Over the past few years, same-sex marriage has emerged as a controversial topic for many people. I believe that every person, man or woman, should be able to marry the person of his or her choice. A homosexual is just as much a human being as is a heterosexual. The only difference is sexual orientation. It is not a crime to be different, so there is no just reason to deny homosexuals basic human rights. Gay couples have every right to marry the person of their choice, just as straight couples do. “Same-sex couples deserve this dignity and respect” (Same-sex marriages: SSM).
This issue is hugely important. Denying human rights on the basis of sexual orientation, just like denying human rights on the basis of race, is unjust and immoral. As Kate Burns states, “The court described marriage as ‘one of the ‘basic civil rights of man’” and “the most important relation in life.” The court also noted that “the right to marry is part of the fundamental ‘right to privacy’” in the U.S. Constitution” (qtd. in “A Legal” par. 6). The court is saying that anyone can marry and whomever they marry, that couple has the right to privacy. This means that marital choice is the couple’s own business.
We, as a nation, have finally acknowledged that all people are created equal regardless of race. It took years of injustice and racial division before our country recognized its grave error. Similarly, homosexual people should not be marginalized in the way that they are now. Because homosexuals are a minority, the majority prefers to dismiss their orientation as “different” and therefore “wrong.”
Basic human rights cannot be denied on that flimsy basis. Even Obama has a say in this issue: “I will tell you that I don’t believe in gay marriage, but I do think that people who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and that the state should not discriminate against them.” Our president does not believe in gay marriage, but he still thinks that they should be treated equally just like every one else.
Homosexuality is not a threat to others. If two people of the same sex marry, it does not harm anyone else. As Mary E. Williams states, “Same-sex marriage would clearly not deprive anyone else of any important benefits of marriage, and would not fundamentally change its definition.” Marriage is simply an official declaration of love and commitment that is recognized by society. Basically, marriage exists as a commitment between two individuals in a loving relationship who want to continue their lives together. That relationship between those two individuals is a basic human right. Society should not judge, bar, or limit this relationship. A person’s sexual orientation is a basic characteristic of their humanity, not a choice. Our society must accept that reality. Homosexuals want to get married because of love and they also want to be accepted as married in their society.
One might oppose this view of homosexual marriage. The author of Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center: Women Should Not Support Same-Sex Marriage argues that “women themselves, all women, will be hurt. The reason is that gay marriage takes something that belongs essentially to women, is crucial to their very freedom, and empties it of meaning” (Fisanick). Yet if we actually think about this, women’s rights do not come from marriage. A woman cannot lose her freedom if a homosexual couple gets married. This argument makes no sense: how do women lose their rights if two homosexual people get married? A woman’s rights to marriage, to equal opportunity, and to equal pay are in no way compromised by gay marriage. Nothing is lost if homosexuals get married.
The controversy over this issue has affected my relationship with friends. One night I asked my friend, June, about her feelings about same-sex marriage. It shocked and disappointed me that she thought that marriage between two people of the same sex was wrong. June has a strong aversion to gay people. She hates them, or, at a minimum, strongly dislikes them. She believes that only men and woman should get married. She does not even want to see two people of the same sex out in public together. June is my best friend and yet she has a radically different view on same-sex marriage from me. She believes same-sex marriage is fundamentally wrong and has left no room for change in her mind. Yet I understand that this is her own opinion and I have no right to judge her or anyone else based on their views.
I wanted to get another point of view. I decided to learn how my very good friend Ryan feels about the issue. He thinks in the same way that I do, believing that same-sex marriage should be allowed. He believes marriage is a special union between the two people that does not involve everyone else in the world. Ryan’s uncle is a homosexual who wants the same rights as a straight man, the right to marriage included.
Everyone does have the right to their own particular viewpoint. But everyone is also entitled to respect and equality. Miss California has her own view of same-sex marriage: “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” I think in June’s case it was the same: she was raised to accept only one way of life without question. She does not acknowledge the reality that homosexuals are citizens of this world, just as heterosexuals are.
I believe strongly that same-sex marriage should be legal in all states. In the end, if you love someone you should have the right to marry them, no matter if they are female or male. There is no rational basis to deny this right to homosexuals. It is unjust to prevent gay marriage. It is a crime against basic humanity.