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Along with the benefits of marriage, legalizing same-sex unions will give couples additional parenting and adoption rights. The effects having homosexual parents will have on children has been a leading argument of many opponents. Many believe that gay and lesbian couples are not only unfit parents, but children will grow up confused about sexual identity, become a homosexual themselves, or they will be more susceptible to being traumatized by being teased and made fun of at school. According to Sullivan, no research results have been able to confirm these beliefs (241). Raising kids in same-sex relationships has the potential to give our future an upper hand in creating more awareness and acceptance in our world.
Moreover, I was raised by heterosexuals, and was teased and tormented all the way through childhood and adolescence; I think we can all concur that it is an inevitable part of growing up. Kids raised by same-sex parents enter the world with openness and awareness children of heterosexual parents would not necessarily receive. Acceptance equals love, and we should be facilitating more love into our world every chance we get.
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Opponents of same-sex marriage claim that homosexuality is sin, and showing acceptance towards the gay lifestyle will only encourage and create more of it. Most challenge that homosexuality is a choice and decision, such as a television commercial suggested during California’s Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. The advertisement warned that schools would soon teach second graders that men could marry men. However, this is childish and inaccurate, and proves that lesbians and gay men are widely misunderstood in America.
Science researchers have found common biological traits in gay men, adding value to a consensus that one’s seual orientation results from a natural blend of environmental and hereditary factors, which majorly influence an individual’s sexual attractions even before birth. People cannot simply choose to be gay, or straight. If so, plenty of gay people who are tired of the discrimination they experience from their families, as well as society, would choose to be straight. Christina, who grew up as a Catholic, knew from an early age that she preferred other women to men. She was routinely punished and sent to therapy year after year, where the church would counsel her that something was deeply wrong with her, and someday she would “get better,” and have the ability to choose to love a man. For years, she prayed and wanted more than anything to be straight; however, she hoped that one day her parents and her religion would accept her. Well, all efforts aside, the Catholic’s “program” did not work for Christina; she is, however, a healthy, happy forty-two year old lesbian who gave up long ago on wanting to “choose” a man.
If we say yes to gay marriage, what exactly does this introduce? Many claim that polygamy, incest, and even bestiality will be the result if society legalizes same-sex marriage. We say yes to gay couples, what about bisexuals? Hadley Arkes, a political science professor says that no one seems to be quite clear “of any ground of principle on which the law would say no” (Sullivan 277). Opponents of same sex marriage argue that allowing gay couples to marry will start a chain reaction that mocks the respect and definition of marriage. They say that giving gay men and lesbians’ marriage rights will only invite the idea of multiple wives, and soon people will want to marry their dog, or their favorite object. This is a weak argument driven by people’s fear of change. Marriage is older than America, older than the biblle even. Laws and concepts that define marriage have always changed with people and society. Government can make laws against polygamy just as they have against women, slaves, interracial marriage, and now gay marriage. Human beings, gay, or straight, are not dogs, and should never be compared. Besides, if someone chooses to marry his dog, it poses no real danger to his community. Moreover, the climbing divorce rate heterosexual marriage is racking up, is disrespecting the institute of marriage all on its own.
The world needs more love, not less. Gay men and lesbians are human just as heterosexual men and women are human. They deserve equality. Compassion is a virtue that will allow our country to reach its full potential. Do not be complacent. Look at what happened in California when same- sex marriage became legal for a short time in June 2008. Outraged, opponents of gay marriage placed a constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, on the November ballot, which did pass changing the law back to its original “one man, one woman” definition of marriage on November 4, 2008. Jacobs reports that the Mormon Church has made a massive contribution into Proposition 8. The Church members plan to undertake a ferocious campaign in California, which is aimed at stripping same sex couples their rights, and to make them second-class citizens. This is not separation of church and state; it is a violation of our Constitution and our rights as American citizens. Even if you do not agree with their lifestyle, gay men and lesbians deserve your acceptance as fellow people. We are our brothers and sisters keepers; sex and love is a personal choice. As a society, we cannot ignore our duty to honor civil rights, and stop the discrimination. Make same-sex marriage federally recognized and legal, allowing all of us to experience the protection and support promised by the Declaration of Independence.
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