By Brenda Robinson
There are some controversies that are more resolvable than others. Gay marriage is not one of them. Yet, recent action affirming non-traditional marriages indicates same sex marriages will likely be legitimized within the next few years. Upon examination of majority American sentiments on the issue, despite the opposition, there is a case for permitting homosexuals to marry and, as always, politicians will eventually side with the majority within their particular party affiliation.
Furthermore, this topic needs examination from a national and local prospective, given Indiana legislators’ push to add a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriages.
Everything changes, nothing stays the same. There is no better example than the changing sentiments on same sex marriage. In 2005, a study revealed the following:
Adults were asked if they thought marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriage; 68 percent responded with “no;” 28 percent responded “yes,” and four percent responded, “unsure.” The same question was asked in March 2013 and the respective responses were 41 percent responded “no;” 50 percent responded “yes,” and nine percent responded “unsure.”
While we can only take President Barack Obama’s word on his personal position for gay marriages, we can speculate on his “political” position for gay marriage support. The president knew the majority of Americans supported gay marriage and his support of gay marriage would guarantee the LBGT vote. The president ended the ban on openly gay people in the military and disapproved of a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. However, taking a political position is not always a bad move as, in a democracy, politicians are expected to serve the will of the people.
Let’s try to speculate on the reasoning for the majority’s approval and the minority’s disapproval of gay marriages. The opposition maintains gay marriages violate the principles of Christianity. The majority counteract by concluding religious freedom of churches; mosques, synagogues, and churches have the right to ban gay marriages in their establishments. The majority concludes marriage is a civil matter, not a religious one, citing the fact atheists are permitted to have civil marriages. The opposition maintains marriage is for procreation. The majority argues heterosexual couples who choose not to have children are permitted to marry. The opposition believes a child should be reared by a man and a woman and each have distinct child-rearing roles. This group maintains there are too many children being reared in single parent homes, which contributes to various social problems. The majority counteract, saying gay couples are committed to family well-being and have the potential of teaching heterosexuals sound child-rearing techniques. Actually, some gay couples say that (proper child-rearing) is the very reason they want to marry.
The acceptance of diverse lifestyles is not only a liberal occurrence—conservatives have also given their approval. Ted Olson, solicitor general for President George W. Bush, led the legal battle against California’s Proposition 8, which called for a repeal of the legalization of gay marriage. President Ronald Reagan’s Supreme Court Justice Appointee Anthony Kennedy, affirmed gay and lesbian equality. Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne have openly stated they have no problem with gay marriage.
So, what is the bottom line? The definition of a family no longer fits the boundaries of the 20th century, a heterosexual father and mother with their children. Blended families, single-parent families, unwed partners with children, multiracial families, grandparents rearing grandchildren, surrogate parents and gay couples (both married and unmarried, rearing children) are now “the face of America.”
Again, everything changes. America must be about the business of following its own creed, separation of church and state. Whether or not gay marriage becomes legal should be based on social and civil consequences, not religious ones. And, there is no evidence that social and civil consequences are negative. There are some 21st century institutional realities that have or will change. Marriage is one of them.