Same-Sex Couples: Marriage, Rights And Children

The two simple words “I do” have the power to change lives in an instant. For most people, the phrase conjures up images of a man and a woman being joined in marriage. But for gays and lesbians, having the chance to legally say, “I do” is a far-off dream, not a reality. A marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Currently in the United States there has been much debate over the controversy surrounding the legalization of same-sex marriages. There are many people who are opposed and feel it is morally and ethically wrong and others who feel that same-sex marriages are acceptable. A 1998 Gallup Poll revealed that the majority of Americans (59%) believe that homosexuality is morally wrong (Newport 1998). According to a recent Gallup Poll, 61% of Americans do not support gay marriage. Also, 50% of Americans would favor a Constitutional ban on Gay Marriage. It is interesting to note that 54% would favor some form of civil union though. There are those who feel that by allowing same-sex marriages then the government would eventually allow incest and polygamy.

Just ask anyone. They will tell you that they believe homosexuals should have equal rights. Everyone believes homosexuals should have equal housing rights, equal job opportunities, and equal everything. Then comes the subject of same-sex marriages. This is where the equality stops.

In many European countries, marriages between same-sex couples are federally recognized, but unions of American homosexuals still go unrecognized by the United States government. More than half of all the people in the United States oppose same-sex marriages, even though three fourths are supportive of gay rights. In some places same-sex marriages are not allowed, but gays can be joined in a homosexual union. Homosexual unions are of two men or two women. These can be registered as civil unions in the state of Vermont. The couple obtains all of the privileges and responsibilities that the State of Vermont gives to heterosexual married couples. The couple can register as a domestic partnership in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The couple receives all of the privileges and responsibility of married couples, except for the right to adopt. Married couples receive 1,400 legal rights in the United States. These are composed of about 400 state benefits and over 1,000 federal benefits. Most of these legal and economic benefits cannot be privately arranged or contracted for. For example, absent a legal (or civil) marriage, there is not guaranteed joint responsibility to the partner and to third parties (including children) in such areas as child support, debts to creditors, taxes, etc. In addition, private employers and institutions often give other economic privileges and other benefits (special rates or memberships) only to married couples. And, of course, when people cannot marry, they are denied all the emotional and social benefits and responsibilities of marriage as well.

Being gay and loving another person is not illegal, but uniting that couple in marriage is rejected by most of society. Many of the reasons offered for opposing gay marriages are based on assumption that gays have a choice in who they can feel attracted to. Gays can simply choose to be heterosexual if they decide to be. A recent Gallup Poll finds that Americans lean towards the “nurture” rather than the “nature” explanation for sexual orientation by a 47% to 31% margin. But a survey for Channel 4 News found that 65.5% of gay men think they were born with their sexual orientation. Not only is same-sex marriages immoral and sinful, but in thirteen states it is against the law to practice sodomy. As recently as 1960, every state had an anti-sodomy law, according to The Associated Press. In 37 states, the statutes have been repealed by lawmakers or blocked by state courts, the AP reported. Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four — Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

According to many religious beliefs, same-sex marriages are immoral and sinful. The Bible states these facts. In Leviticus, homosexuality is discussed right along with other prohibitions such as eating certain foods, mixing certain fabrics in clothing, and certain crop planting practices. In Leviticus (King James Version) 18:22-29, the Bible says, 22 – “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.” 23 – “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: is confusion.” 24 – “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:” 25 – “And the land is defile: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” 26 – “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you;” 27 – “(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defile;)” 28 – “That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” 29 – “For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.” God did not create Adam and Steve or Eve and Adah. Many Christian denominations look upon marriage as being ordained by God, patterned after God’s creation of the first couple, Adam and Eve. To some Christians, the relationship between two spouses is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and his church. It clearly states in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men will inherit God’s Kingdom. (Corinthians 6:9). The fact that this is an issue clearly shows how sick the world has gotten. Senator Robert Byrd says: “This case for same-sex marriage “reflects a demand for political correctness that has gone berserk. We live in an era in which tolerance has progressed beyond a mere call for acceptance and crossed over to become a demand for the rest of us to give up beliefs that we revere and hold most dear in order to prove our collective purity. At some point, a line must be drawn by rational men and women who are willing to say, ‘Enough!”

