Legalizing same-sex marriage

For as long as the institution of marriage has been around, so too has the belief that it represents the union of one man and one woman. Now gay men and lesbians are challenging that institution. They believe that their relationships mean the same in their sphere as heterosexual marriages do in our sphere. Homosexuals would like to see their marriages legalized. In 1991 three gay couples filed a lawsuit, in Hawaii, for denying them marriage licenses. They claim that the refusal amounts to gender discrimination, which violates the Equal Rights Amendment.

Judge Kevin Chang ruled, in 1996, that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry. This ruling makes Hawaii the first state to recognize that gay and lesbian couples are entitled, by law, to the same privileges as heterosexual married couples (CNN). Under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution, this also forces all states to recognize these marriages as far as federal benefits are concerned. Congress has approved a bill, the Defense of Marriage Act, that will allow states to decide whether to recognize homosexual marriages.

The second part f the bill would define “for federal purposes” as the union of a man and a woman. Under such a definition gay and lesbians, even if they win the right to marry in Hawaii or elsewhere, would not be able to file joint federal tax returns, claim federal pension, or survivor’s benefits, or be allowed to file for green card status (Gallagher 21). I don’t feel that marriages between gays or lesbians should be given the same status as heterosexual marriages. Since when do gay people think they can broaden the institution of marriage to include themselves? They shouldn’t be able to.

The institution of marriage is recognized by the church, homosexuality isn’t. I don’t feel that gay people have given a reason that carries enough weight for the government to legalize same-sex marriage. Should gay people fight for the right to marry? Gay rights activists say absolutely. Gay couples should be afforded the same benefits as heterosexual couples. The legal status of marriage rewards the two individuals with substantial economic and practical advantages. Married couples can file joint tax returns. Social security provides benefits for surviving spouses and their dependents.

They can inherit money and property from one another without a will. They are immune from testifying against a spouse, and marriage to an American citizen gives a foreigner the right to residency in the United States. Another advantage would be health insurance provided by employers. These benefits usually include the employee and their spouse. Employers generally will not include a partner who is not married to an employee, whether of the same sex or not. Very few insurance companies will extend benefits to domestic partners’ who are not married (OUT/LOOK 234-235).

Gay marriages are highly emotional topics in the 90s. Many people feel that gay marriages would show heterosexual people how much two people can love each other even if they are of the same sex. Homosexual relationships are more than just sex with someone of the same gender. Homosexual relationships include feelings and being able to share those feelings with the person you love. “People have become used to the idea of defining gay people solely in terms of sexual acts,” says Gregory Herek, a research psychologist at the University of California, Davis.

I think many heterosexuals get very nervous when they have to think of gay people in terms of relationships, because it challenges the way they have always thought about gay people. I find it interesting that the same people who condemn homosexuality as being a promiscuous lifestyle also say they’re against gay marriage because they wouldn’t want to recognize stable gay relationships, says Herek (Gallagher 24). Rep. Barney Frank asks, “How can you argue that a man and woman in love are somehow threatened because two women down the street are also in love? Later, he put the question in ore personal terms.

Frank said he respects the marriages of fellow committee members but added, “I don’t understand for a minute how I demean them by living with a man” (U. S. House). Most people, when asked the question “What is your opinion of gay relationships? “, their first response encompasses sex, promiscuity and AIDS. When asked about heterosexual relationships they generally answer with love, companionship, and families. If same-sex marriage is made legal, the next generation won’t think of it as taboo. It will just be another way of life.

All of the ontroversy has opened the door to discuss families, parenting, and equality for lesbians and gays. They believe that they will be able to raise children in a stable, loving household as most children have with heterosexual marriages. The law generally favors marital relationships as they will do everything to enhance the rights of individuals who enter into it. And marriage will end a negative: their sexual lives no longer will be considered felonious, which negatively affects fights ranging from child custody to civil rights (Graff 12).

Lesbian and gay men do not seek a special lace in America but merely to be ….. full and equal part of America, to give back to society without being forced to lie or hide or live as second-class citizens. Andrew Sullivan, senior editor of The New Republic says, “At some point in our lives, some of us are lucky enough to meet the person we truly love. And we want to commit to that person in front of our family and country for the rest of our lives. Gay marriage seeks to change no one else’s rights or marriages in any way. It seeks merely to promote monogamy, fidelity and the disciplines of family life among people who ave long been cast to the margins of society” (Sullivan 26).

Some religious leaders are the most forceful advocates of same-sex marriage. In Hawaii alone, many faiths such as the Reform and Reconstructionist branches of Judaism, Quaker, Buddhist, Episcopal and many individual Protestant congregations are involved in the pro-marriage campaign (Rotello 16). On the opposite side of the coin there are many faiths that condemn gay marriage. They feel that these people defy the Bible. Ultimately the battle may not be so much about winning the right to marriage as about inning new levels of respect for gay relationships.

Evan Wolfson, senior staff attorney for the gay group: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund says, “Winning or losing any particular battle over marriage is not all that’s at stake here. What’s at stake is a historical moment to change the position of gay people in society. If we do the work right, all kinds of gains will come from it, apart from the outcome of any particular battle,” he says (Gallagher 36). Opponents of same-sex marriage feel that giving recognition to this new way of life will break down the value system set up by heterosexuals.

We need to strengthen, not weaken, the institution of marriage,” said Governor Pete Wilson (Capps G9). Ministers say marriage is one of the most impenetrable institutions in modern society. It provides the ultimate form of acceptance for personal intimate relationships in our society. People in today’s society can talk about homosexuality with a group of friends without feeling like the issue has been dropped in their lap. When faced with the situation, many people don’t know how to act in the presence of gay or lesbian couples. They tend to walk on eggshells for fear that they will say something to offend hat person or their lifestyle.

For example, my Uncle Steve is a gay man that lives in San Francisco. My immediate family knew of his lifestyle many years prior to this incident. He came to California for the holidays in 1990. The entire family was invited to my mom and dad’s house for Christmas dinner. My Uncle showed up with his boyfriend Troy. Some of my extended family and friends weren’t aware of his lifestyle; therefore, were extremely offended when they saw them hug each other. I even had to remind myself not to stare at them because I’m not exposed to this behavior.

It made most of us very uncomfortable. Both of them felt the tension at the dinner table so they tried to lighten up the mood by explaining how they met and their subsequent relationship, however the conversation quickly turned into an argument about morals; nevertheless, they went back to their hotel early. Children are influenced by their parents and peers on issues such as divorce and inter-racial marriage. They hear negative responses to inter-racial marriage from parents from the “old school”. Children of divorced parents have formed opinions of how marriage should be.

If we allow same-sex marriage, children will be more confused by social relations than they already are. “Children do best in a family with a mom and a dad,” said House Majority Whip Tom Delay, (R-Texas). “Accepting same-sex marriage,” he said, “will only take us further down the road to social deterioration” (Weitzstein G14). “Government recognition of same-sex marriage,” wrote Martin Mawyer, President of Christian Action Network, “will forever change the American family as we know it. Forced homosexuality will be thrust upon America in public schools, homosexual arriage will be taught as a normal, healthy relationship” (Rotello 16+).

Gay activists have been fighting for many years against discrimination based on sex and/or sexual preference. Many of us didn’t look twice at their protests and literature about what they believe. Now that they want the same recognition religiously and financially, as heterosexual couples, the silent community speaks out. “There is no other issue on the American landscape where there is such a strong political consensus – Americans oppose homosexual marriages,” said the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition (Gray E2).

A survey conducted in June 1995 found that only 33 percent agreed with the persuasively phrased statement, “If two people love each other, they should be able to get married even if they are of the same sex” (Gallagher 36). Randy Thomasson of the Christian group called Capitol Resource Institute says that sanctioning gay marriage in California could cost “Hundreds of millions of dollars for businesses, and potentially above one billion dollars a year,” through health care coverage alone (Capps G10). This would be from claims filed by partners that were previously not covered.

Gay Parenting Essay

The conception that lesbians and gay men may be parents is frequently perceived in today’s society as impossible or immoral. Gay men and lesbians are often viewed as excluded from having children because sexual reproduction is related to men and women only. My approach to this uniquely controversial topic of gay parenting will be that of attempting to analyze the Pro side first. Gays and lesbians are human too and who is to say that they don’t deserve equal rights in society.

Society has to realize that the modern family has developed into many different forms in recent years in that the “nuclear family” is not necessarily the most common form anymore. Then I will attempt to analyze the Con side which expresses the fact that two people of the same sex should not be raising and rearing children together. Many believe that if the couple is unable to produce children together, then they shouldn’t be raising them as parents. Children need a balance in their lives and different sexed parents can provide that balance efficiently.

Each parent (mom or dad) socializes the child differently and the child needs to be introduced to both worlds. I will then proceed to critique both sides on strengths and weaknesses, based on facts, studies, and my own opinion, and then draw some of my own conclusions on this controversial topic of Gay Parenting. Pro Position There is no valid reason for refusing to call lesbian and gay headed household families. They fall under every conceivable criterion for identifying families and the concept of a Family.

They are groups of coresident kin providing jointly through income-pooling for eachothers need of food and shelter. They socialize children, engage in emotional and physical support, and make up part of a larger kin network”. (O’ Brien and Weir, 128). There are also many homophobic ( the irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality or gay people, Biery 88) individuals in today’s society who are the main cause of negative stereotypes against lesbians and gay parents. These negative stereotypes all prove to be untrue and irrational, revealing that gay and lesbian parents could be equally as fit to straight parents.

The accusation that majority of gay men are child molesters has been rejected in that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abusers area heterosexual men, who abuse both boys and girls. The fear that children of lesbian and gay parents will become lesbian or gay is irrational in that studies show that the sexual orientation of the parents has no effect whatsoever on sexual orientation of youths. The concern that the children of gay and lesbian headed families will not develop so called appropriate gender identity or gender behaviour has been introduced.

This was proved incorrect in that when comparing children of gay parents to children of straight parents, there was no significant difference in these two areas. The last stereotype involving the fear that emotional damage will effect the child due to coping with the issue of having lesbian or gay parents. Once again this was proved to be false and the general psychological well being of children in gay and lesbian households matches that of children of heterosexual parent households. (O’ Brien and Weir, 129). These common stereotypes heard frequently in today’s society have all been proved incorrect and ignorant.

Therefore they illustrate that gay and lesbian parents are continually stereotyped against unfairly and unjustly. Lesbians and gay men are popularly and commonly thought of by society to have a negative influence on children. This places an enormous strain and great pressure on lesbian and gay headed families, which is totally unnecessary. “When we assume male-headed nuclear families to be central units of kinship, and all alternative patterns to be extensions or exceptions, we accept as aspect of cultural hegemony instead of studying it.

In the process, we miss the contested domain in which symbolic innovation may occur. Even continuity may be the result of innovation”. (Weston, 145). This is a very powerful statement in that it reinforces the argument that lesbian and gay families are overlooked in society as even being a family unit . Society must come to realize that every family, not just gay headed families, experience problems in their homes. An article which depicts some of the major problems that some single mothers experience is: Manhunts’ and Bingo Blabs’: Single mothers speak out-M. Little, p. 164-181.

This article will assist one in realizing that some individuals will face some dilemmas and issues in life, but it is those issues and how a family deals with them effectively that will make them stronger as a family unit. Everyone deals with pressures of everyday life and it is those who learn by them that are prosperous. With specific reference to child rearing, parents were told that problems arise in all homes, with all children, and at all ages, the interesting fact being that the problems do or do not arise but what method should be employed in dealing with them when they arise (Dickinson, 392).

Problems in the home are inevitable, in all forms of families, and those who believe that one form of family will have more problems and issues than others will need to reassess their outlook to a more rational perception. Society has to realize that it is not ones’ sexual preference that allows a family to grow and flourish, it is the efforts of the people who make up that family unit. A family is based on trust and love, and if that is what these gay and lesbians parents are providing for their children, then why not let them live as they want. Con Position

Many will argue that children of lesbian and gay parents do not grow up the “same” as children of heterosexual parents. Concern usually revolves around the issue that the children will also grow up to become lesbian or gay themselves (Baker, 105). In most cultures, children are raised to take on specific roles associated with their biological sex very early in life. Therefore, in most cases people maintain an identity of themselves in terms of gender (Blumenfeld and Raymond, 45). (This statement is expanded on in the Chapter of Socialization and gender roles in Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life).

Many also believe that children need parents of the opposite sex to find balance in their lives. Each heterosexual parent socializes their children differently and children need to view this difference for themselves. An elaborate description of masculinity and fatherhood takes place in, “Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Goodlife during Canada’s baby boom, 1945-1965, Robert Rutherdale. This article depicts how the dad of the nuclear family “had secured his family’s place in the consumer markets and recreational opportunities of a profoundly acquisitive period”(369).

It depicts some activities which fathers endured with the son to ensure masculinity and machoness as the son matured into a man himself. Children need to realize and witness how men and women deal with certain situations differently, they need to be informed of different situations that will occur to them throughout their lives (depending on their sex), and they need each of their parents at different times of their lives (example-and girl needs her mom at menarche and her dad to help her with her car).

Some feel that if there is an imbalance then the child will never learn to identify with the one sex that is absent from their life. This issue of balance has never been proved to be true yet still remains an issue to some. Another major issue facing gay parents is AIDS. ” The fact that the epidemic was first identified in the early 1980’s in the gay male communities of North America. ” (Weeks, ch 1 p. 15-45). AID’s is known as the gay disease it has been studied and many feel that homosexuals are more prone and susceptible to contracting the disease than heterosexuals.

Many feel that the children of gay parents are in increased danger due to the fact that AIDS is increasingly spreading and if their parent has it then they are at high risk to contracting it. The Chapter, “HIV and the State of the Family” in the text “Transgressing Borders” (p. 19-33), clearly depicts the issues facing families, of all forms, in direct relation to AIDS. This may help some to realize the seriousness of this incurable disease. AIDSphobia is another issue discussed in this chapter. This is “strongly related to heterosexism and homophobia prejudicial attitudes and practices against lesbian and gay men .

Individuals with antigay attitudes are far more likely than others to have irrational fears about HIV transmission (Sears and Adam, 27). AIDS is a growing epidemic with no cure that affect millions. The seriousness of this disease is illustrated in ” From Reproduction to HIV: Blurring Categories, Shifting Positions, Martin-256-269, in which individuals narrate stories of people living with AIDS and these individuals, while extremely sick and almost dying, experience abandonment, by family and friends, and discrimination.

A great portion of today’s society feel that children should not be exposed to this disease if it may be prevented. Therefore they attack these gay parents seeing that AIDS is the “gay” disease. Society has to realize that anyone may contract it and there is no one in the world that is immune to it. It is up to gay parents as well as straight parents to assure in preventing the contraction of this disease to any child. Also to protect themselves from contracting it, the loss of a parent is traumatizing to a child.

Another main issue against gay parenting is the concern of safety for their children. There is a concern that children of homosexuals will be harassed by their peers(Brooks, 362). Many people in today’s society have a negative stereotypical attitude towards homosexuals. This influence is then passed onto their children in turn is then taken out on peers. This especially effects those who have gay parents. That child may be harassed at school, both mentally and physically, and teased constantly.

This may then affect the child psychologically, emotionally, and physically, either then or later in life. Children have increasingly become more cruel with peers and this certainly does take its toll on the child being harassed, whether the effects are visible or not. The child living with homosexual parents may not only be harassed for having gay parents, but also for being gay themselves. Many have the idea that children who grow up in a gay home become gay themselves. They believe this to be true in that the child learns the parents’ ways and want to be just like their role model, their parent.

People have to realize that in today’s society children tease one another for the oddest reasons, if there is not a reason to tease or gang up on someone, someone is sure to find or make up something just to have something to do. In Conclusion, in analyzing all of the facts , both supporting and refuting the controversial topic of gay parenting, I fell that the stronger side proved to be that of supporting gay parenting. The information gathered on negative stereotypes against gay parenting proved to be incorrect and inconclusive. Much of the information refuting gay parenting was not based on concrete facts or studies.

The issue of AIDS, safety, and gender identity are all issues that affect heterosexual headed families as often as homosexual headed families. It is how the family overcomes these issues that is important. If these families are successful this will create a closer and stronger family tie. In evaluating the issue of gay parenting, one would find it difficult to gather information refuting the issue, majority of the information that I came across was supporting. One will notice that literature and attitudes have changed and are progressing when dealing with homosexuality.

More and more individuals are beginning to accept or come to terms with this controversial topic. Gay and lesbian parenting should be treated as any other parenting style would be treated. If they are willing and able to love and provide adequately for these children, then society should allow them to do just that. Evidence proves that there is no difference between a child from a gay parent family to a heterosexual parent family, and therefore there is no reason why these family units should be treated so differently.

“Let Gays Marry,” Andrew Sullivan

In “Let Gays Marry,” Andrew Sullivan responds to conservative objections to same-sex marriages, by arguing that allowing such unions would actually promote traditional values, such as fidelity, monogamy, and love. It should logically appeal to straight conservatives, who deplore gay male promiscuity, that the declaration of Supreme Court: “A state cannot deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws,” now assigns equal rights to gays and lesbians.

Andrew Sullivan is a senior editor at The New Republic, a magazine he edited from 1991 to 1996, and the U. S. columnist for the Sunday Times of London. He has a B. A. n modern history and modern languages from Oxford University and a Ph. D. in political science from Harvard University. He lives in Washington, D. C. The real problem is that there are really only three arguments against gay marriage: One is rooted in entirely God’s preferences, the second cites inconclusive research on its negative effects on children, and third, the integrity of a marriage as a legal document.

Sullivan effectively presents his case in a very logical fashion, calmly displaying his points, and using a statement declared by the United States Supreme Court, under which no gay men or lesbians will be considered trangers in America. They (Gays) are human beings just like you and I, “the sons and daughters of countless mothers and 2 fathers,” and should have the same opportunities to pursue happiness by marrying the one that they love. A natural process, where two people fall in love and decide to get married, is not any different for gay people.

Therefore legalizing gay marriages does not provide gays with any special rights or place in America, but instead people will consider them to be an equal part of the society. The main idea is homosexuals should have the right to get married legally. Sullivan does not want churches to make any change in their practice, but to allow everyone to be who he/she is, a principle that the United States was created on. Plus, the concept of marriage has changed within the past one hundred years.

The inter-caste and the inter-religion marriages which were once prohibited or forbidden between couples, has now become socially acceptable. Gay marriages do not change anyone else’s rights or marriages in any way. Marriage is not just about raising children because the fact that many notable “childless heterosexual couples” exist in today’s society, such as Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth Dole, etc. Sullivan concludes by telling the general public to accept homosexual marriages and the fact that they will not be the turning point for the downfall of all society.

Although I agree with Sullivan when he says, legalizing gay unions would not change anyone’s right to marriage, I find Bennett’s view more powerful, that it would weaken the institution of marriage, and contradict natural, moral, religious, and sexual realities. After reading Sullivan’s article, I question his credibility, as he didn’t provide enough evidence to get his point through. His approach toward his readers is with a lot of pathos, rather than logos.

For example, when he states “And what we 3 seek is not a special place in America… o give back to our society,” it is not clear as to what he means by giving back. When he argues about the definition of marriage, Sullivan fails to see the change, which was brought about for the welfare of the people (inter-caste marriages, inter-religion marriages, etc. ), consisted of a “man” and a “woman”, not two men, or two women. I would have agreed to the assertion, “the most simple, the most natural, and the most human instinct,” if it was used to prove the relationship between a male and a female. But using it to persuade about he same sex marriage doesn’t cheer me up.

To answer the question of whether gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry, the question of why the institution of marriage is valued so dearly in society today must be answered. To do this, the meaning of the word marriage must be found, remembering that there are different levels in which marriage can be interpreted and/or evaluated. As with many other issues, when one tries to define the word marriage and its repercussions in society, several fundamental questions arise that must be answered in order to get a better understanding of the issue in question. Questions like: What is marriage defined as?

In Webster’s Dictionary, marriage is defined as “The institution whereby men and women are joined in special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. ” This concept seems to have been perpetuated throughout history, one man and one woman joined “till death do them part. ” Keeping the above points in view, same sex marriages defy the laws of Christianity, and it is immoral in the eyes of society. Homosexuality in almost all countries has been looked down upon, and sometimes condemned. This opposition stems from the Holy 4 Bible.

The couple in the Garden of Eden was a man and a woman, not two men or two women. If God intended two men or two women to be together, he would have put them in the Garden of Eden, giving them both the ability to have children. But that didn’t happen. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, for the procreation of life. God wanted man and woman to reproduce with one another in order for the human race to continue. Today, adoption has taken a turn for the worse; Gay and Lesbian couples who cannot have their own children are adopting kids. I see this as one of the concerned problems. What kind of message are these kids getting?

That homosexuality is all right. Moreover, the impact of this move can be devastating on the children as they grow up. For example, they might have to face a lot of challenges, like people taunting them, name calling, making fun, etc. Homosexuality is rejected by all major religions around the globe, but Andrew Sullivan still believes that promiscuity in homosexual relationships can show heterosexual couples that adultery doesn’t have to end their marriage. The Bible states, “Leviticus 20:13: If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. “

The proposed legalization of same-sex marriage

Presently, it is one of the most vigorously advocated reforms discussed in law reviews, one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers, and one of the most provocative issues emerging before American courts. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of American family law. The potential consequences, positive or negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples, families, social structure public health, and the status of women are enormous.

Given the importance of the issue, the value of comprehensive debate of the easons for and against legalizing same-sex marriage should be obvious. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another. Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation, succession of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and other rights.

When two adults desire to “contract” in the eyes of the law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their riends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, should the law prohibit their request merely because they are of the same gender? I intend to prove that because of Article IV of the United States Constitution, there is no reason why the federal government nor any state government should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship. Marriage has changed throughout the years.

In Western law, wives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial marriage is now widely accepted, both in statute and in society; and arital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for a divorce. Societal change have been felt in marriages over the past 25 years as divorce rates have increased and have been integrated into even upper class families. Proposals to legalize same-sex marriage or to enact broad domestic partnership laws are currently being promoted by gay and lesbian activists, especially in Europe and North America.

The trend in western European nations during the past decade has been to increase legal aid to homosexual relations and has included marriage benefits to some same-sex couples. For example, within the past six years, three Scandinavian countries have enacted domestic partnership laws allowing same-sex couples in which at least one partner is a citizen of the specified country therefore allowing many benefits that heterosexual marriages are given.

In the Netherlands, the Parliament is considering domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, all major political parties favor recognizing same-sex relations, and more than a dozen towns have already done so. Finland provides governmental social benefits to same-sex partners. Belgium allows gay prisoners the right to have conjugal visits from same-sex partners. An overwhelming majority of European nations have granted partial legal status to homosexual relationships. The European Parliament also has passed a resolution calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

In the United States, efforts to legalize same-sex domestic partnership have had some, limited success. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. reported that by mid-1995, thirty-six municipalities, eight counties, three states, five state agencies, and wo federal agencies extended some benefits to, or registered for some official purposes, same-sex domestic partnerships. In 1994, the California legislature passed a domestic partnership bill that provided official state registration of same-sex couples and provided limited marital rights and privileges relating to hospital visitation, wills and estates, and powers of attorney.

While California’s Governor Wilson eventually vetoed the bill, its passage by the legislature represented a notable political achievement for advocates of same-sex marriage. The most significant prospects for legalizing same-sex marriage in the near future are in Hawaii, where advocates of same-sex marriage have won a major judicial victory that could lead to the judicial legalization of same-sex marriage or to legislation authorizing same-sex domestic partnership in that state. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Baehr v.

Lewin, vacated a state circuit court judgment dismissing same-sex marriage claims and ruled that Hawaii’s marriage law allowing heterosexual, but not homosexual, couples to obtain marriage licenses constitutes sex discrimination under the tate constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment. The case began in 1991 when three same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health brought suit in state court against the director of the department. Hawaii law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license.

While the marriage license law did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage at that time, it used terms of gender that clearly indicated that only heterosexual couples could marry. The coupl sought a judicial decision that the Hawaii marriage license law is nconstitutional, as it prohibits same-sex marriage and allows state officials ro deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples on account of the heterosexuality requirement. Baehr and her attorney sought their objectives entirely through state law, not only by filing in state rather than federal court, but also by alleging exclusively violations of state law–the Hawaii Constitution.

The state moved for judgment on the pleadings and for dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim; the state’s motion was granted in October, 1991. Thus, the ircuit court upheld the heterosexuality marriage requirement as a matter of law and dismissed the plaintiffs’ challenges to it. Yet recently the Circuit Court of Hawaii decided that Hawaii had violated Baehr and her partner’s constitutional rights by the fourteenth amendment and that they could be recognized as a marriage.

The court found that the state of Hawaii’s constitution expressly discriminated against homosexuals and that because of Hawaii’s anti-discrimination law they must re evaluate the situation. After the ruling the state immediately asked for a stay of judgment, until the ppeal had been convened, therefore putting off any marriage between Baehr and her partner for at least a year. By far Baehr is the most positive step toward actual marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. Currently there is a high tolerance for homosexuals throughout the United States and currently in Hawaii.

Judges do not need the popularity of the people on the Federal or circuit court level to make new precedent. There is no clear majority that homosexuals should have marriage rights in the general public, and yet the courts voted for Baehr. The judiciary has its own mind on ow to interpret the constitution which is obviously very different then most of American popular belief. This is the principal reason that these judges are not elected by the people, so they do not have to bow to people pressure.

The constitutional rights argument for same-sex marriage affirms that there is a fundamental constitutional right to marry, or a broader right of privacy or of intimate association. The essence of this right is the private, intimate association of consenting adults who want to share their lives and commitment with each other and that same-sex couples have just as much ntimacy and need for marital privacy as heterosexual couples; and that laws allowing heterosexual, but not same-sex, couples to marry infringe upon and discriminate against this fundamental right.

Just as the Supreme Court compelled states to allow interracial marriage by recognizing the claimed right as part of the fundamental constitutional right to marry, of privacy and of intimate association so should states be compelled now to recognize the fundamental right of homosexuals to do the same. If Baehr ultimately leads to the legalization of same-sex marriage or broad, marriage like omestic partnership in Hawaii, the impact of that legalization will be felt widely.

Marriage recognition principles derived from choice-of-law and full-faith-and-credit rules probably would be invoked to recognize same-sex Hawaiian marriages as valid in other states. The impact of Hawaii’s decision will immediately impact marriage laws in all of the United States. The full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given to the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. “

Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Roles of Otherness in Dominant Culture

Despite no visible differences such as those of ethnicity and race, homosexuals and bisexuals are still commonly defined as other in our society. Based soley on their sexual orientation, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are continually targetted by intolerance, ignorance, and segregation because of their role as an other in the dominant culture. This otherness is a departure in characteristics and behavior from the range expressed as the local, safe norm. It causes intense concern and an attempt at comprehension. From this, the mind either quickly moves to apprehension, misunderstanding, and fear, or to repulsion and hatred.

Although the dominant groups mindset still exists today, the situation is gradually improving through pro-gay legislation and continually more liberal views pertaining to sexuality. A bisexual friend of mine gave me her opinion when she heard the topic of my otherness paper. I dont feel my otherness on a daily basis because of the ease of passing in a heterosexual world. Actually, my sexual preference is never an issue until someone makes an ignorant remark or assumption about it, she told me. The way gays, lesbians, and bisexuals view themselves as a group contradicts the mainstream opinion of the dominant culture.

Their sexuality is normal and natural to them, and poses no issue until someone reminds them of their otherness. Many people in the dominant culture emphasize that being gay is a choice. Sexual orientation, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual does not appear to be something that one chooses. Recent studies suggest that sexual orientation has a genetic or biological component, and is probably determined before or shortly after birth. Like heterosexuals, gays and lesbians discover their sexuality as a process of maturing; they are not recruited, seduced or taught to be homosexual.

The only choice gay or lesbian people have is whether or not to live their lives honestly, or according to societies unrealistic expectations (Bell, Weinberg, M. S. , & Hammersmith), (Troiden). Upon coming out to her old friends and people upon first encounters, my friend faces an internal struggle. Fear of rejection and loss are always a concern. However, coming out to her parents and family was even more difficult, I was afraid they would define me by my gayness, not by my personality or self worth. Not knowing their reaction, I put myself at risk for losing my familys love and much of what I consider to be important in my life.

Because of false stereotypes and unwarranted prejudice towards them, the process of “coming out” for lesbians and gay men can be a very challenging process which may cause a great deal of emotional pain. Lesbian and gay people often feel different and alone when they first become aware of same-sex attractions. They may also fear rejection from family, friends, co-workers and religious institutions if they do “come out”(American Psychological Association). Another struggle for homosexuals and bisexuals includes confronting their religious backgrounds and beliefs.

In the Judeo-Christian society in which we live, homosexuality is heavily frowned upon by religion. In the past, religious leaders supported the dominant cultures ignorance about homosexuality by calling it a ‘sin’. Strong believers in the biblical translation concur that man to man or woman to woman intimate relationships are grave sins. Religious people who are gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are often ostracized by the church community and are looked upon as sinners, child molesters, and promiscuous individuals. In fact, promiscuity has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation, but rather one’s values and beliefs.

Just as in the heterosexual community, some gay people are promiscuous, some are not. In a 1992 study, 55. 5% of gay men and 71. 2% of lesbians reported to be in steady relationships (Overlooked Opinions, 1993). The dominant group in American society (white, heterosexual, Protestant) continues to view homosexuality as a major social stigma. Gay culture and lifestyle is often on the receiving end of many socially acceptable, yet hatefully motivated actions and jokes. Until recently, AIDS was considered a gay disease or a punishment from God by many misinformed people.

The link in people’s minds between homosexuality and AIDS is so firmly established that discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is inseparable from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Vassal, Fisher, Jurgens, Hughes). Tolerance within the dominant cultures view of otherness also seemingly varies. My friend commented, Ive noticed that intimate female to female contact (such as holding hands or kissing) is easier for the public to digest, whereas male to male contact is definitely unacceptable to the majority.

This societal viewpoint is selective and hypocritical. My friend also mentioned, People of the same sex are afraid to befriend GLBs because they think every hug or smile is a sexual advance. Contrary to popular belief, gay men and lesbians are no more inclined to be consumed with sexual thoughts or feelings than their heterosexual counterparts (Bell, Weinberg, 1978), nor are they attracted to everyone of the same sex they meet. In their movement from otherness, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have faced monumental obstacles.

For gay, lesbian and bisexual activists, the word “Stonewall” signifies quite possibly the most important, single landmark in the worldwide struggle for gay rights. In 1969, at New York’s Stonewall Bar, homosexual patrons fought back when Stonewall was raided one night by New York City policemen, who came hoping to arrest gay patrons for engaging in then illegal homosexual acts. Since that night, Stonewall has been revered as an enduring symbol of the fight for gay rights, issues, and conflicts(Leadership U). Gays in the military have also been a relevant and more recent struggle.

Favorable legislation has led to the dont ask, dont tell governmental policy. This attitude does not allow homosexuals and bisexuals to be openly gay, but does give them the basic rights that straight people have without constant fear of being discovered. More pro-gay legislation has been passed regarding basic rights and especially same sex marriage. While the struggle for this type of legislation has been an upward battle, the most recent developments have been steps in the direction of tolerance and acceptance.

More liberal views coupled with awareness have begun to soften the harshness of the discrimination and the social stigma against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. The otherness of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as viewed by dominant culture is based mostly on misunderstandings and misconceptions. As a group, GLBs experience pressure to pass as normal and assimilate to the dominant culture. Through their struggle defined as otherness, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have made progress towards a greater understanding with heterosexuals that will lead to increasingly better relations between the two groups.

Gay Marriages Essay

When you are born in America or legalized as a citizen, you are granted certain unalienable rights under the constitution and the declaration of independence. We are granted the freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, the right to vote, right to bear arms and the right to the pursuit of happiness. But is this really the case? Are the citizens of the United States really as free as they believe? I say no! Today I am here to expose a great injustice in Americas judicial system. First I will explain the details of this injustice, secondly I will take you through what its like to be a victim of this injustice and lastly

I will tell you how YOU can be part of the solution. So, are you REALLY as free as you believe?? Do you REALLY have all this freedom guaranteed by the government of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?? For most of us, yes but for a growing number this so-called freedom is becoming more and more of an illusion everyday. I’m talking about the freedom to wed whom EVER you chose. Right now in the US you have the right to chose when you marry, how many times you marry, where you marry and who you are married by, but still TODAY in our country you cannot chose the sex of your spouse. Still in the U.

S. same sex arriages are illegal and not recognized by the state. It is illegal for this con try’s citizens to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, ethic background or SEXUAL PREFERENCE so why is it that our government feels that THEY hold hat right? I believe that same sex marriages should be recognized as holy matrimony in all 50 states. Take Meagan Murphy and Laura Carson for example. This young homosexual couple dated for many years and went though a lot before they decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. But how were they to go about doing so?

The state of Michigan sure wasn’t about o let them, that’s for sure. In Michigan like all but 1 other state (Hawaii) same sex marriages aren’t marriages at all! When put into a legal view gay marriages do not get any of the rights that straight ones are granted. If 1/2 or a gay or lesbian couple is in a hospital situation where only family members can visit , his or her partner does not have the right to go see them, and if brought into a court of law for some criminal act one partner can be required by the law to testify against the other where as legal couples are not. Another major issue is insurance benefits.

If a partner in a homosexual relationship ies the other person does not receive a penny as would the spouse in a heterosexual marriage, even though the remaining partner in the homosexual relationship still has to cope with the loss of 1/2 of the wages of that household. As for Meagan and Carson they were forced to do what many gay or lesbian couple do when the need for a finalization of the relationship arises. They had what is called a “commitment ceremony. Its exactly like a traditional wedding with one minor difference, there was no priest to legalize the union of these two souls. Is this fair?

Who can say that these two eople aren’t in love enough to be legally wed? How can we be granted so many freedoms but yet be denied this one? Under the we are granted the freedom to the pursuit of happiness” and according to the supreme court “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. ” So if we have the “legal” right to the pursuit of happiness and if, according to the supreme court, marriage is so vital in that pursuit how can they honestly say that it is illegal in the eyes of the states to marry someone of the same gender!

I feel that the government need to shed their hypocritical stand on this topic. Marriage is no new topic of discussion up on capital hill either. Throughout the history of the United States our government hasn’t had the best of judgment when it comes to the legal sanctutity of marriage . Prior to the civil war, Afro-Americans were not allowed to marry in 39 states, Prior to 1967 inter-racial couples were not allowed to marry in 40 states. Currently,in 49 states, homosexuals are not allowed to marry. Now that I have brought to your understanding that this is a PROBLEM in this country I will bring to your ttention the solution.

DON’T ACCEPT IT. Don’t turn and look the other way saying “that’s terrible, its to bad that our government feels that way about homosexual marriage. Get up and do something about it! You can do so many things from writing letters to your local legislature or attending rallies and demonstrations to even just signing a petition. When the polls are open for the presidential election of 2000 take into consideration the nominees stand on this issue. Its said that marriage is the binding of two so in love they are willing to submit their souls to one another. Now who is anyone to stand in the way of that?

Gay Literature Essay

While sexual difference may not exist between lesbians all other forms of difference do. These include differences of identity: race, class origins, employment status, age, religion, physical abilities – and while we may struggle against these differences within our individual spaces they have a material and institutional reality that cannot be wished away What, to you, seems important about the terms gay and lesbian in literature?

In the face of a homophobic society we need creative and critical processes that draw out the complexity of lesbian lives and same sex choices, not a retreat into the comforting myths of heroines and unfractured, impeachable identities This quote addresses directly the primary difficulty of the issue. The terms gay and lesbian are useful in literature in that they allow a group of people who have been marginalised and even persecuted to become visible. They enable a way of life and a set of identities, harmonious or conflicting, to be presented, to be questioned, to be understood and accepted.

As categories they create space in which there may develop a more evolved understanding of texts and they also create a genre within which many lesbian and gay writers are comfortable with being placed. A gendered reading of a text can reveal undercurrents and depths which might otherwise not be apparent. These categories also make space for the author within the text which leads to a closer tie between the author and the reader in the reading process. However the danger which this sort of terminology presents is that of homogenising ways both of reading and writing a text.

In creating a category one is always not only creating an inclusive zone but in doing so also excluding certain elements. The risk is run of stultifying the creative process through the exclusion by a minority group of the minority groups within. As Bonnie Zimmerman writes in her essay Lesbians like this and that By positing the lesbian as excess in the patriarchal system we may fail to note the identities that function as excess within our own newly created lesbian community.

There is a risk of adopting a separatist approach, of placing the categories of gay and lesbian literature outside the mainstream and creating a gay canon but in doing so retaining the underlying values of that patriarchal system. How does one avoid replicating the masculinist cultural error of taking the dominant for the universal In cutting a group of people or literary category away from a system which is seen as unacceptable and unaccepting you create a vulnerable new entity which in order to secure itself often creates a unifies majority image, a prototype for its membership which can suppress rather than embrace creativity.

The problematic desire for a unified and heroic self image is one of the central dilemmas of contemporary lesbian cultural politics Perhaps it is better, therefore, to recognise that while these terms are useful their usefulness rests on their ability to embrace difference, thereby nurturing creativity. A separatist approach can be damaging to that ideal. Careful attention to history tells us that our differences are as important as our similarities. With this in mind the terms lesbian and gay within literature can be useful in drawing bridges between differences of identity.

In the highly sexualised society of today it is hardly possible to write outside of gender or of sexuality. Given the extent to which identity is so closely linked to gender, to sexual experience it is no great suprise that it is so very much apparent in literature. Since it is through language that we create and express our identities how could it be otherwise. Bell Hook writes of the need for shared sensibilities to build those bridges across differences.

