“With Liberty and Justice for All”
An opinion of the social inequality that exists as it pertains to Gay Marriage Aimee L. Vroman Strayer University Online Introduction to Sociology SOC 100-015016 Professor Paul Humenik August 22, 2010 Abstract In recent years, the debate over same-sex marriage has grown from an issue that occasionally arose in a few states to a nationwide controversy. Indeed, in the last five years, the debate over gay marriage has been heard in the halls of the U.
Congress, at the White House, in dozens of state legislatures and courtrooms, and in the rhetoric of election campaigns at both the national and state levels. Moreover, the battle over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to wed shows no signs of abating. In the last year alone, three states have banned same-sex marriage and four states have legalized the practice. The time for debate is now over. The issue of gay marriage is not one of religious degradation, social erosion, or even ethical breakdown. It is an issue of inalienable rights guaranteed to all citizens of this country.
The fact that our federal government does not recognize gay marriages is an atrocity and shameful at best. “The foundation to gay rights will ultimately be seen as the right to marry, because with that right firmly established in law, most other forms of discrimination could not be justified. ” (Bidstrup, Why Gays Should Be Allowed To Marry, 1996) When we as a society look outwards, we see everything that we can do to help other societies attain our level of justice, personal and financial success, freedoms, and everything else that comes with our knowledge and perseverance.
However, if we as a society were to look inward at ourselves (something that I am confident that only a small percentage of our society is willing to do) and at our society as a whole, would we see it in a different light? Would we see that even after fifty years of civil rights and equal opportunity that we still oppress and treat some groups of our society as second class citizens? Our country’s Bill of Rights has been modified by Constitutional Amendments to say the each and every American citizen has certain inalienable rights.
The right to be married is one that we Americans hold near and dear to our hearts. Why then, is this particular right denied to the gay community? One of the biggest and loudest arguments against gay marriage in this country is that it is against God and that it is against what it says in the Bible (The Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve argument). Yes, this country was founded on Christian principles and laws that were perceived to be fair to all of its citizenry. However, this is not the seventeen hundreds nor is it the time of the Inquisition.
This is the so called Modern Era, in which not only technology and finance are supposed to be upgraded and ever changing for the better but also societal acceptance of people that are different from what we perceive as mainstream and the societal norm. How can there be societal justice for the gay community when we as a society, who proclaim ourselves to be enlightened and forward thinking, deny even this most basic of rights to the gay community? The answer is simple; there can be no societal justice for the gay community in this aspect.
What if we were to turn the tables on society and tell everyone that is not a part of the gay community that their marriages, civil unions, and other forms of partnership were invalid and no longer existed in the eyes of the government? There would be a societal upheaval. Anarchy would ensue and the government would be dismantled by the people. Later, when the people had decided that there had been enough chaos, reformed by the people and for the people. The only reason this has not happened with the gay community is because they are the minority in this case.
For centuries of our country’s history, we have been guilty of oppressing and even enslaving the minorities within our society, to say nothing of denying them the inalienable rights called for in our own Constitution. Over time, those minorities that have fought and fought hard for these rights have eventually been afforded these rights by Constitutional Amendments. Yet still, here we sit in the twenty-first century, and we still cannot see past our own biases and our deep rooted fears of anything that is different or contrary to us.
At the end of the day, our opposition to gay marriage stems ultimately from a deep-seeded homophobia in our culture and society, borne almost entirely out of religious prejudice. While many of us do not realize that homophobia exists to the extent that it does, it is a very real part of every gay person’s life, just like racism is a very real part of every African American’s life. It is there, it is pervasive, and it has far more serious consequences for our society than most of us realize, not just for gay people, but for society in general.
This religious prejudice comes from several well known entities. Those entities include, but are not limited to, the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, the American Family Association, and Focus on the Family, and the most conservative of Protestant sects. Together with their various political subsidiary groups, a whole host of smaller right-wing political and religious organizations, and a few out-right hate groups, they are shaping national and local policy towards the gay community.
They spend millions of dollars twisting and deforming referendums, propositions, and other local instruments of law solely for the purpose of fear mongering to scare the populace into line at the polls. It is these kinds of tactics being employed that are outdated and flat out wrong in the moral and ethical sense. They say that money corrupts; well the proof is in the proverbial pudding. The fear mongering turns into unparalleled hate and it is fueled by these so called “Christian” organizations. This is contrary to the Christian way of life and contrary to the convictions of a Christian.
Hatred by itself, dressed up as religious dogma has been used for so long that it is beginning to lose its effectiveness (eventually people begin to figure out that it is mostly a tactic for filling pews, collection plates and campaign coffers more than it is a way of reforming lost souls and improving society), so the more clever of these organizations have begun to move onto a slick propaganda effort based on that long-time favorite winner, fear (Bidstrup, Gay Marriage: The Arguments and Motives, 2009). The time for rhetoric and Bible thumping is over. Our country had its time of religious revolution.
It is now time for every person, regardless of gender, race, religious belief, or sexual orientation, to be given the rights that our laws and traditions provide. This idea has been the cornerstone of our society and our nation for hundreds of years. “We cannot accept the view that Amendment 2’s prohibition on specific legal protections does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability on those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint. (Kennedy, Stevens, O’Connor, Souter, Ginsburg, & Breyer, 1996) In the Supreme Court opinion that this quote is taken from, it says very plainly that a state (Colorado in this case) cannot prevent any group of persons from taking part in any public or private transaction. Though this case was hotly debated over the next fifteen years, Colorado in 2007 passed a law prohibiting any discrimination against homosexuals. Now if one state can do this and then another and then another, why is it so hard for our federally elected officials to do the same thing?
The only answer that I can give is the activists, hate groups, and church lobbyists that throw millions of dollars into the coffers of our Senators and Congressman. This dirty money ensures that once again they will get elected and that once again they will vote to keep the gay community as second class citizens. This state of affairs is unacceptable. The time for change is now. Freedom is the right of every American regardless of gender, race, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. It is high time that we, as a society, stand up and say in one unified voice, “This is wrong and we are not going to stand for it any longer!
Bidstrup, S. (2009, June 3). Gay Marriage: The Arguments and Motives. Retrieved August 19, 2010, from Bidstrup. com: http://www. bidstrup. com/marriage. htm Bidstrup, S. (1996, December 4).
Why Gays Should Be Allowed To Marry. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from Bidtrsup. com: http://www. bidstrup. com/hawaii. htm Kennedy, A. M. , Stevens, J. P. , O’Connor, S. D. , Souter, D. H. , Ginsburg, R. B. , & Breyer, S. G. (1996, October 20).
Supreme Court Bound Volume 517. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from United States Supreme Court: http://www. supremecourt. gov/opinions/boundvolumes/517bv. pdf