Same-sex marriage? Give me one good reason why not.
Though those of a cynical, glass-half-empty nature are likely to disagree, the world seems to at least give the impression that it is progressing toward a deeper shade of social equality.
Like frozen yogurt and Kim Kardashian, the push for state-sanctioned and recognized marriages between those of the same sex is a uniquely 21st century phenomenon. However, unlike Kardashian, this may actually be remembered 10 years down the line.
On Feb. 5, British politicians wearing suit shoes and self-satisfied smiles finally listened to their citizens’ demand for social justice and agreed there may actually be something in this whole “everybody’s equal” thing. Same-sex marriage was to become legal for the first time in England’s
long and mildly repressive history.
The 3,669 miles from Westminster to Washington isn’t as far off as many Brits would guess. President Barack Obama’s warm and uniquely liberal second inauguration address early this year was the first of its kind to mention a previously omitted minority.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” Obama said. “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
There are, of course, some who will argue homosexual matrimony is, by definition, wrong. So let us consider the reasons why 32 percent of Americans strongly oppose this shift in tolerance. Then we may, with conscience, go about ignoring them.
One of the most common objections is that same-sex marriage destroys the sanctity of a religious tradition, and that by tweaking the rules of marriage we somehow corrupt its value. Another is that it will have an adverse effect upon children.
These arguments may appear acceptable in an “each to their own” kind of way, but once we introduce them to those pesky things called “facts” we can see they hold about as much water as one of my socks.
Does same-sex marriage destroy the sanctity of a religious tradition?
No. Though it is true that many religions have adopted the tradition, most anthropologists doubt marriage can trace its lineage to belief in a divinity. It was most likely developed as a bartering tool between two sets of parents. How sweet.
Do changes in the rules of marriage corrupt its value?
Well, if that’s true, I guess divorce should still be illegal and women should still be thought of as possessions to be traded like sheep. Finding a date for Saturday night would at least be easier; I would just need some sheep.
What about the children?
Last Thursday, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced its support for same-sex marriage for the first time. After an extensive study taking place over four years, they concluded that children of gay and lesbian parents did not show any significant differences from those from more traditional backgrounds. In fact, they were shown to display less behavioral problems than their single-parented counterparts.
This week, the Supreme Court will listen to detailed oral presentations from lawyers on both sides of the ideological playing field. The hearings will represent a crucial moment in America’s continual struggle towards its initial declaration of that “self-evident truth” that all are created equal. I’d say it will be one of the most socially significant progressions of the century.
Frozen yogurt’s historical imprint, however, is perhaps too premature to evaluate.