heterosexual marriages, but we have shown that this is not true. In fact, a 2009 study published in the Social Science Quarterly stated how “[l]aws permitting same-sex marriage or civil unions have no adverse effect on marriage, divorce, and abortion rates, [or] the percent of children born out of wedlock.” In fact, legalizing same sex marriages will help promote the stability of family units in a country. We reiterate that the children of today are the future of tomorrow. Currently, numerous same sex couples are raising children, and for those who live in states where their marriage is not recognized, it invalidates their nature as a family, The child may grow up confused and the brunt of discrimination and LGBT hate, which is unfounded and generalized negativity. Marriage at its core seeks to let couples celebrate their love and provide them with social support and marital rights to protect and validate their nature as a family. Denying same sex couples equal marriage rights automatically disadvantages the children that they may already be rearing, and takes away the support systems they rightfully receive. If we legalize same sex marriage, it would help fight this and validate the LGBT family units.