Radical postmodernism calls attention to those shared sensibilities which cross the boundaries of class, gender, race, etc. hat could be fertile ground for the construction of empathy – ties that would promote recognition of common committments and serve as a basis for solidarity and coalition. Leaving aside literary criticism, one of the primary reasons for reading and indeed one of the greatest enjoyments it yields is the creation of empathy, the feeling that we are in some way similar to or have shared experiences with the character. In lesbian and gay writing this need is particularly evident as, in most communities, regardless of race or class origins both gay men and women are marginalised.

Edmund White in his introduction to his novel A Boys Own Story relates that although he himself felt the novel to be quite distant in tone, not entirely open to association and empathy, he nonetheless received many letters and reviews from those who felt they identified with his experiences as a young boy growing up gay. I learned that no matter how unsentimental, even cold -eyed, my book might be, readers inevitably had a soft spot for their own childhood and any echo of it. Jeanette Winterson received similar responses to her own lesbian bildungsroman, Oranges are not the only fruit.

The categories of gay and lesbian literature are crucial in providing mentors, role models, ties for what is, as yet, an emerging community. There is also a particular style to a great deal of lesbian writing, a twisting of gender, of language and of imagery which if significant in itself as a valuable contribution to literature. Perhaps it is one of the particular contributions of lesbian writing: to disrupt what we accept as reality and suggest new connections between signs This is very much true of Jeanette Wintersons writing.

Oranges are not the only fruit, in particular, sets about what Brossard sees as vital A lesbian who does not reinvent the word/world is a lesbian in the process of disappearing In her introduction to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Winterson outlines the importance of this task, explaining that her interests in writing are anti-linear and proclaiming that it is the duty of every generation of writers and artists to find fresh ways of expressing the habitual circumstances of the human condition, To serve up the lukewarm remains of yesterdays dinner is easy, profitable and popular.

It is also wrong. Her own way of going about finding fresh ways of writing is to adopt, as many lesbian writers have, a writing pattern which works in spirals not in lines, which challenges gender roles and characteristics, which finds new and changing versions of meaning in the sign. As Bonnie Zimmerman writes The basic insight of lesbian critical theory was that the particularity of lesbian experience leads the writer to produce texts with a unique lesbian perspective on reality and the reader/critic to see and therefore decipher encoding of lesbian experience in those texts.

Winterson sets about, quite literally, rewriting the word. The titles of the chapters in Oranges are not the only fruit are taken from the bible and she skilfully places each in a new light. The opening chapter, Genesis, takes the biblical version of man begetting man and challenges it with a household in which Jeanette is adopted, has no defined origin, is not begotten and yet is seen as being essentially of her mothers creation and under her mothers control. The father figure is far from being that.

He is barely present and described always as her mothers husband, not a father, not a begetter. The mother in reading Jane Eyre to Jeanette as a child rewrites the ending. The tale of Merlin is also subverted and retold from a female viewpoint. The novel is a prime example of female/lesbian reinterpretation. It challenges, in the way that lesbian writing often does and almost must, the notion of His-story. Her novels Written on the Body and The Passion take similar approaches, both toying with and bending the rules of gender, the idea of gender as absolute.

In fact, in Written on the Body the gender of the protagonist, Lothario, is never revealed. A lesbian reading, of the encryption within the novel would reveal Lothario as a woman, as a lesbian, but even this is significant in that it shakes the view of Lothario as the classic male lover. Virginia Woolfs Orlando similarly challenges prescribed notions of gender. This is one of the vital functions of gay/lesbian literature – to displace male/female roles and images and create greater flexibility than that of male/female, straight/gay.

These polarities are cast aside in most gay literature and indeed in Oranges are not the only Fruit , in the Genesis section, they are very much ridiculed. This is necessary in order to attack the way in which women are defined within our entire language structure as Other. The terms gay and lesbian in literature function as challenges to our preconceived notions of gender and indeed of identity itself. The task at hand for gay and lesbian literary criticism is one of opening and keeping open the gates which act as barriers to our understanding of texts and of identities.

It is very easy to get caught up in a gay and lesbian history which is purely middle class white Euro – American or indeed to adopt women like Audre Lorde or Gloria Anzaldua as token representatives of racial difference but it is necessary that the movement remain fluid and it can do so only in creating bridges over the barriers of identity. If in its beginnings it was necessary to create a traditional unified subject which a majority could identify with it is necessary now to allow solidarity to give way to complexity of analysis and identity.

Homosexuality And The Bible

When it comes to the bible and people against homosexuality I feel there are a lot of contradictions. There are so many because so may people say they follow the bible and say the bible does not believe in homosexuality and there going to believe what the bible says, but so many people say that and do not follow the bible down to a tee. They say being gay is wrong, but what about having sex before marriage. There are so many people who are not following all the bible rules so I feel they should not preach somethings in the bible if there not following every rule.

Also the bible was not written by god. So we do not officially know what god expects from us. The bible was written by man and we know males are the biggest homophobic genders ever. Also there are to her versions of the bible and also other interpretations. Also other religions except it, for example there was this on time where I went to my Christian church and they said that gay people were demons and that there contagious (I wanted to laugh so bad.

But then a few days later this same church told all the followers to bring anything that leads to debt like credit cards, bills, and they were going to burn it and pray. In my opinion that sounds like witchcraft. Witches burn stuff and throw it into the fire and speak words. Isnt that kind of what there doing in that situation, and because there doing it its considered Christian. Hmmm. It makes you think.

Gay and lesbians today

In was late July of 1999, five of my buddies and I had just graduated from high school and we were enjoying one of the greatest summers of our lives in Ocean City, Maryland. We were renting out what we thought was the best bachelor pad in all of O. C. on 139th street. Even friends of ours that we graduated with and had known for several years were living at the beach as well. Life was good. But two girls in particular that all of our friends knew from Paint Branch H. S. would, throughout the remainder of the summer, indirectly change and redefine the way in which most of us thought about homosexual relationships.

Mel and Kel had always been close amongst our circle of friends and naturally know one ever suspected that either of them were outfitted for a lesbian lifestyle, at least not both of them. It was during that unforgettable summer that their other lifestyle would become vividly clear to the rest of us. The majority of us openly embraced their relationship and undoubtedly respected their audacity to endure the resentment and unacceptance that they may possibly confront one day. But, it was not until two years later that Mel and Kel would challenge their friends opinions again, only this time concerning a much more controversial issue.

Apparently over the course of the two-year relationship that Mel and Kel had spent together, a commitment had developed between them that only few of us could possibly fathom. They were convinced that the unconditional devotion they shared was worthy of a unique union, and that this devotedness they shared would endure for a lifetime. In a Utopian society most of us would rejoice in knowing that two people such as Mel and Kel who care so deeply for one another, have found each other and are willing to spend the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately we dont live in a society of that quality and admiration.

In any culture, its generally conceived that the family is the absolute core of a society. In that, the norms and values of a civilization are directly conveyed from one generation to another through this bloodline. But what exactly is a family? Are there distinct specifications, qualifications or even guidelines that govern the framework for what a family should be? In the Websters dictionary a family is clearly defined as: the basic unit in society having as its nucleus two or more adults living together and cooperating in the care and rearing of their own or adopted children.

Conservative politicians and cautious legislators on the other hand, would like you to believe that this practical definition should only apply to a man and a woman in matrimonial union. Yet all to often too many individuals become distracted by the circumstances surrounding a marriage, than actually recognizing the depth of the commitment that those two people are making. Considerations such as age, race, financial situation and gender of your spouse all play influential factors in shaping and illustrating our convictions of whether or not their marriage will succeed.

Of course that certainly doesnt mean that these factors govern the success of a marriage, it simply means that as a society, people tend to focus on the aspects they believe will be most detrimental to a marriage. But in this case its not necessarily a question of whether or not the marriage will prosper. Its the inescapable reality that a marriage of a homosexual nature, in the eyes of an oftentimes-conservative society, goes against every descent and respectable value that we hold true.

Its a question of whether we as a society have the moral strength and composure to acknowledge and accept the fact that individuals like Mel and Kel should have the right to choose the future of their own destiny. Gay and lesbian couples like Mel and Kel everywhere should have the right to choose with whom they will join in wedlock without discrimination from any legal foundation. Many people truly dont see the depth and severity of the problems facing gay and lesbian couples seeking to spend the rest of their lives together. Its much more than desperately trying to get a marriage license.

Theres a whole spectrum of privileges and rewards that comes with legal declaration of marriage. For decades, gay and lesbian couples have been seeking the right to marry because their relationships, even under domestic partnership laws, are not given the same recognition or benefits as heterosexual married couples, despite their responsibilities and commitment. Kimberly M. Ward, Vice President of the National Organization for Woman says, the law isnt suppose to discriminate against age, race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation but that simply isnt the case here.

If this isnt a clear-cut case of discrimination against a rather large and influential group of people, I dont know what is. For example, when it comes time to file our tax statements for the IRS, having your spouse as a dependant can be quite a substantial deduction on your return. When gay and lesbian couples file their returns, they are not recognized by the IRS as having a legal marriage. Therefore, theyre subject to the same tax laws as any other single individuals in this country, despite the fact that they are living with; and are just as committed and dedicated to their partner as any other heterosexual marriage.

Discrimination in such areas as health coverage, life insurance, or even inheritance benefits can become tremendous obstacles to overcome for gay and lesbian couples who are serious about devoting themselves to each other. Even something as customary as seeing your partner in the hospital, following an unexpected accident can become an impossibility, simply because most hospital policy restricts visitation to family only in certain circumstances. Presently, the debate over same-sex marriages in this country has raised several moral issues regarding family values.

Perhaps the most controversial of all these is the aspect of children. When debating on this delicate issue, children play a virtually unavoidable consideration in this argument. If gay and lesbian couples are given the right to marry, then how will that affect the future of our children? Obviously there is no means for procreation in a homosexual relationship, however that doesnt exclude the possibility of adoption. Currently Florida and New Hampshire are the only states in the U. S. that have flat out banned adoption to potential homosexual parents.

New Jersey on the other hand is the only state that has made breakthrough progress in opening the doors to adoption under these circumstances. The majority of other states have no official position on the issue. But despite what your position is on the issue of adoption by gay and lesbian parents, its perfectly understandable to have a certain measure of skepticism. Perhaps as the law making assembly of our society, legislators are apprehensive to the fact that these adopted children will be running the country in some way, shape, or form one day.

Of course they wouldnt come close to the majority, but possibly to a respectable percentage. Nevertheless, what could we expect in the future from a society that is crafted from a background of open-minded individuals toward the emerging issues of sexual orientation? Primarily, most of the criticism that comes with same-sex marriages is from a religious standpoint. When most of us think of marriage, instinctively we think of a man and a woman. In our society its out of the ordinary to think anything else. But most of this criticism is reinforced with speculative support.

For example, in a newsletter sent out by Jerry Falwell he proclaimed that if the courts rule in favor of same-sex marriages, it will open a Pandoras Box of perversionthat will inevitably lead to increased child pornography, polygamy, homosexual lifestyle programs in schools, and homosexual couples in the military. A statement of this absurdity quite literally speaks for itself. But its highly influential people like Rev. Jerry Falwell who strike these unnecessary and ludicrous speculations into peoples mentality and by doing so raise a certain model of fear into his followers.

Ever since the early 1970s, gay and lesbian couples have been aggressively seeking their right to marry whom they choose and 25 years later there has been little progress. If homosexual couples and the gay and lesbian communities at large are to make any advance toward this issue, a certain level of legitimacy must be established. Theres always room for compromise, its just a matter of someone willing to come half way. As my life- long friend Mel once said to me, the fear towards homosexuals comes from a fear of what you dont know or are unfamiliar with, not from gays and lesbians but from themselves.

The conception of Gay Parenting

The conception that lesbians and gay men may be parents is frequently perceived in todays society as impossible or immoral. Gay men and lesbians are often viewed as excluded from having children because sexual reproduction is related to men and women only. My approach to this uniquely controversial topic of gay parenting will be that of attempting to analyze the Pro side first. Gays and lesbians are human too and who is to say that they dont deserve equal rights in society.

Society has to realize that the modern family has developed into many different forms in recent years in that the “nuclear family” is not necessarily the most common form anymore. Then I will attempt to analyze the Con side which expresses the fact that two people of the same sex should not be raising and rearing children together. Many believe that if the couple is unable to produce children together, then they shouldnt be raising them as parents.

Children need a balance in their lives and different sexed parents can provide that balance efficiently. Each parent (mom or dad) socializes the child differently and the child needs to be introduced to both worlds. I will then proceed to critique both sides on strengths and weaknesses, based on facts, studies, and my own opinion, and then draw some of my own conclusions on this controversial topic of Gay Parenting.

Sexual Orientation Essay

Sexual orientation refers to one’s degree of emotional and erotic attraction to members of the same sex, opposite sex or both sexes. Heterosexual persons are romantically and erotically attracted to members of the opposite sex, whereas homosexual persons are attracted to those whose sex match their own. A person who is bisexual is attracted to both men and women. According to a recent national survey, about 7 percent of all adults regard themselves as homosexual or bisexual. That means that roughly 7 people out of every hundred are bisexual or homosexual; 50 million people in the U. S. one are gay, lesbian, or have a family member who is homosexual.

The question is, however, do they choose to be gay or is it genetically predetermined. I once asked a homosexual friend why he chose to be gay if it was indeed such a headache. “Choose to be gay? ” he asked. “It is NOT a choice. If I could choose to fall in love with a woman, marry her and live a so-called normal life, I would do so in a minute. ” I was surprised, because being as nave as I was, that possibility had never occurred to me. Then, I asked him if it was possible to pretend, for the sake of an easier life.

He replied, “Pick a woman, any woman. Now imagine having to have sex with her and spending the rest of your life with only her and never touching a man again. ” I shuddered at the thought! He smiled and said, “That is exactly how I feel. I have no desire to touch a woman in any other way than a friend would touch a friend. All I am attracted to is men. ” Recent scientific discoveries are fast supporting this claim. Whereas history has always assumed that homosexuals chose to “sin” and be “different,” studies are claiming the exact opposite.

In the summer of 1993, Dean H. Hamer and his research team at the National Cancer Institute announced their discovered evidence of a connection between genetics and homosexuality. Hamer located a region near the end of the long arm of the X chromosome in DNA that likely contains a gene influencing sexual orientation. Hamer announced, “We have now produced evidence that one form of male homosexuality is preferentially transmitted through the maternal side and is genetically linked to chromosome region Xq28. ” 2 A study released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) also indicated a correlation between a specific chromosomal region in human males and homosexuality.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and issued a statement regarding this study. “The NIH study is an important addition to the growing body of evidence indicating a genetic basis for homosexuality,” said Peri Jude Radecic, NGLTF Deputy Director of Public Policy. “And it shows that homosexuality is a naturally occurring and common variation among humans — a fact that gay and lesbian people have known all along. ” 3 So with growing evidence of predetermined sexual orientation, should laws be changed and society forced to accept homosexuality as natural?

Time magazine projected an ethical and political forecast: “If homosexuals are deemed to have a foreordained nature, many of the arguments now used to block equal rights would lose force. ” Time also cited a gay attorney who said, “I can’t imagine rational people, presented with the evidence that homosexuality is biological and not a choice, would continue to discriminate. ” 4 Whether it is a choice or not, homosexuals should not be discriminated against. Matthew Shepard’s death in Wyoming was one of the most public occurrences of gay hate crimes, but unfortunately not uncommon.

Homophobia, which is having a powerful fear of homosexuality, and heterosexism, the belief that heterosexuality is better or more natural than homosexuality, are fairly common. 5 Even though it has become politically correct in many circles to be supportive of homosexuals, they are far from not being discriminated against. Vermont is, to date, the only state that recognizes legal same-sex marriages. 6 The nation watched the fight for same-sex marriages in Hawaii end in December 1999, when the Hawaii Supreme Court voted against it. 7

Even if proven to be genetically determined beyond a shadow of a doubt, society could still choose to refuse homosexual behavior. Homosexuality could be accepted as a biological fact, but may be rejected socially on the grounds that it lies outside of a culture’s traditional values. Such results are seen in unacceptable, though often genetically based, disorders, such as alcoholism and obesity. 8 Therefore, even knowing that it is not a choice and that homosexuals are not intentionally trying to go against traditional values, this still may not change the minds of society.

So, therein lies the question: are we capable of changing our minds about something we have believed in our entire lives? Speaking of change in beliefs, can the church view homosexual activity as a sin if it is proven to be a natural state of man? When this has been proven, how will the church react? Can 50 million Americans be destined to an eternity in Hell for simply being what nature intended? What does the bible say about homosexuality? According to faith, it is God who creates us. Our genes, temperaments, talents, gifts and weaknesses-are all part of God’s plan for us.

So somehow God must behind the fact that some people are homosexual. Why then should God’s word in the Bible condemn homosexuality? There must be a mistake somewhere. Could it be that homosexuals are the mistake? That God played some cruel joke or messed up? But that cannot be so, for God doesn’t make mistakes and is not evil. Many people are starting to question the interpretations of the Bible. For example, in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25, Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

One would take this to mean that a rich man would need a miracle to get into heaven because how could anyone ever pass a camel through the eye of a needle? However, in Jerusalem there was a very low and narrow gate through the city wall, called “the eye of the needle”. When traders came into town, they had to unpack their camels and lead them through crouching down, and then repack them once inside. Within the context of His time, you could reinterpret what He said to mean that it is only much harder for a rich man to get into heaven and that he must first unload his material possessions.

To say what a biblical text teaches us today, you first have to understand the text in its original situation and then apply the meaning to the present situation. However, many people take the bible too literally. This approach keeps the Bible simple, but it has the disadvantage of many different people finding different meanings. All can claim that the text actually means whatever they interpreted from it and that other interpretations are wrong. So how is this settled? In the end, popularity decides what the Bible means.

But just because many people believe in something, it doesn’t necessarily make it right. Slavery was a good example of that. 10 Another disadvantage is the selective use of the Bible. Preachers may condemn homosexuals because the Bible mentions it in passing, but the same preachers do not support slavery even though all of Philemon and long passages in Ephesians, Colossians, Timothy and Peter advocate it. They do not encourage people to cut out their eyes or their hands if temptation strikes, even though Matthew 5:22-29 suggests it.

The Bible clearly condemns divorce, women teaching in Sunday school and allowing women to come to church in fine jewelry or without a hat; yet preachers allow it. In biblical times there was no understanding of homosexuality as a sexual orientation. Our question today is about people and their relationships, not just about sex. The story of Sodom is probably the most famous Bible passage that deals with homosexuality, or at least, is said to deal with it. It is found in the book of Genesis.

A man named Lot offered two angels, who came to the city of Sodom, a place to stay for the night. In that day and age, hospitality was extremely important. But, later that night, the men of the city came to Lot’s house and asked for the two men staying there, so that they could “know” them. 11 Most people believe it means the men of Sodom were interested in taking the two men at Lot’s house for the purposes of sex and that was their sin. However, there are 943 times that the translation of “to know” someone has been used in the Old Testament and only ten of them refer to sex.

Many people argue that it simply means that the men of Sodom wanted to find out who these strangers were and what they were doing in their town. After all, Lot was not a native of Sodom and they were unhappy with his inviting strangers to stay with him. Whenever reference is made to Sodom in the rest of the Bible, there is no mention of sexual offense except that of adultery. Moreover, it is the inhospitableness of the people of Sodom because they refused to take in needy travelers, that was, in God’s eyes, a great sin. Even Jesus understood the sin of Sodom as the sin of inhospitality.

Many other passages in the Bible say exactly that. Yet people continue to cite the story of Sodom to condemn gay and lesbian people. The irony of Sodom is that the very people that oppress homosexuals because of the supposed “sin of Sodom” may themselves be the real “sodomites,” as the Bible understands it. 12 I was surprised at the great number of books that I found dealing with this subject. I discovered at least a hundred via the Internet and the local library with only minimal effort, and most of them were published within the last few years.

Most of these books go into great detail regarding what the Bible really says about homosexuality and how misconceptions were originally made during interpretations and translations. These respected professors, doctors and priests insist that homosexuals should be accepted as natural men and women of God, created in his image as everyone else was. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). 13 Being a good person: honest, loving, just, kind, merciful and peaceful; that is what matters before God. Most people’s attitude toward homosexuality is that it is dirty or unclean.

This is a behavior that children learn from adults who are uncomfortable with it. Many never get beyond the influence of those feelings. People feel uncomfortable about it, so they say it’s wrong. A popular phrase is “God meant for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. ” However, when they are pressed to explain why, exactly, it is wrong, they cannot come up with good reasons. With the evidence of the predetermined genetic disposition of homosexuals and interpretations of the Bible bringing to light the acceptance of all men, society no longer has any excuse in discriminating.

Instead of being discouraged by the hate crimes and lack of support from the masses, homosexuals are becoming more determined then ever to earn equal rights and an equal place in society. Thanks to a constitution that allows for equal rights under God, new evidence will eventually win the equality in all areas of life that all people deserve, whether heterosexual or not. With any luck, children of today will grow up with a better understanding and an acceptance so that the oppression of homosexuals will be nonexistent tomorrow.

Gay Parenting Controversy

Gay parenting is an issue that affects a great number of people worldwide. Although the number is a minority, the issue still causes heated debate. People who are in favor of Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual parenting rights claim that as long as there is a commitment to parenthood then successful parenting is achievable as a homosexual or bi-sexual. Since within a gay couple there is no chance for accidental pregnancy, the couple must make a conscious decision to become a parent.

People opposed to homosexual parenting argue that homosexual couples are not capable of having long enduring strong relationships required for the successful upbringing of children. They claim it is in the child’s best interest to be raised by one female and one male. Such a family would provide the best environment for healthy intellectual and emotional growth. Obviously the debate over homosexual parenting brings for concepts of individual rights and the definition of family. What the argument boils down to is the definition of a family. With “family” defined there is little argument over who is capable of becoming a parent.

An editorial found in Pride Page, an online gay community news and information cite, offers a defense to the gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual right to parenthood. The article by Brian W. Fairbanks entitled “Gay Parenting is still Parenting” attempts to provide the reader with valid reasons as to why gay couples should be allowed to become parents. Fairbanks believes that the same reason a heterosexual couple should be allowed to have children is greater in homosexual couples. Heterosexual couples are given the right to child-rearing because the are seen as fit to be parents.

Homosexual couples have the advantage. He points out that the only way a homosexual couple could become parents is through actively choosing to become a parent. In no way would it not be planned, unwanted, or unexpected. Fairbanks’ also argues, “it takes love” to make a family and sex is not a part of the equation. The author is clearly very level headed regarding this issue. He doesn’t make outlandish remarks or accuse anyone as being the cause of the problem. He attempts to touch the reader’s heartstrings instead of raising anger. The evidence he presents is quite valid and believable.

He brings forth one fact from the American Bar Association as well as three references to pop culture, which anyone can recognize. The author opens with reference to a quote from Jean Kerr; “Now the thing about having a baby…is thereafter you have it. ” Fairbanks’ argument is that this quote doesn’t “sink in with potential gay parents anymore than it does with many straight ones. ” In other words, he believes that no matter what the sexual orientation people simply don’t realize all that is involved in having children. Parenting is to be taken seriously.

It is hard work which necessitates “selflessness, responsibility, and commitment that few people…are always prepared to give. ” Here the author is trying to put homosexual couples on the same playing field as heterosexual couples. To define what it takes to be a good parent allows the reader to become subjective no matter what the point of view regarding gay parenting. I feel the method Fairbanks used was excellent in forcing myself to look at the true essence of parenting and opened the playing field for any point of view, which he was about to make.

That next point would be regarding the choice of parenthood. Fairbanks claims there is one advantage homosexual couples have over heterosexual couples. There is no need for birth control or abortion and there is no fear of accidental pregnancy. Because of this homosexual couples must make that conscious decision; the intelligent, responsible choice to become a parent. If the parent(s) are willing to give themselves to have a child then, according to Fairbanks, that would make gays just as good of a candidate for parenthood as anyone else.

As long as “the commitment to parenthood is there, successful parenting is wholly within the gay couple’s grasp. ” With successful parenting being defined earlier in his work Fairbanks has made a convincing argument. The author next brings to light moral ideals set by our society. He strongly pokes fun at Dan Quayle’s failed attempt to condemn “Murphy Brown” for having a child out of wedlock. Quayle did not believe that a child could be brought up successfully without the “traditional man-woman household. ” Fairbanks continues, “but the facts prove otherwise.

It is here he mentions data from the Family Pride Coalition. Their data, derived from the American Bar Association, points out that six to ten million American children were brought up around a gay parent. Fairbanks does mention that although these children are product of heterosexual relationships the numbers are climbing. Fairbanks’ refutes his opponents’ claim of gay couples being more “promiscuous and incapable of the kind of lasting, stable relationships that children need by proving that “sexual orientation is not really the issue.

By stating the fact that heterosexual couples are increasingly becoming divorced and thus can’t claim to be more stable than any homosexual relationship, Fairbanks affirms his argument that no matter the sexual preference a chance for instability as a couple is present. He also argues that if gay marriage would be legalized there is a greater potential for increase of committed gay relationships. Fairbanks makes another valuable argument regarding the standard family as is accepted in today’s society.

He notes Quayle’s argument was based on religion, a religion which promotes one male heterosexual, one female heterosexual raising children. Yet, according to Fairbanks, families have “long…defied the accepted norm. ” His proof is that there have been, for some time, multi-racial, multi-generational, single mom, single dad, and foster families. His judgment to be a family comes in the presence of love and acceptance. Underneath all of the controversy over homosexuality Fairbanks wants people to understand that it is not a question of homosexuality but rather one of who is willing and capable of being a good parent.

Fairbanks is successful in conveying his message that love and sacrifice are what’s necessary for proper parenting and that homosexual couples are just as willing, and competent individuals, able to become parents. His final line is very heartfelt. It is the type that stays with you even if you forget what the previous text was about: “Parenting is the most important job in the world, and it’s not for everyone. It takes commitment. It takes sacrifice. Most of all, it takes love. Love, not sex, and gays and lesbians are just as qualified for the job as anyone.

This sums up his view without being demanding or critical of anyone’s personal point of view. I must note that before reading this editorial I had not given much thought into the subject. Because of Fairbanks’ writing I do agree with his view. He has struck a nerve that has caused me to think of homosexual parenting in comparison to my own upbringing. Because Fairbanks’ was writing without a controversial tone I was, in a sense, listening better. I understood his argument and his proof, without being too technical, did cause me to reflect on my own definition of ‘FAMILY. ’

What makes a person a homosexual or a heterosexual

To many of us it is specifically the fact that if one has sexual intercourse with another from their own sex they are considered to be a homosexual. If one is to have sexual relations with the opposite sex, they are considered to be a heterosexual. What if someone has sex with both of the genders? This type of person is to be considered a bisexual. My question is if these standards hold true in all cases? If a woman is pushed away by the male gender, such as Celie was by her father and Albert, and experiments sexual acts with another woman does this still classify her as a lesbian? Or is she to be considered a bisexual?

Maybe, she could even be considered a heterosexual. I believe those years of abuse towards Celie, from her father and her husband drove her away from the male sex. They gave her nothing but pain and anguish, which caused her to become bitter towards males and the idea of heterosexuality. Both men brought her nothing but pain, so how can you blame Celie for having a sexual affair with another woman. In The Color Purple, Alice Walker, portrays Celie as a lesbian, however it is not because she has sexual relations with woman, it is because she has been driven away by the male gender due to the abuse she suffered through as a child to an adult.

As a child Celie was constantly harassed and abused by her father, Fonso. We see in the beginning of the novel that Celies dad is expressed with bad imagery. He shows this by raping Celie, and beating her(Jefferson 1). As a small girl Celie was unable to defend herself from her fathers never ending torture. It was brought to our attention that Fonso would use Celie for sex in the first letter that Celie wrote to God: Just say you gonna do what your mammy couldn’t. First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggled it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my *censored*.

When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying you better shut up and get used to it( Walker1-2 ). It is evident that Celie was held against her will and raped on many different occasions. The idea of sex to her is lie on the bed while the man does what ever he wants to due. Sex to her was something that was expected, it was never intended for her pleasure it was only for Fonso. Not only would Fonso abuse Celie physically he would also abuse her mentally, telling her that she was ugly, fat, and dirty to Albert trying to sell her instead of Nettie: She ain’t fresh tho, but I spect you know that.

She spoiled. Twice. And she big already; She ugly. But she ain’t no stranger to hard work. You can do everything just like you want to and she ain’t gonna make you feed it or clothe it; She ugly. Don’t even look like she kin to Nettie. But shell make the better wife. She ain’t smart either, and Ill just be fair, you have to watch her or shell give away everything you own. But she can work like a man ( 9 ). This statement by Fonso proves the point that no respect or love was shown towards Celie. She was a piece of property that was currently owned by Fonso, he could do whatever he wanted to do at anytime.

At this point in Celies life she is already afraid of men, and looking at woman as tender creatures: I dont even look at mens. Thats the truth. I look at women, tho, cause Im not scared of them ( 6 ). Even at the age of fourteen, young Celie is deathly afraid to even look at a man. Stated from George Stade, men are pretty, spiteful, hurtful, and treacherous(Stade 264). The only comfort that she is able to find is in the eyes of woman, Nettie. Women dont abuse other women, they cherish one another and are capable of fully understanding what the others are going through.

The marriage Celie and Albert shared was nothing off of what she had to endure at home with Fonso. Celies role was once again clear to her, obey her master at all costs. Just as it was with Fonso Celie was constantly being hit and raped. Having sex with Albert was never a positive moment for Celie. There was never love involved, it was basically Albert doing whatever he wanted to do. Celie explains to Shug the chore of having sex with Albert: Mr. ___ can tell you, I dont like it at all. What is it like? He git up on you, heist your nightgown round your waist, plunge in.

Most times I pretend I aint there. He never know the difference. Never ast me how I feel, nothing. Just do his business, get off, go to sleep(Walker 81). Celie has just explained to Shug how she has never experienced pleasure with herself, not even with Albert. The man never even asked her how she felt. The relationship that Celie and Albert had was one of a take-take relationship, instead of a give-take relationship. Albert always instructed Celie to do things instead of asking her impute on situations. Even on their wedding night, barely knowing Albert at all, was forced to have sex with him.

Through all of the horrible events that are taking place before her eyes Celie still thinks positive thoughts. However, it is only through the realization that Shug Avery has also had sex with Albert. Again Celie shows us that she is doing what the man says, and fanaticizing about what a woman could do for her. When Albert notices that Shug has returned, Celie was just as excited as Albert to see her back: Shug Avery is coming to town; He tell me, wash this. Iron that. Look for this. Look for that. Find this. Find that. He groan over holes in his sock.

I move round darning and ironing, finding hanskers (25). Shug brings a tremendous amount of joy to Celie; it is her only glimmer of hope in her rather hopeless life. Not only does the image of Shug help Celie through the unbearable nights with Albert, it enables Celie to have a common interest with Albert. All in all there is no possible way that Celie could survive the agony of living with Albert if it were not for Shug Avery. Shug Avery was the only person that was able to show Celie what love truly was. Through all of the abuse caused by Albert and Fonso it is amazing that Celie was alive.

But was she really alive? Being alive is more than breathing in air; it is the ability to express yourself without being attacked, which Celie did not have. Until Shug Avery entered Celies life. Celie had sex many times whether it was with Fonso, or Albert, but she never made love. Shug Avery taught Celie what it was to feel pleasure: I look at it and touch it with my finger. A little shiver go through me. Nothing much. But just enough to tell me this the right button to mash (82). Celie had never experienced real sexual pleasure in her whole life, up to that point.

Shug has now opened up a whole new world for Celie, a world that enables her to be happy. Shug might have taught Celie how to pleasure herself, but thats not all she did. What is even more important than that is Shug taught Celie how to feel good about herself and not allow Albert to push her around, to be independent. Celie finally realizes that she can survive without Albert and to stand up for herself when needed. Celie seeing that she can be independent form Albert mustards enough strength and will to actually stand up for herself and tell Albert off: You a low down dog is whats wrong, I say.

Its time to leave you and enter into the Creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need(207). In the past Celie would never had such a thing to Albert, in fact she would never had said that at all. Shug transformed Celie into a person, and Celie fell in love because of that. This was the first time since Nettie was with her that anyone has shown her any compassion. For that reason Celie turned her love from men to women. Men would not give Celie the time of day, but women would give her the world.

Celie was driven away by the male sex, and attracted to the female gender because of the constant harassment that she suffered through as a child and an adult. To her men were all wife beaters who did not give respect to any woman. Because of the punishment that she went through her whole life there is no wonder that she despises men. The first time that she was offered love just happened to be by a woman. Celie acted upon this offering and was finally able to share her heart with another. So how can you blame Celie for being attracted to Shug. You cant because love is love, no matter what gender you prefer.

Homosexuality Has Always And Everywhere Existed

Homosexuality has always and everywhere existed. Nazis considered homosexuality as a tendency that could not be changed. It was assumed that a homosexual orientation could not be eliminated, that only its exhibitions could be blocked. The Nazi system was concerned with deviations from the norm, not only in religion and ethnicity, but also sexuality, and attitudes toward it. As part of the Nazis’ attempt to purify German society and create an “Aryan master race,” they condemned homosexuals as socially eccentric. Antal Szerb took a big risk writing such a controversial novel.

The Traveler contains many sexual elements which can clearly be seen why it aggravated the Nazis into executing him. In his days, theoretically, the economic system was characterized by the states plan to control the economy and a single party held power. Their goal was to make everybody equal. If it be color, race, religion, or belief; nobody was to be different. Even if his life style did not reflect his novel, Antal Szerb jeopardized his life and career with what he wrote. One of the themes in this novel was homosexuality.

A dichotomous issue even today, t was most likely not even mentioned out in public back then. Homosexuals were massively persecuted and tortured. Many laws were passed by Nazis that targeted sex offenders. They were given the worst kind of treatment in the concentration camps, but despite the obvious hate the Nazis had for homosexuals, Antal Szerb still wrote about it for anyone to read. The impression is there even though the book does not come out and directly say it. Tams was my ideal. Eva, more of a bonus, an erotic tool in these games.

Evidently, the riter here is implying that the character has some what of a liking to his male friend, him being male as well. Mihlys character was very effeminate with a refined face and liking a good wine. In his days many found this type of affair offensive even to speak of, and yet Another argumentative point was the fact that Erzsi had slept around so much with men from other ethnic backgrounds and the way he described it. She was, you can say, promiscuous. She slept with three different men. True, her longing was spiced with her curious attraction to anything exotic.

She never thought it could turn real. And now, soon, her body would feel the Persians burning touch. How strange and wonderfully frightening it was to be waiting like this! (Pg. 247) She worked herself into teeth chattering excitement. This would be the night of her life . . . Finally, she would shed all her middle- class conventions, all that was Budapest, and surrender herself to Frances deepest night, in an ancient chateau, to a man who had paid for her, to an exotic animal who would strip her of all her lady- like pretensions and she would become like the dancers in the Bible or in the Thousand and One Nights.

This was the longing lurking in all her fantasies, even when she cheated on Zoltn with Mihly . . . And she chose wisely because her journey with Mihly had led her to this moment. (Pg. 247) Seeing as the Nazis were so concerned in making and keeping the perfect race, they presumably found this very offensive. These were just the main examples of perhaps a massive list the Nazis had against Szerb and his work. Despite all this, though, he wrote as any person should be allowed to write- what he felt and what came naturally to him. It was a sad way to die as a consequence to doing what he enjoyed.

A Look at Gay Marriage in the United States

The American government, founded on the ideals of men wishing to escape persecution and tyranny, is a secular institution shaped by the Constitution and its Amendments. Over the two hundred plus years that America has been a country many infractions, oversights and misinterpretations have occurred which have unfairly inhibited the freedom of the American people. This truth can be seen in the continued refusal by the government as a whole to accept, legalize or recognize same sex marriages, which has led to unrest and dissention among the homosexual community and its supporters.

This was an issue that was brought up in Dan Savages, The Kid. Same sex marriage, although a recent hot topic, is neither new, nor an unnatural product of the twentieth century, as many claim. Evidence of social acceptance of gay marriage can be found in Egyptian culture as far back as 2600 B. C. , as well as in ancient Rome and medieval Europe. (Eskridge 17) More recent evidence of gay marriages has been found in colonial America, as well as during the twentieth century in East Coast communities such as Boston and Harlem.

During both world wars, official marriage certificates could be obtained for gay couples in Harlem on a somewhat legal basis. (Eskridge 39-44) Despite the evidence of these fairly common unions, many of our law makers strongly oppose the legalization of the practice in America, based on the opinion that as heterosexuals they hold a sexual and therefore social superiority to homosexuals. Homophobia in America surfaced during the 1950s and 60s and was soon met by the protests and resistance movement of the homosexuals.

Because of the civil rights movement, which was in full swing, the gay acceptance movement was overshadowed and received diminished media attention. (Eskridge 44) Since the original Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Rights Movement has moved to center stage in American Civil Rights debate. These basic rights, denied not just to some, but all homosexuals are mainly concerned with the institution of marriage. The argument can be made that marriage is something that homosexuals shouldnt want to take part in, but this is incorrect.

The legal status involving marriage gives spouses certain state and federal benefits such as automatic inheritance, burial determination, divorce protections, immunity from testifying against spouse, certain membership, taxation and insurance breaks to which all people, including homosexuals are entitled to. Despite this long list of unattainable benefits, same sex marriage is still being denied due to the moral dilemmas some feel surround the issue. Many ask, Can marriage be simply redefined in the law?

