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Argumentative Essay Gay, Lesbian Issues, Article Review Example

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Article Review

Legalization of the same-sex marriages is one of the most challenging legal issues in the United States nowadays. It basically “challenges people’s commitment to genuine legal equality” (Gerstmann, 3) while, at the same time, raises the question as to whether homosexuals should be granted the same legal protection as the race, ethnicity, gender, national origin or religion based minority groups. The aim of this paper is, by means of the assessment of the existing legal standards and on-going political debates, to underline the idea that the same-sex marriages should be constitutionally legalized.

The issue of the same-sex marriages started making its way through the society in 1970’s, but it is not until 1993, when Hawaii Supreme Court “stunned the nation”, ruling “the ban on same-sex marriage mostly violated the equal protection guarantee of the state constitution” (Gerstmann, 3), that the issue exploded onto the country’s political arena. However, the US is not the only country faced with this dilemma. In 2001 Netherlands were the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriages and, all in all, nowadays there are 6 countries where “the legal status of same-sex marriages are exactly the same as that of opposite-sex marriages” – those countries are the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Norway, and Sweden (“Same Sex Marriage around the World”). As of the United States, the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act “defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex” (DOMA Watch). However, the majority of the states have their own Defense of Marriage Acts, as a result of which in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont, marriages for same sex couples are legal and currently performed, in New Hampshire, same-sex marriages will begin on January 1, 2010, in New York, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island and California, same-sex marriages from other states or foreign countries are recognized but are not performed (“Same-Sex Marriages in the United States”).

To my mind, same-sex marriages should be legalized in the United States for a couple of reasons. First of all, as far as I can judge, not allowing same-sex couples to officially tie their bonds is the violation of the 19th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 as well as of the First Amendment of the American Constitution. By the UN Declaration people are granted “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”), while through the First Amendment citizens of the United States are guaranteed that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech” (“Constitution of the United States. Bill of Rights”). As homosexuality is an individual’s choice of the partner of the same sex, it can be considered an individual expression of affection and sexual preferences. Moreover, this expression does not physically or mentally influence or hurt other members of the society, does not pose any potential danger nor brings any types of damage to other’s property. Consequently, such a surrounding-safe expression of the human opinion should not be abandoned by any type of legal reforms.  Just because some people still consider homosexuality some kind of the incurable disease and do not accept the fact that homosexuals are as equal as all the other people are, does not mean that the rights of the homosexuals differ from those of all the other people and can be violated. And it still does not mean that, if the same-sex marriages are not legalized, the homosexuality levels will decrease. Undoubtedly, people will be staying loyal to their opinion and belief and will continue building homosexual bonds. Just when it is legalized, it is much easier for the society and the country itself, as homosexual trends can be officially studied and observed. Maybe as time passes, it won’t be such a problem for the rest of the people to accept same-sex bonds, which have all the rights to equally exist in the human society.

Another reason of why same-sex marriages should be legalized is the 6th Article of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights which states that “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” (“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”). It is not quiet understandable, what makes homosexual people so different or unequal in regards to the marriage laws. There is no scientifically proved evidence that homosexual parents are unable to normally raise children or will, without any doubts, cause danger or pose harm upon them. It cannot be an argument against them as there is a sufficient number of child abuses in the heterosexual families and, until relevant studies are conducted, it can not be used as a legitimate prove against the legalization of same-sex marriages. Another argument that rises in the light of the above-mentioned discussion is the stereotype of that the marriage institute has always been that of the man and woman – so it is thought that homosexual families cannot be regarded as valuable societal unites. But how can one judge about something not seen or experienced before? Discriminating people on the basis of stereotype thinking is definitely not a good example of a democratic and equal human treatment.

One more point that inevitably rises in the light of the same-sex marriage’s legalization is the question of whether homosexuals can be considered a disadvantaged minority group. The answer to this question is among the essential key-points of the legalization debate, because, if homosexuals are considered a disadvantaged minority, than the ban to legalize their marriages will be unconstitutional in regards to minority groups rights; if not, than the problem won’t be solved until other sufficient evidence appears. Another question that should be also answered in this case is whether homosexuality is an inborn feature or a voluntarily chosen pattern of behavior. And this is probably the most mind boggling and challenging one, because, if the scientific proof appears that homosexual gene is an inborn one, than it will be an end to any kinds of debates as, in this case, there will be no way not to consider homosexuals a disadvantaged minority group and, therefore, not to legalize same-sax marriages.

Summing up, I would like to point out once again that as individuals living in a democratic society we are all equal before the law and our rights and freedoms should not be a matter of any discrimination or unequal treatment. Homosexuality is a lifestyle which does not pose any potential threat or danger to the members of the society; therefore, homosexual rights should also be equally considered and not underestimated. Legalizing same-sex marriages throughout the country will help many people to open up, not being afraid to be judged or speculated about. Granting every citizen freedom of opinion and expression is one of the major identifiers of the democratic society. If we are unable or unwilling to do so due to a number of stereotypic judgments or predetermined opinions, can we than truly be considered one?

Works Cited

“Constitution of the United States. Bill of Rights”. The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Lillian Goldman Law Library. Yale Law School. 2008. 17 Oct. 2009. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rights1.asp

DOMA Watch. Alliance Defense Fund. 2008. 17 Oct. 2009. http://www.domawatch.org/index.php

Gerstmann, Evan. Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution. Cambridge University Press? 2004.

“Same Sex Marriage around the World”. CBC News. 3 Jun. 2009. 17 Oct. 2009. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/05/26/f-same-sex-timeline.html

“Same-Sex Marriages in the United States”. Wikipedia. 16 Oct. 2009. 17 Oct. 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. United Nations. 17 Oct. 2009. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

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