The article, “Sidesteps Broad Gay Marriage Ruling,” by Peralta Eyder, explores the controversial 2013 ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the US Supreme Court. In the tradition of most countries, marriage is considered a legal, religious, or traditional union between a man and a woman. This law prevented the recognition of same-sex marriages. This meant that same-sex couples could not receive federal benefits. DOMA also gave states the authority not to recognize gay marriages that had been performed in states that had legalized gay marriages. According to DOMA, the word marriage only refers to a union between one man and one woman who live as husband and wife. Under the DOMA, the word spouse is only used in reference to a person of the opposite sex who is either a husband or a wife (Peralta, 2013).
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Gay Marriage Is Moral
The state of Massachusetts was the first to legalize gay marriages in 2004, and since then, it is estimated that there are at least 71,165 legal gay marriages in the US. A research conducted by Gallup in May 2012 indicated that 50 percent of Americans support gay marriages (Schulzke, 2013). The legal landscape on gay marriages is still changing, but several states have legalized gay marriages. These states include Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. These states also grant same sex couples full benefits of marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy (Schulzke, 2013).
In order to determine whether gay marriage is morally upright under utilitarian approach, then it should be assessed in terms of the benefits in brings to society and the possible harms that accompany it. If gay marriage is legalized in the US, it will bring numerous benefits to society. One of the benefits of legalizing gay marriages is that gay families will provide homes for children who have no parents. Statistics indicate that there is an increase in the number of gay couples adopting children across the US. This is a positive thing even though the current legal landscape may make their children to enjoy similar protection like those granted to heterosexual families. Moreover, gay couples still face legal challenges when they want to adopt children (Willis, 2013).
Markedly, adoption agencies and social workers in America, who considers gay families as an important resource for providing homes for children under the care of government, have recognized the important role that gay couples play in the society (Gary, 2009). Furthermore, the Obama administration has also admitted that gay couples do play a crucial role in adopting children. Social workers have also found that most gay couples have successfully raised children, and in some instances, they have been preferred over their heterosexual counterparts. Most gay couples who adopt and raise children also tend to be more educated and richer than most Americans (Gary, 2009).
Many children in the US and the entire world lack parental care; therefore, legalizing gay marriages will enable gay couples to provide parental support, care and love to such children. Moreover, marriage among heterosexual couples is not based on legality but love that brings two people together, and makes them commit to be with one another (Willis, 2013). Hence, as long as two individuals deeply care for each other and would like to spend the rest of their lives together, it does not matter whether their commitment conforms to societal expectation. Legalizing gay marriages will make gay people to embrace family values and help them to stop engaging in risky sexual behaviors. This will benefit society by preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases from the gay community to the rest of the population (Willis, 2013).
Gay couples lack legal recognition and can never be financially supported by their partners in the process of owning a home. Another argument against recognizing gay marriages and granting gay couples full rights, for example, the right to adopt children is that children being raised in gay families will be harassed and teased by their peers, which can interfere with them psychologically (Gary, 2009). Gay people have been subjected to prejudice and discrimination throughout their lives, and this gives them the ability to prepare their children to cope with negative attitudes. Moreover, the American society has made tremendous gains in terms of accepting gay people and treating them with dignity, and it is only a matter of time before Americans fully accept gay marriages (Gary, 2009).
Opponents of gay marriage have also opposed it based on Judeo-Christian ethics that condemns homosexuality. Moreover, opponents of same-sex marriage have also argued that it will weaken the institution of marriage. However, the institution of marriage in America is already weak with a divorce rate of 50 percent. Therefore, one way of strengthening the weak institution of marriage is by allowing gay people to marry (Willis, 2013).
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Gay marriage is morally upright under utilitarian approach to ethics and should be legalized in the US. Gay marriage is morally upright because it brings certain benefits to society. First, adoption agencies, social workers, and even President Obama have praised gay marriage for providing homes to homeless children. Evidently, this is beneficial to society. Legalizing gay marriages also has the benefit of preventing sexually transmitted diseases both in the gay community and among heterosexual couples. The arguments put forward by opponents against gay marriages are based on myths and not facts.
Schulzke, E. (2013). Supreme Court tackles DOMA, Prop 8; legal experts lay odds on decisions. Web.
Willis, K. (2013). Supreme Court DOMA Ruling Doesn’t Affect Kentucky Law. Web.
Gary, M. (2009). Same Sex, Different Politics: Success and Failure in the Struggles over Gay Rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Web.
Peralta, E. (2013). Court Overturns DOMA, Sidesteps Broad Gay Marriage Ruling. Web.