Marriage is a small word, yet it has created a huge division in our country. Defined as a social union or legal contract between two people, typically recognized by law, by which they have created a kinship. However, the definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but is usually an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. Many cultures and religions limit marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, but some allow forms of polygamous marriage, and some recognize same-sex marriage. In recent years, citizens of the United States have been separated on the idea and institution of marriage. In the United States, the institution of marriage is, by law, for only those persons of opposite sex. Many conservatives believe same-sex marriages should be illegal, while those who are homosexual and their allies for equal rights believe they should be entitled to the same civil liberties that are granted to everyone else. Although promoting gay marriages is still viewed as an institution threatening ‘traditional family values’, gay marriages should remain in the United States, because denying the right would be a violation of the civil liberties America boasts, and disallowing these marriages is a form of discrimination.
Most people associate the ‘American Dream’ with ‘traditional family values’. Picture this…a white picket fence, a colonial home with a wraparound front porch deck, and children playing safely in the front yard; the father is in the living room discussing the children’s homework, and the mother prepares to make dinner. This is the American Dream, usually associated with the 1950’s, accepted and promoted by society even to this day. The children in this scenario will prosper because they have a stable home, two present parents, and will grow learning traditional values. If children are introduced and raised in a home of a same-sex couple, then they may be confused children on gender roles and expectations. Luckily for those who believe same-sex marriages should not be allowed, were granted legislation that would somewhat prohibit the legality of these types of marriages. The head family is trusted with instilling morals, values and education in the children so they may go forth and prosper in the future. It is implied that children of same-sex couples will not instill the right ideas and philosophies with the children of our future. There is another place where children will learn the right ideas and philosophies, and that place is within the church. Many religions believe and teach homosexuality is a sin. Some religions just detest it, while others will kill for it. The Islam religion has been known, in recent news broadcasts, to kill homosexual members of their society. In one case that caused international controversy, Iran executed Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni on July 19, 2005, after they were convicted for the rape of a 13-year-old boy. Soon after, a British group alleged that the teenagers were executed for consensual homosexual acts and not rape. Christianity isn’t nearly as hostile as other religions, but it is still quite intolerant. It preaches love, acceptance, and purity to its congregation, which are the values traditional families wish to uphold.
As Americans of this great country, we are afforded many rights and liberties. We have the right to have weapons, we have the right to practice any religion or none at all, the freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and the freedom to marry and have a family. Even though the latter few are allowed, they are denied for many. In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, which eliminated rights for same-sex couples to marry. Not only did it eliminate rights, but it also did not recognize domestic partnerships of same-sex couples or marriage licenses from other states. When the proposition was still out for the voters to decide, many came forward to voice their opinion and the legality of this law. As time progressed, so did the law. Many states began allowing for legal marriage, or recognition of domestic partnership for homosexual couples. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses. Like it was stated before, the United States’ Constitution and Pledge of Allegiance boast that we have “liberty and justice for all”, and yet many had been denied the civil liberties for far too long.
Discrimination has affected same-sex couple or individuals in all aspects of their life. We need to all recognized that every member of this country is like our brother and sister. There is just so much hatred for people in our country: towards the people in other states, in our town, or even on our very own neighborhood street. This hatred has been affecting homosexuals for many years. These ordinary citizens are discriminated against for the sole fact that they love someone of the same sex. Many states do not allow same-sex couples to rent/lease housing. Also, in some states, a homosexual can be fired for being just that, a homosexual. It seems hard to think that just because of the sexual orientation of an individual or couple can be denied many things we take for granted just because of whom they love. America is no stranger to discrimination and the fight for civil rights. Almost 60 years ago, African Americans were fighting to gain the same rights that were granted to their white brethren. Because of that, many African Americans are standing alongside homosexuals in their fight to gain the same rights which are given to their straight brethren. It is sad to realize how long it has taken our nation to live up to the promise of equality for all and end discrimination. During the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, he eloquently reminded the nation “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”.
The idea and establishment of marriage has divided our nation into something of a ‘culture war’ because of the social segregation and discrimination being openly tolerated against homosexuals regardless of the legalization and acceptance. There are those who strongly believe that the traditional values of marriage and gender identity should be upheld, while others think the liberties granted to all Americans should be just that, granted to all Americans. No matter what you think of homosexuality, it is a fact that members of the LGBTQA+ community are members of our families, clubs, and jobs. They yearn for acceptance, stable relationships, and success in their lives, just like the rest of us. There are children locked in cages, an increasing gender pay gap, corporations paying little to no taxes, as well as men and women dying for our country to uphold the freedoms we are granted as Americans; yet some closed-minded individuals are focusing on the rights of a select group of American citizens. The United States boasts liberty and justice for all, yet it took so long for people to be granted the freedom to express whom they love through marriage. Regardless of how some groups continue the fight to repeal the legalization of gay marriage and enforce their own legislations, there is one thing that is true: love is universal and inherent and it should be recognized as such.