There are a number of reasons opponents to Gay Marriage argue that it should not be legalized. First, certain religious interpretations maintain that gay marriage is sinful. Fortunately, our country is not a theocracy and public policy should not be based on any religion’s values. If a person’s religious convictions cause them to believe that gay marriage is wrong, that is personal to them, and that viewpoint should not be thrust onto others. Another argument against gay marriage is that it is seen as destroying the family.
Some hold that the family is an immutable institution, but we have seen that the concept of the family is fluid, not static. Divorce used to be illegal in this country, now about half of marriages end in divorce. There are now surrogate mothers, same-sex parents, test-tube babies, sperm banks, and the list goes on. The concept of a man and woman getting and staying married and raising children may perhaps be the ideal, but it is not reality. Our laws must correspond to the norms of society. When the norms change, so must the laws.
Another reason some oppose legalizing same-sex marriage is that the aim of marriage is to produce children. Using this logic, marriage ought to be illegal for couples who are infertile or elderly. Does that make sense? While some say that gay marriage will make heterosexual marriage less meaningful, we must look at this issue from the viewpoint of a married couple. Certainly married couples will not feel that their marriage has been cheapened simply because the institution is becoming open to more people.
Some would even argue that the institution of marriage is losing its meaningfulness anyway. As we have discussed, the divorce rate in this country is around fifty percent, and it often seems like Hollywood mega-stars get married one week and divorced the next. Contrary to what some gay marriage opponents maintain, gay couples will not raise gay children on a disproportionate level, because homosexuality is not a choice any more than height or eye color is. Do heterosexual couples always raise heterosexual children? In addition, the “slippery slope” argument about gay marriage is simply ridiculous. There are those who argue that if we allow same-sex couples to get married, it is not long before polygamy or beastility or people marrying animals becomes legal.
Those are completely separate issues and should be dealt with individually. Acceptance of one does not automatically imply or necessitate acceptance of another. Obviously, animals do not have rights on the same level as humans do. The comparison of a marriage between two men and between a man and an animal is utterly ridiculous and insulting.
Animals do not have legal standing; animals cannot sign marriage licenses. Civil unions are frequently brought up as the compromise between those who oppose and those who favor the legalization of gay marriage. Civil unions provide many of the same benefits as traditional marriage, but under a different name. This is the classic case of “separate but equal. ” The courts ruled in Brown v.
Board of Education of 1954 that the concept of separate but equal is inherently unconstitutional. Court rulings frequently dictate public policy, but many believe that the issue of gay marriage should be put to a popular vote. However, a popular vote is not the correct course of action in this particular instance. Historically, popular votes do not protect the rights of minorities while oftentimes court decisions do. We have seen in a number of instances that the majority of people can be wrong, and that sometimes we need the courts to protect those whom no one else will.
Even after same-sex marriage was legalized in his state, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney maintained that the voters, not the courts, should decide the legality of gay marriage. This is ostensibly a logical solution– let the voters decide their own laws. However, as we have mentioned, the majority of people can be wrong, especially when it comes to protecting the rights of those with little power. It is my opinion that one may personally believe gay marriage is immoral while still believing that it should be legally permitted. This is perhaps comparable to the abortion .