The legalized marriage of individuals with the same gender is drawing more attention these days. When asked, most people want to avoid the subject of homosexuality altogether or they have a very strong opinion on it. The debate over whether the United States should allow homosexual couples to marry legally is giving rise to a new social dilemma in our country. This question has courtrooms nervous, churches wavering and equal rights activists angry. Courtrooms should be nervous though. “Our courts, which have mishandled abortion, may be on the verge of mishandling homosexual marriages” (Wilson 34). The judges of the Supreme Court of Hawaii might possibly legalize gay marriages in the near future. Once legalized in Hawaii, “gay marriage – like quickie Nevada divorces – will have to be recognized ‘under the full faith and credit clause of the constitution’ throughout the rest of the U.S.” (Krauthammer). Make no mistake about it, however, we must not grant the protection and privileges of legalized marriage to people involved in homosexual relationships. Period!
For clarification purposes, “gay” shall refer to all homosexual people, whether male or female. The definition of “Marriage” is two individuals, bound to each other through a legal union that stresses the rights and obligations of the state of marriage.
If the government legalizes homosexual marriages in Hawaii, homosexual couples will be able to fly to Hawaii, get married, and then return to their home state as a lawfully wedded couple. According to the “full faith and credit clause” in the United States Constitution, states such as Kansas would have to honor these unions. Homosexuality in itself does not seem to be as large of an issue as it used to be. Instead, the legalized marriage of homosexuals is causing all the uneasiness. According to Jet Magazine, in March of 1996, USA Today/CNN did a gallop telephone poll of 1,008 adults and came to some interesting conclusions.
The number of people who believe homosexuality is acceptable has gone up 10 percentage points since 1982 . . . 44 percent of the people surveyed found homosexuality to be acceptable. But, while leading an alternative lifestyle is more acceptable to many, the poll also showed that 68 percent of the respondents think marriages between homosexuals shouldn’t be recognized by law or have the same benefits as traditional marriages (8).
These respondents were all adults, but what about children? How are they affected?
Children are our nation’s most valuable assets. It is one thing to be born into a heterosexual family, and then many years later find out that one of the parents is homosexual. It is considerably different to be adopted as an infant and learn from the beginning years that drastic differences exist between most other children and yourself. The long-term effect on children in these circumstances is still a very new area of research, so there is not much data available. However, “we know that young children tease one another unmercifully; adding this dimension does not seem to be a step in the right direction” (Wilson 38).
Adoption of children by gay couples is an area where homosexuals believe they can make significant strides in their struggle to legalize homosexual marriage. Gay rights activists are starting to focus their attention on the family itself, specifically, the rearing of children as a means to their marriage goals. Courts are beginning to make some controversial decisions regarding this issue. Some state courts have ordered society to place children, caught in the middle of a custody dispute, with their homosexual parent instead of their heterosexual one. Lesbian couples are having themselves artificially inseminated with the semen of a homosexual male friend in exchange for handing over to him a second child.
Homosexuals also claim that most child molestation cases involve heterosexuals. These claims, however, are misleading. It is true that heterosexuals commit most molestation but that is because most of the population is heterosexual. “Even though homosexuals represent less than 3% of the U.S. population, at least one-third of all child molestation involves homosexual activity” (Knight 194)
Legalizing homosexual marriages sends out a wrong message to our children, letting them know that a male-female marriage is not their only option. In addition, since a gay couple cannot produce a child of its own resources – another party must be involved – many homosexual marriages will not have children in them. “The very ‘lack of children’ will give ‘gay couples greater freedom.’ . . . to do more of those things that heterosexual couples do less of because they might hurt the children” (Wilson 39).
If we legalize gay marriages, do we then legalize polygamy for these relationships? Polygamy, a husband with more than one wife, is definitely an unacceptable situation. Polygamy’s “rank inequality and female subservience, is too easy a target. It invites exploitation of the degrading competition among wives, with often baleful social and familial consequences” (Krauthammer). With homosexual relationships, however, the people involved are all of the same sex. There are fewer domestic issues than with traditional man – woman relationships. In addition, according to a study done by researchers A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg in 1978, 74% of male homosexuals had more than 100 sexual partners during their lives. Twenty eight percent of those men had more than 1,000 (Frame 65). These figures tend to indicate that there would be a large desire for homosexual men to have extramarital affairs. This level of promiscuity would not enhance an already troubled marital institution.
Homosexual couples also seek to obtain some of the “standard” benefits that heterosexual couples already receive through legalized marriage. One of the advantages they hope to gain is the ability to make financial decisions in the case of a partner’s incapacity. Also, if courts would legally sanction their marriage, they could automatically inherit property and have rights of survivorship. These requests by themselves are not unrealistic; however, homosexuals do not have to be married to realize these benefits. Anyone can have legal papers drawn-up to grant or assign rights to another individual.
Marriage is not an automatic path to liberation. Even the legal director of a gay rights organization in New York City, Paula L. Ettelbrick, questions whether the legalization of same-sex marriages will have a positive effect on the gay community. Ettelbrick argues that “gays and lesbians should work to make society accept their differences, rather than conform to the heterosexual model of marriage” (177). Marriage will not free gay men and women; instead, it will constrain them. It will force “assimilation into the mainstream, and undermine the goals of gay liberation” (Ettelbrick 178). Marriage goes against the two main objectives of the gay rights movement: “the affirmation of gay identity and culture; and the validation of many forms of relationships” (Ettelbrick 178).
We cannot tolerate the legalization of homosexual marriages if we are to bring respect back to the bonds of holy matrimony. Judges in courtrooms cannot simply set aside biblical beliefs in order to get activist groups off their backs. Positions must be taken and stands must be made in order to stop this degradation to our society. Our children are counting on us to make intelligent decisions about their futures.
Anonymous Author. “Homosexuality Acceptance Increases According To Poll.”
Jet Magazine. 15 April 1996: 8.
Ettelbrick, Paula L. “Marriage Is Not a Path to Liberation.” Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. William Dudley. Chicago: Greenhaven, 1993. 177-183
Frame, Randy. “Seeking a Right to the Rite.” Christianity Today.
4 March 1996: 64-66, 72-73.
Knight, Robert. “Homosexuals Should Have Greater Parental Rights.” Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. William Dudley. Chicago: Greenhaven, 1993. 192-197
Krauthhammer, Charles. “When John and Jim say, I do.” Time Magazine.
22 July 1996: 102.
Wilson, James Q. “Against Homosexual Marriage.” Commentary. March 1996: 34-39.