A Fundamental Right Essay, Research Paper
A Fundamental Right
?You are now wife and wife.?
Amy leans over to kiss her new wife, Terri. The wedding was beautiful as any wedding inside a church. It was a beautiful warm sunny day in May. The two brides now feel a sense of togetherness and a false sense of true commitment even though the state will not recognize their marriage.
Myself, a young lesbian woman, would like to see myself being able to marry my partner. Society has become more tolerant of gays and lesbians in the last couple of years and we are all uniting to carry our voice to be able to marry the one we love regardless of race, religion, or sex.
Gays and lesbians have been denied the right to marry for too long. The United States does not allow same-sex marriages because it is not the traditional view of a family or life. Marriages should not only be for one man and one woman, but also extend the right to include same-sex couples.
The government does not care that these two people love each other, and want to make this commitment. The government is denying gays and lesbians the right to feel like they are a part of a society. Gays and lesbians will always feel like an outcast as long as they are treated like one. One could in no way have true self-confidence if one feels like they do not belong. Imagine the stress one must feel knowing that you could never marry the one you love.
Married couples for years have used the insurance of one spouse and taken advantage of benefits that unmarried couples do not have. Married couples together can file joint tax returns. Spouses can gain insurance provided by their spouse?s company. If one of the spouses dies then the other automatically gets the deceased?s assets. Then they can collect their social security. Evan Wolfson states in his report ?The Global Marriage Project,? that ten years after Denmark legalized same-sex marriages many benefits arised (Wolfson 1). Wolfson uses this to show how well same-sex marriages worked in Denmark, one then wonders, why would it not work anywhere else? Paula Ettlebrook states in the book The Question of Equality that she ?wants our relationships to be respected.? (Ettlebrook 161)
It is not right that married couples are able to get so many rights and privileges that families, couples, or individuals that are not defined by marriage can not receive. It is insulting that any benefits, such as social security, would be provided to the widowed spouse who was married for only one year, but if a lesbian or a gay person was with their partner for thirty years and one dies the other does not receive social security benefits. This is not fair and our society does not see how it is hurting some people.
Ettelbrook also makes a strong point when she states that no one will understand the pain a gay or lesbian must feel when he or she hears that his or her partner was in an accident. Once the partner arrived at the hospital they are not permitted to see their loved one while they are in Intensive Care or are they able to ask a nurse how they are doing just because they are not considered family (Lesbian and Gay Marriage 25). I could not imagine the distress one must feel at this time, not knowing what is going to happen to the one you love, and want to spend the rest of your life with.
In 1996 President Clinton passed the Defense of Marriage Act. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as ?the legal union between one man and one woman,? it prevents same-sex couples from receiving survivor benefits, tax breaks, and other advantages married couples receive. The Defense of Marriage Act authorizes states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, which is a violation of the U. S. Constitutions? guarantee that each state will give ?full faith and credit? to the other states (NOW Issue Report: Same-sex marriage 1).
During an internet interview with Michelle, a lesbian who lives in Illinois, stated when I asked her about the Defense of Marriage Act that she thinks ?we should be able to decide who we want to marry, male female that is up to us. (Michelle 1)?
The Supreme Court noted that the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness. The Court has also recognized that individuals cannot be denied the essential elements of their happiness as long as those essential elements do not harm others (NOW Issue Report: Same-sex marriage 1). The right to marry the person you choose is a right that is granted to free men and women, that the court is denying to gays and lesbians who are also free men and woman. Denying the right to same-sex marriage is saying that the government and society does not view gays and lesbians as free men and women. Denying homosexuals freedom is going against the Constitution which grants every man and woman freedom.
The traditional view of a family is a father, mother, son or daughter not two men or two woman. Traditionalists say that marriage is for children, and homosexuals do not have children, therefore, we should not be able to marry. This goes back to the traditional family where two men cannot produce children as well as two women. Gay activists argue that marriage should be about love, if two women or two men love each other then they should be allowed to marry as well as a man and a woman who love each other (Same-sex: Debating the ethics, science, and culture of homosexuality 304-5).
Traditionalist people are people with strong views of classic times. They are stuck in the past and will not welcome the new times or new ideas. There are more openly gay and lesbian people in America today because society is more accepting to different views. The traditionalists are the ones running the country and it is hard to pass new laws and legislation. Tradition can not justify why traditionalists are not willing to let gays and lesbians marry. A few years ago marriage was limited to people of the same race and religion. Times and views have changed since then so they still can change now.
Sheila Kuehl tells us about a traditionalist view in her essay ?Do not go gently into that Knight? about California State Senator Pete Knight. Knight fights same-sex marriages by saying, ?Gays and lesbians are two immoral to be allowed to marry and raise children, so we will deny them the ability to marry and raise children within the law. Then we can point to the fact that they have no real families as a good reason for denial.? (Kuehl 112)
Sheila Kuehl argues against Pete Knight traditionalist view by stating ?Deny us our families and you deny us our humanities.? (Kuehl 112)
Kuehl is right because denying someone the right to a family is denying them life and their happiness. A family is an essential part of growing up. As a child one always dreams what their wedding and family will be like in the future. A gay or lesbian child can not have this dream become a reality. These dreams will always be kept in the back of their minds. Achieving ones hopes and dreams is something a gay or lesbian person will not do. Imagine never being able to achieve something you have always wanted. This will just lower the self-esteem of the individual and lessen their chances of being happy.
Society can not keep ignoring homosexuality. Society believes that by denying homosexuals rights, such as marriage, that homosexuality will go away and seize to exist. Society needs to learn that this will not happen. Men and women who have these feelings towards people of their same-sex need to become aware of their feelings and decide if these feelings are true. If one realizes this is who they are then the need to recognize it and be happy. No one can live a happy life in denial, as traditionalists want gays and lesbians to do. Traditionalists want gays and lesbians to live in denial and doing things that they do not want to do and being unhappy for the rest of their life.
In the article in the Houston Voice by Kay Dayus a couple that is having a commitment ceremony said because of society they felt like they were not deserving of marriage. After they had a two-year bible study they found out that no where in the bible does it say that God hates homosexuals. There is nothing to exclude homosexuals and they realized that they did deserve marriage (Dayus 1+).
Amy and Terri are still together today. They are both stable in their jobs and live together in a one-bedroom apartment. Their families are happy they found each other and support them with everything that they do. They hope to someday get married and have a wedding blessed in the church but now they are just happy they found each other and that they are together.
Studies show that someday soon gays and lesbians will be able to marry. Times are changing and so are the views of today?s society. Gays and lesbians are not asking for special treatment, we are just asking to be treated equally. In the future we will all be able to love the one we choose without the fear of discrimination or of never actually being able to marry this person and achieve true commitment.