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Same Sex Marriage

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Same-sex marriage There are many important issues discussed in public policy today. One of these issues is homosexual marriage. This is an important issue because it deals with a relatively large minority of the United States. This issue is put into many different lights. Those of morals, family values and religion; and those of equality, constitutionality, and right to privacy. The aspect with the most relevance is constantly left up to debate. Homosexuals are 'gay' due to a combination of factors. These factors are environment and society-the outside influences- and genetics. Hence, homosexuals do not decide their own sexuality, nor do heterosexuals. Therefore, homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals, one of these rights being marriage. If it is proven that there is indeed a gene that causes homosexuality, than we can draw a parallel between not allowing homosexuals to marry and not allowing blonds to marry. This is why it is of great importance to public policy whether or not homosexuality is predetermined. Some now believe that homosexuality is genetically predetermined by a gene on the X chromosome. If this is the case, then gays cannot decide their sexual orientation, for it is predetermined. Hence, not allowing those who are genetically inclined to prefer the same sex to marry leaves homosexuals with three choices. The first is to remain celibate their entire lives so as not to "live in sin"; the second is to marry someone they do not truly love or find attractive simply for the marriage benefits; the third and final choice is to live together with their partner and face the dirty looks of fellow citizens, simply because they are living together though they are not married. Marriage goes beyond the benefits, however. The institution of marriage is a very respected one, and holds much sentimental value for many people. If we look at the Declaration of Independence for inspiration, we read that all men are created equal. Does this exclude homosexuals? Many think so simply because they believe that marriage is not a right, but a privilege. This argument means that because gays are not going to bring a child into the world, they do not deserve the privilege of marriage. Those that oppose this argument see marriage in a different way. They believe that if you love someone, you have the right to bond yourself to them legally. There are many legal and economic benefits to marriage. Studies show that, generally, married couples are more economically stable. When Sandra Rovira's life partner died in her arms from cancer, her partner's company, AT&T, denied any and all death benefits to her. AT&T made it clear that if the law recognized homosexual unions, so would they. Twelve years earlier, Ms. Rovira and her partner, Ms. Forlini, formalized their relationship in a ceremony where the two women exchanged rings and vows. However, because this ceremony is not recognized by the government, Ms. Rovira was denied the benefits that would have been given to her if she was a man who had gone through the same ceremony. An AT&T spokesperson, Maureen Lynch, was quoted as saying, "If we have a benefit for spouses and you don't have a spouse, that doesn't mean we've discriminated... If you're single, you're not being discriminated against, you just don't have anybody who's eligible for that benefit."(New York Times, 1989) This woman was being discriminated against because she did not have the option of marrying her partner. If Ms. Rovira and Ms. Forlini could have obtained a marriage that was seen as valid by the law, they would have been able to share the following benefit with many married heterosexual couples. "By the simple public act of marrying, men and women achieve a substantial package of rights and duties which, collectively provide support and predictability to their marital relationship: 1) legal recognition of their sexual union, 2) legal enforcement of their mutual obligation to financially support each other, 3) automatic guardianship and custody of the children of that union, 4) improved ability to adopt the children of others, 5) legal enforcement of their mutual obligation to support their children, 6) legal recognition of their constitutionality and the constitutional sanctity and importance of their marriage, 7) insurable interests in each others lives, 8) next-of-kin status in medical emergencies, and, 9) in the event of death, the right to one-half of each other's estate." ( "Love and the Law") These rights are for all people who love each other. Not only heterosexuals. In 1988, three homosexual teachers from New York sued the Board of Education. All three of these teachers had live-in same-sex partners. They sued on the grounds that because the Board of Education did not give them the same benefits as married heterosexual couples, they were being discriminated against on the basis of sexual preference(Newsweek 1992). In 1862, Charles Darwin wrote that, "We do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality. The whole subject is hidden in the darkness." In more recent years, however, this statement is being chipped away at by multiple studies which offer proof that there is a region on the X-chromosome labeled Xq28 which predisposes men to be homosexual. Biologists from the National Institutes of Health led by Dean Hamer did a study in 1993 and a follow up study in 1995. These studies tried to show what biological influences, if any, there are on sexual preference. Both of Dean Hamer's studies suggest that a man may be predisposed to be homosexual due to genes he inherited from his mother. In his first study, Hamer compared the X-chromosomes of 40 pairs of gay brothers and found one region, called Xq28, which was more likely to match than would be expected if the two X-chromosomes from the mother had been randomly mixed. In eighty-two percent of the pairs, the brothers' gene in question matched. In their second study, which was used to confirm the first, sixty-seven percent matched. In the second study, heterosexual brothers of gays were also included in the study(The Economist, 1995). George Ebers, who is questioning and investigating some of Hamer's research, says that he also thinks that homosexuality is genetic, but does not think that the work should be only focused on the X-chromosome. Ebers has looked into it himself and sees no linkage between the mother and the son. He also did a study of forty gay brothers and found no linkage on the X-chromosome. Hamer says that this is because Ebers did not choose subjects from families which would allow for the maternal flow of inheritance(Science, 1995). Two scientists named Odenwald and Zhang claimed to have made male fruit flies gay by increasing the flies' level of serotonin. Though this gene also exists in humans, no linkage



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