All over the world, for as long as the institution of marriage has existed, people have had the ability to get married. Most people consider marriage as the end goal, the fairytale everyone dreams of, and there are some people who do not believe in marriage at all. The difference is, that they possess the ability to choose. Unfortunately, same-sex couples do not have this ability. Telling same-sex coupled that their marriage is against the law means that they are being ostracized from the rest of society, and therefore being considered as less than their heterosexual counterparts. Gay marriage is one of the most divisive and controversial political debates. In November 2008, California passed Proposition 8, a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment that made same-sex marriage illegal. Thankfully, in 2015 the United States Supreme Court ruled gay marriage is legal in all fifty states. Every single human being deserves love, they deserve the right to spend their lives with their soul mate, if you believe in soulmates and that sort of thing. Love is Love – period. Nobody has the right to take that away.
The institution of marriage is exemplified in the already existing aspects of human nature, i.e. compassion, love, friendship, etc. Governments grant marriage to people less deserving than same-sex couples – couples who are not in love, green card couples, arranged/forced marriages, and so on. These reasons are much less valid than that of a same-sex couple. Marriage is not merely a contract between a couple. It is a commitment that two people make to one another. The couple agrees to love one another and take care of each other till death does their part. There is nothing about this that makes a same-sex couple less deserving. Marriage makes you, statistically, healthier and happier. If there are children involved as well, it generally makes the family unit stronger. Allowing every single citizen to marry whom they please will only strengthen a community.
Religion plays an important role in all marriages as well. Religious parties may deny two people the right to marry if they do not deem it acceptable. The majority of marriages are held in religious places of worship, such as a church or temple. This specifically puts LGBTQ people at a disadvantage, even when marriage is legal in the government’s eyes, because of the stigma and objections religions and churches have always had against same-sex partners. Criminals, divorcees who abandoned their previous family, people charged with domestic violence, murderers, substance abusers, racists, etc. are all able to marry in the church’s eyes as long as it is with someone of the opposite sex. Casual spur-of-the-moment marriages are more accepted than gay marriages. One could argue that giving a marriage license to these types of marriages and couples signifies that the state supports and validates these marriages more than a marriage between two people of the same sex.
The debate on gay marriage is not just about heterosexual people believing that two people of the same sex cannot create the same loving marriage or family that they can, it is also about humankind’s innate fear of the unknown. We try to distance ourselves from what is different or odd because it is unlike us. Much like racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, etc., our fear is what breeds hate and disapproval. If granting gay marriage expresses approval or disapproval, then the government should be neutral in this sense. Moreover, if religious parties are able to deny marriage, then the state should be even more accepting of same-sex marriage. After all, there is, theoretically, such a thing as the separation of church and state. Denying any same-sex couple the ability to marry is diabolical, heartless, inhuman, and overall detrimental to the mental health of the parties involved.
The reason many LGBTQ people suffer from mental health issues more than heterosexual people is because of disapproval from society. Allowing - allowing sounds like a strange word when discussing the ability for two people to marry – same-sex couples to marry only helps improve the well-being of the LGBTQ community. In the article ‘Evidence Is Clear on the Benefits of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage’, Ryan Anderson argues that the legalization of same-sex marriage positively improves the lives of LGBTQ members. The American Medical Association concluded that ostracizing ‘sexual minorities’, aka same-sex couples, from marriage played a role in poor mental health in the LGBTQ community. The article states that a United States survey reported that more than 36,000 LGBTQ people from ages 18-70 were not as psychologically distressed if gay marriage was legalized as if it was not. In addition, heterosexual couples that were married were found to be the least distressed of all groups. This is clearly due to the fact that heterosexual couples do not face the same stigmas and opposition that same-sex couples face.
Whether you support and understand gay marriage or not, does not matter. However, what does matter is your capacity to accept and allow two people who are in love to marry. That is what it all boils down to at the end of the day. We must accept the things we cannot change for they will continue to exist whether we are on board or not. Moreover, we as a society, nay, we as human beings must learn to accept others and welcome differences, rather than run from them. Love is love, gay marriage should not be banned because we do not and should not even pretend to have the ability to decide who a person can or cannot marry. There is a famous saying/prayer written by an American theologian that says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. When we learn to accept others for who they are and their choices, we will obtain serenity.