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The Gay-Marriage Movement


Obtaining acceptance and special recognition marriages and unions is only one of a series of intensely contested factors that have arisen since the American gay and lesbian rights movement increased to fame in the heated political atmosphere of the 1970s. Today, the political implications of gay marriage do not concern the perceptions of others. Gay marriage directly implicates the citizenship of gays themselves. Through a legal disability created by the state’s denial of a legal framework for committed same-sex relationships, the state produces gay men as a peculiar class of second-class citizens. Thesis Constitutionally these men have the same rights as other citizens and should be protected by the state from negative social image and violation of rights.

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Literature Review

From historical perspective, early activism focused more on trying to wrench some acceptance from the mass culture and community than on dreaming of achieving legality for forbidden homosexual relations. The early homosexual movement for gay marriage that preceded the advent of gay rights organizing hoped to defuse hatred of rescue hatred of homosexuality and to unknot such malignant myths about homosexuals as those that imagine them preying on children.

George Chauncey describes that gay marriages took place in New York during the 1920s and 1930s; the use of the term “fairies” for partners is linked with a wider terminology that stressed gender differences between “fairies” or effeminate gay people and the “real men” who sought them out as sexual partners. Critics also reports the use of marriage terminology by gay men in the same period to evoke their relationships with other men and play off the satirical convergences between gay life and the “natural” categories of heterosexual family (Bidstrup 2004).

Thus, calling someone “sister” marked that person as an inappropriate sexual partner, removed from the group of possible love by injunctions against “incest.” With similar approach, gay couples who believe their relationships are marked by a division of labor reminiscent of gay marriages might call each other “husbands” and “wives” (Chauncey, n.d.). Gender-based marriage laws have a different type of productive effect on those who resist their terms, who forgo marriage rather than allow the state to take over their bodies, their psyches, and their emotional lives. These resisters will often be gays who are sexually oriented toward others of the same gender.

When such people resist stereotyped gender roles by pursuing a homosexual relationship involving meaningful intimacy, the state denies them the means for making a legally binding commitment in that relationship. In this way, the law produces and imposes another stereotyped identity: the identity of the isolated and outcast “homosexual,” whose deviant sexuality is incompatible with committed familial relationships (Woog 87).

Activists from the 1950s and 1960s argued that homosexuality was not necessarily a form of psychological illness and certainly not rebellious or criminal behavior; to demonstrate that gay people are upright citizens who deserved respect, activists dressed neatly and conservatively in public and tried to downplay images that disrupted “normal” gender expectations.

The main driven forces of gay marriage included new perception of the world and self, new interpretation of freedom and humans rights, new science and industrial innovations in comparison with the previous age. The historical evens influenced the society during the 19th century changed political viewpoints on the notions of freedom and diversity (The case for gay marriage 2004). Gay people should have a legal right to marry and have official registration of their union.

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Analysis of the Issue

Gay marriage movement coincided with civil right movement and became a part of it. In early 1970s, gays have challenged the legal restriction of marriage to men, though none of these earlier efforts received serious judicial attention. While the constitutional issues raised in these situations have varied, the responses to them have ranged from bewilderment to outrage as judges cited most probably commonplace understandings that official marriage is “naturally” the union of a man and a woman, and therefore cannot be entered into by people of the same sex (Chauncey n.d.). Union between gay people is morally right as it is based on human needs of homosexual individuals.

As other homosexual issues have achieved importance, and perhaps particularly as the AIDS pandemic has brought many people face-to-face with the homosexual community and gay individuals for perhaps the first time, legalization of marriage has emerged as the shock demand of the 1990s, generated not by a top-down solutions but rather by a grass-roots permission. Unlike the issue of homosexuals in the military, chosen by homosexual activists in the Democratic Party as a problem that could efficiently dramatize the predicament of patriotic homosexual citizens, marriage has simply appeared as something that gays want.

For instance, “on March 25, 1996, 175 couples came in tuxedos and wedding dresses, clutching flowers and each others’ hands for confirmation and acceptance of their same-sex union. The mayor of San Francisco, pronounced them “domestic partners” under the city’s same-sex marriage law” (Smith 54). Law should protect gay people from discrimination and violation of their human rights.

