CRITICALLY DISCUSS: Same Sex Marriages Essay Example

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Introduction

As generally defined, marriage is a religious and legal commitment between a man and a woman, as well as the ultimate expression of love. However, recent debates regarding same sex marriages have stirred nationwide debates in the Australian senate, in dozens of courtrooms and legislatures, and are also becoming speech-making topics for election campaigns at both national and state levels. As the debate over this controversial issue continues, the Australian communities’ views on this topic remains extremely divided over the issue as well as over the morality of same sex relationships in general.

Nonetheless, people in favour of same sex marriage have made their intentions to be granted the legal right to same sex marriages claiming they want to be in caring, stable relationships, and that they want to start their families with someone they love. This particular paper will therefore critically discuss the contemporary debate on marriage between people of the same sex.

According to Ford (2011), same sex marriages should not be legalized. A major reason for this is based on the fact that legalizing same sex marriages could possibly provide a slippery slope in the legality of marriage. Same sex marriages are presently not allowed under the Australian federal law. At present, the Australian Marriage Act has since the year 2004, described marriage as a social union between a man and a woman, as a result prohibiting same sex couples from being able to get married. In addition, the Australian law explicitly declares too that unions between same sex couples joined in outside the country are not to be recognized as marriages in Australia. This effectively supports the fact that the state as a role to act as a pathfinder for the society, guiding the way for its population.

On the other hand, proponents of the same sex marriages argue that illegalizing same sex marriages is to further continue the minority discrimination problem that has been able to tarnish human history. For this reason, their argument is that the government unwillingness to illegalize same sex marriages is viewed as an act of institutionalizing hate and discrimination by passing laws and rulings upon its minority populace in various forms that tries to limit in addition to instilling inferiority among the citizens of minority groups.

As soon as the feeling of inferiority enters the psychology of the minority groups, a lack of self-worth leads to less economic and social prosperity in addition to the denial of an individual’s identity owing to the fact that they are bombarded with messages that they are lesser. Proponents of this form of marriage therefore argue that time has now come for the government to end this ferocious pattern of discrimination against gay citizens. According to the same sex proponents legalizing same sex marriages is to grant the marriage right to every citizen in addition to having citizens viewed as equals in the eyes of government.

For majority religions, marriage is a devout sacrament. A large number of world religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam do not therefore support same sex marriages. For this reason, if the meaning of marriage is altered to allow same sex marriages, a great number of religious groups and individuals feel they will be at risk of having to go against their beliefs by being forced to get hitched to same sex couples (Loughlin, 2004).

According to Valentine et.al, (2011), the controversial issue of same sex marriages has been troubling the religious community for over a decade. Conservative religious groups as well individuals have become increasingly troubled by the perceived recognition of gay marriages by some elements of this faith community, as they consider this as a huge threat to their traditional beliefs. Citing particular biblical texts which seem to forbid homosexual practices, many Christians believe that tolerating lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender lifestyles is to disrespect the Bible’s authority, and therefore to represent a form of secularization (Hasset, 2007).

Cichocki (2007) highlights further that the Bible cites marriage as a union between a man and woman and in such unification procreation must not be ruled out. In other words, religions articulate that a man and woman get hitched and have their own children. Same sex couples cannot fulfill this expectation and should not therefore be permitted.

Supporters of same sex marriages however, try to discredit religious arguments arguing that Biblical references have been taken out of context and therefore misunderstood. They have also pointed out that procreation, as a point of argument is as well equally controversial as its legal argument counterpart since even the Catholic Church through its Humane Vitae acknowledges the need for family planning through natural means. Supporters of same sex marriages have also accused the Catholic Church of encouraging the concept of complimentarily in marriage which describes the difference between men and woman. They argue therefore that marriage should be about mutuality instead, in which case, couples are called to share what they have in a loving, supportive relationship.

Another argument against same sex marriages is based on the sociological perspective. A large as well as a growing body of scientific evidence reveals that an intact, married family is the most ideal for children. According to McLanahan & Sandefur (1994), if a system to ensure children’s basic needs were to be met was to be designed, then we would most probably come up with something similar to the two-parental ideal.

In theory, such a design will not only ascertain that children have access to the time and money of two adults, but it will also provide a system of checks and balances that enhances quality parenting. The fact that both the parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the possibilities that both the parents would identify with their child in addition to being able to sacrifice for the child. This will also be able to reduce the possibility that either parent would abuse the child. In addition, marriages naturally prosper when couples specialize in gender-typical ways in addition to being attentive to the gendered needs and the aspirations of their husband or wife (Hetherington & Kelly, 2002).

According to the Family Research Council (2011), one of the greatest tests same sex marriages pose to marriage is that it challenges the norm of sexual conformity in marriage. It will therefore further isolate marriage from its procreative purpose. Permitting same sex marriages will therefore establish that there is no necessary link between procreation and marriage.

On the other hand, proponents of same sex marriages argue that marriage as an institution communicates dignity and respect towards couples who make life time commitment towards each other. As a result, same sex couples deserve this dignity and respect. According to the New York Times (2011), supporters of same sex marriages for a long time argued that marriage as an institution is a unique expression of love as well as commitment and calling the marriages of same sex couples anything else is a form of second-class citizenship.

Conclusion

In conclusion, depending on an individual’s moral perspective, same sex marriages can be perceived as either right or wrong. For instance, those against same sex marriages do so with vehemence; it is not simply that they would rather not see it continue, but they perceive same sex marriages as conceivably the greatest moral as well as social evil to have ever occurred since the legalization of abortion. They cannot however be written off as mere cranks-it is vital to understand what their contention are so as to determine how good their cases is and to disprove it if their stand is unsound.

References

Cichocki, R, M, 2007, Same sex Marriages: Should They Be Sanctioned? Retrieved on April 29, 2011, 2011 from http://aids.about.com/cs/socialissues/a/samesex.htm

Family Research Council, 2011, Ten Arguments from Social Science against Same-Sex Marriage.

Ford, H, 2011, Same Sex Marriages.

Hasset, M, 2007, Anglican Communion in Crisis. Princeton University Press.

Hetherington, M.E & Kelly, J, 2002, For Better or For Worse.

Loughlin, G, 2004, Gathered at the Altar: Homesexual and Human Rights, Theology and Sexuality 10:73-82.

Mag, J, 2007, Religion and Same sex Marriage, Retrieved on April 29, 2011, 2011 from
http://socyberty.com/gay-lesbians/religion-and-same-sex-marriage/

McLanahan, S & Sandefur, G, 1994, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, Harvard University Press.

New York Times, 2011, Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships.

Valentine, G, Vanderbeck, R.M & Andersson, J, 2011, Emplacements: The Event as a Prism for Exploring Intersectionality Case Study of Lambeth Conference
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