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Gay Marriage

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Today is a time when what is right and what is wrong is overshadowed by what seems right and what seems wrong. Controversial issues deepen the difficulty for each one of us as we determine what we believe and why we believe it. As soon as we establish our foundation, the storms of others' opinions beat against the center of our foundations. The issue of gay marriage is one of the controversies that leaves our society searching for the answers.

Traditionally marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of marriage reads "to join as a husband and wife according to law and custom; to take as husband or wife; to enter into a close union" (452). Dictionaries are not a biased publication and serve as a guide to what words mean. The words "husband" and "wife" show that marriage is a close union between a man and a woman. This idea could be disputed if we only looked at the third part of a definition--"to enter into a close union." But if we only look at the third part, then we change the definition altogether. Obviously we can not look only at a dictionary to gain a deeply rooted belief; so let us continue with the search for a firm foundation.

Elections are being affected by the way people stand on this issue. After the 1992 election, President Clinton, who is said by Human Events to be the most "pro-gay President in history," adamantly tried to abolish the ban on gays in the military. This was a victory cry for many homosexual activists. Then in the 1996 election, President Clinton admitted he would not openly oppose the bill in Congress that defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" ("Same-sex Marriage Imperils the Family"). President Clinton, who generally supports gay rights, gives Americans a reason to believe that perhaps gay marriage is one step too far. Even First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed that marriage should be a union of a man and a woman in her statement, "Marriage has got historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been: between a man and a woman" (State of the Union").

In the recent 2000 Election, both George W. Bush and Al Gore agree with the Defense of Marriage act (DOMA), which "implies that allowing homosexuals to marry constituted an 'attack' on the existing institution" ("State of the Union"). It is difficult to find many issues with which these two candidates can agree. So, it seems that since they do agree, we can assume that a gay marriage would in fact intrude upon the values of not only marriage but also we as a people.

As of now, thirty states acknowledge marriage only as a union of a man and a woman, yet not one of the fifty states officially recognize the marriage of two members of the same sex. Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii all considered legalizing same-sex marriages, but none have been successful. One of the most shocking states is California. California voters voted in favor of a ballot that acknowledges only the marriage of a man and a woman. This decision in California is a disappointment for gay marriage advocates. California is a state famous for voicing its opinions on the issues and we have its opinion on this issue. The ballot was decisive with a 61 percent-to-39 percent marginal win ("A 'No' to Gay Marriage"). The values of traditional marriage are still being upheld even in states that are traditionally pro-gay.

Throughout the court rulings and legislation, we have to look at the pros and cons of this issue. I would like to discuss the pros and cons list published by U.S. News and World Report. One pro for same-sex marriage says, "banning same-sex marriage is discriminatory." This pro says marriage is a "right and should not be denied to any individual." This argument goes on to compare same-sex marriages with other minorities who have been denied marriage in the past history of our nation ("Should Gay Marriage be Legal?"). Some heterosexual minorities may be offended by the fact they are grouped with the homosexual minority. Is that not also discriminating? Is banning same-sex marriage really discriminatory? Throughout history groups of people have, are, and will be denied their wants, but does this mean they are being discriminated against?

Another pro for same-sex marriages--it "supports stability." It stabilizes by allowing gays and lesbians to enjoy the same level of commitment that heterosexual couples share. It goes on to say that same-sex marragies should be endorsed by religious conservatives as an "endorsement of traditional values." It also says that marriage would promote "stability and long-term commitment" ("Should Gay Marriage be Legal?"). Same-sex marriages are not traditional, and thus would not be an endorsement of traditional values. Marriage is not the solution to keeping people together; even heterosexual couples cannot turn to marriage as a way to keep them together. Marriage is a blessed union that should be the result of a committed relationship and a life-long commitment before the ceremony ever takes place. Marriage cannot solve problems or promise a life-long commitment--as heterosexual marriage demonstrates. Couples can, however, promise to work through problems and gain a life-long commitment through hard work and unfailing love.

Tax benefits are also listed under the pros of same-sex marriage. It is said that marriage would legally pressure those in same-sex marriage "to care for a loved one 'in sickness and in health.'" This may be true, but tax dollars will also be spent on federal benefits and tax breaks. The federal treasury will be forced to subtract from its already burdened balance.

Another pro says, "religious values shouldn't dictate who gets married." This argument is backed by the separation of church and state. It does not believe that a civil marriage should be denied but that a religious marriage would still be left up to the religious groups. Some religious groups may want to perform them. "The decision to marry should belong to the individual, not the government, religious groups or political extremists" ("Should Gay Marriage be Legal?"). If the decision to marry belongs solely to the individual, does the decision to steal, murder, or lie also belong to the individual?

The first con of same-sex marriage states that "heterosexual marriage is sacred." U.S. News and World Report writes that "same-sex marriage is a violation



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