Homosexuality has been one of the most controversial issues in the 21st century. Contrary to what most people believe, an analysis of ancient human cultures shows that homosexuality is not a practice that commenced in the 21st century. Although homosexuality has always been a part of human nature and is an old tradition that has been performed throughout the time, it had prevailed in secrecy for the greater part of human history due to cultural and societal settings that restricted the freedom of expression, especially on the matter of sexual implications and the basic notions about sexuality. In addition, according to scientific evidence, homosexuality is not a person’s choice, but a mistake of nature that occurred in the wiring of the brain. However, as human civilization progressed, democratic rights and the autonomy of individuals and institutions, such as the media, gained recognition and gave people the freedom of expression.
Due to the heated debate on the issue of homosexual marriages that had begun to grow in popularity, a compromising conclusion still cannot be reached in the course of the lively discussions every day. With the introduction of freedoms, the issues that earlier caused discontent in the society on which people could not discuss in public began entering the public domain and rising controversies and heated debates. In this regard, both the proponents and opponents of homosexuality are publicly expressing their views regarding the practice. As the interest to the issue of allowing or prohibiting the homosexual marriages rises, this paper aims at discussing the most current evidence of both sides. This paper analyses the diverse opinions regarding the righteousness, ethics and morality of homosexuality. After viewing all pros and cons regarding the freedom of expression of homosexual couples, this research also summarizes the reasons pertained to the institution of marriage, which highlight the importance of prohibiting homosexual marriages.
Opposition of Homosexual Marriages
According to the definition of a homosexual marriage opponent Witte (2003), marriage is “the Western legal tradition... (of) monogamous, heterosexual couples who had reached the age of consent, who had the physical capacity to join together in one flesh, and whose joining served the goods and goals of procreation, companionship and stability at once” (Brow, 2009, p.79). There are a few areas that oppose the homosexual marriage in the contemporary world. Opponents of the right of homosexuals to marry describe the practice as a violation of religious teachings, laws of nature, and the societal norms.
The religious view on sexual relationships is that sex is an extension of the work of creation initiated by a divine being. In this regard, any sexual relationships or acts that do not promote procreation violate the desire of the divine being. In the book, homosexual unions are not marriages from Catholic Answers series (2012); it is explained that there can be no real equality between heterosexual and homosexual relationships. According to the Bible, humans are created in the image of God. Therefore, each living individual represents God through self-deeds. When marrying, two people of opposite sex are bound together in holy matrimony to perform the main functions of marriage: care for each other and procreation of children. Catholic Answers (2012) argue that biologically, physically, and psychologically two people of the same sex will never be able to complement each other as God made a man and a woman to share responsibilities, share their DNA for procreation and complete each other emotionally, physically and biologically (p. 7). According to the author, “homosexual behavior must be recognized for what it is: a distortion of the way human sexuality is meant to work”, which leads to many other extensions and distortions such as prostitution, adultery and pornography (p.16).
Continuing the idea of religious character, the nature does not support homosexual unions either. Procreation cannot occur through same-sex relationships as confirmed by the religious teachings that the human race originated from one father and mother (Andryszewski, 2008). Catholic Answers (2012) write that heterosexual marriage is a part of the God’s plan for mankind, which homosexual marriage is not. Quoting Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (p.19), it is obvious that the institution of marriage is divine, and the implications of the homosexual marriage are no more than the temptations that are to be overcome as the challenges to be with God by performing his plan for mankind. Thus, homosexuality threatens to destroy the institution that ensures the human race does not become extinct. Apart from mocking the authority of the divine being, homosexuality discredits the religious teachings that describe a family as constituting of a father, mother and children. Since homosexuality eliminates the possibility of couples to bear children, it dishonors the definition of a family.
Following the previous evidence that homosexuality does not occur in nature, it is also considered to be disapproved by the contemporary society. Brow (2009) refers to homosexuality as being “unnatural and does not correspond with what society defines as normal” (p.79). In his article, Brow (2009) argues that not only homosexual marriages distort the traditional social norms and conventions, shaping new notions of “normal”, but also creates unrealistic expectations from the human relationships as well as distorts the expectations of gender roles, creating discriminative images. The author claims that marriage is being “romanticized”, bringing a negative connotation to the notion of traditional marriage. Trying to fulfill the marriage completely, the couples begin to imitate traditional gender roles in their homosexual union, which eventually shifts the gender role expectations drastically and illuminates them completely for the heterosexual couples, who no longer know how to perform in their marriages (Brow, 2009, p.80).
As the result, allowing homosexual marriages means bringing up children without a close connection to the God, portraying the committing a sin on a daily basis, promoting and propagating the same unnatural behavior to children. In addition, homosexual unions do not fulfill the basic aim of marriage to procreate children and represent unnatural sexual behavior, which creates unrealistic gender role expectations. At last, homosexual marriages contradict the social norms creating a romanticized picture of marriage, causing the shift in heterosexual marriages as well.