Should an institution that is available for deadbeat dads and convicted felons be denied law-abiding lesbian mothers of young children? Can a fundamental right to marry be unequally dispensed? (Sullivan 87) The answer is yes, marriage can and should be redefined by the law. Vermonts legislature passed a law that legally recognizes a civil union, but it does not include all the benefits of marriage heterosexual couples are afforded. In 1996 President Clinton signed into the law the Defense of Marriage Act.

The act defined marriage as being between two people of the opposite sex, as well as making it legal for one state to deny a marriage certificate of another state if it is between two people of the same sex (Sullivan 201). This piece of legislation legally discriminates against the estimated ten percent of the American population. All fifty states currently refuse to recognize same sex marriages, however Vermont, California, Hawaii, and most recently Massachusetts have begun to take steps to recognize the relationships of homosexuals.

Hawaiis brush with same sex marriages represents an up and coming trend of court battles between homosexual couples and state governments. In Baehr v. Lewin, the Hawaii Supreme Court agreed that a total ban on same sex marriages violated the Hawaii Constitution. The Courts ruling stated that Homosexuals in contracted domestic partnerships were not to be denied pension of insurance benefits or inheritance of other state tax deductions available to spouses, thereby assuring fairness as taxpayers and equal treatment as employees but not including the state of matrimony.

The ruling disappointingly lacked the marriage recognition clause, and to the dismay of gay rights activists, the ruling was later overturned (Sullivan 104). Many disappointing rulings have been handed down over the last century, but the Hawaii ruling is by far the most significant (until 11. 19. 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court legally recognized gay marriage). Gay rights activists and attorney have sited basically four Amendments in the Constitution for the basis of their argument. These four include the 1st, 8th, 9th and 14th Amendments.

The argument for violation of the first Amendment, [Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . ] is based on the religious controversy surrounding homosexuality and same sex marriages. Because most religions do not support homosexuality at all, they harshly disagree with the idea of marrying a homosexual couple. This religious or moral card is often played in the supposedly secular legislative branches and courtrooms.

Its dominance is obvious in many official records, such as that of Singer v. Hara in which the Courts decision stated, The states refusal to grant a license allowing the appellants to marry one another . . . is based upon the states recognition that our society as a whole views marriage as the appropriate and desirable forum for procreation and the rearing of children (Sullivan 97). There are many American heterosexual couples who are infertile or make the decision never to have children, thus the religious reference to procreation as being the purpose of marriage is an unsuccessful basis of denying homosexual marriage.

By using these all-encompassing statements such as society as a whole, which are obviously religiously backed, the government has ignored the first Amendment. The 9th Amendment, stating that cruel and unusual punishment [shall not be] inflicted upon any U. S. citizen is a second common argument of gay rights activists. Just as the Jim Crow Laws of the South were directed at the African Americans as punishment for their skin color, denying homosexuals of the right of marriage, the State is, in a way, enforcing laws to punish citizens for their sexual orientation.

By doing just that, this democratic country is regressing to the semi-noble rule of a certain class defined as the legislative body. The 9th Amendment states, The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people In Loving v. Virginia, Justice Warren of the U. S. Supreme Court used the following statements to legally define marriage as the Court perceived it. Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival . . .

It also felt, The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness . . . (Sullivan 90). Being that marriage is an integral part of the Constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is logical to assume that denying certain individuals the right to marry the person of their choice because society as a whole views their choice as immoral would interfere with the 9th Amendment. Although it has never ruled in favor of same sex marriage, many U. S. Supreme Court rulings on the subject can be seen leaning heavily toward it.

One such example is the ruling in Zablocki v. Redhail, which the majority opinion is quoted as stating This Court has long recognized the freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. (qtd. in Sullivan 98) The Due Process Clause states, No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The conclusion should be made that denying same sex couples of marriage and all its privileges does not provide for equal protection, nor the other rights guaranteed to them by law. This lean towards same sex marriages suggests that the Supreme Court, which is composed of some of the brightest minds in America, is starting to realize the ramifications of their refusal to legalize the practice. The length of time it will take them to admit their mistake is something that remains to be seen.

Because hindsight is twenty-twenty the American people will someday be able to say that homosexuals always were entitled to the rights of marriage. However, today all personal and religious feelings must be put aside in an effort to force legal recognition of these rights. The American public must not continue into this millennium by letting this type of segregation and unequal access to the law to a specific portion of the population.

Should Gay Be Allowed To Marry

Over time, marriage has been the solid base for procreation and child rearing, which is the foundation of family and social life. There is recognition that allowing polygamous or closely related couples into our marriage system would be dysfunctional in our society. Does this not apply to same-sex marriage as well? The social unacceptability of same-sex marriage, the danger of contracting AIDS, and the bad influence on children prove that same-sex marriage should not be legalized. Homosexual activists, approximately three percent of our population, argue that those who do not agree with them are homophobic orheterosexist.

However, that argument is merely prejudiced against society. Todays society can certainly have its own opinion. The rightsand laws of homosexuals are ultimately restricted. Congresss litigation now describes laws that prevent gays and lesbians from marrying,procreating, or adopting (Williams 299). Marriage, as well as adoption, is considered a privilege; those who marry or adopt must obey the laws. No examples in past history occur in which same-sex unions were given the equal rights and legal recognition as heterosexual unions (Kaplan 16).

Factually, recent polls state that two-thirds of American adults oppose same-sex unions in which the homosexuals are given rights such as tax breaks, Social Security, divorce rights, hospital visits, custody, or inheritance. In a different poll taken, American adults were asked if homosexual marriage should be legal; sixty-four percent stated no, while only twenty-nice percent said yes. The same group of adults were also asked about homosexual adoption. Fifty-seven percent said no, while thirty-five percent agreed (Cloud 44).

Broadening our systematic form of marriage weakens it. n a different note, the number of gays (males) exceeds the number of lesbians, and legalizing same-sex marriage may result in male domination, defeating the womans role in society. A hierarchy of gay marriage holding more economic power and social status could become, overcoming even all heterosexual unity (Williams 317). The main reason the state is interested in marriage has been to provide financial and emotional security, as well as role models for children.

In the current marriage system of only opposite-sex unity, the protection of procreation is properly emphasized. However, over the last century heterosexual marriage has declined because notions of what makes a good man or woman have changed, resulting in self-fulfillment elsewhere than in marriage and family. The symbolism of homosexual marriage is also disturbing. For example, a lesbian or gay wedding has a heavy symbolic message on all guests that attend, including children, cooks, and waiters. Generations to come will remember the homosexual wedding as part of their friends or loved ones lifestyle.

Even though some homosexual unions may raise hildren better than some heterosexuals, the homosexual union is a symbolic attack of the norm of society and highly unaccepted by society. It is a known fact that homosexuals are ultimately discriminated. Even in San Francisco, California, where gays are populous, the homosexuals routinely experience discrimination, hate, and rejection. These factors also show that same-sex marriage is unaccepted by society. Surely, if same-sex marriage becomes a natural reality, then bisexual and three-some marriages will follow.

What will become of The AIDS virus plays a very significant part in homosexuality. The persons with the highest risk of contracting the AIDS virus are gay or bisexual white males (Williams 305). This AIDS virus is spread continuously because the gay individual may either not know he is HIV positive or may choose not to inform his sexual partner. Both ways are equally dangerous, especially since gays often have multiple sex partners. Since AIDS is most commonly spread by bodily fluids, the HIV virus is most common for sexually active individuals. Consider the case of the North family.

They married in 1982 but separated in 1991 when Mr. North admitted to an affair with another woman. He learned he was HIV positive in April 1991, but continued to have unprotected sexual intercourse with his wife until his June confession. After a years separation, Mr. North revealed that there was no other woman; he had engaged in homosexual activities beginning in 1979, continuing through his marriage, and he and his homosexual lover- also HIV positive- intended to inform the children about his new lifestyle. Mrs. North then filed for divorce and asked that visitation be limited to protect the children from the possibility of contracting HIV.

She elieved that because he had repeatedly lied to her, he could not be trusted to adequately guard the children against exposure to the gay HIV-positive homosexuals often lie about having AIDS in order to keep their sexual partners. One HIV-positive male explained, I feel dangerous to my sex partner. But I have to keep perspective and maintain my sexuality (Williams 316). Bisexuals, as well as homosexuals, come in contact with AIDS with varying responses. Obviously, the AIDS virus is common in homosexuality. Would legalizing same-sex marriage not increase the range of individuals carrying the HIV virus?

Homosexuality creates a bad influence on children. The concentration of children growing up in homosexual families is mostly in San Francisco, New York, and other large urban cities. The children of same-sex married couples are often deprived of role models to look up to. Children of lesbian couples will be deprived of a father, the effects of which are well documented. The sexual preference of children of homosexual parents is also affected. It is reasonable to state the rate at which children of lesbian couples choose same-sex partners is geometrically larger than the rate of children of heterosexual parents.

A recent survey concludes that nine out of twenty-five (36%) children of lesbian mothers and four out of twenty-one (19%) children of heterosexual mothers reported same-sex attraction. Additionally, six of twenty-five (24%) children of lesbian mothers and zero of twenty-one (0%) children of heterosexual mothers reported becoming involved with someone of the same gender (Williams 308). Clearly, the childs sexual preference is affected by the parents sexuality. A child of homosexual parents may also have affected behavior. Serious health problems may incur from being a child of gay or lesbian ouples.

Past research on children of lesbian or gay couples is marred my methodological problems, including heavy reliance on self-reporting and a tendency to ignore evidence not supporting a conclusion. Boys raised by masculine fathers feel more secure and generally do not commit crimes. Boys of lesbians may be susceptible to this behavior. Homosexuals also have a history of unstable relationships, so the children may suffer family disruptions often. Another peril involved with same-sex couples is their history of substance abuse.

As a group, same-sex couples are known for substance buse, which may lead to a shorter life expectancy than heterosexuals, as well as a bad influence on children (Williams 308). Despite some failures, the family of a husband, wife, and children offers yet the best environment for human development. Same-sex marriage may eventually damage the norm in our society and disrupt human life. Many factors demonstrate that same-sex marriage is a disruption to human life. The social unacceptability of same-sex marriage, the danger of contracting AIDS, and the bad influence of children prove that homosexual marriage should not be legalized.

Gay Love Essay

Love is something that is very popular in today’s world. Everyone should be able to love and be loved, to be joined in marriage. But, some people don’t get those rights simply because they’re gay. Congress combines church and state to make marriage illegal. But, people have different religions, different beliefs, and different views on everything. Banning gay marriage violates a person’s constitutional freedom. The constitute states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. ” Church and state are being combined to rule out marriage for gays.

Same sex marriage is illegal in all fifty states, and the U. S. Congress has passed a “Defense of Marriage Act” to block recognition of any future same sex marriages. The also have restricted rights to adoption and child raising. (Smith, Haider 14) But yet there is probably a population, small if any, of gays in every state. In 1977 Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to a public office in California. Milk’s career was cut short in 1978 when he was assassinated in City Hall on November 27, 1978.

People were so against Milk being openly gay they stuck back. President Bush indicated he opposes extending legal rights to homosexuals, saying he “believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another. “(“Reserved for Heterosexuals”) So he chooses to discriminate a group of people simply because they don’t have the same beliefs as him. And in a later story, Bush states,” I think it’s very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.

On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. “(“Reserved for Heterosexuals”) Bush will welcome you with understanding, open arms, as long as you’re not gay. Yet the Constitute reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. ” Court ruled marriage is a fundamental human right. ( Allison “Church and State”) And a fundamental human right means that everyone should be allowed to have it, no one should be left out.

It has often been noted that in the Western tradition homosexuality was first called the sin of sodomy next considered the disease of psychological inversion, but now has become like an ethnicity. (Smith, Haider Preface 15) Prior to the civil war, Africans were not allowed to marry in some states. And then again, prior to 1948, interracial couples were not allowed to marry in California and other states. Nineteen years later, the U. S. supreme courtruled that mixed raced marriages were legal anywhere in America(Allison “Church and State”).

It took nineteen years just to allow people of two different races to marry, not even considering if they were homosexual. “This court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Allison “Church and State”)” But still, gays are stripped of that right, because they don’t have the same sexual preference. A poll showed that the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage back lashed causing people who agreed with homosexual relations being legal to fall from 60% to 48%.

And only 40% support civil union. “Reserved for Heterosexuals”) In addition to being outnumbered, gay people are despised no other group of Americans is the object of such sustained, extreme, intense distaste such hostility does not face any other group in electorate. (Smith, Haider 12) As of now, only Vermont allows civil union(Allison “Church and State”). But still, the federal government’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act affirms that states are not required to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state(“Reserved for Heterosexuals”).

A group of same sex couples sued the state of Vermont for the right to marry, rguing that not allowing same sex couples to marry constituted unlawful gender discrimination. In December 1999 the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the state could not deny same sex couples the protections, benefits, and responsibilities of their heterosexuals counterparts. The court instructed the legislature to allow for same sex marriages or create a similar system that would have the same benefits and responsibilities for the involved parties.

During the 2000 legislative session, the Vermont legislature created civil unions, which provide same sex couples with legal standing akin to marriage. Smith, Haider 137) In other countries only Belgium and Netherlands have legal marriage in which they are also allowed to adopt a child. ( Allison “Church and State”) Although the country views gay marriage to be unreasonable, there are other types of marriages that are obscure from the one male, one female in love relationship. The polygynous marriages, which were in the bible, were where a man married multiple women and they all lived together.

The Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints still believe in polygynous marriages. Another type of marriage is levirate where a woman who was widowed ith having a child would be required to leave her home, marry her brother-in-law, live with him, and have sexual relationships. The woman was considered “fortunate” if she happened to like the man. Another forced relationship in the bible is a male who raped a female virgin that is not engaged to be married must marry her attacker (Allison “Church and State”).

It is legal to openly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, credit, consumer service, and public accommodation in most jurisdictions. (Smith, Haider 14) Everyone views marriage differently. Many people have different religions. Many Christian denominations look at marriage as being ordained by God, patterned after God’s creation of the first couple, Adam and Eve. (Allison “Church and State”) Christian Churches consistently and strongly oppose gay rights.

They opposed and ejected known homosexuals from it’s ranks, clergy and offices; would not allow homosexual rights committees to meet on Church property, and considered AIDS to be God’s revenge on homosexuals. (“Religion”) To some Christians, the relationship between two spouses is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and his church. But, other faith groups have a broader definition of marriage: a religiously recognized commitment by a couple to support each other and live together monogamously “til death do them part.

A growing number of religious organizations do not require the spouses to be of opposite genders. And to most atheists and agnostics, a marriage will be entirely secular in nature, without any religious significance(Allison “Church and State). Islam is probably the most rigidly and inhumanly anti-homosexual in it’s practices of all the world religions. Islamists deny human rights to gays. Allison “Church and State”) Judaism does not accept homosexuality, and as the very concept of homosexuality was not formed at the time that the Hebrew Bible’s texts and traditions were formed, the issue was not addressed.

Many congressional parties also have different views on gays and marriage. The 200 Democratic platform stated that that party supported “the full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of the nation,” including “an equitable alignment of benefits”. That party’s presidential nominee, Vice President Al Gore, did not specifically mention sexual orientation in his acceptance speech. However, Gore had made his support clear throughout the campaign. The Republican Party nominee, George W.

Bush, had noted that “an openly known homosexual is somebody who probably wouldn’t agree with his philosophy. ” making it obvious that he does not agree with it. Yet still, some activists suggested that a positive aspect of the convention was that fact that Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President nominee Dick Cheney, sat publicly with her mother and sister. The Libertarian Party addresses sexual rights with the following: “We believe that adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity.

We oppose any government attempt to dictate, prohibit, control or encourage any private lifestyle. “( Smith, Haider 168) Regardless of a sexual orientation two people should be allowed to share love and marriage together as a happy couple. Even congressional parties are divided on their opinions on gay marriage; everyone should be allowed to love who ever they please. Religious groups have different beliefs. People have different view on life. So, it should be open for decision, not closed off because one group says its right. American’s deserve the right and have the freedom to marry whomever they want.

Gay Parenting Essay

The conception that lesbians and gay men may be parents is frequently perceived in todays society as impossible or immoral. Gay men and lesbians are often viewed as excluded from having children because sexual reproduction is related to men and women only. My approach to this uniquely controversial topic of gay parenting will be that of attempting to analyze the Pro side first. Gays and lesbians are human too and who is to say that they dont deserve equal rights in society.

Society has to realize that the modern family has developed into many different forms in recent years in that the “nuclear family” is not necessarily the most common form anymore. Then I will attempt to analyze the Con side which expresses the fact that two people of the same sex should not be raising and rearing children together. Many believe that if the couple is unable to produce children together, then they shouldnt be raising them as parents. Children need a balance in their lives and different sexed parents can provide that balance efficiently.

Each parent (mom or dad) socializes the child differently and the child needs to be introduced to both worlds. I will then proceed to critique both sides on strengths and weaknesses, based on facts, studies, and my own opinion, and then draw some of my own conclusions on this controversial topic of Gay Parenting. Pro Position There is no valid reason for refusing to call lesbian and gay headed household families. They fall under every conceivable criterion for identifying families and the concept of a Family.

They are groups of coresident kin providing jointly through income-pooling for eachothers need of food and shelter. They socialize children, engage in emotional and physical support, and make up part of a larger kin network”. (O Brien and Weir, 128). There are also many homophobic ( the irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality or gay people, Biery 88) individuals in todays society who are the main cause of negative stereotypes against lesbians and gay parents. These negative stereotypes all prove to be untrue and irrational, revealing that gay and lesbian parents could be equally as fit to straight parents.

The accusation that majority of gay men are child molesters has been rejected in that the overwhelming majority of child sexual abusers area heterosexual men, who abuse both boys and girls. The fear that children of lesbian and gay parents will become lesbian or gay is irrational in that studies show that the sexual orientation of the parents has no effect whatsoever on sexual orientation of youths. The concern that the children of gay and lesbian headed families will not develop so called appropriate gender identity or gender behaviour has been introduced.

This was proved incorrect in that when comparing children of gay parents to children of straight parents, there was no significant difference in these two areas. The last stereotype involving the fear that emotional damage will effect the child due to coping with the issue of having lesbian or gay parents. Once again this was proved to be false and the general psychological well being of children in gay and lesbian households matches that of children of heterosexual parent households. (O Brien and Weir, 129). These common stereotypes heard frequently in todays society have all been proved incorrect and ignorant.

Therefore they illustrate that gay and lesbian parents are continually stereotyped against unfairly and unjustly. Lesbians and gay men are popularly and commonly thought of by society to have a negative influence on children. This places an enormous strain and great pressure on lesbian and gay headed families, which is totally unnecessary. “When we assume male-headed nuclear families to be central units of kinship, and all alternative patterns to be extensions or exceptions, we accept as aspect of cultural hegemony instead of studying it.

In the process, we miss the contested domain in which symbolic innovation may occur. Even continuity may be the result of innovation”. (Weston, 145). This is a very powerful statement in that it reinforces the argument that lesbian and gay families are overlooked in society as even being a family unit . Society must come to realize that every family, not just gay headed families, experience problems in their homes. An article which depicts some of the major problems that some single mothers experience is: Manhunts and Bingo Blabs: Single mothers speak out-M. Little, p. 164-181.

This article will assist one in realizing that some individuals will face some dilemmas and issues in life, but it is those issues and how a family deals with them effectively that will make them stronger as a family unit. Everyone deals with pressures of everyday life and it is those who learn by them that are prosperous. With specific reference to child rearing, parents were told that problems arise in all homes, with all children, and at all ages, the interesting fact being that the problems do or do not arise but what method should be employed in dealing with them when they arise (Dickinson, 392).

Problems in the home are inevitable, in all forms of families, and those who believe that one form of family will have more problems and issues than others will need to reassess their outlook to a more rational perception. Society has to realize that it is not ones sexual preference that allows a family to grow and flourish, it is the efforts of the people who make up that family unit. A family is based on trust and love, and if that is what these gay and lesbians parents are providing for their children, then why not let them live as they want. Con Position

Many will argue that children of lesbian and gay parents do not grow up the “same” as children of heterosexual parents. Concern usually revolves around the issue that the children will also grow up to become lesbian or gay themselves (Baker, 105). In most cultures, children are raised to take on specific roles associated with their biological sex very early in life. Therefore, in most cases people maintain an identity of themselves in terms of gender (Blumenfeld and Raymond, 45). (This statement is expanded on in the Chapter of Socialization and gender roles in Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life).

Many also believe that children need parents of the opposite sex to find balance in their lives. Each heterosexual parent socializes their children differently and children need to view this difference for themselves. An elaborate description of masculinity and fatherhood takes place in, “Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Goodlife during Canadas baby boom, 1945-1965, Robert Rutherdale. This article depicts how the dad of the nuclear family “had secured his familys place in the consumer markets and recreational opportunities of a profoundly acquisitive period”(369).

It depicts some activities which fathers endured with the son to ensure masculinity and machoness as the son matured into a man himself. Children need to realize and witness how men and women deal with certain situations differently, they need to be informed of different situations that will occur to them throughout their lives (depending on their sex), and they need each of their parents at different times of their lives (example-and girl needs her mom at menarche and her dad to help her with her car).

Some feel that if there is an imbalance then the child will never learn to identify with the one sex that is absent from their life. This issue of balance has never been proved to be true yet still remains an issue to some. Another major issue facing gay parents is AIDS. ” The fact that the epidemic was first identified in the early 1980s in the gay male communities of North America. ” (Weeks, ch 1 p. 15-45). AIDs is known as the gay disease it has been studied and many feel that homosexuals are more prone and susceptible to contracting the disease than heterosexuals.

Many feel that the children of gay parents are in increased danger due to the fact that AIDS is increasingly spreading and if their parent has it then they are at high risk to contracting it. The Chapter, “HIV and the State of the Family” in the text “Transgressing Borders” (p. 19-33), clearly depicts the issues facing families, of all forms, in direct relation to AIDS. This may help some to realize the seriousness of this incurable disease. AIDSphobia is another issue discussed in this chapter. This is “strongly related to heterosexism and homophobia prejudicial attitudes and practices against lesbian and gay men .

Individuals with antigay attitudes are far more likely than others to have irrational fears about HIV transmission (Sears and Adam, 27). AIDS is a growing epidemic with no cure that affect millions. The seriousness of this disease is illustrated in ” From Reproduction to HIV: Blurring Categories, Shifting Positions, Martin-256-269, in which individuals narrate stories of people living with AIDS and these individuals, while extremely sick and almost dying, experience abandonment, by family and friends, and discrimination.

A great portion of todays society feel that children should not be exposed to this disease if it may be prevented. Therefore they attack these gay parents seeing that AIDS is the “gay” disease. Society has to realize that anyone may contract it and there is no one in the world that is immune to it. It is up to gay parents as well as straight parents to assure in preventing the contraction of this disease to any child. Also to protect themselves from contracting it, the loss of a parent is traumatizing to a child.

Another main issue against gay parenting is the concern of safety for their children. There is a concern that children of homosexuals will be harassed by their peers(Brooks, 362). Many people in todays society have a negative stereotypical attitude towards homosexuals. This influence is then passed onto their children in turn is then taken out on peers. This especially effects those who have gay parents. That child may be harassed at school, both mentally and physically, and teased constantly.

This may then affect the child psychologically, emotionally, and physically, either then or later in life. Children have increasingly become more cruel with peers and this certainly does take its toll on the child being harassed, whether the effects are visible or not. The child living with homosexual parents may not only be harassed for having gay parents, but also for being gay themselves. Many have the idea that children who grow up in a gay home become gay themselves. They believe this to be true in that the child learns the parents ways and want to be just like their role model, their parent.

People have to realize that in todays society children tease one another for the oddest reasons, if there is not a reason to tease or gang up on someone, someone is sure to find or make up something just to have something to do. In Conclusion, in analyzing all of the facts , both supporting and refuting the controversial topic of gay parenting, I fell that the stronger side proved to be that of supporting gay parenting. The information gathered on negative stereotypes against gay parenting proved to be incorrect and inconclusive. Much of the information refuting gay parenting was not based on concrete facts or studies.

The issue of AIDS, safety, and gender identity are all issues that affect heterosexual headed families as often as homosexual headed families. It is how the family overcomes these issues that is important. If these families are successful this will create a closer and stronger family tie. In evaluating the issue of gay parenting, one would find it difficult to gather information refuting the issue, majority of the information that I came across was supporting. One will notice that literature and attitudes have changed and are progressing when dealing with homosexuality.

More and more individuals are beginning to accept or come to terms with this controversial topic. Gay and lesbian parenting should be treated as any other parenting style would be treated. If they are willing and able to love and provide adequately for these children, then society should allow them to do just that. Evidence proves that there is no difference between a child from a gay parent family to a heterosexual parent family, and therefore there is no reason why these family units should be treated so differently.

Gay Marriage Analysis

There seem to be Specific time in history where certain issues define the culture tension in a society. They become representative of large worldview and clearly emphasize the battle between divergent moral and spiritual perspectives. Homosexual marriage in the United States is one of these issues. In the past five years, there have been various threats and debates about the possibility of legalizing homosexual union.

The issue took centre stage in February largely. The U. S Senate quashes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gays from marrying. President Bush and other same-sex marriage opponents say they will try again. Most of Americans are against same-sex marriage because how the nation would change if gay were allowed to marry.

First, it is more likely to lead to polygamy. For instance, says legalizing same-sex marriage will open the floodgates to polygamy. The more government moves towards sanctioning homosexual relationships, the less right it has to prevent plural marriage. The idea that same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy is “Not beyond the bounds of reality, although incredibly unlikely,” said Michael Allen who teaches constitutional law at Stetson university college of law in Gulf port. We do not see that is as a realistic view.

For instance, it is highly doubtful that solemnizing the union of accepting adults, equal in power in their relationships, would lead to acceptance of polygamous unions, which have, throughout most of history in those societies that have accepted them. “If one man can marry anther man, you need to ask then, what is it that you doing by prohibiting one man from marrying two women? ” “What’s the evil that you are tying to prevent? ” “If same sex marriage is legalized there is no natural stopping point in redefining what is or is not acceptable.

It would take much longer to legalize polygamy then gay marriage because it is more socially taboo. ” That is the reason that polygamists would get away with trying to take credit on same sex marriage (Attorney John Bucher). Second, gay marriage will affect on the Federal Spending. According to news reports, the costs of same sex marriage, he referred to on August 2003 report from the nonpartisan congressional budget office that said the federal government would have to spend about $ 1. 4- billion during 10 years to extend benefits to domestic partners and retirees.

The budget study for the possible impact of same sex marriage that the office crunched numbers from census figures and other reports to estimate income taxes, Social Security, health care benefits and other federal programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps. The government would pay more benefits in areas such as social security. Third, gay marriage is against “Religious Speech”. Some religious leaders think it could become more difficult legally to lecture against homosexuality if the nation were to support same sex marriage as a fundamental right.

The argument has spread, reaching Christian television shows and church pulpits. Major religious organizations have issued warnings, including concerned women for America, focus on the family and the liberty counsel, and Orlando based group that has become a national leader in the fight against same- sex marriage. “A woman who married her lesbian partner in Massachusetts was banned from teaching in the church of Christ, Scientist after she refused to “repent” for her actions.

A church letter sent to Kathleen Clement son said she had abused her role as a teacher and could teach spiritual healing again only if she repented and served a three- years probation. “I don’t feel I have anything to repent for more than anyone else,” she told The News Press of Fort Myers. Christian Scientists consider prayer as the primary source of mental and physical healing, and clement son was a well- known church practitioner and lecturer. For 10 years, she taught two classes on spiritual healing that is the first step toward being a church practitioner.

The church’s letter to clement son also said that her former students are now considered to have had no primary is instruction, and they can no longer present their practitioner services in the Christian Science Journal, or take annual refresher courses. Few people will be seriously affected by the board’s decision, clement son said. Forth, gar marriage affects on children. Among the most highly debated issues surrounding gay marriage is parenting how are families and kids who live in same sex households affected? The scientific evidence is clear, it says.

Research during the past three decades says that children raised by gay parents were more likely to consider homosexual relationships. Still, the majority of all children identify themselves as heterosexuals, the sociologists noted. Children of ay parents were more likely to play with toys outside of their rationale gender roles and were less constrained by gender in their dress and their goals. For instance, girls raised by lesbians were more likely to be lawyers, doctors and astronauts. They were also more a “sexually adventurous”.

Boys raised by lesbians, on the other hand, were chaster than their peers were in heterosexual household. People who are against same sex marriage have also embraced their findings, holding them up as proof that gay parenting is not ideal for children. Articles on websites for the family research council and concerned women for America refer to the study. Concerned women’s LaRue said other studies have concluded that homes with mothers and fathers are best. Finally, gays claim that they have to have their civil rights.

The idea that same sex marriage is a civil rights issue, similar to African Americans gaining the right to sit at lunch counters and to vote, is highly debatable among those for and against legalizing gay marriage”. “To call this civil rights issue is untruthful and it also demeans the civil rights struggle of African Americans,” said LaRue of concerned women for America. “She said race is an “undeniable point” that can’t be changed”. She believes that homosexual marriage can be converted. John Lewis, D-Ga; who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr, said the proposed Marriage protection Act was a step backward in civil rights.

Those of us who came through the civil rights movement saw the federal courts as a sympathetic referee. If it had not been for the federal courts, where would we be? If it had not been for the supreme court of 1954, there would still be legalized segregation in America to vote for this legislation would be like members of congress trying to stand in the courthouse door, just like Government. Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door to stop the integration of Alabama schools today it is gay marriage, tomorrow it will be something else”.

In conclusion, it seems that the basic problem facing the problem is the limits between a right and privilege. The problem with an issue like marriage is that it is neither a right nor a privilege. In its simplest form a marriage is a union between consenting souls to share assets, responsibility, and form a “Unit”. We have the right to life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness, we do not; but it is a system that not only works well but has also been established as our system of laws. So the idea about gay marriage should be banned.

Constitutionality Of Same Sex Marriage

The proposed legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the most significant issues in contemporary American family law. Presently, it is one of the most vigorously advocated reforms discussed in law reviews, one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers, and one of the most provocative issues emerging before American courts. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of American family law. The potential consequences, positive or negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples, families, social structure public health, and the tatus of women are enormous.

Given the importance of the issue, the value of comprehensive debate of the reasons for and against legalizing same-sex marriage should be obvious. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another. Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation, succession of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and other rights.

When two adults desire to “contract” in the eyes of the law, as ell a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, should the law prohibit their request merely because they are of the same gender? I intend to prove that because of Article IV of the United States Constitution, there is no reason why the federal government nor any state government should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship. Marriage has changed throughout the years.

In Western law, wives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial marriage is now idely accepted, both in statute and in society; and marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for a divorce. Societal change have been felt in marriages over the past 25 years as divorce rates have increased and have been integrated into even upper class families. Proposals to legalize same-sex marriage or to enact broad domestic partnership laws are currently being promoted by gay and lesbian activists, especially in Europe and North America.

The trend in western European nations during the past decade has been to increase legal aid o homosexual relations and has included marriage benefits to some same-sex couples. For example, within the past six years, three Scandinavian countries have enacted domestic partnership laws allowing same-sex couples in which at least one partner is a citizen of the specified country therefore allowing many benefits that heterosexual marriages are given.

In the Netherlands, the Parliament is considering domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, all major political parties favor recognizing same-sex relations, and more than a dozen towns have already done so. Finland provides governmental social enefits to same-sex partners. Belgium allows gay prisoners the right to have conjugal visits from same-sex partners. An overwhelming majority of European nations have granted partial legal status to homosexual relationships. The European Parliament also has passed a resolution calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

In the United States, efforts to legalize same-sex domestic partnership have had some, limited success. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. reported that by mid-1995, thirty-six municipalities, eight counties, three states, five state agencies, and two federal agencies xtended some benefits to, or registered for some official purposes, same-sex domestic partnerships. In 1994, the California legislature passed a domestic partnership bill that provided official state registration of same-sex couples and provided limited marital rights and privileges relating to hospital visitation, wills and estates, and powers of attorney.

While California’s Governor Wilson eventually vetoed the bill, its passage by the legislature represented a notable political achievement for advocates of same-sex marriage. The most significant prospects for legalizing same-sex marriage in he near future are in Hawaii, where advocates of same-sex marriage have won a major judicial victory that could lead to the judicial legalization of same-sex marriage or to legislation authorizing same-sex domestic partnership in that state. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Baehr v.

Lewin, vacated a state circuit court judgment dismissing same-sex marriage claims and ruled that Hawaii’s marriage law allowing heterosexual, but not homosexual, couples to obtain marriage licenses constitutes sex discrimination under the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment. The case began in 1991 when three same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health brought suit in state court against the director of the department. Hawaii law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license.

While the marriage license law did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage at that time, it used terms of gender that clearly indicated that only heterosexual couples could marry. The coupl sought a judicial decision that the Hawaii marriage license law is unconstitutional, as it prohibits same-sex marriage and allows state officials ro deny marriage icenses to same-sex couples on account of the heterosexuality requirement. Baehr and her attorney sought their objectives entirely through state law, not only by filing in state rather than federal court, but also by alleging exclusively violations of state law–the Hawaii Constitution.

The state moved for judgment on the pleadings and for dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim; the state’s motion was granted in October, 1991. Thus, the circuit court upheld the heterosexuality marriage requirement as a matter of law and dismissed the plaintiffs’ challenges to it. Yet recently the Circuit Court of Hawaii decided that Hawaii had violated Baehr and her partner’s constitutional rights by the fourteenth amendment and that they could be recognized as a marriage.

The court found that the state of Hawaii’s constitution expressly discriminated against homosexuals and that because of Hawaii’s anti-discrimination law they must re evaluate the situation. After the ruling the state immediately asked for a stay of judgment, until the appeal had been convened, therefore putting off any marriage between Baehr and her partner for at least a year. By far Baehr is the most positive step toward actual marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. Currently there is a high tolerance for homosexuals throughout the United States and currently in Hawaii.

Judges do not need the popularity of the people on the Federal or circuit court level to make new precedent. There is no clear majority that homosexuals should have marriage rights in the general public, and yet the courts voted for Baehr. The judiciary has its own mind on how to interpret the constitution which is obviously very different then most of American popular belief. This is the principal reason that these judges are not elected by the people, so they do not have to bow to people pressure.

The constitutional rights argument for same-sex marriage affirms that there is a fundamental constitutional right to marry, or a broader right of privacy or of intimate association. The essence of this right is the private, intimate association of consenting adults who want to share their lives and commitment with each other and that same-sex couples have just as much intimacy and need for marital privacy as heterosexual couples; and that laws allowing heterosexual, but not same-sex, couples o marry infringe upon and discriminate against this fundamental right.

Just as the Supreme Court compelled states to allow interracial marriage by recognizing the claimed right as part of the fundamental constitutional right to marry, of privacy and of intimate association so should states be compelled now to recognize the fundamental right of homosexuals to do the same. If Baehr ultimately leads to the legalization of same-sex marriage or broad, marriage like domestic partnership in Hawaii, the impact of that legalization will be felt widely.

Marriage recognition principles erived from choice-of-law and full-faith-and-credit rules probably would be invoked to recognize same-sex Hawaiian marriages as valid in other states. The impact of Hawaii’s decision will immediately impact marriage laws in all of the United States. The full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given to the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.

Marriage qualifies for recognition under each section: 1) creation of marriage is “public act” because it occurs pursuant to a statutory scheme and is performed by a legally designated official, and ecause a marriage is an act by the state; 2) a marriage certificate is a “record” with a outlined legal effect, showing that a marriage has been validly contracted, that the spouses meet the qualifications of the marriage statutes, and they have duly entered matrimony.

Public records of lesser consequence, such as birth certificates and automobile titles have been accorded full faith and credit; 3) celebrating a marriage is a “judicial proceeding” where judges, court clerks, or justices of the peace perform the act of marriage. It would seem evident that if heterosexual couples use Article IV as a afety net and guarantee for their wedlock then that same right should be given to homosexual couples.

This Article has often been cited as a reference point for interracial marriages in the south when those states do not want to recognize the legitimacy of that union by another state. As this is used for that lifestyle, there is no logical reason it should be denied to perhaps millions of homosexuals that want the opportunity to get married. The obstacles being out in front of homosexual couples is in the name of the “normal” people that actively seek to define their definition to all. It is these “normal” people that are the definition of surplus repression and social domination.

Yet as they cling to the Constitution for their freedoms they deny those same freedoms to not “normal” people because they would lose their social domination and could be changed. Therefore it would seem they are afraid to change, and have not accepted that the world does change. Unfortunately the full faith and credit clause has rarely been used as anything more then an excuse to get a quick divorce. A man wants a divorce yet his wife does not or will not void their marriage. He then goes to Reno, Nevada, buys a house and gets a job for six weeks.

After that six weeks when he can declare himself a legal resident he applies for a singular marriage void and because Nevada law allows one side to void their marriage is they are a resident of Nevada their marriage is now void. The man now moves back to his home state, and upon doing so this state must now recognize the legitimacy that Nevada has voided out the marriage. Even if the wife does not consent, the new state cannot do anything about it. That is what usually full faith and credit is used under.

Legislation enacted by President Clinton from Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has allowed individual states to react differently to any intrusion of marriage that they feel is not proper. DOMA states “marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. ” “Supporters of DOMA also claim clear constitutional warrant, and that Congress is exercising its own authority under Article IV to prescribe the manner in which the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state, shall be proved.

However it would seem that by allowing individual tates to alter and change what the meaning of marriage is, it could create a disaster if even heterosexuals want to wed. The underlying principle in DOMA is that states now have the right to redefine what they feel is or is not appropriate behavior and shall be allowed or illegal in their state. It is also apparent that the signing of DOMA by President Clinton was more of a presidential campaign gesture then an actual change in policy.

