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Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects, from U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Douglas 1965. Should the definition of family include gay and lesbian partnerships? A surprising decision of approving the homosexuals marriage by the Hawaii Supreme Court has awakens the issue of same-sex marriage. Two-thirds of all Americans are reportedly opposed to the idea, but the discussion has just begun. I will present same-sex marriages the historical evidence, its discrimination, and the advantage for gay and lesbian.
In many cultures and in many eras, the issue of same-sex marriage has emerged. The early Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies that are considered important antecedents for Western culture apparently tolerated same-sex relationships in their culture, literature, and mythology. Evidence shows that these societies recognized same-sex marriage is speculative. Later, however, one finds more tangible evidence of same-sex marriage in classical Greece, imperial Rome, and medieval Europe. According to The Case for Same-Sex Marriage (1996), about Egyptian, some artifacts have same-sex couples in intimate poses, suggesting that Egyptian society at some points in its history was accepting of same-sex relationships, and the best documented are the same-sex marriages of Romes emperors. There is also strong evidence demonstrating the existence of same-sex unions, including legally recognized marriages, in Native American, African, and Asian cultures. The unions serve important functions for the partners: economic, professional, or social in nature. Throughout human history people have entered into same-sex unions because they loved one another and desired the intimacy that close companionship offers. These are neither unprecedented nor unnatural.
To say that same-sex marriage is a novelty is true from the point of view of a twentieth-century American but is false from the point of view of the ancient people. The United State insistence on heterosexuality in marriage is a denial of formal equality for gay and lesbian citizens. According to Same-Sex Marriage (1997) that the defense of marriage act prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage and allow individual states to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in other states. It clearly violates the U.S. Constitutions Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause. Forty years ago there were many state policies that explicitly discriminated against homosexuals. Simply because of the sex of the person they loved. They were excluded from government employment, dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, refused professional licenses, arrested and harassed by police. Today, there is no government policy that explicitly and rigidly discriminates in this way except for the institution of marriage. Once America recognizes the relationships and treats them like first-class citizens, then the gay middle class will assimilate and melt back into the great mainstream, as new insiders who have come in from the cold outside. The reason for the most lesbians and gay men want something more than domestic partnership is, they want to be in a committed relationship at some point in their lifetime. The poll conducted by The Advocate in 1994 found that almost two-thirds of the gay men wanted to marry someone of the same sex, with 85 percent open to the idea and only 15 percent uninterested.
Marriage is not for everyone, but it should be an option for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals people. According to Legally Wed by Strasser (1997), marriage will not only open up to gay men and lesbians whole new vistas of guilt, frustration, claustrophobia, bewilderment, declining self-esteem, unfairness and sorrow, it will offer them the opportunity to prolong this misery by tormenting each other in court. It also gives many of the benefits society grants married couples. These advantages include health insurance provided for spouses by employers, inheritance and community property rights, and other privileges and obligations. Most lesbian and gay relationships are probably far more conventional than most people think. In the vast majority of respects, gay relationships closely resemble heterosexual ones or even actually improve upon them., from The case for same-sex marriage (1996). Easing the ban on same-sex marriage would make lesbians and gays even more likely to live within long-term, committed partnerships. The result would be more people living more conventional lifestyles, not more people living less conventional ones. Its actually a conservative move, not a liberal one.
The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. (US Supreme Court: Loving v. Virginia, 1967). But gays and lesbians have no such rights; marriage has traditionally been restricted to heterosexuals. Homosexual behavior was a criminal act in most states of the U.S. However, homosexuals should have their freedom to marry as free men. Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, therefore, people should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage. Homosexuals should be protected from discriminations.
A person is more than his sexuality, and the gay and lesbian subculture cannot sustain a person over an entire lifetime. One cannot live a complete life without being part of the broader culture at the same time. This is why marriage is so important. It provides an identical institution in which bay and straight love can be expressed. The effects of same-sex marriages will be tremendous. It allows for gay men and lesbians to move back into the normal sector of society with the same self-esteem as their heterosexual peers. There will for the first time be a common language to describe both lives. Gay and lesbian will have an understanding of the normalcy and legitimacy of homosexual relationships, bringing an end to the shame and silence that is such an unnecessary source of trauma for so many. In the future, I hope people will be judged less by their orientation than by the content of their character.
Baird, Robert M. & Stuart E. Rosenbanm. Same Sex Marriage: the moral and legal debate. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1997.
Boswell, John. Same-sex union in premodern Europe. New York: Villard Books, 1994.
Eskridge, William N.. The case for same-sex marriage: from sexual liberty to civilized commitment. New York: Free Press, 1996.
Strasser, Mark Philip. Legally Wed: same-sex marriage and the constitution. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997.
Sullivan, Andrew. Same-sex marriage: Pro and Con. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.