Monday, October 17, 2011

Same Sex Marriage

A lot of my views on same sex marriage were formed while reading Brad Carmack’s book,“Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective.” It was very informative, but also very tedious and long. He makes a good case for legalizing same sex marriage, and then addresses every counter-argument I’ve ever heard. I’d recommend reading parts of it, like “A Case for Compassion,” and skimming through the section on Causation (especially if you’re not convinced there’s a biological basis for homosexuality). But this blog post isn’t about his book, it’s about my thoughts on the subject.

In my opinion, morality questions are really questions about the well-being of people. The question of whether we, as Americans, should legalize same-sex marriage boils down to a simpler question: Will Americans, on average, be better off or worse off if same-sex marriage is legalized? Homosexuals are the ones that will be most affected, and for them, I think the answer is obvious: better off. I don't think the rest of us will be very affected at all.

Allowing homosexuals access to marriage will increase their chances of obtaining a harmonious family life. Things like allowing one partner to receive health insurance benefits from the other’s job will allow them to split up responsibilities like heterosexual couples can. Joint ownership would mean that If one partner died, the other could keep the house they were living in. Unmarried people can have children, so homosexuals can too. If they do have children, those children would be better off if their parents were both legal guardians and able to work with their children’s teachers and school. It would also promote social acceptance of homosexuals, which would help deter discrimination and violence against them.

If light of the obvious and substantial benefits that homosexuals could reap from marriage, are there any definite drawbacks? Some people are worried that legalizing same-sex marriage would encourage homosexuals to have children, and those children would be worse off than with heterosexual parents. The research on the subject is not conclusive, but it appears that children raised by homosexual parents are fine. It’s not a clear drawback like the advantages are clear. In fact, I don’t believe there are any clear drawbacks.

Would legalizing same-sex marriage encourage homosexuality? Even if you think homosexuality is wrong, you should allow homosexuals the right to choose their own way of life. Our goal as a society should be to help everyone live better, happier lives, and that will not be accomplished by trying to force homosexuals to become straight. What if someone just doesn’t care about the well-being of homosexuals? Thieves don’t care about the people they steal from, but the more thieves there are the worse off we all are. A good society can only be achieved by caring for each other. I believe we have a moral duty to care for each other. Nothing in civilized society works if we don’t care about each other.

Notice that in making my case for same-sex marriage, I didn’t even consider whether there is a biological basis for homosexuality. I would strongly support legalizing same-sex marriage even if being homosexual was entirely a choice made by an individual. However, if there is a biological basis for homosexuality (and I think there is), then there is a legal case for Constitutionally-protected rights, including equal access to marriage. It is my prediction and hope that the Supreme Court will grant homosexuals full rights, including equal access to marriage, but in the meantime, I hope that you will join me in accepting and loving homosexuals by supporting their case for equal rights.

If you think you have a good argument against same-sex marriage, check and see if it's addressed in Brad's book. If it's not, feel free to email me. I'd be interested to hear it.


Anonymous said...

I don't really have an argument either way. On the one hand, I'm LDS and I do believe that to be ordained of God, a marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, I don't see any real disadvantages to same sex marriages, and homosexual couples adopting children.

The institution of marriage has been debased by heterosexual couples since the dawn of time, and if homosexual couples want in on that action, more power to them.

As for having children, I hardly think it is up to any one person or entity, particularly anyone in government (what with every politician EVER having been embroiled in some scandal or another), to decide what the "proper" structure of a family should be.

As long as children are being taken out of homes where they are unwanted or in danger, and into homes where they will be taken care of and loved, I don't really care what the structure of the adoptive family is.

The thing is that heterosexual couples have been procreating for forever, and I don't see how allowing homosexual couples to adopt these unwanted children, who result from rape, abuse, or the occasional heterosexual one night stand is going to hurt anything at all.

From where I'm standing, it would appear that there are more clear advantages to homosexuals marrying and adopting children than there are clear disadvantages.

Bennion said...

I agree. Thanks for your comment, Brittany :)

Emily said...

Loved this entry; it puts into words things that I have felt for a long time.

Your blog is so hard to read! I'm reading it in Chrome & the background is dark gray with black text. What's up with that?

Bennion said...

Yeah, something crazy was going on with my formatting. I've spent a little while messing around with it, so hopefully it's more readable now!

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