The “de-gendering” of marriage has two issues for the inquiry. First, it reveals that the mere longevity of the prohibition of gay marriage is a particularly weak justification for its retention, because the fundamentally gendered legal order that long sustained this prohibition no longer exists. Second, it suggests that present-day justifications for the prohibition of same-sex marriage will inevitably exaggerate the one remaining aspect of marriage that does remain gender-coded: its sometime connection with the biological act of procreation (Seidman, 135).

Today, there is not legally granted rights for gay men in America which allow them to marry another man and receive a marriage license. “Only two countries—Belgium and the Netherlands—have given full legal status to same-sex unions, though Canada has backed the idea in principle and others have conferred almost-equal rights on such partnerships” (The case for gay marriage, 2004). Gay people should be equally protected from rights abuse and possible state interventions in their interpersonal relations.

In general, the right to gay marriage should be pursued as a political strategy to attain general equality for gay men. Marriage is thought to be so privileged in society that participation in it would legitimate all gay relationships and the individuals who prefer them. Under the present day conception, the state’s recognition and regulation of marriage does not privilege this institution, but merely makes it available to those who wish to structure their relationships in accordance with it (Eskridge and Spedale, 2006).

Ideally, the benefits and disadvantages associated with marriage reflect the differences between the situation of a legally couple and the situations of couples and individuals without such legal commitment. Many quarters of American society still view marriage as blessed and noble. Unfortunately, gay couples must reckon with the possibility that the recognition of their right to marry may lower the status of marriage as much as it raises the status of gays (Woog, 1999).

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Taking into account ethical arguments it is possible to agree that homosexual unions are also less likely to fulfill reproductive social interests than heterosexual unions. Opponents of gay marriages suppose that legalizing gay marriage would foster the creation of a new class of disadvantaged children, produced by medically assisted procreative techniques and intended to be born as part or full orphans and reared without both a mom and dad. Legalizing gay marriage would sanction, and therefore increase, rearing of children without mothers (Wilson, 1996; Padgett 2007). Gay people should have a right to adopt and up bring children similar to other married couples.

On the basis of what people know about the tremendous disadvantages of children who grow up without both a mother and father in the home, it would not be wise public policy to encourage the deliberate procreation of intentionally orphaned, parentally deprived children (Graff 1996).

To endorse and thus encourage the nurture of children in an environment in which there is the deliberate rejection of not “just” the other procreative parent, but all parents of that gender, does not seem very wise or prudent (Smith, 2009). The potential for increased social disorder if same-sex marriage is legalized is profound. “Sexual relativism would reign supreme with no lines drawn and moral distinctions made between traditional and nontraditional, same gender “marriage” relationships” (Smith 54).

The most important difference between heterosexual unions with regard to procreation is that most heterosexual couples can for many years exist as a couple (unless age, illness, infirmity, or intervention has deprived one or both parties of fertility), but no gay couple can ever have children. Gay couples are unable to procreate as unions. This difference relates directly to the social interests in procreation that justify the exclusive legal preference for heterosexual marriage (Harris, 3).

The individual members of both heterosexual and gay unions may be capable of procreating outside of the couple union (e.g., a gay man in a gay relationship may have children with someone of the opposite sex who is not his relationship partner), but those relational procreations generally do not advance the social interest in responsible procreation; rather, they impair the integrity of the institution that has best been able to further the social interests in responsible procreation (Smith, 1998).

Domestic partnership offers limited legal protections to gay couples without seeking outright to make legal their unions; registration as household partners is not in most cases limited to gay couples, but is also offered in some jurisdictions to straight couples who do not wish to marry but want some sort of official recognition of their situations. Critics suppose that discrimination against gay men is most marked when a couple decides to live together and that the choice to form a joint household is thereby a courageous stand against bigotry. In everyday life, “The values that gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are often indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors” (Bidstrup, 2004).

