Monday, February 13, 2012

Gay Marriage: Constitution vs. Religion

          As rights go, marriage is not one that we often have to think about not having. We are raised in a society where we just assume that our children will one day grow up to find the man or woman of their dreams and marry them with no form of complication involved. Now for a moment, just wonder about the possibility that your child is gay, with best-case scenario, they will live a very happy and normal life and will be accepted in all walks of life. Adding the detail that you live in Texas, a state where gay marriage is illegal, would you find it just that your child might not marry the man or woman of his or her choosing? Issues such as this are what are currently being dealt with here in the United States as well as other countries throughout the world.
            Currently only seven states allow gay marriage and eleven allow civil unions between same sex partners but thirty-one states have a complete ban on same sex marriage. The only state in America with no laws banning or promoting same sex marriage in any way is New Mexico. The state of California is currently trying to over turn something called Proposition Eight. According to purple unions people are angry about gay marriage and find that there have been cases in which our government had to find a way to allow for gay marriage to proceed. The website also stated that…
Nine years ago, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who may soon decide the fate of same-sex marriage in California, pondered the case of two Texas men who had been arrested in an apartment at gunpoint and charged with sodomy. Seventeen years earlier, and two years before President Ronald Reagan appointed Kennedy to the court, the justices had upheld a law against gay sex in Georgia. One member of the majority, Chief Justice Warren Burger, wrote that the court would have to “cast aside millennia of moral teaching” to find that “homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right.”
Often in these situations, moral and religious conflicts get in the way of resolving the issue. Our government constantly has to keep re-weighing the scales of just how much religion can impact our constitutional rights; what ever happened to separation of church and state? Our country has a tendency to bend the rules a bit due to where the issue is geographically. Depending on the state, our individual state governments will conclude to different results when faced with the same religion versus gay marriage standoff. Religion is something that in engrained in us from childhood and we carry with us through life; just because someone has a political position where they must make important decisions, doesn’t mean that they will put all of their personal beliefs and morals aside when making such decisions. The Pew Forum, a project of the Pew research center, posted an article recently on percentages of people who are opposed and pro same sex marriage depending on their personal religion. The article stated that “Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants express the greatest opposition to same-sex marriage, with 74% saying they oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.”  The article goes on to talk about how 54% of black Protestants oppose to gay marriage. Having that although the two groups differ in skin color, they share the same religion, so I find myself contemplating why there is such a large difference in percentages. For Harriet, a website that celebrates black heritage, posted an article about a year ago that talked about how African-American people relate to the gay rights movement. The article would often be upset with black culture and their views on same sex marriage. Did you know that the recent defeat of same-sex marriage legislation in Maryland was largely due to the black church’s opposition toward it? The article continues with talking about a study saying,
 “A recent study revealed that 64 percent of black people find homosexuality to be immoral. That statistic is not surprising when we consider the fact that most black Americans consider themselves to be Christians and the church's stance against homosexuality is well documented. But many of us have forgotten that the very same Bible that we often use to justify our prejudice against gay people was once used to justify our enslavement! Where is our sense of history?
Now I’ve slightly addressed these three main issues against gay marriage, race, religion and government; but I’ve only begun to grace the surface. The three put together do make quite a difficult trifecta but individually, all three have their own poison to add to the mix of discrimination. Lets begin with religion. The issue of religion versus the gay rights movement is the largest of the three. The Christian opposition toward same sex marriage goes much deeper than you or I may think. According to the book The Lesbian and Gay Movement: Assimilation or Liberation? By Craig A. Rimmerman, “ A consistent argument offered by the Christian Right… is that children raised by lesbian or gay parents will be injured or abused in some way.” this statement led to things such as the Boston Globe putting out a full page advertisement in 2004 saying
“Same-sex marriage advocates and the Massachusetts supreme court are asking our state and nation to enter a massive, untested social experiment with coming generations of children. We must ask one simple question: is the same-sex “family” good for children?”
Views such as these are what make up the outer layers of the argument; the little pieces that must be resolved to eventually help break down the barriers between homosexuals in America and the ever bliss of marriage. It is unfathomable to me how someone can come up with a statistic that children living with same-sex parents are more likely to be subject to abuse. There is no logical evidence of such statistic! By making a statement like that, the Christian right ignores a “large body of social science research that confirms that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are not disadvantaged relative to their peers” (Rimmerman 124). The Christian right, as well as many other religions affiliations, will often propose things such as these and then once proven to be wrong, will search their brain for another reason why its wrong; and there’s nothing wrong with that. Religion often invokes a sense of constant following in us; were told something is wrong and so it must be wrong, its just another way of thinking that, although may result in things such as anti-gay rights movements, to them is perfectly fine. The role religion plays in the gay-rights movement is so large that it’s almost impossible to talk about anti-gay slander without bringing god into the conversation. 
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            It may not hold as large of a place in the issue as religion does, but the government definitely holds a more important place. The government is ultimately who decides, in a way, weather or not gay marriage should be legalized in each state. A major effort in same-sex marriage in California was to overturn Proposition Eight. Proposition Eight was proposed in 2008 for California. The purpose of the bill was to make gay marriage illegal in the state of California. The bill initially passed but the people of California are proposed to have it overturned by the Supreme Court. According to The Huffington PostSame-sex marriage moved one step closer to the Supreme Court on Tuesday [2/7/12] when a federal appeals court ruled California's ban unconstitutional, saying it serves no purpose other than to "lessen the status and human dignity" of gays.” As fantastic as this is, the news of how the court referred to the ban is a bit concerning. To say that the purpose of the bill was to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays” makes me think about all of the other states that have a ban on same sex marriage and wonder why if it “lessens the status and human dignity” in California, why is that not so of states like Texas, Idaho, Florida, Delaware, and so many others. The government also posses some obstacles that gay and lesbian Americans can only seldom overcome. The book Gay and Lesbian Issues by Chuck Stewart addresses the issue of how after the attacks on September eleventh 2001, the United States government set up the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund. The purpose of the fund was to give up to $1 million to each family with a member who had died in the attacks, but what constituted of a family? Many people began to question if gay and lesbian families would receive such compensation. The book goes on to state how “Eventually, some gay and lesbian survivors got compensation, while others did not.” to me that is the definition of an unjust government.
              In my own opinion, same sex marriage should be legal. While there is no clear solution to the issue now, all I can say is that there is no moral reason why two people that love each other shouldn’t be allowed to marry one another. I could go on and on about how I believe this is true, but ultimately the fate of the gay rights movement rests in the hands of all American citizens to individually decide what they believe is right. The individual opinions of American citizens are what define our country and are what will show the rest of the world what kind of people we truly are. The future only holds what may come but I can only hope that people will one day learn to appreciate one another and understand that although you might not agree with what someone else does, it could be ultimately good in the end to try to understand instead of slander. 

