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Erika Fernandez December 5, 2013 ENG 111 Prof. Dambruch Marriage: The Right of All What is marriage?

In recent times, society argues with respect to the true meaning of living in matrimony. But what has happened to the true value of being married to our loved one? To get married, let alone falling in love, is a significant event for almost everyone. Particularly for women, having a baby and getting married may possibly be the two most important events that ever happen to them. While many believe that getting married to the person whom you cannot live without is naturally the next step to take in their life, how would you feel if you could not get married to him or her because it is socially unacceptable? This is the problem same-sex couples face every day. Although we are born with the right to get married, only twelve states (Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) have legalized same-sex marriage. Homosexual couples are not trying to compromise others traditional Christian values, purposely go against biology and natures way of reproduction, or undermine the whole meaning behind marriage; they are simply trying to live a normal life as anyone else and for this reason alone, gay Americans should have the constitutional ability to marry. We as a society have a tendency to value our freedom, and in some cases take for granted the ability to choose the one we marry based on passion and compatibility, our natural aspiration

to give and receive love from who we think we deserve it from. We have developed the concept of marriage to include a formal union that joins a man and a woman who desire to be considered one entity under the law (Poulter). This definition however reflects much of what the Bible preaches and therefore, much of the opposition to same-sex marriage stems from this. Dr. James Dobson, an anti-gay marriage advocate and author, references the Bible numerous times as the basis to his argument. He claims that marriage [would be] reduced to something of a partnership that provides attractive benefits and sexual convenience, but [could not] offer the intimacy described in Genesis. (Dobson). What they do not remind you however, are the fundamental differences between the Bible and Common laws. The United States distinguishes between church and state; therefore, the Constitution and the Bible are not, in this country, lawfully comparable. Because of our first amendment rights to freedom of religion, not everyone has to believe in God and thereby abide by His rules. If this is so, then why dont thirty-eight other states allow for gay marriages? In addition, love is a sensation that humans tend to marvel at. It seems hard to find and even harder to keep. And, while many still struggle to determine what love actually means, the ones who think they finally understand it, feel it, and want to share are ridden of that right. Hence, if two individuals of the same gender love each other, why are they not allowed sharing of this love by getting married? The genitals that lie beneath our clothes should not be the argument against this. When asked of a student at Tidewater Community College if they would treat their brother or sister any differently because of their sexuality, their response was, Of course not. Thats asking me if I could ever love my brother or sister any less because of the way they were born, and that seems crazy to me. I dont think people can control being a homosexual, just how we cannot control our gender when we are conceived. Id still love my sibling if they

were gay, not gay, purple, or any other color of the rainbow. While a mere college student from todays generation can hold that much love and respect for someone who is not the same sexual orientation and except them for whom they are, our society has adults who have trouble excepting anybody who stands outside of the norm. Furthermore, under section 1 of the 14th amendment, we are read the word equal, implying that everyone should have the right to get married regardless of their sexual orientation. Marriage is the legal and public documentation of the love and trust two people share for each other. To me, this means anyone should have the ability to marry whomever he or she wishes. Although it is obvious that this does not correspond with the so called traditional views of marriage, are traditional values on marriage really kept at a high standard in our society? When asked of a Tidewater Community College faculty member if they thought traditional family values would be threatened if gay marriages were legalized, they replied, What is tradition nowadays? New traditions are made every day. Just because a gay couple wants to get married does not mean they want to corrupt everyone elses values on marriage In addition to this, divorce rates are at an all-time high, where it is not so taboo if someone were to remarry two or even three times. Having said this, our society is like the pot calling the kettle black. Does our society have the right to critique same sex marriages when marriages in general are being taken for granted? Francis Bellamy, the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, certainly could not have possibly imagined the profound weight of the words he wrote many years ago. All over the United States, our citizens pledge this verse with their hands over their hearts, facing the flag of our nation that represents and upholds these ideals. Yet, prejudiced mind-sets and unequal freedoms are abundant, often running amuck throughout the United States. From the African-

Americans to gays, minorities have struggled to find their voice in America; however, these groups have still found a way to gradually alter the publics view of their place in society. Allowing gays to marry is a critical step this country needs to take in order to progress culturally, economically, and globally as leaders in a more accepting and nonviolent world.

Works cited Poulter, Sebastian. The Definition of Marriage in English Law. Modern Law Review 42.4 (1979): 409-29. Wiley Online Library, 18 Jan. 2011. Web.

Dobson, James C., Dr. "The State of Our Unions." Introduction. Marriage under Fire: Why We Must Win This War. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah, 2004. 4-6. Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage. Web. <www.mnmarriage.com>.

Interview with TCC Members

-Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages? Member of community: Yes, I think they should be valid, love is love and it would be wrong to discriminate because of ones sexuality. Opposing viewer: No, I believe it is weakening the whole institution of marriage.

. "Overall, do you support or oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?" TCC Student: I fully support same-sex marriage. I have a brother who is gay and I would want him to as happy as anyone else would with a life-long partner, whether it be the same gender or not. "Do you think each state should make its own law on whether same-sex marriage is legal or illegal there, or do you think this should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution?" "Twenty years from now, do you think same-sex couples will be able to marry in every state, most states, only a few states, or will they not be able to marry in any state?" TCC faculty member: By twenty years, I believe we will all look back at this and realize how foolish many people are acting on this. In twenty years I believe and really hope that same-sex couples will be able to marry in every state. Opposing TCC faculty member : Although I hate to admit it, I think in 20 years same-sex marriages will be allowed in the majority of the states. "Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship." Opposing viewer: There should be no legal recognition of a gay couples relationship. TCC student: Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. TCCfaculty member: Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry.

Do you know anyone who is Gay? Opposing viewer: Yes, I actually work with a young man who is a homosexual, and he is very successful. I do not dislike him, I just dont agree with his choice of sexuality. Member of the community: I know a few people who are gaythat I know about, and I am just fine with that! People who are gay are normal people like you and I, they just find happiness and love in a way that others might find unusual. Is there anyone close to you that is Gay? TCC student: Yes, I have a brother who is gay, and I fully support him. He being gay doesnt change the fact that he is my brother, and being brother and sister means we love each other unconditionally. Do you feel that marriage is to be strictly between a man and a woman? Opposing viewer: Yes, that is how it is written in the bible and that that is what I was always taught. Men and women were made so that a man and women could be together, not man and man, or woman and woman. If gay marriages are legalized do you feel the traditional family will be threatened? TCC faculty member: What is traditional nowadays? New traditions are made every day. Just because a gay couple wanted to get married, does not mean they are trying to corrupt every other couple that isnt gay. So no, I dont feel that heterosexual couples will be threatened if gay marriages are legalized. Would you love your sibling if you were to ever find out they were homosexual? TCC Student: Of course not. Thats asking me if I could ever love my brother or sister any less because of the way they were born, and that seems crazy to me. I dont think people can control being a homosexual, just how we cannot control our gender when we are conceived. Id still love my sibling if they were gay, not gay, purple, or any other color of the rainbow.