Homosexual activists acknowledge that family is a complex term that must be understood in all its multiple and situated meanings before an attack is mounted against it; in couching her argument in this nuanced sympathetic, Critics underline the views of those who have attested to the lasting and multifaceted meanings of family for many gay people, particularly for those with roots in communities of color. Today, the homosexual movement retains a powerful antipathy to “heterosexist norms,” especially the straitjacket of enforced gender roles and partnerships, in favor of a more fluid vision of personal and sexual freedom. Indeed, many gay idealists don’t want to join mainstream culture so much as have mainstream culture join them.

During the eighties the tension between the radical and opposite camps argues around the marriage issue (Stanley, 2000). In case gay marriage is recognized officially, that institution will ever after stand for human choice. Today, the “simplest” way for a gay couple to marry in a state like Texas, “where the population is overwhelmingly opposed to such unions, is to fly to Hawaii, get married, and then return to live in Texas as lawfully wedded” (Wilson, 1996).

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The most forceful advocates for gay marriage are religious leaders. In Hawaii itself, leaders of many faiths have been at the forefront of the pro-marriage campaign (“Gay-Rights Movement” 2007). And whereas most progressive national groups have yet to take a strong stand in favor of gay marriage rights, religious groups have been faster on the draw. Both the Reform branches of Judaism have now formally endorsed gay marriage, as have many Quaker and Buddhist denominations and many Protestant congregations, Episcopal bishops and high-ranking clerics of many faiths (Kurtz 1).

Sexual liberation is a factor which had a great influence on the national idea during the XX century. Men paid particular attention to the role of sexual relations and sexual freedom in the society and their role in formation of self and universal order. “But gay marriage does more than just fit; it announces that gay marriage has changed shape. As with any social change, there will be more consequences, which look pretty progressive to me” (Graff, 1996).

Marriage allows gay people commitment, to job, spouse, society, religion– invented from the inside out. Making homosexual men more visible lawfully will insist that there is no traditional escape: that community survives not by rote but by heart. “The problem with all that special rights talk is that it proceeds from that very assumption, that because of all the civil rights laws in this country that everyone is already equal, so therefore any rights gay people are being granted must therefore be special” (Bidstrup, 2004),

And since many have already take efforts to ban recognition, it now seems likely that a small but significant core of states will allow them to stand. It does not seem unlikely that within two years there will be legally married gay couples in a handful of states across the nation. If this indeed comes to pass, it is difficult to overstate its importance for gay men, for the civil rights movement, for all those who favor a humane development of the definition of family.

It would certainly amount to the single greatest victory in all of gay civil rights, the division event in which homosexuality and the loving and committed relations it spawns finally began to take their place as recognized and fully legitimate (Polikoff, 2008; Richardson 2002). The legalization of gay marriage would amount to a pivotal event in the present day struggle. If it occurs without the enthusiastic support and involvement of major gay and civil rights groups, it would also amount to one of the most breathtaking lapses of organizational vision in the history of the modern left (Need a Cure for the Economic Crisis 2008).

The necessity of marriage is evident because marriage (and gay marriage as well) is an institution that supports society, defines how people think about one another, formalizes contact with families, neighborhoods, employers, insurers, hospitals, governments. Allowing two people of the male to marry will help to avoid numerous problems faced by gay people today. The main problem is that society cannot change these people, but it must help them to socialize and adapt to social institutions. “The importance of marriage for society’s general health and stability also explains why the commonly mooted alternative to gay marriage—a so-called civil union—is not enough” (The case for gay marriage, 2004).

The possible solution for this problem is to allow gay couple to marry and receive license as an official reorganization of their union. It is possible to agree with activists which suppose that gay marriage is a fundamental challenge to the status quo. When the state withholds law, it acts on people’s lives in an entirely different way than when it withholds funding (Snyder 71). “By permitting gay marriages, society reaffirms its hope “that people of all kinds settle down into stable unions” (Smith 54).