While he has shifted considerably from his platform in 1992 this move was specifically designed to change his image among more conservative voters. It is also apparent that this move did ot work because a majority of conservative Americans still voted for Bob Dole in the 1996 Presidential election. Clinton, now that he has been re elected, partially under the front of a more moderate administration, should seriously rethink its policy on social change and whether he wants to go out as the President that denied hundred of thousands of people the opportunity for equal rights.

In 1967 the Supreme Court announced that “marriage is one of the most basic civil rights of man…. essential to the pursuit of happiness. ” Having the highest court on the land make such a profound statement bout something which current politicians think they can regulate like phone or tv’s is something short of appalling. For who is to say what happiness can be created from wedlock but the people that are in the act itself, per couple, household and gender.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act proclaim that “All marriages contracted…. utside this State that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place in which they were contracted… are valid in this State”. This Act has been enacted in seventeen states and could be the foundation for full faith and credit if marriages were to ake place in other states. However as much as the right wing conservatives wish to pursue an aggressive anti-gay/lifestyle agenda the DOMA act has been widely criticized as intensely unconstitutional.

It is bias and discriminatory toward homosexuals and there fore against the United States Constitution and once again the fourteenth amendment proclaiming all citizens equal. Fearing that the state may have to recognize same-gender marriages from Hawaii, because of the controversy over DOMA the state legislatures of Arizona, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Idaho, and Georgia, ave made preemptive strikes and enacted state legislation which bars recognition of same-gender marriages.

Several other state legislatures, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Louisiana, New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina and Wisconsin, have attempted to enact similar legislation, but failed. After Hawaiian marriages are brought to these states for enforcement, these laws will lead each state into a potential separate constitutional challenge of its same-gender marriage ban. Those cases could be the new foundation for a sweeping change in popular American politics and thought and will perhaps pave he road for increased awareness of this human rights issue.

Leaving aside, as government should, objections that may be held by particular religions, the case against same-gender marriage is simply that people are unaccustomed to it. Bigotry and prejudice still exist in our evolving society, and traditionally people fear what is strange and unfamiliar to them. One may argue that change should not be pushed along hastily. At the same time, it is an argument for legalizing homosexual marriage through consensual politics as in Denmark, rather than by court order, as may happen in Hawaii.

Gay Marriage Report

I really hate writing this paper for one simple reason. I shouldn’t have to. This is America. We shouldn’t have to ‘defend’ gay-marriage because it should be automatic. I remember an explanation of the difference between America and Russia when I was very young. I was told that in America we have freedom. We have the right to stand in the middle of the street and scream, “I hate Reagan! ” The broadcast explained that in Russia they couldn’t do that. I remember that because it was very striking. I didn’t hate Reagan (I was very young) but I knew that I could do that if I wanted to.

The same issue is at us today: should the government involve itself in personal choices. To be fair, gay-marriage is not entirely personal. Marriage is a public union that is recognized by the state. But if we pride ourselves on living in a country where “all men are created equal,” we must wonder why the government sees fit to “grant” marriage to some, but not to others. But the issue is deeper than all men being created equal and goes back to the phrase before that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident”. It is self-evident that all men are created equal.

The Constitution, and the government by extension, does not grant equality because it is not theirs to grant. We are humans, and thus, equal. This, I believe, is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this country. It is the idea that we are capable of making our own decisions. We are even capable of making our own mistakes. But we can make them ourselves. Denying people the opportunity to marry just because they do not wish to marry in the conventional sense is not, I believe, what was envisioned for this country.

People who wish to marry have made a choice. It was their decision to make and the government should not interfere with that decision because it is not their place to interfere. But here we are. We limit some while encouraging others. Why? I just wish that our dear President and all of right-wing America (as well as some of the people in the center who think that we’re all out to get them and destroy their “most enduring human institution”) would just say what they really mean: “When I think of gay marriage, I think of gay sex.

When I think of gay sex, I get grossed out. ” But thats not good enough in America. At least it shouldnt be. What does it say about us when we try to limit the freedoms of someone when that freedom does absolutely no harm to us? I am fine with limiting freedoms for acts which will harm others, but gay marriage is completely harmless. The worst part of it all is an attempt to change the Constitution to prohibit this. The Constitution is a near-sacred text that ensures, not revokes, freedoms.

So, what will history say about us? How will these arguments look in 50 years? We look back on the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and wonder how it was even possible for blacks to be treated so poorly. The very idea of segregation is appalling. But it was standard practice 50 years ago. Is denial of gay-marriage as bad as racism of the 60s? Probably not. But it is the same idea. And I believe that history will look back on this in much the same way. We shouldnt have to have this debate.

We should not have to fight for equality because it is self-evident that all men are created equal. But we do have to fight. So we will. Why? Because this is America and in America, everyone should have every opportunity to do what they please as long as they are not harming someone else. That is the real issue at hand; not the sanctity of marriage, but our ability to make our own choices. It is not the governments role to grant or deny that because we are all equal; not by government authority, but because we are humans.

Same-Sex Marriage Analysis

Each individuals journey through life is unique. Some will make this journey alone, others in loving relationships- maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to ponder our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes and colors and is not finite. It can not be measured or defined in terms of sexual orientation. (From the Statement of Affirmation and Reconciliation by the Quaker Meeting in Aotearoa, New Zealand. ) Even though is it thought by many that marriage is mainly a religious agreement, it also creates a legal relationship between the ouple and the state.

Currently there is much debate on homosexuals couples right to legalized marriage. There is much information available, both for and against. Two articles that are strongly in support of legalized same sex marriage are Iowa Representative Ed Fallons speech to the House in 1996, and an article from the Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. One article that is strongly opposed to same sex marriage is an article written by Dr. Paul Cameron titled Same Sex Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part?

In a speech read to the United States House of Representatives on February 20, 1996, Iowa Representative Ed Fallon discussed why he is in support of the legalization of same sex marriage. He began his speech, by stating of this debate and how their vote would affect the publics point of view. He used the example of red-baiting, from the 1950s, which today has become pink-baiting. He felt that by creating gay and lesbian unions, instead of legalizing gay marriage, this would only reinforce homophobia and gay bashing. He stressed the idea that heterosexuals need only to accept homosexuals.

In order to do this, Representative Fallon, stated that we need to put an end to fear and stereotypes, and start seeing each other as fellow human beings. He strongly believes that this is a civil rights issue, and poses no threat to the society. He mentions a lesbian couple that has children the same as his son. They are being raised no different than how he is raising his child. His major point is that if same sex marriage continues to be band, there will be a message sent to the public, which condones homophobia, and does not ive the equal rights to everyone.

A second argument in favor of legalizing same sex marriage was written by the co-director of the Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. He believes, like Representative Fallon, that marriage is not only a religious agreement, but also has civil and legal status. According to his article, Legal marriage triggers 150-250 laws in every U. S. state, as well as more than 1,040 Federal laws. (Demian. Legal Marriage Primer. Demian @buddybuddy. com. 999)

He points out that there when a heterosexual couple gets married, clergy are not required for a license to be completed, nor does the couple need to belong to a church or temple. The only thing required for a marriage license is being a legal adult and part of an opposite-sex couple. There are many laws that require this piece of paper in order to receive the benefits. A few of these are: Wrongful death benefits, child custody, joint adoption, joint insurance, hospital visitation, and domestic violence protection. Currently no where in the world can homosexual couples receive these benefits.

He also discusses the difference between marriage and domestic partnership. The problem here is that domestic partnership only covers insurance, or time off to care of their partner. Also, the employee must an affidavit, stating that the relationship has existed for at least one year, that couple lives together, and are both responsible for each others economic welfare. None of these are required of legally married couples. (Demian. Legal Marriage Primer. Demian @buddybuddy. com. 1999) The major theme through out the article is that gay couples simply want the same rights as everyone else, nothing more and nothing less.

Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute does not believe that this is true. Instead he believes that same sex marriage is a threat to the heterosexual community. His first reason against same sex marriage is that homosexual marriages are short lived. He feels that this is more about legitimacy that actual marriage. The second reason he states is that homosexual marriage results in high-risk behavior and unsafe sex. Which leads to AIDS and other such diseases. A third reason, is a high rate of domestic violence. In 1990, nearly half of 90 lesbian couples in Los Angeles reported domestic violence yearly.

A fourth reason is that homosexual domestic violence is a larger problem than gay bashing. He believes that cases of domestic violence are much higher than gay bashing, and are much more physically violent. The last reason is that homosexuals make poor parents. According to one study that is based only on half of a percent of Americans who had a homosexual parent, they were more likely to have had ex with a parent, experience homosexuality as their first sexual encounter, be sexually molested, become homosexual or bisexual, and report dissatisfaction with their childhood.

He concludes that homosexual marriage is a bad idea and will only hurt our society as a whole. (Cameron, Dr. Paul. Same Sex Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part? www. familyresearchinst. org . 1997) In reading this essay one can see, that there are many reasons for, and many reasons against legalizing same sex marriage. It is important to know all the information, before making a decision where to stand on this issue.

Constitutionality of Same Sex Marriage in the United States

The proposed legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the most significant issues in contemporary American family law. Presently, it is one of the most vigorously advocated reforms discussed in law reviews, one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers, and one of the most provocative issues emerging before American courts. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of American family law. The potential consequences, positive or negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples, families, social structure, public health, and the status of women are huge.

Given the importance of the issue, the value of broad debate of the reasons for and against legalizing same-sex marriage should be obvious. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another. Aside from public and religious beliefs, marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation, succession of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and other rights.

When two adults desire to “contract” in the eyes of the law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, should the law prohibit their request merely because they are of the same gender? I intend to prove that because of Article IV of the United States Constitution, there is no reason why the federal government nor any state government should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship. Marriage has changed throughout the years.

In Western law, wives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial marriage is now widely accepted, both in law and in society; and marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for a divorce. Societal change have been felt in marriages over the past 25 years as divorce rates have increased and have been integrated into even upper class families. Proposals to legalize same-sex marriage or to enact broad domestic partnership laws are currently being promoted by gay and lesbian activists, especially in Europe and North America.

The trend in western European nations during the past decade has been to increase legal aid to homosexual relations and has included marriage benefits to some same-sex couples. For example, within the past six years, three Scandinavian countries have enacted domestic partnership laws allowing same-sex couples in which at least one partner is a citizen of the specified country therefore allowing many benefits that heterosexual marriages are given.

In the Netherlands, the Parliament is considering domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, all major political parties favor recognizing same-sex relations, and more than a dozen towns have already done so. Finland provides governmental social benefits to same-sex partners. Belgium allows gay prisoners the right to have conjugal visits from same-sex partners. An overwhelming majority of European nations have granted partial legal status to homosexual relationships. The European Parliament also has passed a resolution calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

In the United States, efforts to legalize same-sex domestic partnership have had some, limited success. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. reported that by mid-1995, thirty-six municipalities, eight counties, three states, five state agencies, and two federal agencies extended some benefits to, or registered for some official purposes, same-sex domestic partnerships. In 1994, the California legislature passed a domestic partnership bill that provided official state registration of same-sex couples and provided limited marital rights and privileges relating to hospital visitation, wills and estates, and powers of attorney.

While at the time California’s Governor Wilson eventually vetoed the bill, its passage by the legislature represented a notable political achievement for advocates of same-sex marriage. The most significant prospects for legalizing same-sex marriage in the near future are in Hawaii, where advocates of same-sex marriage have won a major judicial victory that could lead to the judicial legalization of same-sex marriage or to legislation authorizing same-sex domestic partnership in that state.

In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Baehr v. Lewin, vacated a state circuit court judgment dismissing same-sex marriage claims and ruled that Hawaii’s marriage law allowing heterosexual, but not homosexual, couples to obtain marriage licenses constitutes sex discrimination under the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment. The case began in 1991 when three same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health brought suit in state court against the director of the department. Hawaii law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license.

While the marriage license law did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage at that time, it used terms of gender that clearly indicated that only heterosexual couples could marry. The coupl sought a judicial decision that the Hawaii marriage license law is unconstitutional, as it prohibits same-sex marriage and allows state officials to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples on account of the heterosexuality requirement. Baehr and her attorney sought their objectives entirely through state law, not only by filing in state rather than federal court, but also by alleging exclusively violations of state law–the Hawaii Constitution.

The state moved for judgment on the pleadings and for dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim; the state’s motion was granted in October, 1991. Because of this the circuit court upheld the heterosexuality marriage requirement as a matter of law and dismissed the plaintiffs’ challenges to it. During the recent years the Circuit Court of Hawaii decided that Hawaii had violated Baehr and her partner’s constitutional rights by the fourteenth amendment and that they could be recognized as a marriage.

The court found that the state of Hawaii’s constitution expressly discriminated against homosexuals and that because of Hawaii’s anti-discrimination law they must re evaluate the situation. After the ruling the state immediately asked for a stay of judgment, until the appeal had been convened, therefore putting off any marriage between Baehr and her partner for at least a year. By far Baehr is the most positive step toward actual marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. Currently there is a high tolerance for homosexuals throughout the United States and currently in Hawaii.

Judges do not need the popularity of the people on the Federal or circuit court level to make new precedent. There is no clear majority that homosexuals should have marriage rights in the general public, and yet the courts voted for Baehr. The judiciary has its own mind on how to interpret the constitution, which is obviously very different then most of American popular belief. This is the principal reason that these judges are not elected by the people, so they do not have to obey to pressure caused by the American people.

The constitutional rights argument for same-sex marriage affirms that there is a fundamental constitutional right to marry, or a broader right of privacy or of intimate association. The essence of this right is the private, intimate association of consenting adults who want to share their lives and commitment with each other and that same-sex couples have just as much intimacy and need for marital privacy as heterosexual couples; and that laws allowing heterosexual, but not same-sex, couples to marry infringe upon and discriminate against this fundamental right.

Just as the Supreme Court compelled states to allow interracial marriage by recognizing the claimed right as part of the fundamental constitutional right to marry, of privacy and of intimate association so should states be compelled now to recognize the fundamental right of homosexuals to do the same. If Baehr ultimately leads to the legalization of same-sex marriage or broad, marriage like domestic partnership in Hawaii, the impact of that legalization will be felt widely.

Marriage recognition principles derived from choice-of-law and full-faith-and-credit rules probably would be invoked to recognize same-sex Hawaiian marriages as valid in other states. The impact of Hawaii’s decision will immediately impact marriage laws in all of the United States. The full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given to the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.

Marriage qualifies for recognition under each section: 1) creation of marriage is “public act” because it occurs pursuant to a statutory scheme and is performed by a legally designated official, and because a marriage is an act by the state; 2) a marriage certificate is a “record” with a outlined legal effect, showing that a marriage has been validly contracted, that the spouses meet the qualifications of the marriage statutes, and they have duly entered matrimony.

Public records of lesser consequence, such as birth certificates and automobile titles have been accorded full faith and credit; ) celebrating a marriage is a “judicial proceeding” where judges, court clerks, or justices of the peace perform the act of marriage. It would seem evident that if heterosexual couples use Article IV as a safety net and guarantee for their wedlock then that same right should be given to homosexual couples.

This Article has often been cited as a reference point for interracial marriages in the south when those states do not want to recognize the legitimacy of that union by another state. As this is used for that lifestyle, there is no logical reason it should be denied to perhaps millions of homosexuals that want the opportunity to get married. The obstacles being out in front of homosexual couples are in the name of the “normal” people that actively seek to define their definition to all. It is these “normal” people that are the definition of surplus repression and social domination.

Yet as they cling to the Constitution for their freedoms they deny those same freedoms to not “normal” people because they would lose their social domination and could be changed. Therefore it would seem they are afraid to change, and have not accepted that the world does change. Unfortunately the full faith and credit clause has rarely been used as anything more then an excuse to get a quick divorce. A man wants a divorce yet his wife does not or will not void their marriage. He then goes to Reno, Nevada, buys a house and gets a job for six weeks.

After that six weeks when he can declare himself a legal resident he applies for a singular marriage void and because Nevada law allows one side to void their marriage if they are a resident of Nevada their marriage is now void. The man now moves back to his home state, and upon doing so this state must now recognize the legitimacy that Nevada has voided out the marriage. Even if the wife does not consent, the new state cannot do anything about it. That is what usually full faith and credit is used under. The ‘full faith and credit’ clause has been prominent in the national controversy over gay marriage.

The fear that the Hawaii Supreme Court would grant gay men and lesbians the right to marry and that the full-faith clause would compel other states to honor legal gay unions led to the passage of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and action in 17 state legislatures banning the recognition of gay marriage. The full-faith clause was also recently invoked in a North Carolina lesbian custody battle in which a child’s biological mother fought to overturn an adoption ruling granted by the state of Washington to her one-time female partner.

The mother’s attorney, noting the state’s prohibition against gay marriage, argued the adoption should be declared invalid in North Carolina because it violates “a decided policy against protecting homosexual families” in the state. Defense attorneys argued that since the adoption of the couple’s child was conducted and finalized in Washington, the state of North Carolina is bound by the full-faith clause of the Constitution to abide by it. The judge eventually sided with the defense.

Legislation enacted by President Clinton from Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has allowed individual states to react differently to any intrusion of marriage that they feel is not proper. DOMA states “marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. ” “Supporters of DOMA also claim clear constitutional warrant, and that Congress is exercising its own authority under Article IV to prescribe the manner in which the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state, shall be proved.

However it would seem that by allowing individual states to alter and change what the meaning of marriage is, it could create a disaster if even heterosexuals want to wed. The underlying principle in DOMA is that states now have the right to redefine what they feel is or is not appropriate behavior and shall be allowed or illegal in their state. It is also apparent that the signing of DOMA by President Clinton was more of a presidential campaign gesture then an actual change in policy.

While he has shifted considerably from his platform in 1992 this move was specifically designed to change his image among more conservative voters. It is also apparent that this move did not work because a majority of conservative Americans still voted for Bob Dole in the 1996 Presidential election. Clinton, now that he has been re elected, partially under the front of a more moderate administration, should seriously rethink its policy on social change and whether he wants to go out as the President that denied hundred of thousands of people the opportunity for equal rights.

In 1967 the Supreme Court announced that “marriage is one of the most basic civil rights of man…. essential to the pursuit of happiness. ” Having the highest court on the land make such a profound statement about something that current politicians think they can regulate like cell phones or TVs is something short of appalling. Who is to say what happiness can be created from wedlock but the people that are in the act itself, per couple, household and gender.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act proclaim that “All marriages contracted…. tside this State that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place in which they were contracted… are valid in this State”. This Act has been enacted in seventeen states and could be the foundation for full faith and credit if marriages were to take place in other states. However as much as the right wing conservatives wish to pursue an aggressive anti-gay/lifestyle agenda the DOMA act has been widely criticized as intensely unconstitutional.

It is bias and discriminatory toward homosexuals and there fore against the United States Constitution and once again the fourteenth amendment proclaiming all citizens equal. Fearing that the state may have to recognize same-sex marriages from Hawaii, because of the controversy over DOMA the state legislatures of Arizona, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Idaho, and Georgia, have made preemptive strikes and enacted state legislation which bars recognition of same-sex marriages.

Several other state legislatures, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Louisiana, New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina and Wisconsin, have attempted to enact similar legislation, but failed. After Hawaiian marriages are brought to these states for enforcement, these laws will lead each state into a potential separate constitutional challenge of its same-sex marriage ban. Those cases could be the new foundation for a sweeping change in popular American politics and thought and will perhaps pave the road for increased awareness of this human rights issue.

Social Movements Gay Rights

The history of the gay rights movement goes as far back as the late 19th century. More accurately, the quest by gays to search out others like themselves and foster a feeling of identity has been around since then. It is an innovative movement that seeks to change existing norms and gain acceptance within our culture. By 1915, one gay person said that the gay world was a “community, distinctly organized” (Milestones 1991), but kept mostly out of view because of social hostility.

According to the Milestones article, after World War II, around 1940, many cities saw their first gay bars open as many homosexuals began to start a networking system. However, their newfound visibility only backfired on them, as in the 1950’s president Eisenhower banned gays from holding federal jobs and many state institutions did the same. The lead taken by the federal government encouraged local police forces to harass gay citizens. “Vice officers regularly raided gay bars, sometimes arresting dozens of men and women on a single night” (Milestones).

In spite of the adversity, out of the 1950s also came the first organized groups of gays, including leaders. The movement was small at first, but grew exponentially in short periods of time. Spurred on by the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the “homophile” (Milestones) movement took on more visibility, picketing government agencies and discriminatory policies. By 1969, around 50 gay organizations existed in the United States. The most crucial moment in blowing the gay rights movement wide open was on the evening of July 27, 1969, when a group of police raided a gay bar in New York City.

This act prompted three days of rioting in the area called the Stonewall Riots, including the appearance of numerous gay power signs. Almost overnight, a massive movement had begun, with participants enthusiastically joining in. “By 1973, there were almost eight hundred gay and lesbian organizations in the United States; by 1990, the number was several thousand. By 1970, 5,000 gay men and lesbians marched in New York City to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; in October 1987, over 600,000 marched in Washington, to demand equality” (Milestones)

Over the next two decades, half the states decriminalized homosexual behavior, and police harassment grew less frequent and obvious to the public. Also in 1975, it became legal for gays to hold federal jobs. However all this headway also made room for more opposition. In 1977, Anita Bryant was so successful at obtaining a repeal of a recent gay ordinance in her home state of Florida that by 1980, a league of anti gay clubs had come together to make a force, led in part by Jesse Helms.

The AIDS scare that began in the eighties did not help the gay image either, but more citizens joined their ranks in order to combat the oppression and fund a search for the cure, so in the end it actually made the movement stronger. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2000), by 1999, the anti-sodomy laws of 32 states had been repealed, and in 1996 Vermont granted its gay citizens the right to same sex marriages. Gay rights has come a long way as a social movement, and though it still has a long way to go, it makes a good topic to analyze the process of the social movement.

The establishment that the social movement fights against in this case is the predisposed beliefs of American people, and a way of life that has been unchanged for a long time. There are of course establishments with anti-gay agendas, but the real challenge for the gays in finding acceptance has always been convincing people that they are human too. The standard belief that most Americans have had throughout history is that being gay is not only immoral, but also not normal, and sac religious (Olinger).

Many people believe that being gay is a disease and should be treated, while others believe it is just sin, and that they should be punished. There is no one establishment in this situation, but only a large group of American citizens who do not understand the issue they are being faced with. However, the goal of the gay rights movement is very clear. They want equality, much in the same way that African Americans and women have wanted it in the past. Many gays rights organizations have applied for the legality of same sex marriages in all fifty states.

Also, their fight is about protection from laws that once held them down. They want to be protected by the police, not harassed by them. In the end, the ideology of the gay rights movement is much like that of any civil rights movement. They believe that they are equal and deserve to be treated as such, regardless of sexual orientation. The agitators in the gay rights movement oppose the current system laterally, in that they want to completely change the existing value system.

Leaders in the gay rights movement have issued several tactics in which they wish to gain acceptance in the general public, to be seen as “normal. (Olinger)” One thing that they do is try and deemphasize actual “gay behavior” in public, and try and get others to see them as normal people first, not gay, which would automatically separate them. This is known as the “plain folks” tactic. This is important because for people to listen to a persuasive message, they must feel as if they can relate to the message, and they cannot do that if cannot relate to the person relaying that message.

Another tactic used is a sort of name-calling. Gay rights activists refer to those who oppose them as “homophobes,” a term which implies an irrational fear of some sort, or ignorance. This in turn makes opponents of gay rights irrational, and therefore their opinions do not merit attention. “The truth or relative value of arguments is thereby completely sidestepped, and the issue becomes one of emotion: the winner is the one who makes the most noise” (Olinger). A third strategy used by activists is “liking.

Gay rights activists consistently use well known gay celebrities to deliver a message in hopes that their popularity will lead to a more wide spread acceptance of the message. Take, for example, Ellen Degeneres, on her TV show Ellen. Many of her shows discussed her sexual orientation in hopes that talking about it openly, as well as using her as the source of the message would bring the public to greater awareness. Also, artists like Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls play concerts for Gay Rights Activism yearly.

One strategy used by the Establishment is the authority approach, using the Bible as the main authority on the way we live our lives. They maintain that the Bible states that it is a sin to be gay and that God does not condone it, so therefore neither should we. Another tactic employed by the establishment is “name calling. ” By referring to homosexuals as “fags” or “miscreants” or “sinners,” people join the two terms until they are thought of as one. The negative connotation these words carry is designed to turn people off from gay culture. A third practice that the establishment employs is the theory of consistency.

The beliefs we carry throughout our lives are in large part handed down to us from our parents and theirs, and our beliefs will in large part be transferred to our children. The only thing we’ve ever known is the belief that homosexuality is wrong, so therefore it must be correct. To change would require too large a leap from our original anchor points or beliefs, so we assume that it is not correct, and continue believing the way we did before. The Gay Rights Movement has brought the idea and acceptance of homosexuals in American Culture a very long way in the last thirty years or so.

However, those who accept homosexuality or those who encourage it are still the minority in comparison, and so, there is a long way to go still before homosexuality is considered completely normal and gays are treated just like everyone else. The great uprising of people has already come and gone, and now the movement is in the maintenance stage, where it does not get much media attention anymore. That could be the best way to go for the Movement though, as their goal all along has been to blend in and be treated like everyone else. How better to do that than to not draw attention to one’s self.

Lesbian and Gay Parenting

Like families headed by heterosexual parents, lesbian and gay parents and their children are a diverse group (Martin, 1993). Unlike heterosexual parents and their children, however, lesbian and gay parents and their children are often subject to prejudice because of sexual orientation that turns judges, legislators, professionals, and the public against them, frequently resulting in negative outcomes such as loss of physical custody, restrictions on visitation, and prohibitions against adoption (Falk, 1989; Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990).

As with all socially stigmatized groups, the beliefs held generally in ociety about lesbians and gay men are often not based in personal experience, but are instead culturally transmitted (Herek, 1991). The purpose of this summary of research findings on lesbian and gay parents and their children is to assist psychologists and other professionals to evaluate widespread beliefs in the light of empirical data and in this way ameliorate the negative effects of unwarranted prejudice. Because many beliefs about lesbian and gay parents and their children are open to empirical test, psychological research can evaluate their accuracy.

Systematic research comparing lesbian and gay adults to heterosexual adults only began in the late 1950s, and research comparing children of gay and lesbian parents with those of heterosexual parents is of a more recent vintage. Research on lesbian and gay adults began with Evelyn Hooker’s landmark study (1957) and culminated with the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 (Gonsiorek, 1991). Case reports on children of gay and lesbian parents began to appear in the psychiatric literature in the early 1970s (e. g. , Osman, 1972; Weeks, Derdeyn, & Langman, 1975) and have continued to appear (e. g. Agbayewa, 1984).

Beginning with the pioneering work of Martin and Lyon (1972), first person and fictionalized descriptions of life in lesbian mother families have also become available (e. g. , Alpert, 1988; Clausen, 1985; Jullion, 1985; Mager, 1975; Perreault, 1975; Pollock & Vaughn, 1987; Rafkin, 1990). Systematic research on the children of lesbian and gay parents did not, however, begin to appear in major professional journals until 1978, and most of the available research has been published more recently.

As this summary will show, the results of existing research comparing gay and lesbian parents to heterosexual parents and hildren of gay or lesbian parents to children of heterosexual parents are quite uniform: common sterotypes are not supported by the data. Without denying the clarity of results to date, it is important also for psychologists and other professionals to be aware that research in this area has presented a variety of methodological challenges, not all of which have been surmounted in every study. As is true in any area of research, questions have been raised with regard to sampling issues, statistical power, and other technical matters (e. g. Belcastro, Gramlich, Nicholson, Price, & Wilson, 1993); no individual study is entirely invincible to such criticism. One criticism of this body of research (Belcastro et al. , 1993) has been that the research lacks external validity because it may not be representative of the larger population of lesbian and gay parents.

This criticism is not justified, because nobody knows the actual composition of the entire population of lesbian mothers, gay fathers, or their children (many of whom choose to remain hidden) and hence researchers cannot possible evaluate the degree to which particular samples do or do not represent he population. In the long run, it is not the results obtained from any one specific sample, but the accumulation of findings from many different samples that will be most meaningful. Research in this area has also been criticized for using poorly matched or no control groups in designs that call for such controls.

Particularly notable in this category has been the tendency in some studies to compare development among children of a group of divorced lesbian mothers, many of whom are living with lesbian partners, to that among children of a group of ivorced heterosexual mothers who are not currently living with heterosexual partners. It will be important for future research to disentangle maternal sexual orientation from maternal status as partnered or unpartnered.

Other criticisms have been that most studies have involved relatively small samples, that there have been inadequacies in assessment procedures employed in some studies, and that the classification of parents as lesbian, gay, or heterosexual has sometimes been problematic (e. g. , some women classified by researchers as lesbian might be regarded as bisexual by other observers).

It is significant, however, that even with all the questions and/or limitations that may characterize research in the area, none of the published research suggests conclusions different from those that will be summarized below. This summary consists of four sections. In the first, results of research on lesbian and gay adults (and parents) are summarized. In the second section, a summary of results from research comparing children of lesbian and gay parents with those of heterosexual parents or with established norms is presented. The third section summarizes research on heterogeneity among lesbian and gay families with children.

Homosexuals in the Military

Homosexuals have been excluded from our society since our country’s beginning, giving them no equal protection underneath the large branch of the law. The Emancipation Proclamation gave freedom to blacks from slavery in the 1800’s and women were given the freedoms reserved for males in the early 1900’s with the women’s suffrage movement. But everyone still knows the underlying feeling of nation in dealing with minorities and women, one of contempt and utter disgust. Hate crimes are still perpetrated to this day in this country, and most are unpublicized and “swept underneath the rug.

The general public is just now dealing with the struggle of Homosexuals to gain ights in America, although this persecution is subtle, quiet and rarely ever seen to the naked eye or the general public. The big question today in Homosexuals rights struggles are dealing with the right to be a part of our country’s Military Forces. At the forefront of the struggle to gain access to the military has been Female’s who have tried to gain access to “All Men” facilities and have been pressured out by other cadets.

This small group of women have fought hard, and pressured the Government to change regulations dealing with the inclusion of all people, whether female or male, and iving them all the same opportunities they deserve. The Homosexual struggle with our Nation’s Armed Forces has been acquiring damage and swift blows for over 60 years now, and now they too are beginning to fight back. With the public knowledge of “initiation rights” into many elite groups of the military, the general public is beginning to realize how exclusive the military can be.

One cadet said after “hell week” in the Marines, “It was almost like joining a fraternity, but the punishments were 1000 times worse than ever imagined, and the Administration did not pretend to turn there back, they were nstrumental in the brutality. ” The intense pressure of “hell week” in the Marines drove a few to wounding themselves, go AWOL, and a few even took there own life. People who are not “meant to be” in the Military are usually weeded out during these “initiations” and forced either to persevere or be discharged dishonorably.

The military in the United States has become an elite society, a society where only few survive. In a survey taken in 1990, the United States population on a whole is believed to consist of 13-15% Homosexuals. This figure is believed to have a margin of error on the upward swing due to the fact hat most homosexuals are still “afraid” of their sexuality and the social taboos it carries along with it. With so many Homosexuals in the United States, how can the military prove its exclusion policy against Homosexuals correct and moral?

Through the “long standing tradition and policy,” says one Admiral of the U. S. Navy. But is it fair or correct? That is the question posed on Capitol Hill even today, as politicians battle through a virtual minefield of tradition and equal rights. Historically, support for one’s military was a way to show one’s patriotism, if not a pre-requisite for being patriotic at all. Society has given the military a great deal of latitude in running its own affairs, principally due to society’s acknowledgment that the military needs such space in order to run effectively.

The military, in turn, has adopted policies which, for the most part, have lead to very successful military ventures, which served to continually renew society’s faith in the military. Recently, however, that support has been fading. The Vietnam War represented both a cause of diminishing support for the military by society as well a problem. The Vietnam War occurred during a period of large-scale civil disobedience, as well as time where peace was more popular than war. Since the effectiveness of the military depends a great deal upon society’s support, when society’s support dropped out of the war effort, the war effort in turn suffered.

The ultimate defeat of the United States in the Vietnam War effort only lead to less faith in the military’s ability. This set the stage for society becoming more involved in how the military was run. The ban on homosexuals serving in the military, was originally instituted in 1942. Though some of the reasons that were used to justify it at the time have been debunked since-that homosexual ervice members in sensitive positions could be blackmailed, for instance (“Gays and the Military” 54)-the policy was largely an extension of the military’s long-standing policy against homosexual acts.

At the time, the prevailing attitude was that homosexuality was a medical/psychiatric condition, and thus the military sought to align itself with this school of thought. Rather than just continuing to punish service members for individual acts of sodomy, the military took what was thought to be a kinder position-excluding those people who were inclined to commit such acts in the first place, thus voiding stiffer penalties (including prison sentences) for actually committing them. As society and the military came to be more enlightened about the nature of homosexuality, a redefinition of the policy became necessary.

In 1982, the policy was redefined to state that “a homosexual (or a lesbian) in the armed forces seriously impairs the ability of the military services to maintain discipline, good order and morale. ‘” (Quoted in “Out of the Locker” 26) Essentially, it was reasoned that homosexuality and military service were incompatible, and thus homosexuals should be excluded from the military. Only in 994 was this policy changed, and then only the exclusion of homosexuals-acts of homosexuality or overt acknowledgment of one’s homosexuality are still forbidden in the military.

But we must ask ourselves, why was this ban upheld for so long? The primary reason that the military upheld its ban against gay service members was that it was necessary for the military to provide “cohesiveness. ” Society bent to accommodate homosexuality. The military, however, cannot bend if it is to effectively carry out its duties. The realities of military life include working closely while on duty, but the true intimacies “are to be traced to less bellicose urroundings-to the barracks, the orderly room, the mess hall.

If indeed the military can lay claim to any sense of ‘organic unity,’ it will be found in the intimacy of platoon and company life. ” (Bacevich 31) The military demands an extreme amount of cohesiveness, and this is very much reinforced in barracks life. You must sleep with, eat with, and share facilities with your fellow platoon members. Life in the barracks is extremely intimate. Men must share rooms together, and showers are public also. Having homosexuals be part of this structure violates this cohesiveness so the military says.

Men and women are kept in separate barracks much for the same reasons. However, the true purpose behind barring gay service members is how the individuals who are part of the military feel about them. Members of the military are more conservatively minded people, but, moreover, they are overwhelmingly opposed to having homosexuals among their ranks (Hackworth 24). To then force these individuals to serve with gays only undermines the morale of the military. And when morale is undermined, the effectiveness of the military plummets as well.

The leadership of the military has always been persistent in its osition-“Up and down the chain of command, you’ll find the military leadership favors the ban. ” (Quoted in “Gays and the Military” 55). And, as one navy lieutenant put it: “The military is a life-and-death business, not an equal opportunity employer. ” (Quoted in Hackworth 24) No one is doubting that gays have served in the military. Ever since Baron Frederich von Steuben (a renowned Prussian military-mind and known homosexual) served as a Major General in the Continental Army (Shilts 7), there have been homosexuals serving in the military.

Even today there exists a Gay American Legion post in San Francisco “Gays and the Military” 55). However, the general consensus is that allowing them in the service represents a rubber-stamping of their existence rather than a concerted effort to discourage it. Though the homosexual lobby often cites the fact that gays have always served in the military as a justification for lifting the ban, this sort of reasoning is invalid. There are many other types of behavior that the military has been unable to completely eradicate, such as discharge and use of illegal substances.

No one would ever deny that these things happen in the military. But the point is that if they were made egal, there would be more instances of them. To use the lack of perfect implementation as a pretext for legalization is equally absurd in the civilian world: Do we legalize criminal behavior on the grounds that “people have always done it”? Another parallel that is frequently drawn with gays in the military is that of the situation of women in the military.

Though largely a male institution-“Symbolically, the military represents masculinity more than any institution other than professional sports” (Quoted in “Gunning for Gays” 44)-women have been a part of the military since World Wide II and the women’s support units have been bolished since 1978 (Moskos 22). But, like that of race to homosexuality, the comparison is invalid. Women are not permitted in combat units (Towell 3679)-an exclusion that for homosexuals would be hard to implement, at best.

They also have separate barracks and facilities, which would be equally as unpractical to homosexuals. In 1994, Bill Clinton, by executive order, implemented a policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell. ” Homosexuals can be in the military so long as they do not violate rules against homosexual acts and do not announce themselves as being gay. Already severely disliked among embers of the military (Hackworth 24), President Clinton received criticism from both sides of the issue for the implementation of this policy.

Members of the military were upset at the legalization of homosexuals serving in the military, and members of the gay lobby (and their supporters) were upset that a full lifting of the ban was not implemented. Many were also concerned that this violated gay service members’ right to free speech, though members of the military do not hold this right. The movement to have the ban on homosexuals in the military lifted came, for the most part, from without (society) rather than rom within the military itself. The military, by and large, has always remained opposed to the lifting of this ban.

But the transition of the control of the military from the military itself to the political world has been a sign of society’s changing attitude toward the military. The lifting of the ban seemed not a matter of dealing with the reality of military life or an effort to create a more effective military, evidenced in such statements as “Resisting the ban is important, but so is opposing militarism” (“Cross Purposes” 157) and “the (end of) the Soviet Union would herald not just a new American foreign policy but, more radically, a new American political culture free from militarized pride and anxieties. (Enloe 24)

It becomes increasingly questionable whether those who would have gays serve in the military having the welfare of their own ideals, rather than the welfare of the military, in mind when considering policy. Indeed, most of the military considers this to be the case. (Hackworth 24-25) If the admission of homosexuals into the military causes adverse effects on the morale of the soldiers, then the debate should be re-opened there. The military’s function is to protect democracy. The sacrifices associated with military service may be very great-up to giving up one’s life.

