Facing the Fear of Same-Sex Marriage
There has been much discussion about marriage equality in light of the lawsuit filed in South Dakota and, most recently, the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear five same-sex marriage cases. The debate raises the question, why are some people so opposed to marriage equality?
The definition of marriage is one of the most prevailing arguments against marriage equality. This argument is for tradition, and we should stick to the way it’s always been. But keeping something the same because that’s how it’s always been is a fallacy. Re-defining marriage is not a bad thing. In fact, we have already redefined it before. Back in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional. The truth is, marriage is virtually part of every culture, society and religion. It doesn’t belong to any one group to define what it means for the rest of the country, nor the world.
Another argument against marriage equality is the effect on children. It is argued, that same-sex families are not a good environment for children and that it is dangerous. The problem is there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, there is evidence showing the opposite is true. In the largest study of its kind, an Australian study found children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than children in the general population.
The study revealed the only detriment to these families was that they receive discrimination due to negative attitudes towards diverse sexual orientation. In the US, there are nearly 400,000 children without permanent families living in foster care. Why wouldn’t we support a loving family system that same-sex marriage can provide?
The last motivating force behind the anti-same-sex marriage argument is that of homophobia. Many are afraid of what changes same-sex marriage would bring and what challenges it brings to their world. The fact is that many are afraid of what they don’t know – they think attraction to the same sex is something that can be cured, that can be wrestled out of a person with reparative therapy or ignored and closeted.
But the fact is, such responses to homosexuality and bisexuality cause deep psychological and emotional scars, leading to a higher suicide rate amongst LGBT people and higher rates of homeless among LGBT youth. Such answers are not loving – they are based in a fear of the unknown.
These arguments against same-sex marriage are not only inaccurate, they are extremely damaging and crippling to LGBT individuals. Same-sex couples want to be able to marry the person they love, share in their joys and sorrow, and raise a family. Is that so monstrous?