There are practical benefits of homosexual marriage: the ability to share insurance and pension funds, care for ill partners, inherit repeatedly, protect our children from desperate custody battles. It is surprising that proponents of such a radical social reordering as redefining marriage to include same-sex couples have offered virtually no evidence of the social benefits of that proposed social reform. Individual freedom means much more than the absence of physical coercion but an equal social status and sexual liberation (Heath, 2009).

The gay movement should become an independent movement aimed to grant gay people the right to marry. It is important because: “marriage, as it is commonly viewed in society, is more than just a legal contract” (The case for gay marriage, 2004), but without this contract gay people deprived their rights and privileges (Padgett 2007). Gay marriage should be legally protected in order to eliminate violation of human rights, freedoms and unconstitutional treatment of homosexual individuals.


Gay marriage should be accepted and legally approved as it helps many people to satisfy their life needs and expectations. Still, there are still many modern people who regard gay intercourse as simply a recreational act, like playing tennis or swimming. They look for different gay partners, as a surfer seeks the perfect wave, hoping that the next one will be better, that the blast will be bigger. Amoral in the true sense of the word, and reckless, his name is synonymous with casual sex.

So, too, is the name of Casanova, an Italian adventurer, gambler and lover. The only rule some immoral individuals seem to be governed by is that as long as it makes you feel happy there’s no problem. Gay marriage can be fun, even if people are not in love. To suggest otherwise would be unfair, for sexual pleasure is one of the most exquisite of human experiences. But there is wide agreement that if gay people care deeply for each other as partners.

Two gay people who are attuned to each other’s feelings cannot help getting more enjoyment out of anything they do together, not just sex. Critics know how it feels to make someone you like happy by giving them a gift they’ve wanted for a long time. Or how it feels to receive one yourself from a special individual. Since so much has been written in support of legalizing gay marriage, the absence of substantial credible evidence of social benefit stands out in stark contrast to the abundance of passion and intensity offered.

Because advocates of same-sex marriage should carry the burden of proof to justify the proposed legal reform, the paucity of evidence is a serious failing in their campaign to persuade men and women of reason. Gay people should have the right to marry because constitution is aimed to protect social and sexual rights of all people and all citizens of the USA.

Works Cited

Bidstrup, S. Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives. 2004. Web.

The case for gay marriage. The Economist. 2004. Web.

Chauncey, George Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Web.

Eskridge, William, N. and Spedale, Darren R. Gay Marriage: For Better or for Worse? :What We’ve Learnt from the Evidence. Oxford University Press US, 2006.

Graff, E.J. Retying the Knot. Isn’t it time marriage was gender-blind? 1996. Web.

Harris, Lee. “The Future of Tradition.” Policy Review 131 (2005): 3 “Gay-Rights Movement.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. Sixth Ed.

Heath, Mike. “Gay Rights Groups Say Battle for Same Sex Marriage Is Over.” The Record. 2009.

Kurtz, Stanley N. What Is Wrong with Gay Marriage. Commentary, Vol. 110, 2000, p. 1.

Need a Cure for the Economic Crisis? Give Gay Marriage a Try!’ My Life, My Muse. 2008. Web.

Padgett, Tim. “Gay Family Values.” TIME Magazine. 2007.

Polikoff, Nancy, D. Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law. Beacon Press, 2008.

Richardson, Diane and Seidman, Steven. Handbook of Lesbian and Gay Studies. SAGE, 2002.

Seidman, Louis, M. ‘Gay Sex and Marriage, the Reciprocal Disadvantage Problem, and the Crisis in Liberal Constitutional Theory.’ Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 31.1 (2008): 135.

Smith, George P. Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century. Praeger Publishers. Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1998.

Smith, Sebastian. “NY Governor Introduces Gay Marriage Law.” YahooNews. 2009. Web.

Snyder, R. Claire. Gay Marriage and Democracy: Equality for All. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

Welch, Chris. “Economy Enters Same-Sex Marriage Debate”. CNN. 2009. Web.

Wilson, James Q. Against Homosexual Marriage, Commentary, Vol. 101, 1996, p. 34.

Woog. D. Friends & Family: True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies. Alyson Publications, 1999.

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