Excluding homosexuals from military service seems petty, everyone should be allowed to defend their country. Moreover, the politicizing of such issues undermines the military’s faith in the civilian leadership that guides it. The military is quickly loosing its prestige, its traditional conservative values, and that is a good thing for most Americans. Reinstating the ban would be a gesture of utter and sheer digustedness in our military. Having homosexuals in the military is a matter of military effectiveness-not f the homosexuals’ ability to perform military duties, but of the morale of the military as a whole.

And, in the military, it is always the good of the whole which must be considered before the good of the individual. The ending of the Cold War and the re-definition of the military’s mission does not mean that we should make the military less effective. If a policy in regards to the military does not improve its effectiveness, then it should not be implemented. But when the implementation means giving a chance to few who would like to serve out great nation, than it should be considered legal.

Gay Rights Essay

Two men are walking down the street very peacefully until they decide to kiss one another right out in the open. Some people look upon this as weird and others look upon it in disgust. Some even get angry about it. Is there a problem with what these men just did? Should they be left alone or reprimanded for what they have done? The issue of gay rights is very cloudy in our great nation. Most of this is due to the problems with the issue, the reasons for controversy, and pros and cons of the issue.

First of all, both sides have too many problems with gay rights for there to be a common ground on the issue. The biggest problem I find with the whole thing is the problem is not just fought by words, but also by physical means. There have been countless gay beatings across the United States. One instance took place on November 17, 2001. “Police said the 42-year-old Vancouver man, whose injuries indicate he was beaten several times with a baseball bat, might have been the victim of a hate crime” (HateWatch. g).

Even though the number of hate crimes has gone down, a poll was taken and “Nearly 4 out of every 10 homosexuals polled said they fear that anti-gay violence will be directed against them personally, and 32 percent said they’ve been physically attacked because they are homosexual. ” (HateWatch. org). On the other hand, being gay goes against the beliefs and values of some Christian churches. As stated in the bible: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.

Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (Corinthians 6:9-10). Or another passage: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. ” (Leviticus 20:13). With gays not backing down and religious people not backing down, this situation will have a difficult time being resolved anytime soon.

Secondly there are many issues that do not help the problem at all, thus creating controversy around the situation. The first problem is the issue of gay marriage. All in favor believe that a gay couple should have the right to get married just like a straight couple. Two men by the name of Alan and Steve have been together for 20 years and have been waiting to get married (Marriage). All who oppose state that marriage is the holy joining of a man and a woman, not a man and a man.

Secondly, the question of whether gays should be able to adopt children is also a problem. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics “gay couples can provide the loving, stable and emotionally healthy family lives that children need” (Adoption). But, “Family values advocates have attacked the policy, accusing doctors’ group of using faulty science to advance a gay agenda” (Adoption). The third issue is whether or not gays are born the way they are or if it is genetic. This of all the issues would help to shape the decisions of both sides of the issue.

Tony, a gay student at Valencia Community College states, “I know many gay people, sometimes it depends on the individual person, I personally think that I was born gay” (Tony). Lastly, each one of these issues of controversy has its good and bad points. To get a better view on both sides of the issue I interviewed two homosexual males who have differing opinions on the issue. On the issue of gay marriage, Brian had this to say: “Since gay people tend not to stay together as long, I see no reason for them to be married in the first place” (Brian).

The second interviewee, Brandon, responded with: “I believe gays should have the right to marry, because if a man and a woman love one another just as a man and a man love one another, you should not hold the couple that practices an alternative lifestyle to a double standard” (Brandon). Next I asked for their opinions on gay adoption. “Again gays should not be held to a double standard” he continued “gay people can show their love for a child just as any straight person can” (Brandon).

I asked the same question to Brian and he stated: “If gays should ever be allowed to adopt them their must be a system involved to help protect the well being of that child. Straight or Gay, I have met some people who want kids, and should not be allowed anywhere near them” (Brian). The last question I asked was if they felt that they were born gay or if it was due to the environment that they grew up in. “I think it’s actually a combination of both factors. Many people think it is either or, but I’ve seen many examples that state differently. I have met many twin siblings where one was gay, and another was not, or both were gay.

Also I have met guys who grew up in environments were homosexuality was nonexistent, yet they still turned out gay. If many other factors that are a part of what makes us human are usually a combination of nature and nuture, why should being gay be any different? And no it’s not a choice to choose your sexual orientation, the only thing you can choose is whether you want to be yourself or not” (Brandon). “I think it is actually one of the three choices, sometimes it’s genetic, sometimes it is learned behavior, and sometimes it is both. There are always examples of each and every one of them, so it is really just a case-by-case basis” (Brian).

In conclusion, gay rights are an issue that surrounds or will surround everyone and in some way affects our entire nation. Should homosexuals be given the same rights as heterosexuals? My opinion is that homosexuals are no different than any one else. They are still people. Just because they happen to live a different lifestyle than other people, does not mean that their rights should be taken away. The right of matrimony, the right of adoption, and the right of whether you want to say you were born gay or decided to be gay are all right of the individual that should not be taken away.

Homosexuals in the Military

Homosexuals have been excluded from our society since our country’s beginning, giving them no equal protection underneath the large branch of the law. The Emancipation Proclamation gave freedom to blacks from slavery in the 1800’s and women were given the freedoms reserved for males in the early 1900’s with the women’s suffrage movement. But everyone still knows the underlying feeling of nation in dealing with minorities and women, one of contempt and utter disgust.

Hate crimes are still perpetrated to this day in this country, and most are unpublicized and “swept underneath the rug. The general ublic is just now dealing with the struggle of Homosexuals to gain rights in America, although this persecution is subtle, quiet and rarely ever seen to the naked eye or the general public. The big question today in Homosexuals rights struggles are dealing with the right to be a part of our country’s Military Forces. At the forefront of the struggle to gain access to the military has been Female’s who have tried to gain access to “All Men” facilities and have been pressured out by other cadets.

This small group of women have fought hard, and pressured the Government to change regulations ealing with the inclusion of all people, whether female or male, and giving them all the same opportunities they deserve. The Homosexual struggle with our Nation’s Armed Forces has been acquiring damage and swift blows for over 60 years now, and now they too are beginning to fight back. With the public knowledge of “initiation rights” into many elite groups of the military, the general public is beginning to realize how exclusive the military can be.

One cadet said after “hell week” in the Marines, “It was almost like joining a fraternity, but the punishments were 1000 times worse than ever imagined, and the Administration did not pretend to turn there back, they were instrumental in the brutality. ” The intense pressure of “hell week” in the Marines drove a few to wounding themselves, go AWOL, and a few even took there own life. People who are not “meant to be” in the Military are usually weeded out during these “initiations” and forced either to persevere or be discharged dishonorably. The military in the United States has become an elite society, a society where only few survive.

In a survey taken in 1990, the United States population on a whole is believed to consist of 13-15% Homosexuals. This figure is believed to have a margin of error on the upward swing due to the fact that most homosexuals are still “afraid” of their sexuality and the social taboos it carries along with it. With so many Homosexuals in the United States, how can the military prove its exclusion policy against Homosexuals correct and moral? Through the “long standing tradition and policy,” says one Admiral of the U. S. Navy. But is it fair or correct?

That is the question posed on Capitol Hill even today, as politicians battle through a virtual minefield of tradition and equal rights. Historically, support for one’s military was a way to show one’s patriotism, if not a pre-requisite for being patriotic at all. Society has given the military a great deal of latitude in running its own affairs, principally due to society’s acknowledgment that the military needs such space in order to run effectively. The military, in turn, has adopted policies which, for the most part, have lead to very successful military ventures, which served to continually renew society’s faith in the military.

Recently, however, that support has been fading. The Vietnam War represented both a cause of diminishing upport for the military by society as well a problem. The Vietnam War occurred during a period of large-scale civil disobedience, as well as a time where peace was more popular than war. Since the effectiveness of the military depends a great deal upon society’s support, when society’s support dropped out of the war effort, the war effort in turn suffered. The ultimate defeat of the United States in the Vietnam War effort only lead to less faith in the military’s ability.

This set the stage for society becoming more involved in how the military was run. The ban on homosexuals serving in the military, was originally instituted in 1942. Though some of the reasons that were used to justify it at the time have been debunked since-that homosexual service members in sensitive positions could be blackmailed, for instance (“Gays and the Military” 54)-the policy was largely an extension of the military’s long-standing policy against homosexual acts. At the time, the prevailing attitude was that homosexuality was a medical/psychiatric condition, and thus the military sought to align itself with this school of thought.

Rather than just continuing to unish service members for individual acts of sodomy, the military took what was thought to be a kinder position-excluding those people who were inclined to commit such acts in the first place, thus avoiding stiffer penalties (including prison sentences) for actually committing them. As society and the military came to be more enlightened about the nature of homosexuality, a redefinition of the policy became necessary. In 1982, the policy was redefined to state that “a homosexual (or a lesbian) in the armed forces seriously impairs the ability of the military services to maintain discipline, good order nd morale. ” (Quoted in “Out of the Locker” 26)

Essentially, it was reasoned that homosexuality and military service were incompatible, and thus homosexuals should be excluded from the military. Only in 1994 was this policy changed, and then only the exclusion of homosexuals-acts of homosexuality or overt acknowledgment of one’s homosexuality are still forbidden in the military. But we must ask ourselves, why was this ban upheld for so long? The primary reason that the military upheld its ban against gay service members was that it was necessary for the military to provide “cohesiveness. Society bent to accommodate homosexuality.

The military, however, cannot bend if it is to effectively carry out its duties. The realities of military life include working closely while on duty, but the true intimacies “are to be traced to less bellicose surroundings-to the barracks, the orderly room, the mess hall. If indeed the military can lay claim to any sense of `organic unity,’ it will be found in the intimacy of platoon and company life. ” (Bacevich 31) The military demands an extreme amount of cohesiveness, and this is very much reinforced in barracks life. You must sleep with, eat ith, and share facilities with your fellow platoon members.

Life in the barracks is extremely intimate. Men must share rooms together, and showers are public also. Having homosexuals be part of this structure violates this cohesiveness so the military says. Men and women are kept in separate barracks much for the same reasons. However, the true purpose behind barring gay service members is how the individuals who are part of the military feel about them. Members of the military are more conservatively minded people, but, moreover, they are overwhelmingly opposed to having homosexuals among heir ranks (Hackworth 24).

To then force these individuals to serve with gays only undermines the morale of the military. And when morale is undermined, the effectiveness of the military plummets as well. The leadership of the military has always been persistent in its position-“Up and down the chain of command, you’ll find the military leadership favors the ban. ” (Quoted in “Gays and the Military” 55). And, as one navy lieutenant put it: “The military is a life-and-death business, not an equal opportunity employer. ” (Quoted in Hackworth 24) No one is doubting that gays have served in the military.

Ever since Baron Frederich von Steuben (a renowned Prussian military-mind and known homosexual) served as a Major General in the Continental Army (Shilts 7), there have been homosexuals serving in the military. Even today there exists a Gay American Legion post in San Francisco (“Gays and the Military” 55). However, the general consensus is that allowing them in the service represents a rubber-stamping of their existence rather than a concerted effort to discourage it. Though the homosexual lobby often cites the fact that gays have always served in he military as a justification for lifting the ban, this sort of reasoning is invalid.

There are many other types of behavior that the military has been unable to completely eradicate, such as discharge and use of illegal substances. No one would ever deny that these things happen in the military. But the point is that if they were made legal, there would be more instances of them. To use the lack of perfect implementation as a pretext for legalization is equally absurd in the civilian world: Do we legalize criminal behavior on the grounds that “people have always done it”? Another parallel that is frequently drawn with gays in the military is that of the situation of women in the military.

Though largely a male institution-“Symbolically, the military represents masculinity more than any institution other than professional sports” (Quoted in “Gunning for Gays” 44)-women have been a part of the military since World Wide II and the women’s support units have been abolished since 1978 (Moskos 22). But, like that of race to homosexuality, the comparison is invalid. Women are not permitted in combat units (Towell 3679)-an exclusion that for homosexuals would be ard to implement, at best.

They also have separate barracks and facilities, which would be equally as unpractical to homosexuals. In 1994, Bill Clinton, by executive order, implemented a policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell. ” Homosexuals can be in the military so long as they do not violate rules against homosexual acts and do not announce themselves as being gay. Already severely disliked among members of the military (Hackworth 24), President Clinton received criticism from both sides of the issue for the implementation of this policy.

Members of the military were upset at the legalization of omosexuals serving in the military, and members of the gay lobby (and their supporters) were upset that a full lifting of the ban was not implemented. Many were also concerned that this violated gay service members’ right to free speech, though members of the military do not hold this right. The movement to have the ban on homosexuals in the military lifted came, for the most part, from without (society) rather than from within the military itself. The military, by and large, has always remained opposed to the lifting of this ban.

But the transition f the control of the military from the military itself to the political world has been a sign of society’s changing attitude toward the military. The lifting of the ban seemed not a matter of dealing with the reality of military life or an effort to create a more effective military, evidenced in such statements as “Resisting the ban is important, but so is opposing militarism” (“Cross Purposes” 157) and “the (end of) the Soviet Union would herald not just a new American foreign policy but, more radically, a new American political culture free from militarized pride and anxieties. Enloe 24)

It becomes increasingly questionable whether those who would have gays serve in the military having the welfare of their own ideals, rather than the welfare of the military, in mind when considering policy. Indeed, most of the military considers this to be the case. (Hackworth 24-25) If the admission of homosexuals into the military causes adverse effects on the morale of the soldiers, then the debate should be re-opened there. The military’s function is to protect democracy. The sacrifices associated with military service may be very great-up o giving up one’s life.

Excluding homosexuals from military service seems petty, everyone should be allowed to defend their country. Moreover, the politicizing of such issues undermines the military’s faith in the civilian leadership that guides it. The military is quickly loosing its prestige, its traditional conservative values, and that is a good thing for most Americans. Reinstating the ban would be a gesture of utter and sheer digustedness in our military. Having homosexuals in the military is a matter of military effectiveness-not f the homosexuals’ ability to perform military duties, but of the morale of the military as a whole.

And, in the military, it is always the good of the whole which must be considered before the good of the individual. The ending of the Cold War and the re-definition of the military’s mission does not mean that we should make the military less effective. If a policy in regards to the military does not improve its effectiveness, then it should not be implemented. But when the implementation means giving a chance to few who would like to serve out great nation, than it should be considered legal.

Right to Unite

Sam* and Alex* have been together for two years. Recently, they decided that they would like to buy a house together. Unfortunately, they are homosexual and are having trouble attaining a loan.. If they were married, as they one day hope to be, there would be no problem getting a home loan . Marriage is not an option for Sam and Alex in the state where they live. Because they are gay, they are unable to legalize their relationship in 48 of the 50 states.

The issue of gay marriage is a very controversial subject since the late 1970’s. As of 2004, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in any U. S. ate . Recently the development of same sex civil unions include the state of Vermont, which are designed to be similar to marriage. On May 16th 2004, the a backdrop of whoops and cheers and a party spilled onto the streets, gay and lesbian couples here began filling out applications for marriage licenses at 12:01 a. m. on Monday, when Massachussetts became the first state in the country to allow them to marry (Belluck). In 2004 a few local government officials, most notably the city officials of San Francisco, started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite being in conflict with state laws.

In 1993, Hawaii and California legalized the marriage of gay individuals, with Vermont not far behind. Proponents of this measure feel that this current movement toward recognition of same sex relationships has been a long time coming. Those who are against gay marriages feel that by allowing gay individuals to marry, the whole concept of marriage would be destroyed. The multi-disciplinary view of same sex marriages is that the opposition of theses unions hold strong in their belief of the sanctity of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The solution to this issue is satisfy both sides the concept of Domestic Partnerships.

By offering Domestic Partnerships, homosexual (and unmarried heterosexual couples) will be eligible for all of the same rights, responsibilities and benefits accorded to married heterosexual couples. Also, homosexual couples will be recognized as a legitimate union. This option will please the supporters and the opposers of this issue. Since 1989, same sex marriages have been legal in Denmark. Researchers have found that “the divorce rate among Danish homosexuals is only seventeen percent compared to forty-six percent for heterosexuals”(Jones, 22). Psychologists believe that there are several reasons for this.

Most homosexuals who are married have been together for several years before the wedding. Unlike heterosexuals, who often are wed months after the relationship begins. Also, married homosexuals tend to be older when they tie the knot. Finally, “Danish gays and lesbians rarely divorce… (because)… only those who are strongly motivated to marry do so, given society’s disapproval of overt homosexuality”(Jones, 22). Since the legalization of gay marriages in Hawaii and California are so recent, there are no current studies on the divorce rates among homosexuals in the United States.

However, one would believe that Danish statistics in this area would be comparable. “Marriage, the Supreme Court declared in 1967, is ‘one of the basic civil rights of man’… ‘the freedom to marry is essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness'”(Stoddard, 413). The Supreme Court did not differentiate between a homosexual person and a heterosexual person. It seems that the basic argument against same sex marriages it that, by allowing them, we would be desecrating the holiness of marriage and the traditional family union.

Marriage creates families and promotes social stability. In an increasingly loveless world, those who wish to commit themselves to a relationship founded upon devotion should be encouraged”(Stoddard, 413). Opponents disagree and feel that same sex marriages are unacceptable. However, they are not looking at the statistics of what family has become in today’s world. In the 1990’s, the definition of family is no longer a husband, wife and two children. There are so many ways to define family that most people think of family as a group of people who love and care for each other.

Almost 3 million of the country’s 93 million households now consist of unmarried couples”(Ames,et. al). Many groups are noticing this movement toward the non-traditional family and are taking steps to provide support. “Fran and I chose to get married for the same reason that any two people do,” said the lawyer who was fired in Georgia. “We fell in love; we wanted to spend our lives together (Quiden 411). ” In 1992, Lotus Development Corporation became the first large firm to offer benefits “to the ‘spousal equivalents’ of its gay and lesbian employees”(Spector).

Soon after, other companies followed suit. Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Incorporated and Levi Strauss along with many other small companies offer benefits to same sex partners of their employees. These companies are definitely not in the majority but it is a start in the right direction. Not all companies offer these benefits because it is the right thing to do. “Some do it only after employees put pressure on them; some believe it will make them more competitive”(Ames, et. al. ). Whatever the reason, same sex unions are becoming recognized as valid relationships.

The obvious next step is Domestic Partnerships. Currently, the approach to same sex marriage “can be divided into three models: de factors, the registered partnerships and the peculiar”(Graff,74). The de factors are countries that recognize heterosexual unmarried couples. According to these provisions, “couples that live together for a year or tow are automatically recognized for everything from pension, and inheritance to inheritance rights and alimony”(Graff,75). In Canada, lesbian and gay couples are treated like unmarried heterosexual couples and are provided with legal protection and benefits.

Peculiars are countries that have unique cultural and legal situations and therefore, cannot be compared to the United States. In South Africa, for example, “same sex partners (are treated) as ‘spouses’ for everything from health insurance to immigration rights to pension”(Graff,75). Finally, Registered Partnerships are very popular throughout Europe. The first Registered Partnership law was passed in Denmark in 1989. This law states that “(except for adoption or church weddings) every law that mentions marriage or spouses will apply equally to same sex registration and partners””(Graff,75).

In 1996, Gay partnerships were made legal in Iceland. As of 1997, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially the same type of Registered Partnership Law. However, non-residents may not travel to any of these countries in order to be legally wedded as a gay couple. One member of the couple must be a resident in order to enjoy the right of gay marriage. (Wockner, 26), These countries are jumping ahead of the United States by leaps and bound on this issue. It seems as if religious activists guide the United States on this issue.

The Catholic Catechism says that homosexuals ” do not choose” their sexual orientation and “deserve to be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. ” It also “declares that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and that under no circumstances can they be approved”(Billitteri,10). For devout homosexual Catholics, this declaration is both hurtful and devastating. The Catholic Church has told homosexuals that they are malfunctioning and therefore are accepted by the church but only to a point. For these Catholics, marriage is the natural step when one finds a life partner.

However, the Church strictly forbids gay marriages. Therefore, homosexuals cannot complete their relationship according to The Church, despite the rejection from the Catholic Church, there is a grass roots movement to accept homosexuals. Although most clerics do not allow for the validation of same sex relationships, there is still some religious support available. One such type of outreach program is Courage. This organization supports homosexual Catholics but requires complete abstinence. Courage provides spiritual support for gay Catholics whom the Church has turned away.

Other small dioceses actively reach out to homosexuals without the stringent requirement of chastity. These dioceses offer support and compassion for Catholic homosexuals. Sister Jeannine Grammick confounded New Ways ministry to help “promote reconciliation between lesbian and gay Catholics and the Church. ” Grammick says, “Unfortunately, many church leaders seem to reduce lesbian and gay persons to sexual activity and we don’t do that to heterosexual persons. “(Billitteri,14). Along with these few supporters within the Catholic clergy the Vatican also has to consider the public opinion of gay marriage.

According to 1996 Gallup Poll results, “Americans are less opposed to homosexuality in general” and “a third of men age 18 to 29 said… that gay marriages should be legally recognized, and more than half of the women respondents in that age group answered likewise”(Billitteri,14). As we speed into the future, one has to wonder if the Catholic Church will not open its arms at least a little to the gay and lesbian community as the homosexual lifestyle becomes more mainstream. The Catholic Church is not alone in its declaration against gay marriage.

Recently, the Presbyterian Church had to confront the issue within their clergy. “At issue is whether clergy should be barred by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and possibly punished for performing marriage-like ceremonies that celebrate the union of gay partners”(Morris, 1). When performing these ceremonies, the ministers do use the word marriage in the uniting ceremony. This issue has caused a divide between the Synod of the Northeast and the Hudson River Presbytery. The Presbytery allows ministers the option of performing same sex ceremonies.

The Synod disagrees. They feel that marriage is between a man and a woman only. Julius Poppinga, a Presbyterian elder who opposes same sex marriage feels that “by playing a semantic game with the language, you can continue to do what the church says is in violation of (church code). ” Reverend Cliff Frasier, a gay Presbyterian minister, disagrees,” Holy union is a particularly sanctified way of modeling God’s image in our lives. For the church to withdraw its affirmation of that is to abandon and neglect many of God’s children. Morris,2).

It seems that more individuals are recognizing the right to marry for homosexuals. Hopefully, this movement will continue until we reach a solution. Unfortunately, there is more to this battle than just achieving the right to same sex marriages. In 1996, President Clinton signed a bill that would deny federal recognition of homosexual marriages. This bill is also known as the Defense of Marriage Act. This law states that “states (will have)the right not to recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere. “(Hansen,24).

In California, the Protection of Marriage Committee is lobbying for the Protection of Marriage Initiative. The initiative would state that only “a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. ” This web site says that the committee “understand(s) the difference between respecting a person’s right to same sex relationship and endorsing same sex marriages,” however, “people will continue to have the right to live as they choose but not to remake the definition of marriage for our entire society”(http://doma. org). Homosexuals are not asking to remake a definition.

All we ask for are the same rights and responsibilities granted heterosexual couples”, states Benjamin Cable-McCarthy. Cable-McCarthy is a California resident who, in 1991, united with his partner despite the lack of legal binding. What Cable-McCarthy and other like him ask for is not extreme nor is it abnormal to wish for. However, it will be some time before the United States accepts same sex couples a real, important entity of today’s society. Due to the strong support for those against gay marriages, the believe that allowing for Domestic Partnerships would be the ideal solution to this issue.

Domestic Partnerships would provide same sex couples the opportunity to benefit from all of the same things as heterosexual married couples. This solution would please the opponents because we would not be redefining marriage, as they say. It would also please the supporters because it would offer a legally binding contract similar to a marriage to same sex couples. Hopefully, we will continue to open our minds and recognize that we are all human beings and that is what truly matters.

Homosexuality In Society

In today’s society, there exists a mixture of issues which tend to raise arguments with people all over. There are a handful of topics that always seem to escalate these differences between people to the point where one who earnestly participates in discussion, debate and argument can direct their anger towards their feelings on the person themselves. Some examples of such delicate subjects are the death penalty, abortion, and euthanasia. An issue that has in recent years, begun to increase arguments, is the acceptability of homosexuality in society.

Until recently, homosexuality as considered strictly taboo. If an individual was homosexual, it was considered a secret to be kept from all family, friends, and society. However, it seem that society has begun to accept this lifestyle by allowing same sex couples. The idea of coming out of the ‘closet’ has moved to the head of homosexual individuals when it used to be the exception. Homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of and we should all come to realize this. The Government of Canada passed a law making it illegal to discriminate against an individual’s sexual preference.

With this in mind, the government would then equire all of society, including religious communities, to welcome the marriages, adoptions, and families of homosexuals as though they were in no way different from heterosexual ones. It is amazing that such an authority be involved in legislating the acceptance of the normality of this group of individuals. To conclude that the government is taking a corageous act by legislating this law , it must be shown that homosexuality is something we have to accept in society.

Many feel that such a lifestyle is acceptable so long as it is kept in the privacy of ne’s own home while others find it as a sin wherever it is. Society looks down at the homosexuals who are seen in the streets arm in arm, kissing, and even engaging in what they call “unsightly groping”. If one was to see a heterosexual couple doing this unsightly acts of affection nothing would be thought of it. Often enough, homosexuals attempt to ‘pick up’ straight members of their own sex, causing considerable uneasiness but to some that same uneasiness comes from someone of the opposite sex as well.

One man named John P. Phillips quoted in “Essence Magazine” Having to deal with a homosexual on such an insignificant occasion as buying bread, can easily make one’s skin crawl, if not ruin one’s day. This kind of behavior disgust me. One should not make themselves sick from another’s choice in gender. It cannot be denied that viewing this activity will offend many but we should be able to change these outlooks on life. To those wishing to become parents and spouses under the law they will find many difficulties along the way in order to .

The argument often heard is that homosexuals are perverts, that the children they raise will be permanently damaged if the omosexuals acquire the child. Homosexuality in and of itself does not make one an inherently poor parent. This seems quite ridiculous to some people when you consider the issue of the homosexual, whom would obviously be thrilled to raise a child. The child would grow up with his personality, lifestyle, and attitude being formed by homosexuals which could seem quite different but could actually be interpreted by the child as nothing out of the ordinary.

The Child would grow up learning that homosexuality is normal and is equal to heterosexuality. The child will be learning a homosexual and heterosexual nvironments. “Learning life through a homosexual’s eyes can do little but cause future confusion for the child when he or she realizes that people are not always raised by same sex couples. These facts do not change when there is a single parent situation. Children will be confused when he or she notices other parents acting vastly different from their own. ” I totally disagree from this point of view.

The Child will be able to understand as soon as brought into society that a child could be raised by same sex parents or opposite. It just matters how the parent raises the child. A negative side to this proposition is that society, being a collection of straight parents raising children, would put the child in a dangerous enviroment where peers would harass him for his style of living. It may seem to some quite cruel to allow children to experience such a troubling situation simply to appease the wishes of homosexuals.

If we just earnestly look at the situation we can see that it can actually be a valuble learning experience for the child. If the child can be put in a proper enviroment . One with a safe learning and living surroundings. We wouldn’t have to be worried of such orment for a child if more people would come to realize that homosexuality can be and should be accepted in today’s world. Marriages are unions of two people under God and the idea is that the two individuals will start a family and prosper. The point lost in this argument is that at any time in the marriage, health permitting, the heterosexual couple could have children.

If the homosexual couple wanted children, they would be out of luck unless they were able secure some kind of adoption. Marriage is not only concerned with the ability to make a family but to unite 2 loving individuals as one. The common argument against any moral appearance is that homosexual tendencies are something certain individuals are born with. It may not be that they are born with it but it is something they aquire to feel at a early age and there for they are not able to change what they have come to accept.

Over the years there have been several straight individuals who have become homosexual. They have always felt this sense of homosexuality but have not been able to admit it to themselves. One may be afraid of what society will think of them and how it will affect their every day And you must not lie down with a male the same as you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable thing” (Leviticus 18:22). The Bible itself, commonly know as God’s Word, tells mankind that homosexuality is wrong. It seems difficult to imagine a greater authority than that of God.

It seems clear that our own creator frowns heavily upon homosexuality. This is hard for some to understand that God condemns homosexuals when it may not even be their choice to be homosexual or not. Even though God does not permit homosexuality does this mean we should treat them as outcast, perverts, or criminals ? WE shouldn’t label these people, judge them, or condemn them for that matter. We should treat them as equals an as one of us because even if we are not homosexuals (1 Cor 6:9-10) “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God .

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 1nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” This was addressed to the local church in Corinth. Corinth was filled with many pagan temples dedicated to the many gods and goddesses of the time. It is said that the major temple had over 10,000 priest-prostitutes. This passage is not addressing Christians rather it is addressing unbelievers.

Regardless of what one does or does not do if they reject Jesus Christ they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Passages like these are unfair to homosexual people. They suggest that all homosexuals are pagan worshipers and do nothing but evil which is totally incorrect. “ For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, That we should love one another. ” ( 1 John 3: 11 ) “ We know that we have passed from death to ife because we love one another. Who ever does not love abides to death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. ( 1 John 3: 14-15 )

All Christians know that to love one another is one of the most important laws the Lord gave them. To follow this law one must accept the fact that homosexuals are homosexuals. They must love them for who they are and not attempt to change them. If a Christian feels the nee to “help” homosexuals they should support them and make them a strong, open minded individual. They could also stand tall ext to them giving the strength to stand up to the prejudice in society. It is ridiculous that some people have to take this prejudice to a higher level.

Violence. “ A recent extensive study by the National Gay Task Force found that over 90 percent of Gays and Lesbians have been victimized in some form of the basis of their sexual orientation. ” ( Morality in Practice ) This statistic is insanely absurd. More then one in five men and nearly one in ten lesbian women have been punched, hit, or kicked , a quarter of all gays had had objects thrown at them, a third had been chased, a hird had been sexually harassed, and over 14 % had been spit on for their sexual orientation.

People should not take their anger and hate to that extreme. There is even a specific violent act called queerbashing. In this act groups of young men target a homosexual and beat him unconscious or until death. During this beating they yell out abusive language towards the victim. This kind of violence and hate can be compared to Some believe that homosexuality is something that transcends the legislation process in that God and that no government’s proverbial measuring stick of what is right nd wrong can possibly compare to that of our creator.

It is true that no law can override the law of God but it is not for us to choose who will go to hell and who will have eternal life. That is for the Lord to choose. He will choose who will be condemned and who will walk with him. To conclude, it can be said that homosexuality is an issue unlike most others facing society, when the emotions it stirs are considered. The government is just helping our society by creating these laws. If these laws exist then people will grow use to them and possibly prejudice would decrease.

People should not have the right to offend others in public, raise children in a fashion detrimental to the child’s mental health, behave in an unnatural manner that offends the moral codes of society and that of God. This I all agree with but to what degree do we know that homosexuals fit into all this? We have no right to judge. We should leave that to the Lord and he will make the right decision. He will decide what the sinner does and doesn’t deserve. Christians know what to abide by. They may know that being a homosexual is going against Gods word but they also know that the Lord says that one hould love all no matter what circumstances.

Calling homosexuals offensive names is just as offensive as from public displays of affection from homosexuals. Of course I for one do not fin any kind of this public display offensive but some might. So if some want the respect to get homosexuals to keep their proclamation of loving one another private then they have to stop the name calling and violence. Homosexuals are just as human or Christian as anyone may be so that is more of a reason to love them. The Bible says that sinners will be forgiven so for us to be more God like shouldn’t we forgive homosexuals?

Same-Sex Marriage

Marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. Gays make up less than 2% of the population. They should not be allowed to redefine society’s traditional values by obtaining permission to be legally married. A minority should not dictate the acceptable moral codes of society. Legalizing same sex marriages would allow the majority to succumb to the minority. It will grant homosexuals special rights, and contradicts the beliefs of the Catholic Church. There are also many physical disadvantages of homosexual sex and if couples decide to have children it will place the children in a bad environment.

We must also consider the falsehood of monogamy in same sex relationships and the immoral ways of promiscuity. Marriage is not only a matter of emotions but it is also a legal, social, economic, and spiritual union between a heterosexual couples. The definition of marriage does not include homosexuals, to engage in a marriage one must fit the qualifications. Society can get along without homosexuality but it cannot get along without marriage. In 1885, the Supreme Court felt so strongly that marriage was to be protected that it declared it as a requirement for admission of ew states to the Union.

Any, prospective state, the court said, had to have law resting “on the basis of the idea of family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization, the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement. “(Rotello, 56). Once we grant them marriage rights who knows what we can alter. We might as well eliminate minimum age or any other kind of estrictions.

Homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. They can vote, own property, and so on but they cannot receive any special treatment beyond these rights. If gay marriages become the norm then businesses would be required to provide “family” health benefits to same sex couples. Children would also need to be taught in schools that homosexual sex is a moral equivalent of marital love. Same sex marriage would facilitate the adoption of children by gay couples and sex based distinctions in the law would have to be removed.

Any attempt of adjusting the rules is an attempt to gain special rights, not equal ones. The Catholic Church believes that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible preaches that it is wrong and unnatural. Here is some specific evidence from the Bible on same sex relations. “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. ” (Lev. 20:13) “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and ere inflamed with lust for one another. (Rom. 1:26, 27).

“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10). The “right” vision of marriage is clearly illustrated throughout the bible. The image is described in Genesis 1:28, in which man and woman become two-in-one-flesh and are commanded to be fruitful and multiply, accords on the highest level with this notion of love.

There are also many physical disadvantages in participating in homosexual sex. Heterosexual intercourse confers mutual physiological and endocrinological benefits that heterosexual relationships cannot. Participating in heterosexual sex allows the husband and wife to exchange certain hormones and that can be very beneficial. Accordingly, F. X. Arnold has written: The transmission of the hormonal exchange appears to be part of the vital basis for the satisfying functioning of other physical and emotional processes which are necessary for a harmonious married life (Herder, 3).

The swapping of hormones during sex results in normal functioning of the immune system. Male sperm contains an immunosuppressant and this suppresses the womans defense system just enough to allow the partners to achieve a two in one flesh union. From a strict immunological standpoint, male sperm and consequent embryos are seen as foreign bodies. The purpose of the immune system is to protect the body against anything that is foreign to it. The immunosuppressant contained in sperm changes that and enables a true and complete union between the husband and wife and then the embryo and the mother.

The immonosuppressant instructs the females system to treat both her husbands sperm and her future unborn child not as agents against which she must defend but as agents with which she is to be united (http://galegroup. com). Homosexual sex disrupts the normal operation of the immune system. Among the adverse effects is the possibility of also contracting AIDS, which in time renders the immune system dysfunctional. AIDS runs prevalent in the gay community. AIDS was first established among sexually promiscuous homosexuals. It was initially called GRID, standing for Gay Immunodeficiency Disease.

Tolerating gay marriages will also spark the issue of having children. Naturally some couples will want to have children and children do not benefit when homosexuality is presented as a neutral or positive lifestyle choice. Children thrive in an atmosphere of commitment and stability. Kids need the role models of both father and mother for their complete development. Children are a vital part of the future stability of society. Society greatly encourages marriages in order to ensure that enough children are born and that these children are raised properly. The sexual revolution broke the bonds between marriage, sex, and children.

This weakened the idea of marriage has led to widespread acceptance of homosexuality. The revolution enabled adults to separate sex from children and relieve themselves of binding commitments to one another and a sense of responsibility. Having same sex marriages would further erode marriages. Marriages are miserably failing these days as is. Once the sexual revolution broke out the bridge between mother, father, and children collapsed. The ideas of living together, open marriages, single parenthood, the possibility of abortion and birth control all surfaced.

The traditional family consisting of a husband, wife, and natural children is the only way societies have ever found of providing well for stability in the present and for the future. All these new changes and possibilities demolished our understanding of what marriage really is. When children are taken out of the successful traditional marriage environment they are more subject to criminal behaviour, premarital sexual relations, abortions, behavioural problems, and divorce once they marry. Birthrates are at a barely comfortable replacement level and and fewer and fewer children are being brought up with well established just morals.

Homosexuality is destructive to an individuals emotional, physical, and moral well being, that is why it is discouraged in all successful cultures. Even in a steady relationship dangerous and risky sex occurs since the defining gay sex act is unhealthy by any standard. State sanction of homosexuality in any form is an invitation to experiment with something that may prove deadly in the end. Any public health benefits available by discouraging promiscuous homosexual activity may be achieved without redefining traditional marriage, which is an extremely important public health measure.

Homosexual literature itself dubs that homosexual monogamy is largely fictional. Most gay relationships are fleeting. Those that last more thana few years do so just based on the fact that there was an agreement to have outside partners. As former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan, a homosexual, writes, the openness of the contract of homosexual marriage reflects greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman. (Sullivan, 56).

The homosexual concept of monogamy seems to be non-monogamous. Homosexual author and activist Michelangelo Signorile admits that the goal of gay activists is to fight for same sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to societys moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution(www. galegroup. com). By tolerating homosexual marriages society will continue to be further demoralized.

Homosexual relations and marriages are a huge moral, emotional, and above all health risk. The sexual activities that gays participate in are immoral and hold huge risks but to the light like contracting AIDS and many other biological hormonal disadvantages. It would redefine thousands of years of marital traditions and be the fuel to help marriages continue to crumble. Also being raised in a homosexual household is harmful to an individual and the idea of same sex relationships goes against most religions.

Born Gay Theory

If a young boy has a feminine throw he may be homosexual. Also if he has a soft or high voice this would be another detection that one would be homosexual. There have been many conclusions and statements as to what causes homosexuality. These are the traits that normally are classed with someone who is homosexual. The popular argument in todays society is that homosexuality is something that is inborn, genetically linked to an enlarged gland in the brain or due to a particular chromosome. This would prove that it is natural, and that it is luck of the draw whether one is homosexual.