Mark Regan, a policy analyst with the Family Research Council said: “Civil unions are a counterfeit version of marriage that will diminish the value of marriage,” he said. “It is important for people to understand that the argument has shifted from talk about tolerance and a right to homosexual relations based on a right to privacy to explicit public approval and that’s profound in its implications.” Mark Regan isn’t the only one that is speaking out against same-sex marriages. Not only has President Bush already spoken of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, but on February 3, 2005 after discussing revamping social Security, the President said: “Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of the families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.” “God’s authentic plan [for the family was founded on]the stable and faithful union of a man and a woman.” Pope John Paul II said in a speech in June of 2003 to an audience in Croatia.

In the United States, marriage is a freedom of choice and an act of love, supported with benefits and privileges from the government. It has traditionally been the union of a man and a woman, made with the expectation of permanence and the aim of producing and raising children. No matter how hard two men or two women try, it is physically impossible for a homosexual couple to reproduce offspring without artificial insemination. Same-sex couples aren’t the optimum environment in which to raise children. Those opposed to same-sex marriage (SSM) often point to studies which show that children raised in families headed by a father and mother fare much better, both in childhood and later as adults. According to ken Conner, president of the Family Research Council, gays shouldn’t be allowed to raise kids because “children are not guinea pigs and should not be used as pawns in some grand social experiment.” According to Conner, “The International Journal of Epidemiology reported that among homosexuals, there is an increased incidence of suicide, depression, multiple sexual partners, and domestic violence compared to the heterosexual population.” From this, Conner concludes that “problems endemic to the homosexual lifestyle make these relationships inherently unstable, and thus unsuitable for the raising of children.” Some people say that our society should allow children to be raised in a home where the parents are same-gender because we do allow murderers and convicted felons of all sorts to marry freely, produce and raise children.

A battle has been in progress for years over whether equal rights and equal protection against discrimination should be extended to homosexuals. Recently this has expanded into the area of marriage. The topic of homosexual marriages is a prevalent issue today. Even in the nation’s capital, representatives are finding ways to make this alliance unlawful. This topic has been debated bringing up many valid points, but the fact of the matter is that homosexual marriages are wrong and we, as a country, should not condone such acts. Marriage is the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. Although some same-sex marriages may be capable of coping financially, the negative influence on children raised in their household has been statistically proven. Not only would same-sex families deal with negative connotations in terms of their children, but most religions in North America frown upon the union of same-sex relationships and restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Many critics hold opposing views, arguing that same-sex marriages harm no one and that to deny them the right to marry is unconstitutional.

On May 7, 1996 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was introduced by former President Bill Clinton. The DOMA does two things. First, it provides that no State shall be required to give effect to a law of any other State with respect to a same-sex “marriage.” Second, it defines the “marriage” and “spouse” for purposes of Federal Law. Congress overwhelmingly passed the DOMA, and President Clinton signed it into law. President George W. Bush says in his Radio Address on July 10, 2004, “When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution — the only law a court cannot overturn. A constitutional amendment should never be undertaken lightly — yet to defend marriage, our nation has no other choice. A great deal is at stake in this matter. The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, and the law can teach respect or disrespect for that institution. If our laws teach that marriage is the sacred commitment of a man and a woman, the basis of an orderly society, and the defining promise of a life, that strengthens the institution of marriage. If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract, and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost, and the institution is weakened. The Massachusetts court, for example, has called marriage “an evolving paradigm.” That sends a message to the next generation that marriage has no enduring meaning, and that ages of moral teaching and human experience have nothing to teach us about this institution.” President Bush states at the end of his address that “I urge member of the House and Senate to pass, and send to the states for ratification, an amendment that defines marriage in the United States as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife. “


Bush, President George W. “President’s Radio Address.” Marriage . . . 10 July 2004. Transcript from

Saleton, W. (2002, Feb. 07). The shaky debate over legalizing adoptions by gay couples. The Slate,

Retrieved Jan 13, 2005, from

The Holy Bible. King James Version

Wald, M.S. Same-sex couples marriages and family policy. 17, Sept 2002 from

Newport, F. (1998). Americans remain more likely to believe sexual orientation due to environment, not

genetics. Retrieved Dec 17 2004, from the The Gallup Organization Web site