In 2003, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favour of gays and lesbians, a decision which has stirred mixed reactions from different people worldwide.
The practice is spreading fast, and becoming accepted by different countries and states, among them New Hampshire, Columbia, Connecticut, Vermont, California, New York, and Oregon. Other countries though, have strongly opposed the practice, with others passing legislation against it. Among those who have written articles on this contentious topic are Poet Katha Pollitt, who supports it and lawyer Charles Colson who strongly opposes this kind of marriage, asserting that it does not only affect those who embrace it but all.
The future though, is uncertain about the legality of this issue, which could change at any given time.
Pollitt supports the institution of gay unions and does not think it threatens the marriage institutions in any way. She analyzes the various reasons why people get married which she lists as procreation, men domestication, and the historical justification. According to her, there are couples who only get married when pregnancy occurs, and this alone cannot pass as a justification to marriage. What of the infertile, the impotent, the elderly, or those who indulge in family planning? What of those who get married for purposes of intimacy? Are their marriages illegitimate? These scenarios negate David’s and Jean’s lines of reason, because these marriages are as well valid as are those who are in it principally for procreation (571). Pollitt argues that this is one of the dictatorial and insolent reasons of marriage the writers could give.
Supported by statistical evidence, Gilder argues that women literally domesticate men, affirming that most married men exempt themselves from wrong doings such as drug abuse, crashing cars, and committing suicide (571). On the contrary, he still affirms that husbandly failures such as disloyalty, betrayal, domestic violence, and abandonment, still exist in marriages. Pollitt on the other hand views these marriages as a “barbarian adoption,” and doesn’t feel that women should undertake it, because they haven’t been thriving in it nevertheless. Either, from the same point of view, she doesn’t believe that marriage should be limited to heterosexuals; because same sex marriages do not impose on the male enhancement project in any way. From historical point of view, Pollitt points out that the institution of marriage has revolutionalized with adoption of love, legality, monogamous and voluntary based marriages, as opposed to the old times , where marriages constituted of polyandry, arranged marriages, forced marriages, and child marriages. Gay marriages stand out like a fairy tale in both scenarios.
Critics of gay marriage according to Pollitt, have little consideration for many other factors that have weakened the bond of heterosexual marriages including wobbliness, individualization, the easy of dissolution, and flexibility, among others. She argues that basically, people get married despite their difference in age, cultures, health status, and even against the doctrines of their religious beliefs; so why not give a chance to gay marriages, who accordingly can procreate- as in the case of lesbians or adopt children where gays are involved. She goes further to say that in today’s contemporary society, marriage is not based on some baseless beliefs in social and biological theories, nor is it a societal dispensation, it is, and should be based on love, commitment and stability.
According to her, for as long as marriage exists, it should not be restricted to anyone who wants it. In conclusion, the bottom line of opposition to gay marriages according to Pollitt, lies with religious chauvinism, which strongly opposes gay culture; in fact there exist a an arresting connection of religion with opposition to gay relations. This explains why so many people can put up with civil unions as opposed to religious unions. The religious faithfuls believe that gays and lesbians cannot serve God as diligently, as they have already gone against the doctrines that dictate marriage. But Pollitt argues that marriage doesn’t necessarily have to be blessed by God but rather, what a government permits; according to her, it is entirely owned by the state. Despite that people undertake big church weddings, they still have to seek marriage licences from the state.
According to her, gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married despite religious opposition. She concludes by saying that “gay marriage-it’s not about sex, it’s about separation of church and state” (Pollitt 572).
Charles Colson, in his book “gay marriage: societal suicide” counters Katha’s viewpoint to gay marriages. According to Colson “marriage is the traditional block of human society” (577). He states that one the main reasons for marriage is uniting couples and procreation, principles which gay marriage negates, the result; crime, births out of wedlock, increased family breakups, among others. To reinforce his argument, Colson says he has witnessed the shortcomings of family breakages during his thirty-year ministry in prisons. Supported by figures, Colson argues that children brought up in family knit relations, are much more likely to be involved in felonies and disastrous life, than those brought up in split families.
Further, children brought up in broken homes undergo more behavioural and academic predicaments, a vice which Colson argues that it’s largely contributed to by consenting gay marriages. Contrary to critics who don’t believe that heterosexual marriage are weakened by gay marriages, Kurtz argues that they indeed change the culture of marriage and parenthood, a fact that Norwegians have been experienced , through shooting up out of wedlock births and increased cohabiting after their courts imposed gay marriage in 1993. Supported by tradition and history, Colson argues that the best environment to bring up children is within a family with both parents and that’s why according to him, same sex marriages should never be legalized.
He finalizes by saying that “marriage is not a private institution designed solely for the individual gratification of its participants” (578). He is in full support of the “Federal Marriage Amendment,” which he says will help abate chaos and crimes (Colson 578).
Comparing the two writers Pollitt and Colson, their arguments stand valid to any reader of their work. Pollitt arguably supports same sex marriages, basing on state legislation, modernity, and freedom of humanity. Colson on the other hand, opposes the practice and devalues it in line of history, societal morals, and religion, which he is a strong believer. He insinuates that the acts of crime and chaotic life experienced in today’s world, are a result of broken homes which are largely contributed to by same sex marriages.
Despite that both arguments pass, we have to agree that same sex marriage is rapidly gaining recognition in most parts of the world despite whether there is legislation in support or not. Its one of the things the world has to adapt to, because it will continue to exist. Some people even argue that, gay and lesbians are not made, they are born. So what would legislation achieve in that case? Much as Colson asserts that most crimes result from broken homes, it’s not entirely true; there are other causes as well. In conclusion, same sex marriages will happen, either, its one of the disorders the world is experiencing, largely contributed to by individual beliefs and the modern lifestyle.
Thus, the choice of what to believe in is a personal choice, which more often than not, is defined by religion and the rule of law.
Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron. The bedford reader. 10 Edn.
Thornwood: Bedford Books, 2008. Print.