There have been many studies done to prove this theory, but due to a lack of evidence it has remained just that, a theory. Homosexuality, contrary to popular beliefs, is not inborn and has yet to be proven. Dr. Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist at the Salk institute of Biological Studies in San Diego, conducted a series of autopsies in order to seek out the reason for sexual orientation. In 1991, he conducted autopsies on forty-one people in search of an answer (Winslow 2). Among these cadavers, nineteen were allegedly homosexual men, sixteen allegedly heterosexual and six allegedly heterosexual women.

His study was primarily centered towards a group of neurons in the hypothalamus structure. This structure is called the interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus, or otherwise known as the INAH3 (Dallas 111). His reports showed that he found a portion of the brain that he believed regulated to sexual behavior in men. The gland he discovered was twice as large in men assumed to be homosexuals as it was in those who were homosexual(Winslow 2). In the same year that Dr. LeVay performed his research, there was a pair of researchers out for the same answer to homosexuality, that it is inborn.

Dr. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwesten University and psychiatrist Dr. Richard Pillard of Boston University School of Medicine experimented with twins comparing fraternal twins to identical twins. Within each set of twins, one was homosexual. The doctors were out to prove that if one twin was homosexual there was a pretty good chance that the other was too. This would prove homosexuality to be true because if the chemical make-up of one were so similar to the other then they would both be gay (Newman 2)

Pillard and Baileys study showed that the identical twins had a much greater chance of both being gay then the fraternal twins did. They found that, among identical twins, 52 percent were both homosexual, as opposed to the fraternal twins, among whom only 22 percent shared a homosexual orientation(Dallas 114). Because the study was done with twins, Pillard and Bailey concluded higher incidence of shared homosexuality among identical twins meant that homosexuality was genetic in origin(Dallas 114)

In 1993, Dean Hamer of the National Cancer institute and his co-workers performed further studies towards the genetics of homosexuality. They studied thirty-two pairs of non-identical homosexual brothers. No two pairs were related. Hamer and his colleagues found that two- thirds of them (twenty-two of the sets of brothers) shared the same type of genetic material. (Newman1). Researchers in the past have claimed that the homosexual gene was past down maternally. Because of this, Hamer looked closely at the region of the X chromosomes in which most of the brothers shared.

Hamer concluded that the region in question, known as the Xq28, might carry a kind of gene associated with homosexuality(Watson 2). Although all of the research is reportedly conclusive and is sometimes quoted as factual, they do not prove that homosexuality is genetic. For this reason, all three have flaws and holes in the research. Dr. William Byne of Columbian University calls inborn evidence inconclusive, and compares it with trying to add a hundred zeros so you can get one. (Dallas 117). Dr. LeVays research was not uniformly consistent and allowed his studies to be inconclusive.

His research seems to claim that all of the homosexual subjects had smaller INAH3s than the heterosexual subject. In actuality three of the homosexual subjects had larger INAH3s that the heterosexuals. Additionally, three of the heterosexual subjects had smaller INAH3s than the average homosexual(Dallas 112). In response to these reported inconsistencies, Dr. John Ankerberg of the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute notes, 17 percent of his total study group- contradicted his own theory(Dallas 112) It is also unclear whether or not brain structure even affects behavior or vise versa.

Dr. Kenneth Klivington, also of the SALK Institute acknowledges, neurons can change response to experience. You could also postulate that the brain change occurs throughout life, as a consequence to experience. Dr. Lewis Baxter of UCLA concludes that behavior therapy can produce changes in brain circuitry. This backs up the idea that behavior can be the reason for change in brain structure (Dallas 112). George Ebers of the University of Western Ontario later, with similar investigations, contradicted Hamers research.

He examined fifty-two pairs of homosexual brothers and found, no evidence for a linkage of homosexuality to markers on the X chromosome or elsewhere (Dallas 116) Ebers also studied four hundred families, with one or more homosexual males, in regard to Hamers theory of mother-to-son transmission. In response he states, no evidence for the X-link posited by Hamer (Dallas 117) Again, like LeVays work, there are also flaws in the research of Pillard and Bailey. One problem with the experiment is that all the twins were raised in the same household. This runs into the problem of environment.

If all the twins were raised in the same household, they live with the same experiences, same parents, and same day-to-day affairs. Joe Dallas, the author of A Strong Delusion, claims that, If the twins were raised in separate homes, it would be easier to say that genes played a role in sexual development. But since they were raised together, it would make it impossible to know the role the environment played and if genes played any role at all (114-5). About a year after the above research, the British Journal of Psychiatry conducted a similar experiment.

They found that only twenty percent of their twins, both fraternal and identical, had a homosexual sibling (Dallas 115). Dallas quotes the journal saying, genetic factors are insufficient explanation of the development of sexual orientation (115). While willing to consider the possibility of inborn homosexuality, Professor John DEmilo of the University of North Carolina comments that, there is too much else we havent explored(Dallas 117). There has not been any proof of a direct cause to homosexuality and why it occurs.

Gay activists have taken the false studies and preached that they hold truth and that the way they are is OK and that God made them homosexual. We must be educated in this topic in order to approach it as a good Christian. The Catholic Church teaches that people with homosexual tendencies should be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. All discrimination, ridicule and judgment should be avoided at all costs. Because homosexuality is contrary to natural law and closes the door of reproduction, homosexuals are called to a vow of chastity.

Catechism 562) Homosexuality is contrary to natural law and enables procreation. In Leviticus, the bible says, Do not lie with man as one lies with woman. That is detestable(195) The Bible even goes into what is going to happen if your are homosexual. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 it states, Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders will inherit the kingdom of God(Bible 2069) Clearly God does not look upon homosexual lightly. In actuality, God does not take any sin lightly.

Not just homosexual sin but all sin is detestable to God. The verse that is normally ignored in 1 Corinthians when referring to homosexuality is that you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ(Bible 2069). There are too many holes in the idea that homosexuality is something that one is born with. If someday science proves that homosexuality is something that one is born with, than I believe that that person can be born again.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues – AIDS and HIV

Being one of the most fatal viruses in the nation, AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is now a serious public health concern in most major U. S. cities and in countries worldwide. Since 1986 there have been impressive advances in understanding of the AIDS virus, its mechanisms, and its routes of transmission. Even though researchers have put in countless hours, and millions of dollars it has not led to a drug that can cure infection with the virus or to a vaccine that can prevent it.

With AIDS being the leading cause of death among adults, individuals are now taking more precautions with sexual intercourse, and edical facilities are screening blood more thoroughly. Even though HIV ( Human Immunodeficieny Virus) can be transmitted through sharing of non sterilize needles and syringes, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and through most bodily fluids, it is not transmitted through casual contact or by biting or blood sucking insects.

Development of the AIDS Epidemic The first case of AIDS were reported in 1982, epidemiologists at the Center of Disease Control immediately began tracking the disease back wards in time as well as forward. They determined that the first cases of AIDS in the United States probably occurred in 1977. By early 1982, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 foreign countries had reports of AIDS cases, however the total remained low: 158 men and 1 woman. Surprising enough more then 90 percent of the men were homosexual or bisexual.

Knowing this more then 70 percent of AIDS victims are homosexual or bisexual men, and less then 5 percent are heterosexual adults. Amazing enough by December of 1983 there were 3,000 cases of AIDS that had been reported in adults from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and the isease had been recognized in 20 other countries. Recognizing the Extent of Infection The health of the general homosexual populations in the area with the largest number of cases of the new disease was getting looked at a lot closer by researchers.

For many years physicians knew that homosexual men who reported large numbers of sexual partners had more episodes of venereal diseases and were at higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection than the rest of the population, but conicidentally with the appearance of AIDS,. other debilitating problems began to do appear more frequently. The most common was swollen glands, often accompanied by extreme fatigue, weight loss, fever, chronic diarrhea, decreased levels of blood platelets and fungal infections in the mouth. This condition was labeled ARC (AIDS Related complex).

The isolation of HIV in 1983 and 1984 and the development of techniques to produce large quantities of the virus [paved the way for a battery of tests to determined the relationship between AIDS and ARC and the magnitude of the carrier problem. Using several different laboratory tests, scientists looked for antibodies against the HIV in the blood of AIDS and ARC patients. They found that almost 100 percent of those with AIDS or ARC had the antibodies-they were seriopostive. In contrast less then one percent of persons with no known risk factors were seropositive.

Definition of AIDS AIDS is defined as a disease, at least moderately predictive of defects in cell-meditated immunity, occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished resistance to that disease. Such diseases include Kaposi’s Sarcoma, Pneumocystis carnii pneumonia, and serious other opportunistic infections. After the discovery of HIV and the development of HIV-antibody test, the case efinition of AIDS was updated to reflect the role of the virus in causing AIDS, but the scope of the definition remained almost the same.

Transmission HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, it is transmitted by both homosexual and bisexual and heterosexual activity. The first recognized case was among homosexual and bisexual men. Many numbers of studies have shown that men who have sexual partners and those who practice receptive anal intercourse are more likely to be infected with HIV than other homosexual men. Researchers found a strong connection between HIV infection and rectal trauma, nemas before sex, and physical signs of disruption of the tissue lining the rectum.

Homosexual women tend to have a very low incidence of venereal disease in general, an AIDS is no exception. Female-to-female transmission is highly uncommon, however it has been reported in one case and suggested in another. In the reported case, traumatic sex practices apparently resulted in transmission of HIV from a woman who had acquired the virus through IV drug abuse to her non- drug-using sexual partner. 1983 was when the first heterosexual (Male to female; female to male) transmission was reported.

In 1985, 1. percent of the adult cases of AIDS reported to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) were acquired through heterosexual activity; projections suggest that by 1991 the proportion will rise to 5 percent. Heterosexual contact is the only transmission category in which women outnumber men with AIDS. Heterosexual contacts accounts for 29 percent of AIDS cases among women in the United States, but for only 2 percent of cases among men. Estimates of the risk of HIV transmission in unprotected intercourse with a person known to be infected with HIV are 1 in 500 for a single sexual ncounter and 2 in 3 for 500 sexual encounters.

The use of a condom reduces these odds to 1 in 5,000 for a single encounter and to 1 in 11 for 500 encounters. Routes NOT Involved in Transmission of HIV A study of more than 400 family members of adult and pediatric AIDS patients demonstrate that the virus is not transmitted by any daily activity related to living with or caring for an AIDS patient. Basically meaning that personal interactions typical in family relationships, such as kissing on the cheek, kissing on the lips, and hugging, have not resulted in transmission of the virus. Patterns There are three different geographic patterns of AIDS transmission.

The first one is characteristic of industrializing nations with large numbers of reported AIDS cases, such as the United States, Canada, countries in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Latin America. In these areas most AIDS cases have been attributed to homosexual or bisexual activity and intravenous drug abuse. The second pattern is seen in areas of central, eastern, and southern Africa and in some Caribbean countries. Unlike pattern one most AIDS cases in these areas occur among heterosexuals, and the male-to-female ratio approaches 1 to 1.

The third pattern of transmission occurs in regions of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and most of the Pacific. It is believed that HIV was introduced to these areas in the early to mid-1980s. Any study associated with AIDS must begin with the understanding that AIDS is only one outcome of infection with HIV-1. People infected with the virus may be completely asymptomtic; they may have mildly debiliating symptoms; or they may have life-threatening conditions caused by progressive destruction of the immune system, the brain, or both.

One of the first signs of HIV-1 infection in some patients is an acute luelike disease. The condition lasts from a few days to several weeks and is associated with fever, sweats, exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, soar throat, diarrhea, swollen glands, and a rash on the torso. Some of the symptoms of the acute illness may result from HIV-1 invasion of the central nervous system. In some cases the clinical findings have correlated with the presence of HIV-1 in the cerebrospinal fluid. Symptoms disappear along with the rash and other sings of acute viral disease.

When the blood test for HIV-1 antibodies become available, researchers demonstrated the ymphadenopathy was a frequent consequence of infection with the virus. Scientist do not know what causes the wasting syndrome, but some experts believe that it might result from the abnormal regulation of proteins called monokines. Between 5 and 10 percent of patients with AIDS and HIV-related conditions have bouts of acute aseptic meningtis. About two-thirds of AIDS patients have a degenerative brain disease called subacute encephalitis.

HIV infection also have been associated with degeneration of the spinal cord and abnormalities of the peripheral nervous system. Symptoms include progressive oss of coordination and weakness. Involvement of the peripheral nervous system may result in shooting pains in the limbs or in numbness and partial paralysis. HIV destroys the body’s defense capabilities, opening itself to whatever disease-producing agents are present in the environment. The diagnosis of secondary infection in AIDS patients and others with HIV infection is complicated because some of the standard diagnostic tests may not work.

Often such tests detect the immune response to a disease-producing microorganism rather than the organism itself. The most common life threatening opportunistic infection in AIDS atients is Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia, a parasitic infection previously seen almost exclusively in cancer and transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs. The first signs of disorder are moderate to severe difficulty in breathing, dry cough, and fever. Infection Infection with HIV is a 2-step process consisting of binding and fusion.

The larger protein, glycoprotein120, is responsible for the binding activity. Its target is a receptor molecule called CD4, found on the surface of some human cells. The tight complex formed by glycoprotein120, and CD4 receptor brings the iral envelope very close to membrane of the target cell. This allows the smaller envelope protein, glycoprotein41, to initiate a fusion reaction. The envelope of the virus actually fuses with the cell membrane, allowing the viral core direct access to the inner mechanisms of the human cell.

Once the viral core is inside the cell, the viral RNA genome is reverse transcribed into DNA and then integrated into the host genome cells. Cells infected with HIV carry envelope proteins lodged in their membrane. These cell-bound proteins can bind to CD4 receptors on uninfected cell. Fusion f the two cell membranes allow partially formed viral particles to move from the infected cell to the uninfected cell. Thus, HIV theocratically could spread through the body without leaving host cells. Cell Death HIV infects many different cell types, but it preferentially kills the T4 lymphocyte.

There have been suggestions the T4 cells are more vulnerable to HIV-induced cell death than other cells because they have a higher concerntration of CD4 receptors. There is speculation that cell death occurs when viral envelope proteins lodged in the membrane of an infected cell bind to CD4 receptors embedded in the same membrane. Multiple self fusion reactions could destabilize the cell membrane and kill the cell. The massive depletion of T4 cells involves the cell-to-cell fusion reaction described above.

A single infected cell with a high concentration of viral envelope proteins on its surface can bind to hundreds of uninfected T4 cells. The fused cells form giant, mulitnucleated structures called syncytia, which are extremely unstable and die within a day. One cell with a productive viral infection can cause the death of up to 500 normal cells. Cell death might be related to the presence of free-floating viral envelope proteins in the loodstream. These could bind to uninfected T4 cells, leading to their elimination by the immune system.

Other autoimmune mechanisms also may play a roll in T-cell depletion. HIV infection also may directly or indirectly suppress the production of new T4 cells. Direct suppression would occur if HIV damaged T precursor cells in the bone marrow. Indirect suppression would result if HIV interfered with the production of specific growth factors. On the other hand, infected cells may secrete a toxin that shortens the lifespan of T4 cells or other cells required for their survival. Immune System The Immune response to HIV infection, does not appear to halt the progression of disease.

Part of the explanation for this failure probably relates to the structure of the envelope proteins. The most effective way to stop HIV infection would be to block the binding reaction between the glycoprotein120 and the CD4 receptor. However, antibodies from infected patients rarely do this. Scientists speculate that 2 or 3 regions of the glycoprotein120 molecule involved in the binding reaction may form a recessed pocket. The inability of antibodies to get inside such a pocket could explain the lack of protective immune response. The envelope proteins also are heavily coated with sugar residues.

The human immune system does not recognize the sugar residues as foreign because they are products of the host cell rather then the virus. The sugar residues form a protective barrier around sections of the glycoprotein120 that might otherwise elicit a strong immune response. Regulatory Genes There has been recent studies that indicate HIV’s unusual regulatory genes contributing to its ability to evade the immune system. In the simplest retroviruses the replication rate is controlled by interactions between the host cell and elements in the viral LTR. The virus itself has no way of regulating when, here, or how much virus is produced.

In contrast, the human immunodeficiency viruses have elaborate regulatory control mechanisms in the form of specific genes. Some of the genes permit explosive replication; other appear to inhibit production of virus. Mechanisms that suppress the production of certain viral proteins, such as the envelope proteins, may allow HIV to hide inside infected cells for long periods without eliciting antibodies or other host immune responses. Conclusion As stated above in the last few pages, AIDS is the leading cause of eath in homosexual, and bisexual adult men.

However, these statistics were from 1986, 11 years later it has grown to more, not just in homosexual and bisexual men, but also in heterosexual sexual intercourse. At this point in time there is no cure, nor is there a vaccination. However, there are ways to prevent HIV, some of those ways are: abstinence, condoms, not sharing needles used for IV drugs. Public concern is higher then it was 10 years ago, but that’s because people are starting to realize that not everyone is immune to it, as of right now the only ones immune to the HIV virus are baboons.

Teenage Homosexuality

Of the many emotions a gay man or woman feel, perhaps the most powerfully pervasive is fear. The fear of being found out is real enough, but the worry does not end there. There also lurks the fear of being called names, being assaulted, perhaps even killed. For adults these fears are horrible enough. For a lesbian and gay teenager, who lack experience and life skills to cope with them, such fears can be overwhelming. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth face many problems as they realize they are homosexual. Often they don’t know even one other homosexual person and feel very alone and misunderstood.

They see very few role models, no one to identify with. No one knows their secrets, no one shares their pain. No one will stop others from name calling if the name calling is about homosexuality. Who would dare to speak up? No one speaks up, not in junior high and high school. College, perhaps; pride events are more easily seen then, but in high school no one speaks up. Imagine dearly loving someone else and having to keep it totally secret because if you don’t you will be punished — cast out of your home by your family, ostracized by your friends, perhaps losing your job.

This is the world of the lesbian and gay young person. The feelings homosexual youth face are only the beginning of the problem. As they recognize that they are different and discriminated against, they lose self esteem and become depressed. Many become suicidal and develop a feeling of extreme depression and helplessness. Those who don’t commit suicide live an adolescence of silence and oppression, rarely being able to speak up without being struck down by peers.

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Task Force on Youth Suicide issued a report in January of 1989 concluding that lesbian and gay youth may constitute “up to thirty percent of completed suicides annually” and that “homosexuals of both sexes are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide than are heterosexuals. Homosexual youth can not speak up because of fear and misunderstanding. And when no one speaks up for them, no one stops the pain, many teens can not handle it and commit suicide. This is the meaning of the commonly known phrase, “Silence equals death. ”

Not only do they face unrestricted discrimination and harassment at school, they often face similar or worse homophobia at home. Parents, unaware of their children’s sexual orientation, often make cutting remarks about homosexual television characters, community members, or the orientation in general. They may not even recognize their comments, but the child (or children) is hanging on to every word, looking for at least a tiny bit of acceptance from family. Many times they find hate instead of acceptance, sometimes to the point of being kicked out of the house at age 14 or 15 when a homophobic parent does find out.

This leaves them with nowhere to turn. Many of these teens are themselves suffering from the same prejudices that the rest of their family may share. Or perhaps they’ve gotten past that, and started to forge a new identity, where being gay or lesbian is something of which they can be proud. Sometimes, what makes it so especially hard for gay teens is the very thing that protects them, their invisibility. What African-American parent would be making jokes about black people at the kitchen table? What Jewish family would sit around casually commenting on how God condemns the Jews?

But the lesbian, gay or bisexual teen, sitting there in their cloak of presumed heterosexuality, laughs outwardly, or joins in expressing shared disgust, while yet another chunk of their self-esteem has been chiseled away. Homosexual teens can not confide in parents, friends, or often even the church. Most Christian churches condemn homosexuality and back up their beliefs with the Bible. However, the major references to homosexuality in the Bible are badly mistranslated. Nowhere does the Bible mention same-sex love negatively; it only mentions prostitution, specifically in reference to local cults.

More information can be found at the URL http://cent1. lancs. ac. uk/lgb/eight. html which is a detailed retranslation of eight major Bible passages used to condemn homosexuality. Homosexual youth often go to church with family as expected, only to hear the condemnation of themselves echoed by the entire church. Where is the loving God the church is supposed to be echoing? What love exists in condemning people for who they love? Each youth sits there listening to parents, siblings, friends, and religious leaders tear apart their feelings of love and self esteem, not speaking up out of fear for emotional and often physical safety.

The more discriminating the place, the more dangerous it is to speak up, but how much more dangerous is it to let a teen live in constant depression and fear? Obviously it is extremely dangerous, since as quoted earlier homosexual teens are up to six times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual teens. Not only do homosexual youth hear discrimination and fear from home, church, and the community, they also are exposed to a subtler form of it at school.

Though it isn’t obvious, the extreme lack of proper information is a very big discriminating factor at most schools. Parents and Boards of Education still fight to keep homosexuality-debate, discussion, even it’s mere mention-out of schools. Nurses and librarians still fail to offer resources to timid young people with agonizing questions. In a 1993 study performed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, ninety percent of youth (ages twelve to twenty five) with AIDS are gay or bisexual men, ….. while those under age thirty comprise sixteen percent of AIDS cases.

Given the lengthy incubation period, virtually all were infected as teenagers. Newt Gingrich has pledged to hold Congressional hearings on withdrawing federal funds from school districts that mention gays and lesbians in curricula services, a punitive and financially disastrous measure similar to the Robert Smith-Jesse Helms amendment that passed the Senate in August 1994 but then expired in the committee. These amendments would efectivley ax the very few school based programs that teach tolerance and foster self-acceptance.

If homosexuality is mentioned at all, it is usually skimmed over and brushed off as something that “no one here actually needs to know about. ” It is assumed that the entire class is heterosexual and should not need to know what homosexuality and homophobia really are. However, according to popular statistics about 10% of the population is homosexual. In a class of 20 students, that’s 2 people. If the class size is 30, it’s 3 or even 4 students. Up to 3 or 4 students must listen to how everyone else’s sexual and emotional feelings are natural, but theirs are never mentioned.

Rather than providing proper information on how homosexuals are often discriminated against, and what homophobia means and how it hurts, the class barely even mentions the subject if it does at all. If a homosexual youth is lucky enough to find their way to the Internet, they are eventually greeted by a bit of a LBG-supportive environment. Several sites exist to help homosexual youth realize that they are normal, lovable, and can be successful. The sites also have many tips on coming out, especially to parents and family. However, many sites with very useful information for homosexuals are restricted to adults (age 18).

Many of these sites do not contain sexually explicit material above what shows on prime time TV. The information directed at adults (announcements of pride events, etc. ) is also of use to youth, and restricting the entire site to adults prevents youth from reaching useful pieces of information. The youth also need to know about adult same sex relationships; they have no or few role models available locally, and often the only way that they can learn that same sex relationships can last like marriage does is to read about it over the net.

Keeping all information about adult same sex relationships away from youth prevents them from seeing the permanent, loving aspect of what their lives could be. As homosexual youth enter college and begin to explore the world on their own, many begin to find the support groups that were so lacking in high school. Large universities sometimes have official student organizations for homosexual students. Books are much more available, and often many people are publicly “out” on campus. This environment begins to help homosexuals understand themselves better.

Some become very active and public, to help pave the way for people who may be having a harder time than they have. Many homosexual people gain the courage and independence to come out to their family, sometimes because it is the first time their physical safety is not in danger by doing so. As homosexual youth mature and begin to develop adult relationships, they must integrate their feelings and attitudes into their normal life. They also usually overcome most of the homophobia that they grew up with.

Often a part of the integration of growing up is that the person is able to stop focusing on their own homosexuality, becoming more open to same sex and opposite sex relationships without thinking about whether their homosexuality is showing or not. Homosexual people in this stage have begun to really be able to accept themselves without feeling obsessive or afraid of issues surrounding homosexuality. The details vary between people, but the overall change is toward self acceptance and comfortableness within society.

This change is needed for proper social interactions, with friends and lovers. It most often happens in the late teens and early adulthood, because a lot of self inspection and independence occur then. Homosexual teen suicide, discrimination from all areas of life, and misunderstanding of homosexuality, both from the heterosexual community and from the homosexual youth who have not have access to information, would greatly reduce, or nearly disappear, if proper education was given in the public schools to combat homophobia. “Liberty is the right not to lie. ”

Homosexual youth should not have to lie to hide their orientation from their parents, friends, and the rest of the community, just to stay alive. Even one teacher taking a stand for proper homosexual information in schools can make a difference. That one teacher may be the role model one or several students needed to see to make them feel worthwhile and not suicidal. Too often though a teacher who stands up for equal rights and protection is cut down by the school administration and parents. However, even then a student may feel better that at least one person understands them and wants to fight for their rights.

It can be the difference between total destitute and a bit of hope. Whether the teacher gives positive information in the classroom, or stops cutting remarks, or simply discreetly helps one or two students find a support hotline, it can often make the difference between life and death for despairing teens. As more teachers, administrators, social workers, and other people speak up, the deadly silence and invisibility of homosexual youth begins to diminish. If silence equals death, then proper communication and information is the one way to insure life.

A fear to be homosexual

Of the many emotions a gay man or woman feel, perhaps the most powerfully pervasive is fear. The fear of being found out is real enough, but the worry does not end there. There also lurks the fear of being called names, being assaulted, perhaps even killed. For adults these fears are horrible enough. For a lesbian and gay teenager, who lacks experience and life skills to cope with them, such fears can be overwhelming. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth face many problems as they realize they are homosexual. Often they don’t know even one other homosexual person and feel very alone and misunderstood.

They see very few role models, no one to identify with. No one knows their secrets, no one shares their pain. No one will stop others from name calling if the name calling is about homosexuality. Who would dare to speak up? No one speaks up, not in junior high and high school. College, perhaps; pride events are more easily seen then, but in high school no one speaks up. Imagine dearly loving someone else and having to keep it totally secret because if you don’t you will be punished, cast out of your home by your family, not accepted by your friends, perhaps losing your job.

This is the world of the lesbian and gay young person. The feelings homosexual youth face are only the beginning of the problem. As they recognize that they are different and discriminated against, they lose self esteem and become depressed. Many become suicidal and develop a feeling of extreme depression and helplessness. Homosexual youth can not speak up because of fear and misunderstanding. Not only do they face unrestricted discrimination and harassment at school, they often face similar or worse homophobia at home.

Parents, unaware of their children’s sexual orientation, often make cutting remarks about homosexual television characters, community members, or the orientation in general. They may not even recognize their comments, but the child is hanging on to every word, looking for at least a tiny bit of acceptance from family. Many times they find hate instead of acceptance, sometimes to the point of being kicked out of the house at age 14 or 15 when a homophobic parent does find out. This leaves them with nowhere to turn.

Sometimes, what makes it so especially hard for gay teens is the very thing that protects them, their invisibility. For example, the lesbian, gay or bisexual teen, sitting there in their cloak of presumed heterosexuality, laughs outwardly, or joins in expressing shared disgust, while yet another chunk of their self-esteem has been chiseled away. Homosexual teens can not confide in parents, friends, or often even the church. Most Christian churches condemn homosexuality and back up their beliefs with the Bible. However, the major references to homosexuality in the Bible are badly mistranslated.

Nowhere does the Bible mention same-sex love negatively; it only mentions prostitution, specifically in reference to local cults. The more discriminating the place, the more dangerous it is to speak up, but how much more dangerous is it to let a teen live in constant depression and fear? Not only do homosexual youth hear discrimination and fear from home, church, and the community, they also are exposed to a subtler form of it at school. If homosexuality is mentioned at all, it is usually skimmed over and brushed off as something that no one here actually needs to know about.

It is assumed that the entire class is heterosexual and should not need to know what homosexuality and homophobia really are. As homosexual youth enter college and begin to explore the world on their own, many begin to find the support groups that were so lacking in high school. Large universities sometimes have official student organizations for homosexual students. Books are much more available, and often many people are publicly “out” on campus. This environment begins to help homosexuals understand themselves better. Some become very active and public, to help pave the way for people who may be having a harder time than they have.

Many homosexual people gain the courage and independence to come out to their family, sometimes because it is the first time their physical safety is not in danger by doing so. As homosexual youth mature and begin to develop adult relationships, they must integrate their feelings and attitudes into their normal life. They also usually overcome most of the homophobia that they grew up with. Often a part of the integration of growing up is that the person is able to stop focusing on their own homosexuality, becoming more open to same sex and opposite sex relationships without thinking about whether their homosexuality is showing or not.

Homosexual people in this stage have begun to really be able to accept themselves without feeling obsessive or afraid of issues surrounding homosexuality. The details vary between people, but the overall change is toward self acceptance and comfortableness within society. This change is needed for proper social interactions, with friends and lovers. It most often happens in the late teens and early adulthood, because a lot of self inspection and independence occur then.

Homosexual teen suicide, discrimination from all areas of life, and misunderstanding of homosexuality, both from the heterosexual community and from the homosexual youth who have not have access to information, would greatly reduce, or nearly disappear, if proper education was given in the schools to combat homophobia. Homosexual youth should not have to lie to hide their orientation from their parents, friends, and the rest of the community, just to stay alive. Even one teacher taking a stand for proper homosexual information in schools can make a difference.

That one teacher may be the role model, one or several students needed to see to make them feel worthwhile and not suicidal. Too often though a teacher who stands up for equal rights and protection is cut down by the school administration and parents. However, even then a student may feel better that at least one person understands them and wants to fight for their rights. It can be the difference between hopelessness and a bit of hope. As more teachers, administrators, social workers, and other people speak up, the deadly silence and invisibility of homosexual youth begins to diminish.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues – Same-sex Marriage Laws Violate Gay Rights

When I was in third grade, I learned that there are certain “inalienable rights”– the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — all of which the United States government is committed to protecting for every human. Last week, I learned this government feels that these human rights are limited to some people, based on how they choose to practice sex. In two separate legislations last week, the United States Senate sanctioned discrimination against homosexual Americans. The issue recently surfaced in Hawaii when the state denied marriage privileges to a lesbian couple.

In May 1993, the State Supreme Court ruled in a 3-1 decision that the state’s exclusion of same-sex marriage was sexual discrimination and thus unconstitutional unless there was “compelling evidence” for it. In 1995, a governor’s commission recommended the state grant marital rights to homosexuals. The “full faith and credit” clause of the U. S. Constitution says that states must accord reciprocity to laws (and contracts) of other states. Thus a couple could get married in Hawaii, move to another state and demand that the state recognize their marriage contract unless laws in the new state conflict directly with laws in the former state.

This led the House to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) this July with the Senate concurring on Sept. 10. Social Security, Veter-an’s and other federal benefits such as married tax status will simply be denied to Americans who do not conform to a sexual pattern preferred by others in society. I don’t know where in the Constitution Congress is permitted to legislate the morality that a man must marry a woman. Furthermore, DoMA permits states to ignore contracts of marriage made in other states. This is clearly unconstitutional, directly challenging the “full faith and credit” clause.

Texas Senator Phil Gramm said he was upholding an institution that has been unchallenged, until now, for the last few thousand years. Barring the great Greek and Roman civilizations that cherished homosexuality, the institution of marriage has not always had the same connotations it holds to some today. For most of history, there was no love in marriage; it was a merely an economic union that simplified the problem of inheritance of property. Such marriages were usually pre-arranged and out of convenience. Even now, marriage is a political contract recognized by the state for certain benefits.

Sometimes the state will vest power to a religious official to witness the contract so that it can be connected to a ceremony, but it is still a political contract. Each citizen should have equal protection under the law and should be permitted the right to marry whomever one pleases in order to gain the same benefits that the government grants to a wedded pair. The Senate also fell one vote short last Tuesday of passing legislation that would remove discrimination in hiring. The entire movement behind the DoMA is because of the standard complaints many harbor against homosexuals.

Many perceive homosexuals as promiscuous and not lasting in long relationships. An official marriage would act to reverse this activity — if it were indeed more than just a stereotype. Ironically, the people that cringe at the thought of homosexuals married to each other and would prefer that they merely lived together but not marry are the exact same people who cringe at the thought of a man and woman living in the same house together while not officially married. What is the difference, legally, between a man’s (or woman’s) choice to marry a woman and his choice to marry a man?

The only difference is the fears, stereotypes and prejudices of outside people. This is not justification for barring the union. Thirty years ago, the same barrier stood against intermarriage between members of different races, but finally the Supreme Court overturned anti-miscegenation laws in 1967 because they were restricting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of those wanting to get married. Seeing two gay people married to each other may make some people uncomfortable. But their union does not infringe on anyone else’s life, liberty or pursuit of happiness, and they have a claim to pursue their human rights and marry each other.

What has Congress to gain by passing this restrictive law? It is only election-year politics to woo the radical right. The United States government is unfairly discriminating against a portion of the United States population and we should not stand for this public “gay bashing. ” Discrimination is still legal because the measure failed 50-49. Senator Pryor (D-Ark. ) was attending his son’s cancer surgery; otherwise, he would have supported the bill. Vice President Al Gore had promised to break the tie in support of the bill, but the motion failed. Now it is legally OK to not hire someone based on his or her sexual preference.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues – Equal Rights Not Special Rights for Gays

On October 6, 1998 two men took Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, about a mile outside of Laramie Wyoming. These men took him out to a split-rail fence, tortured him, then tied him put onto the fence, and left him for death. He was found late the next day by two bikers, 18 hours after the attack. When the bikers first saw Matthew tied to the fence, they thought that Matthew was a scarecrow, but realized that it was a person. Matthew remained in a coma until October 12, then died at 12:53 a. m.

Matthew always was a peacemaker he wanted gays to be treated like everyone else not as a minority. Matthew once said, “If I could get two people–one straight, one gay–who hate each other to be respectful of each other, I would have done something good” (Miller). He wanted homosexuals and heterosexuals to see eye to eye, which almost seems impossible. Homosexuality has been common in many cultures throughout history, but not always known. When it came about in society many religions thought it as sinful. As a result, being gay or lesbian was a crime, punishable by death.

In the twentieth century homosexuality took a turn around. As a result gay bashing became common in America. In November 13, 1986 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a boy admitted that he and his friends hunted gay men down and beat them with baseball bats (Opposing View Points, “Homosexuals are an… “). It seems that this issue of discrimination of gays is too extreme. Society needs to know that homosexuals are fighting for civil rights, not special rights. They want to be treated equal in the workplace, in housing and in public accommodations.

In November of 1992 Colorado tried to pass an amendment against homosexuals gaining special rights. The purpose of the amendment was to deny homosexuals special rights, through any of Colorado’s state branches or departments or any of its agencies. When this amendment was passed civil liberties groups and gay rights groups around the nation called for a boycott of Colorado. Consequently, the state lost about $40 million in convention and tourist business. In 1994 the Colorado Supreme Court declared that the state’s anti-gay rights measure, Amendment 2, was unconstitutional.

Justice Anthony Kennedy states, “We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws” (ACLU Briefing Paper, “The Rights of Lesbian… “). Discrimination in our country is unconstitutional under the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Fifth, Fourteenth, and Ninth Amendments all state something about the right to privacy, and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender religion and disability.

The First Amendment states freedom of speech and association. So how do states get away with discriminating against homosexuals? People argue that homosexuals behavior is what should stop them from being protected. Alan Keyes argues, “It is wrong to treat sexual orientation like race where discrimination is concerned. Race is a condition. Sexual orientation involves behavior” (Alan Keyes: On Homosexual Rights). Another argument is that gays spread aids, which is sooner or later causes death. It’s not just homosexuals that carry aids.

Aids can be carried by any man, woman, or child, no matter race or sexual preference. It could happen to anyone. Another argument against homosexuals receiving the same rights as heterosexuals is that they shouldn’t be considered a minority, like African Americans and Mexicans. The definition of minority is, “a racial, religious, ethnic or political group that differs from the larger, controlling group” (The New Webster’s Dictionary pg. 116). Homosexuals are a group and they definitely differ from heterosexuals. Homosexuals are denied jobs such as social work, clergy, teaching, armed forces, and many government jobs.

People should be judged on how well they work and not by their beliefs. Employers fear homosexuals will drive people away or they will molest people. Statistics show that majority of molesters are heterosexual men that are usually related to the victim. Other rights that they are ignored is that they can’t see a sick or dying partner in the hospital, they can’t claim their partner’s property after death, they don’t get custody rights, and in two states they can’t adopt children (ACLU Briefing Paper, “The Rights of Lesbian… “).

So exactly what is the purpose of denying homosexuals these simple rights? Denying these rights isn’t convincing homosexuals to change their sexual preference. It is funny how history is repeating itself. Years ago African-American existence was denied, their history ignored, bashing existed and discrimination took a big part of their lives. It is happening all over again but with homosexuals. Treating people fair seems to be a goal of the constitution. Instead America is relying on social norms not laws, to ensure that people are treated fairly.

Now one can see why seeing eye to eye between heterosexuals and homosexuals is so difficult and may never happen. That is not the main concern. Treating them fair is. Most people will agree being a homosexual is against our morals and is unnatural. But continuing to condone discrimination against homosexuals is getting society no where. Matthew Shepard died similar to the way that Jesus died except Matthew was killed because he was gay. It always takes someone dying to change the world.

Same Sex Marriages

The proposed legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the most significant issues in contemporary American family law. Presently, it is one of the most vigorously advocated reforms discussed in law reviews, one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers, and one of the most provocative issues emerging before American courts. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of American family law. The potential consequences, positive or negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples, families, social tructure public health, and the status of women are enormous.

Given the importance of the issue, the value of comprehensive debate of the reasons for and against legalizing same-sex marriage should be obvious. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another. Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation, succession of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and ther rights.