Work Cited

Rimmerman, C. A. (2008). The Lesbian and Gay Movement: Assimilation or Liberation.      Colorado: Westview Press
Stewart, C. (2003). Gay and Lesbian Issues. California: ABC-CLIO, inc

1 comment:

  1. 1.) Does your partner's essay identifies a problem and offer a possible solution to the problem? What is the problem? What is the solution offered? If you are having trouble understanding the problem or solution, how might your partner clarify their position?
    - The problem is if gay marriage should be legal or not. Barbara has not gotten that far to purpose a solution.

    2.) Does the argument identify different angles of vision and explain why they are important to the audience? Which ones are the most interesting? Are their any angles that you feel might help their argument?

    - The angle of vision is that she wants same sex marriage to be legalized in all states. She is very upset about this issue.

    3.) Does your partner identify their own angle of vision, or a persona that they advocate from? Is there anything your partner could do to help clarify their angle of vision?
    - She wants same sex marriage legal because she feels that everyone has there own rights to choose what they want to do.

    4.) Does the essay employ rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, pathos, kairos) in a way that you feel is appropriate for the argument? Is there any advice you have to offer of ways to improve the rhetorical appeal of their argument?

    - Ethos- very emotional about gay/lesbian rights.

    5.) Does the essay use multiple modes (video, images, audio, text), and do they help frame or support the argument? If so, how so? If not, how might your partner resolve this for you as a reader?

    - Yes, she has a picture that helps frame the argument.

    6.) Does your partner's essay use hyperlinks as citations, and do they work correctly?

    -Yes they are done correctly.