Despite the increasingly tolerant attitude towards homosexuality in society, especially in the West, the treatment of homosexuals continues to differ from one country to another. In some nations, homosexuality is illegal whilst in others, homosexuals are now accorded an increasing catalogue of rights that have been enjoyed by heterosexuals all along. In the UK for instance, by virtue of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Lustig-Prean and Beckett v UK (1999) gays can now serve in the Armed Forces. Despite these gains, in most countries gays have yet to attain complete equality of status in the eyes of the law, most notably the right to marry. For many gay people, and for those who find gay rights troubling, the demand for a right to marry a person of the same gender has become the key modern political issue. South Africa, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, Portugal, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Spain all allow gay marriage, while twenty-two other countries, including the UK, allow civil partnerships which give gay partners all the legal rights of marriage. Proponents argue that preventing gays from marrying is discriminatory and that it upholds a traditional, out-dated concept of marriage as the path to procreation. Opponents insist however that marriage is tied to the traditional and religious bonds which overtly suggest marriage is between a man and a woman.
Marriage is about more than procreation, therefore gay couples should not be denied the right to marry due to their biology.
It is inaccurate to perceive marriage merely as an institution for child-raising purposes. There are many married couples in society today who do not have children of their own, often by choice, and infertile couples, who cannot conceive children, are still permitted to marry. They marry because marriage symbolizes a long-term commitment to one another, not a pledge to reproduce for the state or humanity as a whole. In any case, gay couples may adopt children in countries where they are permitted to do so, revealing society's view at large that homosexual couples can readily act as capable parents and provide loving home environments. Furthermore, the advance of medical science has also enabled same-sex couples to have children of their own through surrogate mothers and sperm donors. It can no longer be said that homosexual couples should not be granted the right to marriage because, either, they cannot have children, or that they cannot raise children adequately. Both claims are evidently false.
Gay couples should be able to take advantage of the fiscal and legal benefits of marriage
To allow gay couples to marry would enable them to take advantage of the various fiscal benefits accorded to married couples in general. As Scott Bidstrup argues, a gay couple together for 40 years can still be compelled by law to testify or provide evidence against one another, something married spouses cannot be forced to do 1. Such antiquated laws take the discriminatory view that the love between homosexuals is artificial and extend it to encompass legal benefits. As Justice Anthony Kennedy noted in a Supreme Court ruling, 'homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint'1. A gay couple's inability to reproduce should not prevent them from obtaining the benefits of marriage, benefits granted not to encourage or reward child birth but to recognize the bond between two loved ones.
1 Bidstrup, S. (2009, June 3). Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives. Retrieved May 20, 2011, from Bidstrup:
State registrars conducting marriage ceremonies could not discriminate between homosexual and heterosexual couples
The state is charged with the responsibility of both providing registrars to conduct marriage ceremonies and authenticating marriages certificates. If gay marriage was to be legalized, all registrars could be thereafter forced, by the state and their...
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