When two adults desire to contract in the eyes of the law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, should the law prohibit their request merely because they are of the same gender? I intend to prove that because of Article IV of the United States Constitution, there is no reason why the federal government nor any state government should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship. Marriage has changed throughout the years.

In Western law, ives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial marriage is now widely accepted, both in statute and in society; and marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for a divorce. Societal change have been felt in marriages over the past 25 years as divorce rates have increased and have been integrated into even upper class families. Proposals to legalize same-sex marriage or to enact broad domestic partnership laws are currently being promoted by gay and lesbian activists, especially in Europe and North America.

The trend in western European nations during he past decade has been to increase legal aid to homosexual relations and has included marriage benefits to some same-sex couples. For example, within the past six years, three Scandinavian countries have enacted domestic partnership laws allowing same-sex couples in which at least one partner is a citizen of the specified country therefore allowing many benefits that heterosexual marriages are given.

In the Netherlands, the Parliament is considering domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, all major political parties favor recognizing same-sex relations, and more than a dozen towns have already done so. Finland provides governmental social benefits to same-sex partners. Belgium allows gay prisoners the right to have conjugal visits from same-sex partners. An overwhelming majority of European nations have granted partial legal status to homosexual relationships. The European Parliament also has passed a resolution calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

In the United States, efforts to legalize same-sex domestic partnership have had some, limited success. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. reported that by mid-1995, thirty-six municipalities, eight counties, three states, five state agencies, and wo federal agencies extended some benefits to, or registered for some official purposes, same-sex domestic partnerships. In 1994, the California legislature passed a domestic partnership bill that provided official state registration of same-sex couples and provided limited marital rights and privileges relating to hospital visitation, wills and estates, and powers of attorney.

While California’s Governor Wilson eventually vetoed the bill, its passage by the legislature represented a notable political achievement for advocates of same-sex marriage. The most significant prospects for legalizing same-sex arriage in the near future are in Hawaii, where advocates of same-sex marriage have won a major judicial victory that could lead to the judicial legalization of same-sex marriage or to legislation authorizing same-sex domestic partnership in that state. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Baehr v.

Lewin, vacated a state circuit court judgment dismissing same-sex marriage claims and ruled that Hawaii’s marriage law allowing heterosexual, but not homosexual, couples to obtain marriage licenses constitutes sex discrimination under the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment. The case began in 1991 when three same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health brought suit in state court against the director of the department. Hawaii law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license.

While the marriage license law did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage at that time, it used terms of gender that clearly indicated that only heterosexual couples could marry. The coupl sought a judicial decision that the Hawaii marriage license law is unconstitutional, as it prohibits same-sex marriage and allows state fficials ro deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples on account of the heterosexuality requirement. Baehr and her attorney sought their objectives entirely through state law, not only by filing in state rather than federal court, but also by alleging exclusively violations of state law–the Hawaii Constitution.

The state moved for judgment on the pleadings and for dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim; the state’s motion was granted in October, 1991. Thus, the circuit court upheld the heterosexuality marriage requirement as a matter of law and dismissed the plaintiffs’ challenges to it. Yet recently the Circuit Court of Hawaii decided that Hawaii had violated Baehr and her partner’s constitutional rights by the fourteenth amendment and that they could be recognized as a marriage.

The court found that the state of Hawaii’s constitution expressly discriminated against homosexuals and that because of Hawaii’s anti-discrimination law they must re evaluate the situation. After the ruling the state immediately asked for a stay of judgment, until the appeal had been convened, therefore putting off any marriage between Baehr and her partner for at least a year. By far Baehr is the most positive step toward actual marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. Currently there is a high tolerance for homosexuals throughout the United States and currently in Hawaii.

Judges do not need the popularity of the people on the Federal or circuit court level to make new precedent. There is no clear majority that homosexuals should have marriage rights in the general public, and yet the courts voted for Baehr. The judiciary has its own mind on how to interpret the constitution which is obviously very different then most of American popular belief. This is the principal reason hat these judges are not elected by the people, so they do not have to bow to people pressure.

The constitutional rights argument for same-sex marriage affirms that there is a fundamental constitutional right to marry, or a broader right of privacy or of intimate association. The essence of this right is the private, intimate association of consenting adults who want to share their lives and commitment with each other and that same-sex couples have just as much intimacy and need for marital privacy as heterosexual couples; and that laws allowing heterosexual, but not same-sex, couples to marry nfringe upon and discriminate against this fundamental right.

Just as the Supreme Court compelled states to allow interracial marriage by recognizing the claimed right as part of the fundamental constitutional right to marry, of privacy and of intimate association so should states be compelled now to recognize the fundamental right of homosexuals to do the same. If Baehr ultimately leads to the legalization of same-sex marriage or broad, marriage like domestic partnership in Hawaii, the impact of that legalization will be felt widely.

Marriage recognition principles derived from hoice-of-law and full-faith-and-credit rules probably would be invoked to recognize same-sex Hawaiian marriages as valid in other states. The impact of Hawaii’s decision will immediately impact marriage laws in all of the United States. The full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.

Marriage qualifies for recognition under each section: — 1) creation of marriage is public act because it occurs pursuant to a statutory scheme and is performed by a legally designated official, nd because a marriage is an act by the state; 2) a marriage certificate is a record with a outlined legal effect, showing that a marriage has been validly contracted, that the spouses meet the qualifications of the marriage statutes, and they have duly entered matrimony.

Public records of lesser consequence, such as birth certificates and automobile titles have been accorded full faith and credit; 3) celebrating a marriage is a judicial proceeding where judges, court clerks, or justices of the peace perform the act of marriage. It would seem evident that if heterosexual couples use Article IV as a afety net and guarantee for their wedlock then that same right should be given to homosexual couples. — This Article has often been cited as a reference point for interracial marriages in the south when those states do not want to recognize the legitimacy of that union by another state. As this is used for that lifestyle, there is no logical reason it should be denied to perhaps millions of homosexuals that want the opportunity to get married. The obstacles being out in front of homosexual couples is in the name of the normal people that actively seek to define their definition to all. It is these normal people that are the efinition of surplus repression and social domination.

Yet as they cling to theConstitution for their freedoms they deny those same freedoms to not normal people because they would lose their social domination and could be changed. Therefore it would seem they are afraid to change, and have not accepted that the world does change. Unfortunately the full faith and credit clause has rarely been used as anything more then an excuse to get a quick divorce. A man wants a divorce yet his wife does not or will not void their marriage. He then goes to Reno, Nevada, buys a house and gets a job for six eeks.

After that six weeks when he can declare himself a legal resident he applies for a singular marriage void and because Nevada law allows one side to void their marriage is they are a resident of Nevada their marriage is now void. The man now moves back to his home state, and upon doing so this state must now recognize the legitimacy that Nevada has voided out the marriage. Even if the wife does not consent, the new state cannot do anything about it. That is what usually full faith and credit is used under. Legislation enacted by President Clinton from Senator Don

Nickles of Oklahoma called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has allowed individual states to react differently to any intrusion of marriage that they feel is not proper. DOMA states marriage means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Supporters of DOMA also claim clear constitutional warrant, and that Congress is exercising its own authority under Article IV to prescribe the manner in which the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state, shall be proved.

However it would seem that by allowing individual states to alter and change what the meaning of arriage is, it could create a disaster if even heterosexuals want to wed. The underlying principle in DOMA is that states now have the right to redefine what they feel is or is not appropriate behavior and shall be allowed or illegal in their state. It is also apparent that the signing of DOMA by President Clinton was more of a presidential campaign gesture then an actual change in policy.

While he has shifted considerably from his platform in 1992 this move was specifically designed to change his image among more conservative voters. It is also apparent that this move did not work because a majority of onservative Americans still voted for Bob Dole in the 1996 Presidential election. Clinton, now that he has been re elected, partially under the front of a more moderate administration, should seriously rethink its policy on social change and whether he wants to go out as the President that denied hundred of thousands of people the opportunity for equal rights.

In 1967 the Supreme Court announced that marriage is one of the most basic civil rights of man…. essential to the pursuit of happiness. Having the highest court on the land make such a profound statement about something which current politicians think they can egulate like phone or tv’s is something short of appalling. For who is to say what happiness can be created from wedlock but the people that are in the act itself, per couple, household and gender. The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act proclaim that All marriages contracted…. utside this State that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place in which they were contracted… are valid in this State. This Act has been enacted in seventeen states and could be the foundation for full faith and credit if marriages were to take place in other states. However as much as the right wing conservatives wish to pursue an aggressive anti-gay/lifestyle agenda the DOMA act has been widely criticized as intensely unconstitutional.

It is bias and discriminatory toward homosexuals and there fore against the United States Constitution and once again the fourteenth amendment proclaiming all citizens equal. Fearing that the state may have to recognize same-gender marriages from Hawaii, because of the controversy over DOMA the state legislatures of Arizona, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Idaho, and Georgia, have made preemptive trikes and enacted state legislation which bars recognition of same-gender marriages.

Several other state legislatures, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Louisiana, New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina and Wisconsin, have attempted to enact similar legislation, but failed. After Hawaiian marriages are brought to these states for enforcement, these laws will lead each state into a potential separate constitutional challenge of its same-gender marriage ban. Those cases could be the new foundation for a sweeping change in popular American politics and thought and will erhaps pave the road for increased awareness of this human rights issue.

Leaving aside, as government should, objections that may be held by particular religions, the case against same-gender marriage is simply that people are unaccustomed to it. Bigotry and prejudice still exist in our evolving society, and traditionally people fear what is strange and unfamiliar to them. One may argue that change should not be pushed along hastily. At the same time, it is an argument for legalizing homosexual marriage through consensual politics as in Denmark, rather than by court order, as may happen in Hawaii.

Social Movements – Gay Rights

The history of the gay rights movement goes as far back as the late 19th century. More accurately, the quest by gays to search out others like themselves and foster a feeling of identity has been around since then. It is an innovative movement that seeks to change existing norms and gain acceptance within our culture. By 1915, one gay person said that the gay world was a community, distinctly organized (Milestones 1991), but kept mostly out of view because of social hostility.

According to the Milestones article, after World War II, around 1940, many cities saw their first gay bars open as many homosexuals began to start a networking system. However, their newfound visibility only backfired on them, as in the 1950’s president Eisenhower banned gays from holding federal jobs and many state institutions did the same. The lead taken by the federal government encouraged local police forces to harass gay citizens. Vice officers regularly raided gay bars, sometimes arresting dozens of men and women on a single night (Milestones).

In spite of the adversity, out of the 1950s also came the first organized groups of gays, including leaders. The movement was small at first, but grew exponentially in short periods of time. Spurred on by the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the homophile (Milestones) movement took on more visibility, picketing government agencies and discriminatory policies. By 1969, around 50 gay organizations existed in the United States. The most crucial moment in blowing the gay rights movement wide open was on the evening of July 27, 1969, when a group of police raided a gay bar in New York City.

This act prompted three days of rioting in the area called the Stonewall Riots, including the appearance of numerous gay power signs. Almost overnight, a massive movement had begun, with participants enthusiastically joining in. By 1973, there were almost eight hundred gay and lesbian organizations in the United States; by 1990, the number was several thousand. By 1970, 5,000 gay men and lesbians marched in New York City to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; in October 1987, over 600,000 marched in Washington, to demand equality (Milestones)

Over the next two decades, half the states decriminalized homosexual behavior, and police harassment grew less frequent and obvious to the public. Also in 1975, it became legal for gays to hold federal jobs. However all this headway also made room for more opposition. In 1977, Anita Bryant was so successful at obtaining a repeal of a recent gay ordinance in her home state of Florida that by 1980, a league of anti gay clubs had come together to make a force, led in part by Jesse Helms.

The AIDS scare that began in the eighties did not help the gay image either, but more citizens joined their ranks in order to combat the oppression and fund a search for the cure, so in the end it actually made the movement stronger. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2000), by 1999, the anti-sodomy laws of 32 states had been repealed, and in 1996 Vermont granted its gay citizens the right to same sex marriages. Gay rights has come a long way as a social movement, and though it still has a long way to go, it makes a good topic to analyze the process of the social movement.

The establishment that the social movement fights against in this case is the predisposed beliefs of American people, and a way of life that has been unchanged for a long time. There are of course establishments with anti-gay agendas, but the real challenge for the gays in finding acceptance has always been convincing people that they are human too. The standard belief that most Americans have had throughout history is that being gay is not only immoral, but also not normal, and sac religious (Olinger).

Many people believe that being gay is a disease and should be treated, while others believe it is just sin, and that they should be punished. There is no one establishment in this situation, but only a large group of American citizens who do not understand the issue they are being faced with. However, the goal of the gay rights movement is very clear. They want equality, much in the same way that African Americans and women have wanted it in the past. Many gays rights organizations have applied for the legality of same sex marriages in all fifty states.

Also, their fight is about protection from laws that once held them down. They want to be protected by the police, not harassed by them. In the end, the ideology of the gay rights movement is much like that of any civil rights movement. They believe that they are equal and deserve to be treated as such, regardless of sexual orientation. The agitators in the gay rights movement oppose the current system laterally, in that they want to completely change the existing value system.

Leaders in the gay rights movement have issued several tactics in which they wish to gain acceptance in the general public, to be seen as normal. (Olinger) One thing that they do is try and deemphasize actual gay behavior in public, and try and get others to see them as normal people first, not gay, which would automatically separate them. This is known as the plain folks tactic. This is important because for people to listen to a persuasive message, they must feel as if they can relate to the message, and they cannot do that if cannot relate to the person relaying that message.

Another tactic used is a sort of name-calling. Gay rights activists refer to those who oppose them as homophobes, a term which implies an irrational fear of some sort, or ignorance. This in turn makes opponents of gay rights irrational, and therefore their opinions do not merit attention. The truth or relative value of arguments is thereby completely sidestepped, and the issue becomes one of emotion: the winner is the one who makes the most noise (Olinger). A third strategy used by activists is liking.

Gay rights activists consistently use well known gay celebrities to deliver a message in hopes that their popularity will lead to a more wide spread acceptance of the message. Take, for example, Ellen Degeneres, on her TV show Ellen. Many of her shows discussed her sexual orientation in hopes that talking about it openly, as well as using her as the source of the message would bring the public to greater awareness. Also, artists like Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls play concerts for Gay Rights Activism yearly.

One strategy used by the Establishment is the authority approach, using the Bible as the main authority on the way we live our lives. They maintain that the Bible states that it is a sin to be gay and that God does not condone it, so therefore neither should we. Another tactic employed by the establishment is name calling. By referring to homosexuals as fags or miscreants or sinners, people join the two terms until they are thought of as one. The negative connotation these words carry is designed to turn people off from gay culture. A third practice that the establishment employs is the theory of consistency.

The beliefs we carry throughout our lives are in large part handed down to us from our parents and theirs, and our beliefs will in large part be transferred to our children. The only thing we’ve ever known is the belief that homosexuality is wrong, so therefore it must be correct. To change would require too large a leap from our original anchor points or beliefs, so we assume that it is not correct, and continue believing the way we did before. The Gay Rights Movement has brought the idea and acceptance of homosexuals in American Culture a very long way in the last thirty years or so.

However, those who accept homosexuality or those who encourage it are still the minority in comparison, and so, there is a long way to go still before homosexuality is considered completely normal and gays are treated just like everyone else. The great uprising of people has already come and gone, and now the movement is in the maintenance stage, where it does not get much media attention anymore. That could be the best way to go for the Movement though, as their goal all along has been to blend in and be treated like everyone else. How better to do that than to not draw attention to one’s self.

How America should react to homosexuals

Many experts agree that homosexuality has existed as long as human beings themselves, although the attitude towards them has undergone dramatic changes in some countries. Accepted by many societies during Greek and Roman era, most of the time homosexuals were considered to be sinners against nature and even criminals. In Medieval and modern periods homosexuals were prosecuted. Enlightenment brought some liberation, substituting death penalty by imprisonment. In Nazi Germany so-called “doctors” tried to “cure” gays by the ways of castration and extreme intimidation.

Until 1973 attempts to find a cure against homosexuality, what by majority was viewed as a disease, were continued. Today, when research on twins suggests that sexual orientation is not a choice, but our genetic predisposition, homosexual acts are still considered to be immoral and even illegal in majority of countries and in the eyes of most religious groups homosexuals, probably, always will be the subjects of anathema. As much as the future may look gloomy for many gays and lesbians all over the world, there are remarkable changes in public opinion and officials attitudes toward homosexuals in some countries.

For example, in 1989 Denmark was the first to allow the same-sex marriage. In the United States the subject of homosexuality remains controversial. For example, In Hawaii three homosexual couples asked the court to recognize their right to get married and the court did. However, the state government refused to legalize this marriage. Consequently, a new amendment was introduced to the state Constitution. At the same time, majority of the states are not even considering this option and homosexuality itself is still illegal there.

Still, not only authorities try to determine the position they should take towards homosexuals, many common Americans also have no clear understanding of how to react to homosexuality. Why should we bother to find the answer to the questions: who are the homosexuals and where do they belong in our society? First of all, it is important to realize that homosexuals are an integral part of our society. Your neighbor, your co-worker, your hairdresser, your child and even your spouse can be one of them. According to Richard D.

Mohr “[t]wo out of five men one passes on the street have had orgasmic sex with men. Every second family in the country has a member who is essentially homosexual and many more people regularly have homosexual experiences”(186). Should we avoid them, ignore, express our anger and disgust? Unfortunately, many people feel that way because they have a remote idea about people of different sexual orientation. For them homosexuality is perversion, abnormality or decease. The ignorance may foster fear, which in its turn leads to hostility.

Homophobia is dangerous, because it affects all groups of people heterosexuals and homosexuals, grown-ups and children, men and women. It may lead to violence and even death. There are numerous cases when people were actually killed because of homophobia. To name few of them Matthew Shepard(homosexual), John Braun (heterosexual), Steve Kennedy (homosexual) and the list can be continued. As Jeffrey Nickel puts it, “[p]rejudice against homosexuality sharply limits how all men and women may acceptably behave, among themselves and with each other”( 529).

It is obvious that we can no longer pretend that the homosexual issue is none of our concern. In attempt to evaluate our attitude towards people of different sexual orientation we will be able to understand them better. What is more important, we may overcome our prejudice, which often results in discrimination of one group against another. To acknowledge that there are people who are different and learn to tolerate them means to live in a safer world. The next question is: Do we have the right to discriminate against homosexuals?

Until recently homosexuals were invisible minority. Therefore, many Americans were unaware that gays and lesbians were discriminated against. But homosexuals were and still are treated unfairly on the basis that they undermine our morality, that they present danger to our children and that they are transmitters of AIDs far more than heterosexuals. Today many gays and lesbians come out of “the closet” and demand the same rights that heterosexual take for granted. We have to admit that some steps have been made to protect homosexuals.

However, many government and public institutions and individuals still discriminate against homosexuals denying them employment, housing, insurance, marriage, childs custody and so on. Why is it allowed to discriminate against people who have different sexual orientation? Some may put forward arguments that being gay is immoral, that it is illegal, that it is a sin against nature and violation of Gods law and, as Pete Hamill remarks, some people consider “homosexual variety [as a] proof of existence of Satan” (532).

Some homophobics qualify homosexual behavior akin to lying and stealing and, therefore, support the idea that gays and lesbians deserve to suffer. As Pete Hamill points out ,”gay-bashing is real; homosexuals are routinely injured or murdered every day, all over the world, by people who fear or hate their version of human sexuality”(532). But as was mentioned above, the medical studies confirm that being gay is not a matter of choice or preference, but a deviation from normal sexuality, which lays in genes and hardly can be changed. Given a choice many would have preferred not to be homosexual.

It is hard to imagine the somebody would voluntary give up all the privileges of being straight and subject himself to harassment, discrimination, assaults and scorn. Some argue that the homosexual act is unnatural since it is not procreative. Then why dont we discriminate against sterile couples or those of over childbearing age? Others express their concern that by granting homosexuals rights we will give our blessing to other forms of sexual perversions such polygamy and pedophillia, for example. Here it is important to notice, that for one, pedophillia is not necessary a homosexual act.

Secondly, it is immoral and unlawful because one of the partners in this case is a child or a teenager who more often than not has no other choice than to yield to the power of the adult. As Joseph Geraci and Donald H. Mader point out “the power imbalance between the adult and the younger partner in a pedophille relationship is so great that it inevitably leads to coercion and exploitation” (969). Unlike pedophillia, a homosexual act is consent between two adults, no harm to others is done and with our bodies we are free to do whatever we please.

Therefore, there is no point to call it illegal. Moreover, discrimination against people of different sexual orientation will be a violation of the constitution, which guarantees common rights for everybody. Thus, despite our own preference we have neither moral nor legal right to discriminate against them. As for disapproval of different religions of homosexuality, everyone should have the “freedom to go to hell as one wants”, as Udo Schuklenk and Tony Riley put it quoting Enlgelhardt (602).

The last question that is important to discuss: Should homosexuals be a protected minority? Like any other minority homosexuals deserve the protection by any government and public institution. An absence of protection against discrimination will result in more violence and injustice. For a example, a gay who was beaten and harassed may not seek justice in court because by doing so he puts himself and his loved one in the open position for further discrimination. Most homosexuals prefer not to engage themselves in such procedures for fear of losing more.

Therefore, while heterosexuals feel free victimize them in different ways, homosexuals can not even exercise the rights given them by law. Some may argue that homosexuals themselves often cause trouble. “Gay activists harass doctors, disrupt public meetings, and scream self-righteously about their “rage””(Hamill 534). It is hard to dismiss this point, but by denying homosexuals their rights one can not stop violence. Only by accepting them into the society on the same terms as we accept heterosexuals will give us a chance to stop the escalating rage from both sides.

Other opponents of homosexuality argue that granting gays and lesbians the same protection under law that is granted to other minorities is to give them “special privileges”. But homosexuals do not ask for “special privileges”. They want the same rights as heterosexuals the right to have a job they want and be treated according to their skills and performance at work, but not by the fact that they share their bedrooms with the same-sex partners. They want to live in the house they like and be judged according to their action, but not for who they are.

They want the same benefits from their employers and insurance companies as heterosexuals have. Finally, they want to get married and have children, but those basic human choices cause the main disagreement among heterosexuals. As was mentioned above, there are many families with homosexual members. Some parents are disappointed that their child will never be married and they will never have grandchildren, but most of those parents still want to see their children happy and hope that they will find somebody to love and share their life.

Why should not society find it possible to share the same maturity. Moreover, in the wake of AIDs encouraging gay monogamy is simply rational public policy. However, according to Washington Post poll 70 percent of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, yet only 53 percent oppose homosexual relationship between consenting adults (Francoure 246). Some will argue that one of the familys function is it conceive and raise children. But today sex is not the only way to have a child. It can be conceived in vitro through sperm and eggs donors or by surrogate mother, and there is always such option as adoption.

In addition, the wide spread opinion that homosexuals will raise children who also will be homosexuals has no scientific evidence. To the contrary, some studies show that the sexuality of a child is determined very early, perhaps at conception and it is very unlikely that parents can have influence on his or her sexual orientation. As one can see, there is no justification to deny homosexuals their rights. In addition, if there is no other way we can provide gays and lesbians with those rights without making them a privileged group this is not their fault.

Since homosexuals often are the subject of harassment, violence, mistreatment, discrimination, or illness for no fault of their own we should chose the position which will allow them to have the same rights as heterosexuals do. As science and technology moves forward, we easily accept changes in the outside world, and yet we are reluctant to leave our beliefs and prejudices behind. I hope that people are becoming smarter not only in developing sophisticated methods, producing and operating complex devices, but also in understanding other human beings.

It is time to abandon our ancient prejudice about homosexuality and start think reasonably. We have to acknowledge the scientific fact that being a gay is not a decease, not a curse, not an immoral act, not a preference, but just another type of sexuality. Gays are a permanent minority and arent likely to go away. So, instead of burdening ourselves with unnecessary tension by rejecting them, we have to adjust our apprehension, accept them for who there are and treat them fairly. By doing so we will reduce violence, hate crime and stress. Is it not a good reason to overcome the last of our prejudices?

Same Sex Marriges

Society does not accept same sex marriges. There are various reasons for this. Many people feel that same sex marriges are not natural, and go against religious beliefs. Some people may be homophobic feel that gays and lesbians do not deserve to be united legally on paper, or under the blessings of God. Homosexuals want to marry for the same reason that heterosexuals have and there should be no reason why they are not allowed to. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another.

Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage involves legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation. They become a legal beneficiary of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and other rights. When two adults want to be married in the eyes of the law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, the law should not interfere with that simply because they are of the same gender.

By not allowing same sex marriges, we are saying that gays and lesbians do not have the same rights as a heterosexual couple and that is not right. It seems like they are considered not to be normal. I don’t even think there is a normal for anyone anymore. They cannot benefit from eachother the way a heterosexual married couple would be able to. The only people that benefit from this are the people that do not accept same sex marriges. Personally I do not believe that they are hurting anyone by wanting to get married. Bibliography

I don’t have one Sociology Same Sex Marriges Society does not accept same sex marriges. There are various reasons for this. Many people feel that same sex marriges are not natural, and go against religious beliefs. Some people may be homophobic feel that gays and lesbians do not deserve to be united legally on paper, or under the blessings of God. Homosexuals want to marry for the same reason that heterosexuals have and there should be no reason why they are not allowed to. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one another.

Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage involves legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal protections for the spouse, including medical visitation. They become a legal beneficiary of a deceased spouse’s property, as well as pension and other rights. When two adults want to be married in the eyes of the law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage as well as to enjoy its benefits, the law should not interfere with that simply because they are of the same gender.

By not allowing same sex marriges, we are saying that gays and lesbians do not have the same rights as a heterosexual couple and that is not right. It seems like they are considered not to be normal. I don’t even think there is a normal for anyone anymore. They cannot benefit from eachother the way a heterosexual married couple would be able to. The only people that benefit from this are the people that do not accept same sex marriges. Personally I do not believe that they are hurting anyone by wanting to get married. Bibliography I don’t have one

Homosexuality: The Origins of Sexual Orientation

While some opponents of homosexuality often claim that it is “unnatural” (a claim which is thoroughly refuted in the essay), for me, my homosexual feelings were very natural indeed. when one grows up and hears words like “gay” or “homosexual”, one thinks of rather Introduction Issues surrounding the topic of homosexuality have sparked emotional debate in our Nation’s Capitol and in our state legislatures. Homosexuality has become a mainstay for radio and television talk shows and is addressed now more than ever in casual conversation.

This web site was designed to address common questions about homosexuality, and to discuss the misconceptions and stereotypes that are all too often portrayed as fact. When you have finished viewing the information at this web site, please take a moment to complete the survey. Your input will provide me with a better understanding of the types of people visiting this web site, feedback on its design, and will aid in the determination of future content. Links to the survey are provided at the top and bottom of each page.

The Origins of Sexual Orientation What causes homosexuality? Is it a choice? Sexual orientation, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual does not appear to be something that one chooses. Recent studies suggest that sexual orientation has a genetic or biological component, and is probably determined before or shortly after birth. Like heterosexuals, gays and lesbians discover their sexuality as a process of maturing, they are not recruited, seduced or taught to be homosexual (Bell, Weinberg, M. S. Hammersmith, 1981), (Troiden, 1989).

The only choice most gay or lesbian people have is whether or not to live their lives honestly, or according to societies unrealistic expectations. Is homosexuality a psychological problem or mental illness? The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association do not consider homosexuality to be an emotional or mental disorder. Published research is overwhelming – there is no significant difference between the mental health of heterosexuals and the mental health of homosexuals.

However, the social stigma associated with being gay can be emotionally trying. Is homosexuality brought about by poor parenting, or lack of religious beliefs? Gay people grow up in all types of homes, with all types of families. They are raised in rural areas, large cities and everywhere in between. Gay men and lesbians represent every socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious background possible. “There is evidence, that parents have very little influence on the outcome of their children’s sexual orientation under normal upbringing conditions. Reinisch, 1988).

However, a parents’ attitude can influence the way a child chooses to relate to his or her sexuality, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. Is homosexuality caused by abuse, or a bad experience with someone of the opposite sex? Many people suffer from all types of abuse and neglect as children, yet grow up to be heterosexual. Many people, both heterosexual and homosexual, have had bad experiences with a person of the opposite sex. There is no correlation between any of these occurrences and homosexuality. Can homosexuality be cured?

Since homosexuality is not a disease or disorder, there is nothing to cure. A few therapists claim that they can rid gay people of their homosexual desires, but their methods remain extremely questionable and rarely, if ever, have resulted in permanently changing anybody’s sexual orientation (Haldeman, 1994). According to the American Psychological Association, no scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of any therapies that attempt to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals. The American Psychological Association Executive Director Dr.

Raymond Fowler also states that “Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called conversion therapy are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help. ” The American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation. ” The American Medical Association “does not recommend aversion therapy for gay men and lesbians.

Through psychotherapy, gay men and lesbians can become comfortable with their sexual orientation and understand the societal response to it. ” The American Psychiatric Association states: “There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change ones sexual orientation. ” The American Psychiatric Association also states: “gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so. ” The Gay Lifestyle What is the gay lifestyle?

Just as there is no such thing as a single heterosexual lifestyle, there is no such thing as a single gay lifestyle. Anti-gay activists have promoted the idea that the lives of homosexuals revolve around sex and the pursuit of sexual encounters, and that the only identity homosexuals have is with being gay. To anti-gay organizations this is the only gay lifestyle that exists, and they do their best to promote this misconception. In reality, the lives of gays and lesbians are as varied as the lives of heterosexuals (Garnets & Kimmel, 1993).

Some choose to live in long term committed relationships, others choose to remain single. Some couples choose to raise children, others do not. Hobbies, occupations and activities are just as varied as within the heterosexual population. How many gay people are there? For decades the incidence of homosexuality in the general population has been estimated to be approximately ten percent. Organizations opposed to gay rights have consistently claimed the number to be much lower.

Despite the controversy, ten percent still remains the most widely accepted estimate. In an attempt to diminish the legitimacy of civil rights protection for gays and lesbians, anti-gay organizations and homophobic politicians were quick to misuse information gathered from the Battelle Institute Study, claiming that only one percent of the population is homosexual. The Battelle Study, however, was not intended to determine the sexual orientation of those surveyed, but rather the sexual practices of those surveyed – two entirely different concepts.

The Batelle Study surveyed males in their 20’s and 30’s asking questions about sexual activity over the last ten years, and whether or not they considered themselves to be exclusively homosexual. Several problems are apparent: oWomen (and therefore lesbians) were excluded from the survey. oParticipants were males in their 20’s and 30’s. Many gay men (and lesbians) in their 20’s are still unsure about their sexual orientation – even if they have had homosexual experiences, they may be reluctant to label themselves as homosexual.

It’s not uncommon for gay men (and lesbians) who have not fully accepted their sexual orientation to engage in heterosexual behavior as a means to deny their same-sex feelings. This in itself may have prevented participants from labeling themselves as exclusively homosexual, even though their desires may have been predominately for members of the same-sex. oThe survey did not provide for anonymity (social security number, place of employment, and references were required). Gays who are not out at work, with friends or with family would have been less likely to answer questions honestly.

Most gay men (and lesbians) are in the closet, and would probably not participate in a survey such as this. Until the stigma associated with homosexuality is removed from society, and gays and lesbians are allowed the freedom to be honest about their lives, the controversy is likely to continue. It is however, safe to say that almost everyone has contact with at least one gay or lesbian person on a regular basis whether they are aware of it or not. Aren’t gay people obsessed with sex?

Contrary to popular belief, gay men and lesbians are no more inclined to be consumed with sexual thoughts or feelings than their heterosexual counterparts (Bell, Weinberg, 1978), nor are they attracted to everyone of the same sex they meet. The lives of homosexuals, like the lives of heterosexuals are about much more than sex, but it’s easy to see why people believe these common misconceptions. Many people do not even realize that they know someone who is gay. Consequently, their only knowledge of homosexuality comes from the media or out-spoken anti-gay organizations, neither of which is likely to show the average gay person or couple.

The media is in the business of selling news, and radical behavior of any kind sells. Anti-gay organizations are in the business of making gay people appear as hedonistic as possible. They will obviously focus their attention on the most radical behavior that can be found within the gay community. Aren’t homosexuals promiscuous? Promiscuity has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation, but rather one’s values and beliefs. Just as in the heterosexual community, some gay people are promiscuous, some are not. In a 1992 study, 55. 5% of gay men and 71. of lesbians reported to be in steady relationships(Overlooked Opinions, 1993). Are homosexuals miserable, lonely people? Members of anti-gay organizations like to offer proof that the gay lifestyle is bad by stating that most gay people are miserable and lonely. First of all, the majority of homosexuals are not terribly unhappy or lonely, but these organizations may have a point. Being gay in our society is not easy. The social stigma, rejection by family, friends, and church, the discrimination and the sense of social isolation can all be emotionally devastating.

What these anti-gay organizations fail to admit is that they are a large part of the problem. By spreading malicious lies, which demonize gays and lesbians, they spread their homophobic attitudes through out society, making the world a sometimes intolerant place for homosexuals. Are lesbians radical feminist man-haters? While the overwhelming majority of lesbians are feminists, most feminists do not hate men. They simply support the belief that women deserve the same rights to make personal decisions and the same opportunities for social and professional growth that men currently enjoy.

Why do gay people flaunt their sexuality? Why don’t they just keep it private? The majority of gay people don’t flaunt their sexuality. As a matter of fact, many go to great lengths to hide their sexual orientation. There is a double standard in our society. What some consider to be flaunting by homosexuals is usually regarded as everyday behavior for heterosexuals. A heterosexual couple walking hand in hand is perceived as normal. Very few would consider their behavior to be inappropriate, if they even noticed it at all.

On the other hand, a lesbian or gay couple exhibiting the same behavior would almost certainly be noticed, and most likely be accused of flaunting their sexuality or promoting their lifestyle. They may be harassed or worse yet, physically attacked. Heterosexuals are free to talk about their spouses or dates. They can wear their wedding rings, display pictures of their loved ones on their desks, kiss good-bye at the airport, include their significant other in company parties and so on. A gay person who chooses to do the same may be seen as a trouble maker, or a radical homosexual out to prove a point.

The truth is most gay people are not out to make a statement. They simply want to be able to incorporate the many aspects of their lives the way heterosexuals are permitted to do. What the majority of people mean when they say that gay people should keep their lives private, is that gay people should keep their lives secret. Imagine for a moment, having to hide the very existence of the most important person in your life. What gay people do in bed is disgusting and perverted! First of all, what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom is nobody’s business but their own.

Secondly, gay people don’t do anything in bed that heterosexuals don’t do themselves. Intimate behavior between many gay couples could be perceived as mild when compared to what some heterosexual couples do. Homosexuality, Children & Family Values Are homosexuals more likely to molest children? One of the most enduring and damaging myths equates homosexuality with child molestation. In truth, the most likely person to sexually abuse a child is a heterosexual male; in many cases this person is a family member or close family friend (Falk, 1989), (Koss, 1994).

Pedophiles who molest children of the same sex are almost never homosexual in their adult sexual relations (Groth & Birnbaum, 1978). Furthermore, the molestation of children by heterosexual women appears to be uncommon, and even less common among lesbians (Erickson, Walbek & Seely, 1988) (Finkelhor, 1984) (Johnson & Shrier, 1987). Don’t homosexuals recruit children and seduce naive adults? In an effort to spread fear and ignorance, organizations that oppose gay rights often portray homosexuals as sexual predators out to recruit or seduce as many people as possible.

Homosexuals, like heterosexuals discover their sexuality as a process of maturing; they are not recruited, seduced or brain washed into the gay lifestyle (Bell, Weinberg Hammersmith, 1981), (Troiden, 1989). Common sense proves the difficulty gay people would face in trying to recruit. What would they have to offer? Rejection by family and friends, fear of discrimination, the opportunity to experience harassment, violence and possible death at the hands of a homophobe? The idea of recruitment is utterly without scientific foundation (Weinberg, 1977) .

Why is it important to educate our youth about homosexuality? Not all teenagers are heterosexual. As many as 7. 2 million Americans under the age of twenty are gay or lesbian (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, & Kinsey’s estimates). In 1992 the Hetrick-Martin Institute reported that eighty percent of gay and lesbian teens experience feelings of severe isolation. Forty-five percent of gay males, and twenty percent of lesbians experience physical or verbal assault while in high school, and twenty-eight percent of these teenagers feel forced to drop out of school.

Gay and lesbian teens are also two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and account for up to 30% of all completed suicides among teens. In 1989 suicide was the leading cause of death among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth (Gibson, 1989). It should be obvious that honest information, positive role models, support from well informed teachers, counselors and friends could be immensely helpful to a teenager who is struggling to come to terms with his or her sexual orientation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “Pediatricians should be aware that some of the youths in their care may be homosexual or have concerns about sexual orientation. Care givers should provide factual, current, non judgmental information in a confidential manner. ” Gay and lesbian youth are not alone in their need for honest information about homosexuality. The most common perpetrators of anti-gay violence are young men, ages 21 or under (Comstock, 1991). In 1988 a national survey indicated that only 12% of males ages 15 to 19 felt they could befriend a gay person (Marsiglio, 1993).

Honest information that disputes the myths surrounding homosexuality would help insure that we do not raise a future generation of children filled with ignorance, fear and intolerance for people different from themselves. See also: Gay and Lesbian Youth If my child is exposed to homosexuality, is he/she more likely to become gay or lesbian? It is unlikely that information about homosexuality or exposure to gay men or lesbians will influence a child’s sexual orientation.