Arguments for Homosexual Marriages
Proponents of homosexual marriages cite the freedom of association and diversity in sexual orientation as the main factors that warrant marriages between homosexuals. Overtime, constitutional reforms have focused on the inclusion of clauses and laws that guarantee a greater protection of fundamental human rights. Lewis argues in his article that “every member of the human community has the same basic rights, including that of marriage, and thus, if justice is to be served, no discrimination against any member of society, particularly persons engaged in loving, committed and stable relationships, should be permitted” (p. 33). In this regard, denying homosexuals the right to marry is an infringement on their fundamental human rights. When the constitution protects the right of people based on the nature of their relationships, that constitution is not an all-inclusive document. Individuals and institutions should not subject human activities that do not violate the rights of other people to restrictions.
The main concerns regarding the need and logic of homosexual marriage were not only raised by the religious affiliations. Most of the governmental institutions still do not recognize homosexual marriages. Current federal law in the US still does not allow gay or lesbian marriages due to the purposes of federal enactment. Let us be reminded that the first state that legalized homosexual marriages was Massachusetts, which gave the right for same-sex marriages violating the state constitution on May 17, 2004 (Smith, 2012, p.1). Homosexual relationships develop due to sexual orientations that cause individuals to become attracted to people of their sex rather than the opposite sex. Thus, perceptions that homosexuals are individuals keen on rebelling against cultural and societal settings are unfounded. Homosexuals, similarly to heterosexuals, act according to their sexual feelings, and thus favoring one kind of relationship over another is discriminatory. The society should allow people to have soulmates irrespective of their sex.
Prohibiting homosexual marriages denies homosexuals the emotional satisfaction that heterosexuals enjoy and thus discredits efforts to protect fundamental human rights (Schuh, 2004). Homosexuals argue that even though homosexuality does not promote procreation, favorable policies on child adoption will allow them to raise children. Blanks, Dockwell and Wallance write that to date the legislatures only in California, Connecticut and New York had passed the statues that allow gay couples to adopt children, as opposed to Florida, which expressed a firm refusal to this issue, following by 45 abstaining from this decision states (p.1). After all, a loving family, even if the parents are of the same sex, is much better for an orphan than no family at all. Brow (2009) writes “homosexual relationships are more egalitarian than those of heterosexual relationships” (p.81). It addition, it is a very well-known fact that the divorce rate among the heterosexual marriages is much higher than the homosexual marriages, which means that they form stronger unions, which benefit both homosexual partners and their adopted child.
Arguments by the proponents of homosexual marriages fail to consider that the protection of human rights must encompass the preservation of the human race. Thus, the scope of freedom of association should be such that the rights of some individuals do not threaten the existence of humans. Institutions of marriage that do not facilitate procreation and thus the security of future generations do not serve the common good of the society. In addition, many states, even though they do not recognize the homosexual marriage, have found a compromise to meet the civil rights of same-sex couples. Smiths (2012) writes that “states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, which may provide similar state-level rights and/or benefits”. In such a way, the only thing that such unions lack is a legal document, which signifies them as a family legally. Other than that, these couple receives just the same treatment from the government as other heterosexual families, therefore the need for marriage is overrated by the homosexual sub-culture. The argument that homosexuality arises due to the diversity in sexual orientation conflicts with laws of nature that show the attraction between animals, irrespective of their kingdom and species, occurs between opposite sexes (Olsen, 2006). Laws of nature apply to human beings, and thus it is illogical for them to act in a manner that violates nature.
The argument that homosexuals can adopt children and meet the criteria of a family highlights the importance of procreation. For homosexuals to adopt children, heterosexual relationships must exist. The adoption of children by homosexual couples promotes the cycle of homosexuality as children brought up in a homosexual family setting never learn true family values. Catholic Answers (2012) critically argue the opinion that the children brought up in a homosexual environment do not differ from those who were raised in a traditional family “Whether the children were acquired by adoption, surrogacy, or through a previous, heterosexual union, they would be raised with a false view of human sexuality and defective set of moral values, as well as being denied an example of proper fatherhood and motherhood” (p.10). A cycle of homosexuality threatens the preservation of humanity as the young generation will decline and eventually die away.
Analyses of the arguments of both the opponents and proponents of homosexual marriages illustrate that despite the need to protect democracy and human freedom homosexual marriages have adverse effects on the society. The existence of the human race relies on the process of procreation, which cannot occur in a marriage institution involving individuals of the same sex. A society devoid of young generation faces a bleak future in social, economic and political sense. Apart from threatening the human population, homosexuality mocks religious teachings. The greatest portion of values and norms that sustain sanity in the society originates from religious teachings. Discrediting religious doctrines in order to promote the freedom of expression is likely to cause social chaos and undermine coexistence. Arguments that homosexuality arises due to the diversity in sexual orientation conflicts with the laws of attraction between sexes as evidenced by nature. Therefore, to preserve the human race and retain sanity in the society, individuals and institutions must adopt measures that protect democracy and human rights but ensure that homosexual marriages do not thrive.