Britney N. France
Abstract Gays and lesbians argue that their right to get married is equal to everyone else's. Christian groups and many church officials argue that gay marriage is immoral and against God's plan for marriage. The successful, pragmatic strategy of gay activists has been to assert that same-sex marriage will not change the institution itself. Their argument is that there is no need to defend marriage against loving same-sex couples, because these couples don’t want to alter it; they just want to participate in it. What difference does that make? What do we believe marriage equality will do?
Marriage equality will extend a basic civil right and allow a broader swath of Americans to opt into the bundle of economic protections and cultural privileges associated with matrimony. To some extent, people resist changes to traditions, and that unfortunately set too many default rituals into place, and that can and usually does stifle knowledge and progress.
“For decades, LGBTQ communities have generated new forms of family built on foundations of shared commitments, collective responsibilities, nonconjugal love and parental devotion not predicated on shared genetics. Shut out of social-normative options for making families, they queered the very idea of family. It would be tragic to allow marriage equality to destroy or marginalize the pioneering work of queer families who have taught us that family is more complicated and more fulfilling than traditional models of marriage can ever capture” (Perry, 2013). The ethical dilemma has been a fight for many years within these communities. Is or is it not just to allow marriage equality? This particular community of people believe that the holy matrimony is just a sheet of paper that does nothing more than prove that they are legally married. A marriage certificate is just a sense of security and that is no different within the straight community.
Undeniably, same sex couples in committed relationships are not afforded basic benefits, rights and protections granted heterosexual couples under state and federal laws. Even though, same sex couples live in relationships that are based on basic principles of strong and loving commitment to another, responsibility, and a right to enter into a marriage with their partner of choice, they continue to be denied the human rights, legal and economic stability provided by the recognized institution of marriage. Because of the differences and attitudes towards same sex marriages, social workers will be challenged in their advocacy and practice around this issue. However, embedded in social work values and practice is a Code of Ethics which will provide ethical and practical guidance.
“Conservatives unprepared to embrace full marriage equality are inching toward civil unions as the new default position. These elected officials like to tell stories of resetting their inner moral compass after wrestling with ethical dilemmas and discovering compassion for gay friends and relatives. Just days before the Court heard oral arguments; Pew reported that 70 percent of Americans born after 1980 support same-sex marriage. And though justice delayed is justice denied, whether the Roberts Court upholds or strikes down these particular provisions seems almost irrelevant given this cultural and political paradigm shift. Marriage equality, the stars seem to be telling us, is just a matter of time” (Perry, 2013). “In the landmark 1967 decision (Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled that all states must recognize inter-racial marriage. In spite of the changes for African-Americans, American Indians, and inter-racial marriages, same sex couple marriages remain in February 2004, unrecognized in all states except Massachusetts. Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples has the right to a recognized state marriage (Goodridge v. Department of Public