Current research suggests that sexual orientation is influenced by genetic or biological factors and is probably determined before or shortly after birth. If a child is going to be gay, it is likely that the child is going to be gay regardless of whether or not he/she is exposed to homosexuality. Almost all gay men and lesbians have grown up in a heterosexual world, with very little exposure to homosexuality. The overwhelming majority of gay men and lesbians were raised by heterosexual parents, educated by heterosexual teachers, and socialized with heterosexual siblings and friends.

They were surrounded by heterosexism in magazines, books, movies and on television, yet they grew up to be gay. It should also be noted that children raised by gays and lesbians are no more inclined to be homosexual than children raised by heterosexual parents. Are children of gay and lesbian parents more likely to be gay, and have more emotional or social problems? There are currently between one million and five million lesbian mothers and between one million and three million gay fathers in the United States (Patterson, 1992).

The majority of these children are from previous heterosexual marriages, but many gay men and lesbians are choosing to adopt or become foster parents, and lesbians are increasingly opting for artificial insemination. In some states gay men and lesbian women are allowed to adopt or provide foster care, but in many cases only one parent is allowed to become the child’s legal guardian. Policies such as these do little to help promote family unity, not to mention the legal ramifications of such an arrangement should the legal guardian die, or the couple separates.

None-the-less, many gays and lesbians manage to raise their children in a successful manner. A review of nine studies concerning aspects of personal development, such as, self-concept, moral judgment, and intelligence, revealed no significant difference between children of lesbians and gay men and children of heterosexuals (Patterson, 1992). There are also 35 different studies conducted within the last fifteen years that have shown that children of gay and lesbian parents are no more likely to become homosexual than children of heterosexuals, and are just as well adjusted (Gross, 1991).

A recent study conducted by Fiona Tasker of Birkbeck College in the Netherlands indicates that non-biological lesbian co-parents are usually more involved with the children and are more likely to assume common child-raising tasks, than are the fathers of heterosexual couples. Aren’t homosexuals opposed to family values? What the majority of gay people object to has nothing to do with the values families wish to instill in their children, but rather the narrow definition of family certain organizations wish to promote.

The idea of a father, a mother, and their children, as being the only legitimate type of family is not only unrealistic in our society, but is demeaning to the millions of American families that do not meet this narrow definition. Single parent families, step families, adoptive families, extended families, and gay and lesbian families are all valid family units and deserve to be recognized as such. Traditional American values such as love, compassion, responsibility, honesty, integrity, self-reliance, accountability, and respect are values most parents wish to instill in their children, regardless of sexual orientation.

The American Home Economics Association and the American Association of Family and Consumer Science define the family unit as: “two or more persons who share resources, share responsibility for decisions, share values and goals, and have commitment to one another over time. The family is that climate that one “comes home to” and it is this network of sharing and commitments that most accurately describes the family unit, regardless of blood, legal ties, adoption, or marriage. ” Civil Rights & Marriage What is the gay agenda?

Organizations opposed to gay rights claim homosexuals have some hidden plan to tear apart the moral fabric of American society and often refer to the gay communities’ efforts to obtain equal rights as the “gay agenda” or the “hidden gay agenda”. To the contrary, gay men and lesbians tend to be fairly straight forward about what it is they are seeking – equal rights and equal protection of those rights with regard to housing, employment, public accommodation and the ability to offer financial and legal security to their families.

The invention of the “hidden gay agenda” is nothing more than a scare tactic employed by anti-gay organizations in an effort to place fear in the minds of the American public. Why are so many gay people involved in Civil Rights Issues? Civil rights issues are important to the gay community because in many circumstances homosexuals do not have the same basic rights other citizens in our country do. In most states and cities a gay person can legally be denied housing, employment, and public accommodation simply because of their sexual orientation. Why should we grant civil rights protection on the basis of behavior?

Some claim that gays are not deserving of civil rights protection, because unlike racial minorities, homosexuality is defined by behavior, not something innate such as skin color. But what they fail to consider is that current scientific research suggests sexual orientation to be innate and is probably in place very early in the life cycle. Furthermore, homosexuality can not be defined simply by behavior. Sexual orientation (whether it be homosexual or heterosexual ) is distinguished by an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, spiritual, and affectional attraction to individuals of a particular sex.

Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. A persons behavior may or may not reflect his/her true sexual orientation. A person can be gay regardless of whether or not they have had a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. Likewise, a heterosexual can engage in homosexual behavior, but this does not make him/her gay. Don’t homosexuals want special rights? Organizations opposed to laws that would prevent the discrimination of homosexuals promote the idea that gays want special rights.

They claim that everyone is already protected equally, and that laws which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation would be designed primarily to protect the rights of homosexuals, thus making them special rights. What they fail to realize is that heterosexuals are unlikely to be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes simply because of their sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians on the other hand, are far more likely to face this type of discrimination.

The gay community is not interested in obtaining special rights of any kind. They simply want equal rights and equal protection of those rights with regard to employment, housing, and public accommodation. The gay community does not intend for laws to legislate affirmative action programs such as quotas or financial incentives offered to employers who hire homosexuals. Nor do they intend to force private citizens who rent out rooms in their homes to be obligated under law to rent to anybody who is unwilling to abide by the rules of their home.

Similarly, churches and other religious institutions would be exempt from any laws governing the employment of gays and lesbians. How can gays claim to be discriminated against when they have higher than average incomes? Professor Lee Badgett of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland reported in the July 1995 issue of Industrial and Labor Relations Review That data from the General Social Survey of 1989-1991 indicated that gay mens’ incomes ran 11% to 27% below average, and that lesbian incomes were 12% to 30% below average.

Professor Badgett also cites a 1988 survey of 191 employers in Anchorage, Alaska, in which 27% said they would not hire gays or lesbians, 26% said they would not promote gays or lesbians, and 18% said they would fire them. Because of the difficulty associated with obtaining a representative random sample, very few surveys have attempted to estimate the average incomes of gay men and lesbians. To date Professor Badgett’s study is the only one which has relied on data taken from a national random sample survey that specifically asked about income and sexual orientation. Why do gays want the legal right to marry?

Why don’t they just live together? Gay couples desire to marry for the same reasons heterosexuals couples do: love, companionship, shared interests, common goals, emotional and financial security, and in some cases to raise a family. Millions of gay men and lesbians are living in long term committed relationships despite the fact that homosexual unions lack many of the financial, legal and social benefits which are automatically provided for heterosexual couples upon marriage. Currently, gay couples do not have the automatic right to make medical, legal, or financial decisions on behalf of their partner should the need arise.

They may be denied access to visit their spouse in intensive care units and other hospital departments. Gay and lesbian couples do not have the automatic right to make funeral arrangements, or to assume ownership of property (even jointly owned property) when a partner dies. Gay couples also lack many of the financial benefits of marriage. They may not have access to their spouses’ employee health insurance, retirement or death benefits. They are not eligible for tax breaks heterosexual couples receive, nor are they eligible for insurance discounts which are frequently provided for married couples.

Gays and lesbians would like to see same-sex marriages legalized so that they could provide the same type of legal, financial, and emotional security for their loved ones that heterosexual couples currently enjoy. Can’t same-sex couples obtain legal benefits without being married? With the help of an attorney, some of the benefits of legal marriage can be obtained by same-sex couples, but many cannot. A valid will and power of attorney can provide some protection, but this takes time and money, and is subject to challenges from biological family members and the government.

Until same-sex couples are allowed to marry, their rights and benefits will not be equal to, or as secure as the rights and benefits granted to heterosexual couples upon marriage. Tradition defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, for the purpose of raising children. Tradition alone is not a sufficient reason to deny gay and lesbian couples the legal, financial, and emotional benefits of a civil union. Not long ago, the thought of abolishing slavery, allowing women to vote, interracial marriage, and women serving in the military, were also met with strong opposition because they went against tradition.

One purpose of marriage is to raise children (as some gay couples do), but the opportunity to have and raise children is not the only reason people choose to marry. Companionship, love, shared interests, common goals, financial and emotional security are also reasons couples choose to wed. Won’t granting homosexuals the right to marry devalue heterosexual marriage? The belief that allowing gays to legally marry would devalue heterosexual marriage is absurd. This attitude operates under the assumption that the value of heterosexual marriage is dependent upon the deprivation of a certain group of people in our society.

Giving gay couples the right to marry would not take away any of the rights heterosexual couples currently enjoy, it would only extend those rights and responsibilities to everyone in our society. If gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, where will it end? Some hypothesize that marriage between gays and lesbians will lead to men marrying boys and fathers marrying daughters. They even go so far as to say that people will fight for the right to marry their pets. These same arguments were used by those who opposed interracial marriage. They were not valid then, and they are not valid now.

Same-sex marriage, like heterosexual marriage, would consist of two consenting adults. There’s no reason to believe that same-sex marriage will lead to legalized incestuous relationships or the abuse of animals anymore so than heterosexual marriage already does. Isn’t homosexuality abnormal or unnatural; after all, they can’t have children? Homosexuality is not the sexual orientation of the majority of people, but that in itself does not make it abnormal. If we were to use that type of logic, then we would have to consider left handed people to be abnormal also.

To a heterosexual person, an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex might seem abnormal or unnatural, but not any more so than heterosexual relations would seem to someone who is gay. Furthermore, there is nothing abnormal or unnatural about wanting to share your life and love with another person. Having the ability to produce offspring is not a prerequisite. If it were, we would have to deny marriage licenses to heterosexual couples who did not wish to, or for some reason could not have children. Homosexuality & Religion

Doesn’t the Bible condemn homosexuality? Some Biblical scholars believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, others do not. Different denominations use the Bible as a basis for their faith, yet beliefs between these churches can be quite diverse. Throughout history some mainstream Christian churches have used the Bible to justify slavery, racism, child abuse, domestic violence, and sexism. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Scripture to inspire those struggling to overcome racism at the same time others used the Bible to promote racial segregation and violence.

Obviously, the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways. Out of the 31,173 verses contained in the Bible, there are less than a dozen that allegedly deal with the topic of homosexuality. The meaning of these verses remains fairly obscure to many Biblical scholars, especially in the context of loving committed relationships. Jesus himself said nothing, which leads many people to believe that the subject of homosexuality was not a concern. Interestingly enough, the word homosexual did not appear in any translation of the Bible until 1946 (Blumenfeld, & Raymond, 1988).

Likewise, there are words in the Greek language for same-sex sexual activities, yet they never appear in the original text of the New Testament (Blumenfeld, & Raymond, 1988). But my church teaches, and I believe, that homosexuality is morally wrong. As citizens of this country we have the right to pursue the faith of our choice without fear of persecution; but, as citizens of this country we also have the responsibility to insure that no one persons’ beliefs, religious or otherwise, interfere with another persons basic civil rights.

Some religious faiths teach that eating meat or consuming caffeine is wrong. Others prohibit dancing, the use of modern technology, eating pork, or the use of birth control. These people have the right to live by the teaching of their faiths, but they do not have the right to insist that all people live according to their personal beliefs. Our government is not a theocracy based on Biblical law. Legislation must reflect a tolerance for diversity in extending basic civil rights to all citizens with respect for the common good of society. As demonstrated in Baehr v.

Miike (Hawaii same-sex marriage case) same-sex marriage would not adversely affect society, children, or the institution of marriage (Baehr v. Miike, 1996). If gay marriage were legal, wouldn’t that force my church to perform same-sex marriages? As with heterosexual marriage, religious institutions maintain the power to choose who they will marry based on their own policies and beliefs. Gays and lesbians are not seeking the right to get married in the church of their choice, but rather the right to a legal union and the benefits provided by our government to married couples.

There are already several churches that perform same-sex union ceremonies, but these ceremonies provide none of the legal benefits of marriage. Gays and lesbians are not looking to marry in the religious sense (they already can), they are seeking the right to marry in a legal sense. Are gay people religious people? Although religion has traditionally been a major source of oppression for gay and lesbian people, many still actively participate within their respective religions.

The degree to which they are able to be open about their sexuality is dependent upon their particular religion, denomination, and congregation. The issue of homosexuality has been given much consideration by a number of mainstream religious organizations within the last few decades. Many still hold conservative views about homosexuality, while several have become more welcoming to gay and lesbian people, and supportive of homosexual issues and concerns. See also: Summary of Religious Views on Homosexuality AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality!

HIV is a virus that has the potential to infect anyone. Over 70% of HIV infection world wide is the result of heterosexual contact (World Health Organization, 1996). According to CDC statistics (July, 1997) heterosexual sex is the fastest growing mode of transmission for HIV in the United States – growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year, compared to 5 percent for intravenous drug users and 5 percent for gay males. Lesbians remain the least likely group of people to acquire HIV through sexual contact. Simply put, AIDS is a disease, like any other disease.

If we believe that disease is a form of punishment, then what did the people who suffer from cancer do to deserve such a fate? What about Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and the thousands of other horrible diseases, birth defects, and illnesses? Who are these anti-gay organizations, and what is their goal? Anti-gay organizations have played a paramount role in the opposition of gay rights. In an effort to gain wide support, they often operate under the premise of defending Christian values or traditional family values. The real motivation behind these organizations is political power and greed.

Relying on society’s ignorance about homosexuality, they exploit the faith of their followers by perpetuating myths and twisting factual information to suit their self-serving needs. They show a blatant disregard for scientifically sound research, while promoting the findings of inherently flawed studies, placing unwarranted fear in the hearts and minds of the nations faithful. Many mainstream Christian churches are appalled by the behavior of homophobic organizations which profess to teach the word of God by spreading lies that perpetuate ignorance, resulting in hatred, fear and all to often violence.

Policy makers and members of the public are routinely confronted with questions about lesbians and gay men. Are they mentally ill? Do so-called conversion therapies change sexual orientation? Are homosexuals more likely than heterosexuals to molest children? Such questions arise from long-standing cultural stereotypes that depict lesbians and gay men as immoral, criminal, sick, and drastically different from what society considers “normal. ” A considerable body of social science data now is available to answer such questions and to separate falsehood from fact.

The following links provide an overview of social science theory and empirical research concerning sexual orientation. I. Introduction The following has been asserted: [P1] Being homosexual is much less fulfilling than being heterosexual. [P2] It is possible to choose whether one is homosexual or heterosexual. [P3] It is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards leading as fulfilling lives as possible. [C] Therefore, it is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards being heterosexual rather than homosexual. Refer to this as the wavering argument.

In this essay, it is my purpose to take a closer look at the three premises and the conclusion. I will show that this argument is not valid, as there are severe problems with the premises. Instead, I will claim that being homosexual can be just as fulfilling as being heterosexual, that most people do not choose their sexual orientation, that government should not interfere with basic decisions about identity and the structure of life, and that civil society should try to facilitate the lives of homosexuals. II. On premise one [P1] Being homosexual is much less fulfilling than being heterosexual.

Let me begin with a terminological comment. I will interpret “being homosexual” as saying “identifying oneself as a homosexual and engaging in erotic and/or amorous relationships only with persons of the same sex”, and I will interpret “being heterosexual” as saying “identifying oneself as a heterosexual and engaging in erotic and/or amorous relationships only with persons of the opposite sex. ” For the sake of argument, at the time being, I will assume that these alternatives are exhaustive and that each person can be categorized as being either homosexual or heterosexual, as defined.

With this in mind, the question is if the premise should be interpreted as saying that it is a logical necessity that being homosexual is less fulfilling than being heterosexual, or if it merely states that, as a matter of fact, being homosexual is on average less fulfilling than being heterosexual. The first alternative is clearly false, since it would imply, were it to hold, that no homosexual could lead a more fulfilling life than any heterosexual. The second alternative is, then, what is referred to.

But there are severe measurement problems involved here, since we are now dealing with an empirical issue which can only be settled by means of real-world investigation. First, how does one measure fulfillment on an individual level? It seems to me that this is a highly fluctuating and subjective variable, which cannot easily be ascertained by any one individual in his or her own case, and even less so by a researcher. The latter may try to approximate fulfillment by looking at aggregate, average numbers, e. g. , on education, income, life expectancy, etc. nd although these factors may be positively correlated to fulfillment, this is by no means certain (wealth may not entail happiness, a long education can lead people to rack their brains over, and a short life can be of very high quality). Another approach would be to interview people who are homosexual and heterosexual, but how does one get representative samples, when fulfillment is a variable which varies immensely between individuals (and for a given individual, over time), and how can one ascertain that people are telling the truth?

In fact, many could be expected to have rather strong incentives to present their lives as more fulfilling than they, in fact, are, especially if they know that someone is studying the degree of fulfillment of people of their sexual orientation. The problem with representative samples is, in fact, serious not only because fulfillment is a tricky variable to measure but also because it is hard to measure sexual orientation. Thus far, we have treated this as a binary variable when it, in fact, is continuous.

There are, in other words, bisexuals of various kinds, and since most of them can plausibly be expected to be categorized as heterosexuals, since most of them have (plausibly) chosen to live with persons of the opposite sex, this would produce incorrect sampling. Also, due to fears of stigmatization, many homosexuals could also be expected to report being heterosexuals. On the (highly questionable) view that my criticism is not convincing, a few arguments seem to recur as a basis for believing premise one.

It has been alleged that homosexuals lead less fulfilling lives because they are said to lead shorter lives, that they are subjected to hate crimes and stigmatization, and because they suffer from more diseases (not the least AIDS). As for shorter lives, this is not known. Some claim to know, but since their basis for claiming this is the shady “research” of one Paul Cameron, this cannot be trusted. For an exposition of Cameron’s “research” methods, see an analysis by Dr. Gregory M. Herek at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Herek concludes: “The Cameron group’s gay obituary study reports many numbers and statistics.

However, they are absolutely worthless for estimating the life expectancy of gay men and lesbians. ” As for hate crimes and stigmatization, it is true that some open homosexuals suffer from these, but one problem here is that those who say that homosexual lives are less fulfilling for this reason most often actively contribute to the disapprobation of homosexuality that leads to hate crimes and stigmatization. And most homosexuals handle these things rather well: in fact, the “coming-out” process is often seen as strengthening, ex post, even though negative reactions can be hard to face when they are delivered.

As for AIDS, a majority of gay men do not suffer from it, and a homosexual (or heterosexual) who does not want to take risks that can lead to an HIV infection certainly knows how to avoid being infected. Furthermore, lesbians report lower AIDS rates than heterosexuals. And as for other venereal diseases, it seems to be the case that gay men are overrepresented, but this cannot be taken to mean that being homosexual implies that your life is less fulfilling.

First, most gay men do not get venereal diseases, and second, those who do may have attracted those diseases while engaging in very fulfilling sexual behavior which, on net, means, that their fulfillment levels may be quite high. What about the higher suicide rates among homosexual teenagers? E. g. , according to a 1989 U. S. Department of Health and Human Services study, up to 30 percent of successful teen suicides are by gay or lesbian youths, and gay teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than are other youth.

Does not this imply that being homosexual is less fulfilling than being heterosexual? Yes and no. Yes, from the point of view of many young people, who begin to detect that they are different from their peers, it can be very painful to realize that they are part of a shunned minority. Most of all homosexuals have gone through this phase. But the key points to note is that this dissatisfaction comes about because one feels lonely and odd in a world (including one’s family, school, friends, and church) which affirms heterosexuality as the norm and that this is a passing phase for almost all.

The American Psychological Association states: “Much objective scientific research over the past 35 years shows us that homosexual orientation, in and of itself, is not associated with emotional of social problems. ” And the American Psychiatric Association concurs: “The Board recognized that a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. It was also found that homosexuals were able to function effectively in society, and those who sought treatment most often did so for reasons other than their homosexuality.

What about not having children? First, homosexuals can have children – although by non-conventional means such as insemination and adoption. Interestingly, those who state that homosexuals do not lead fulfilling lives because they do not have children oftentimes try to prevent homosexuals from having children the most. And second, life can be fulfilling also without children, partly because homosexuals can interact with, say, the children of siblings and because there are other projects in life which one can engage in which can be highly meaningful.

Lastly, if one looks at income and education, it is commonplace for critics of homosexuality and homosexuals to claim that homosexuals earn much more and have higher education, on average, than heterosexuals (this is often taken as a reason for the government not to offer certain benefits to homosexuals, “since they are so well off anyway”). Such statistics must, of course, also be taken into account, if one thinks that such statistics are meaningful and reliable.

So, in all, it seems more or less impossible to know how sexual orientation relates to fulfillment. But if one, despite my criticism, still thinks that these things can be measured in a meaningful way, it is certainly not wise to be too confident that it will turn out that homosexuals lead less fulfilling lives than heterosexuals. Clearly, premise one is highly incredulous. III. On premise two [P2] It is possible to choose whether one is homosexual or heterosexual. First, it is essential to understand the concept of sexual orientation properly.

As the American Psychological Association clarifies, sexual orientation is a continuous variable with three subcategories: homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual, and the category to which any person belongs is not chosen. An exclusive homosexual is only sexually and emotionally attracted to persons of the same sex, an exclusive heterosexual is only sexually and emotionally attracted to persons of the opposite sex, and a bisexual is sexually and emotionally attracted to persons of both sexes. (See my essay “Does Homosexuality Pose a Threat to Society” for the basis of these facts.

Hence, the wavering argument simply does not apply to those who are more or less exclusively homosexual, as they cannot choose to be heterosexual. And attempts by government and/or civil society to direct them to become heterosexual can only make their lives less fulfilling, for no good purpose at all. This significantly weakens the argument. However, even though exclusive homosexuals may not be able to choose to be heterosexual, it can still be argued that bisexuals are true waverers, who can make genuine choices on what sex the people they engage in erotic and/or amorous relationships with belong to.

This, I grant, is true. But, of course, there are two problems involved here. First, as we found above that there is no firm indication that being heterosexual is more fulfilling than being homosexual, there is no reason to bother about whether a bisexual chooses to restrict himself to a certain sex or not. Second, since most studies indicate that the share of bisexuals is quite small, making the lives of all homosexuals less fulfilling through deliberate government and/or civil-society methods in order to influence a few bisexuals is ethically questionable.

An additional “cost” which must be taken into account is the effect the direction of bisexuals and quite a few homosexuals into heterosexual unions has on their families. Is it ethically right to marry a woman if one, as a man, really does not love her erotically and amorously – largely because this is the easiest way to live? Is it right to the (possible) children? IV. On premise three [P3] It is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards leading as fulfilling lives as possible.

This is a normative issue, which is not the primary focus of this essay. My personal view is that this premise should be rejected. If a person (who can choose) would like to lead his life as part of group A rather than as part of group B, then, by invoking the principle of revealed preference, he does so on the calculus that group A offers him or her a more fulfilling life. And it turns out that this was a mistake, it is possible, then, for such a person to change groups later. These choices should be left to this person and be no business of society at large.

Welcome to read more on my page “In Defense of Freedom. ” V. On the conclusion [C] Therefore, it is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards being heterosexual rather than homosexual. Let us see whether the conclusion of the wavering argument holds. In order for it to hold, premises one, two, and three must be true. We saw that there is no basis for thinking [P1] true; we saw that [P2] only holds for bisexuals; we rejected [P3] on philosophical grounds; and we are left with our conclusion: [C] cannot be established.

VI. Some final remarks Consider the following argument: [P1′] Being black is much less fulfilling than being white. [P2′] It is possible to choose whether one is black or white. [P3′] It is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards leading as fulfilling lives as possible. [C’] Therefore, it is the responsibility of government and/or civil society to direct people towards being white rather than black. Do you think this is a valid argument?

I claim that to be logically consistent, if a person agrees finds the wavering argument valid, then he or she must also find this argument valid, and vice versa. Remember: if one thinks it meaningful to compare how fulfilling a certain group’s lives are, on average, then surely, most indicators imply that blacks lead less fulfilling lives than whites (blacks have lower incomes, lower education, shorter life expectancy, they suffer more from crime and discrimination, etc).

And as for [P2′], I advise you to consider mulattos (the equivalent of bisexuals). The ethical issue: Should government and/or civil society make life less fulfilling for all blacks (homosexuals) simply for mulattos (bisexuals) to choose to lead their lives, to the highest extent possible, in the white (heterosexual) world? I think the answer is “No. ” Lastly, if one believes that the lives of homosexuals on average are less fulfilling than those of heterosexuals, then what conclusion should one draw from that belief?

If one’s goal is for people to lead fulfilling lives (as the wavering argument supposes), then it seems to me to follow that one should strive to help homosexuals lead more fulfilling lives instead of consciously making their lives less fulfilling in order to deter a few bisexuals. This would, of course, give homosexuals an improved quality of life, but, notably, it would also make a choice of a bisexual to lead a homosexual life less detrimental for him, from the point of view of the paternalistic government and/or civil society.

This much more humane and compassionate avenue seems, for some reason, to have escaped those who invoke the faulty wavering argument. Introduction Why is it that so many people seem to have negative attitudes towards homosexuality? The thesis that I wish to present is that these attitudes are emotional in character, and that they are not really the result of intellectual analysis, which some pretend or mistakenly think to be the case. I refer to these negative attitudes as “homophobia”.

In fact, I propose that intellectual analysis can be used to demonstrate that these emotions are untenable and unreliable as a proper guide to how one should view other people and as a guide to public policy. I furthermore argue that these emotions can and should be altered, although that is a somewhat difficult process; at least, they should not be allowed to form the basis of how one treats fellow human beings, neither in person nor in legislation.

It is important, at the outset, to understand that I view homosexuality as a non-chosen, non-changeable sexual orientation which entails emotional-sexual attraction between persons of the same sex. The Crucial Role of Emotional Reactions There is a lot that unites human beings, but it is also the case that there is a lot that separates us. Although most of us have a capacity for empathy (to which I will appeal later in this essay), it is really quite impossible for us to truly understand how another person experiences life.

By analogy, we can interpret many things that others go through in a way which is similar to the way they interpret them, but especially in cases which are unfamiliar to us, we are at a loss when it comes to genuine comprehension. I suggest that a heterosexual person cannot truly understand the feelings and experiences of a homosexual person, and vice versa. If it were the case that a heterosexual could truly understand same-sex attraction, and all that goes with it, then I submit that he would not view it negatively.

Then he would easily accept the co-existence of this different category of persons on the basis of a realization that it is merely an expression of harmless and edifying love between consenting persons something which, on reflection, should be acceptable to all. But the fact is that many heterosexuals do not feel accepting towards homosexuality. Why is that? Because they cannot truly understand homosexuality, as it is a trait of some human beings which they have not themselves experienced, and hence they evaluate it on purely emotional grounds.

That is to say, they hear “homosexuality” and proceed to imagine themselves in a situation of homoeroticism, possibly their kissing or having anal sex with some ugly man, to which their feelings respond strongly and negatively. They experience disgust at this thought experiment. And that is no surprise, since their nature is wired so as to feel erotically attracted only towards persons of the opposite sex. As a result, these people talk and act in a way which communicates this homophobia, and they dislike legal reform which is beneficial to homosexuals for the same reason.

This theory as to the origin of homophobia seems to conflict with the popular notion that negative attitudes towards homosexuality reflect an intellectual analysis, the outcome of which is the presentation of valid reasons, of a non-emotional character, for disliking and working against homosexuality. My view is that there is such a conflict and that my theory is the correct one, which among other things implies that negative attitudes towards homosexuality are fueled by emotional reactions from hypothetical, homoerotic thought experiments performed by heterosexuals.

Without such an emotional basis, I posit that there would be no attempts to formulate ostensibly intellectual arguments against homosexuality. The order of causality is emotional disgust when considering homosexuality –> “intellectual” reasons for disliking homosexuality and not the other way around. That is, the emotional reactions predate any rules, laws, or other injunctions against homosexuality. I have personally found this understanding of things confirmed in conversations with some homophobic heterosexuals. They have started out by giving “intellectual” reasons for why they dislike homosexuality (e. , “it does not produce children”), so as to give a serious impression to the effect that this dislike is based on properly reflected-upon arguments. But then I have inquired what they think of lesbianism, and then they almost always respond by voicing their approval. This, I think, clearly reflects that these men use the thought-experiment procedure I described earlier: and then, they found the thought of their having sex with another man disgusting, whilst they found the sexual fantasy of two girls having sex arousing. In spite of lesbian sex not bringing forth children, I might add.

However, it is important to note that the source of emotions can be both biological and cultural. The type of emotions described thus far, I mainly take to be of a biological character. But there is also another source of homophobic emotions, namely, the cultural or social influence. If a person is born into a culture where heterosexuality is predominant in all contexts and if it permeates family life, the media, the religions, and legislation, then the biological tendency for a heterosexual to react negatively towards homosexuality is reinforced by the society around him.

This is especially the case if, in addition to the total dominance of heterosexuality, explicit homophobia is part of the culture. I think that cultural attitudes of this sort mainly stem from biological emotions, which means that the instinctive homophobia of heterosexuals leads them to incorporate a pro-heterosexual attitude into their life environments. Hence, I think that the ordinary heterosexual who is in possession of negative attitudes towards homosexuality has them because of a combination (in varying degress) of a biological, instinctive feeling of disgust and a cultural, internalized disapprobation.

The latter, in turn, is the result of other persons having had a biological, instinctive feeling of disgust at the thought of homosexuality which they thought proper to spread via modes of upbringing, religious books and sermons, legislation, etc. Are Homophobic Emotions Acceptable? If this thesis as to the origin of homophobia is correct, how can these emotions, and the attitudes that go with them, be evaluated? Does the existence of anti-homosexuality emotions display rational moral intuitions, in the sense that they can be shown to contribute to the realization of some reasonable moral value?

In other words, are heterosexual homophobes justified in displaying homophobic attitudes? I think not. What I have tried to do above is merely to explain, as a factual matter, the origin of homophobia. Whether homophobia is normatively acceptable is another matter entirely. As I view the culturally transmitted disapproval of homosexuality as an extension of the biological, instinctive dislike, and as I do not think that any occurrence in nature (i. e. f biological origin) automatically makes it morally acceptable, we must evaluate emotions rationally and see if their existence is conducive to the attainment of some moral value or, indeed, if their existence is detrimental to the attainment of some moral value. That is, “is” does not necessarily imply “ought”. So let us begin by specifying that the moral value that we are interested in is the furtherance of the highest possible amount of subjective preference satisfaction in some population. (For a more detailed discussion of this moral principle, and why I deem it reasonable, see my essay “My Personal Moral View”.

Given this goal, two things follow. First, mere homophobic attitudes cannot really be said to be either good or bad, so long as they remain mere attitudes and are not reflected in any action. Second, if these attitudes lead to homosexual persons feeling substantially less satisfied in life (perhaps as the result of discriminatory legislation or practices, or as the result of verbal admonitions), then the manifestations of these attitudes can be said to constitute behavior which is inconsistent with our goal.

And hence they are irrational. (This assessment rests on the reasonable assumption that such maltreatment of homosexuals induce only minor feelings of satisfaction in homophobes; for more on utilitarianism and the maltreatment of minorities, see R. M. Hare, Moral Thinking: Its Level, Method and Point (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 140-2. ) Now, it is possible that there is some other moral value which is better attained by such manifestations, and then they are not irrational, but nevertheless bad, from my moral point of view.

The outcome of this line of reasoning is that actions rooted in negative feelings towards homosexuality are to be discouraged. This could be done in three basic ways. First, it is perhaps possible, although probably quite difficult, to alter a persons feelings towards homosexuality. After childhood, when it seems that humans are most open to influences of this sort, I would think that such a procedure requires the explicit cooperation of the individual whose feelings need to be changed. One similar example is my own personal feelings towards masturbation.

As a child, I felt shame after having masturbated, but as I grew up, I reflected on this act and found it perfectly healthy and beneficial. I then gradually worked at eliminating the negative feelings, and eventually I succeeded. Second, even if a person retains an instinctive dislike of homosexuality, in the sense that he would not like do engage in same-sex acts himself, he may realize, on an intellectual level, that such feelings are personal, rooted in biology, and not beneficial as a basis for behavior towards other humans. My heterosexual friend Fredrik Bendz is an example of such a person, as told in his essay “Homosexuality”.

My experience tells me that this type of insight reflects personal contact with someone who happens to be homosexual and whom the instinctive homophobe likes and respects as a person. Such contacts help the heterosexual person gain a bit more understanding of what homosexuality is all about: the simple manifestation of love between persons of the same sex. Nothing else. And such a thing should not be feared or discouraged. Third, one could impose legal sanctions on persons who defame, discriminate against, or attack homosexuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. In my view, the second approach is the most realistic and functional.

Some Possible Counter-Arguments But does this account of the origin of homophobia explain the case of homosexuals who have negative attitudes towards their own homosexuality? I will discuss two cases, but I think this phenomenon can be explained by the influence of internalized cultural attitudes. That is, these feelings are not instinctive and biological in origin, but they stem directly from the process of upbringing and the surrounding society (of which organized religions are part). Thus, these feelings really reflect the biological and instinctive attitudes of some heterosexual homophobes of the past.

The first case is my own case. Between the ages of 16 and 27 I was a Christian of the born-again, fundamentalist, bible-believing sort. Before the age of 16, I had felt attracted to other boys for as long as I could remember. As a Christian, I gradually came to regard homosexual acts as sinful, which made me dislike my homosexuality strongly. However, deep down inside, I liked the way I was: it was me, it felt good, and it was about love! Eventually, when I began to realize that Christianity was not true, I could drop the culturally imposed categorization of homosexual acts as sinful, and live my life in accordance with my true self.

Read more in “My Personal Story: Growing Up Gay”. ) The second case is about recent similar experiments at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of Georgia. At each experiment, a group of self-identified heterosexual male students were enrolled, and on the basis of their answers to various questions, such as their attitude towards homosexuality, they were divided into two subgroups: one with stated heterosexuals who were accepting of homosexuality and one with stated heterosexuals who were homophobic.

All students were then showed different pornographic films, during which their degree of sexual arousal was observed (by measuring the degree of erection carefully). It turned out, in both experiments, that a large majority of the homophobic “heterosexuals” were sexually turned on by gay pornography, whereas only a small minority of “homo-friendly” heterosexuals were turned on by these films.

It seems that Freuds discussion of reaction formation was vindicated in these experiments: homophobes may, to a large extent, be homosexuals who have internalized cultural attitudes of dislike and disgust towards their own sexual orientations (probably unconsciously in most cases). Again, negative attitudes towards homosexuality are the result of culturally transmitted homophobia of some heterosexuals of the past, who felt instinctive revulsion at the thought of engaging in homosexual acts.

Thoughhts on Homosexuality

Homosexuality is said to be a preference for affiliation and sexual activity with a person of the same sex. The potential for homosexual behavior appears to be a basic part of human sexuality, since many people experience homosexual interest, curiosity, or activity at some point in their lives. Homosexual behavior has also been observed in most animal species. Many homosexuals prefer to be called gay or, in the case of women, lesbian because of the exclusively sexual connotation of homosexual.

When individuals engage in both heterosexual and homosexual behaviors, they are said to be bi-sexual. A wide degree of diversity exists among the types of individuals who identify themselves as homosexuals. The popular stereotype of the homosexual as a sexually promiscuous make who cannot or will not maintain a relationship reflects one type.

There are, however, many other gay people, female and male, who have formed long lasting, sometimes lifelong relationships. Additionally, many homosexuals raise children, alone or with partners. Bullough 35) Gay persons are in every kind of job and are of every political persuasion. Some are very open about their homosexuality, and some are more private. Some view their orientation as a biological condition and others as a preference. Some lesbians claim men’s dominance over women as one of the reasons they choose women as partners. (Bullough 43) Homosexuality has been common in most cultures throughout history. Despite tolerant periods, however, in ancient Greece, for example, homosexuality has been widely condemned.

Both Judaism and Christianity view homosexuality as sinful. This condemnation was put into written law, and as a result, homosexual activity was considered to be a crime; the penalty in early courts was death. Homosexual behavior is still illegal in many countries and U. S. states. Homosexuality occurs, however, even in societies that strongly condemn it. (Boswell 5, 120-124) With the advent of modern psychiatry, homosexuality came to be seen more as an illness than a sin.

Opinions as to the origin and nature of homosexuality were once based solely on the study of maladjusted psychiatric patients. Theories formed from such research suggest that disorders in family relationships, particularly between mother and son, are responsible for homosexual behavior. These theories are not convincing, not only because they are based on the assumption that homosexuals are psychologically abnormal, but also because many heterosexuals also come from families in which there are relationship disorders. Thompson 12, 228) In 1973 homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s official list of mental disorders.

Although none of the mental health professions now officially considers homosexuality an illness, there are still prominent theorists who insist that it is. (Ruse 48) More recent theories to account for homosexuality have included those based on biological and sociological factors. Chromosomal studies attempting to isolate genetic orientation at birth have been mostly inconclusive.

Some social theories have suggested that homosexual behavior may be an adaptive response to situations. For example, a prison inmate might participate in homosexual activities while in prison but return to heterosexuality upon release. Such approaches suggest the sometimes-transient nature of homosexuality and point up the difficulty in identifying homosexuality as an exclusive, clear-cut phenomenon. While such theories can offer explanation about why homosexuality offers in some situations, to date there are no conclusive general theories that can explain the cause of homosexuality. Ruse 67)

Because homosexuality is so controversial and the heavy social pressure against it, many individuals are reluctant to reveal that they are gay. Estimates of the incidence of homosexuality have not only been misleading but inaccurate. (Duberman 20) Attitudes toward homosexuality have begun to change in recent decades. Gays attribute this, in part, to their own increasing assertiveness about their rights and about pride in their orientation. Gay activism, which began in the late 1960s as a civil rights movement, has helped to change people’s thinking.

While some attitudes change, however, prejudice against homosexuals still exists. The AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, to which many male homosexuals fell victim, may have affected antigay prejudice. (Thompson 13-14) As more gays have identified themselves publicly, they have also formed more public organizations. There are gay newspapers and journals, gay political groups, and gay legal action committees. These groups support candidates for public office, fight battles in cases such as child custody, and work in other areas to eliminate discrimination.