Gay Marriage Debate

History and Debate of Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage is defined as a union between two people who are of the same gender or biological sex. Since 2001, ten nations and other jurisdictions have made this type of union legal. Whether or not to recognize such marriages remains a source of debate as far as civil rights, political and social issues go.

Definition of Marriage

The definition of the word marriage is a topic that often comes up when discussing same-sex marriages. The word "marriage" is not defined uniformly across cultures. In 1922, the word was taken to refer to a relationship of one or more men with one or more women that is recognized by law and involves certain legal and social rights and duties. Individuals who are married also carry a legal responsibility for children that they produce together. Modern definitions of the word have much more variation. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, has acknowledged same-sex marriage in its definition since 2000; however, many conservative publications have not yet changed their definitions. For example, Accuracy in Media argues for the use of quotation marks when referring to a marriage between two people of the same gender. Associated Press uses the term "gay marriage" and warns that this can refer to marriage of both gay men and lesbian couples.

Gay Marriage Debate Controversy

It is obvious from the varying definitions of marriage that this topic carries with it a large amount of controversy. Those who support same-sex marriage often argue that love is grounds enough for marriage, regardless of sexual orientation. Those who are opposed often cite religious viewpoints and concerns about the rearing of children as the main reasons for their opposition. The conflict over same-sex marriage is not a simple one. It involves many legislative, cultural, religious and family issues.

From a legal standpoint, those on the opposing side of the gay marriage debate often believe that the rights of marriage should be restricted to couples who are of the opposite sex. Those who are for it believe that marriage is a civil right and should not have restrictions to those of a particular sexual orientation.

Gay Marriage and Religion

Arguments for and against the gay marriage debate often involve religious factors. Some religious associations refuse to employ or offer services to same-sex couples. Christian groups who argue for same-sex marriage tend to believe that lesbian and gay people were created as such by God and should have the same rights as others. Those who are against it argue that same-sex relationships are immoral, against God's will and subvert the goal of human sexuality, which is to produce children. The Jewish church also varies in its approach to same-sex marriage. The Islamic faith openly rejects homosexuality, citing the story of Lot in Sodom as a condemnation of homosexuality.

Many of those who take a particular position on same-sex marriage do so because of their beliefs about family. Many argue that a child has a right to grow up with a father and a mother, and to raise him or her in a homosexual household is to deny him that right. On the other hand, scientific studies have found that children raised by homosexual parents are every bit as capable of providing heterosexual parenting to their own children later in life.

The conflict over same-sex marriage is a big one because of the many social and legal factors involved. Though there is no cut-and-dry definition of marriage, political and social groups everywhere are working hard to form their own opinions and arguments.

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