The Assimilation of Gay Marriage into American Society
The Land of the Free and the Home of the Gay:
The Assimilation of Gay Marriage into American Society The United States is a country that was founded on its ability to overcome difficulty and grow as a nation, from gaining independence from Great Britain to abolishing slavery to granting women’s suffrage. America’s next great issue to overcome is here: gay marriage. There is no specific clause in the United States Constitution that addresses marriage, which leaves the issue up to the individual states. However, the Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion under the first amendment. Since marriage between a man and a woman is a religious institution, why should it be legal over marriage between same-sex couples? Gay marriage should be legal throughout the United States because prohibiting the permanent union between two human beings is in violation of our basic constitutional rights as American citizens. The religious affiliations behind marriage are the reasons people have come up with in order to pass legislation prohibiting the union between same-sex couples. However, it is an American citizen’s constitutional right under the fourteenth amendment (which established the equal protection clause) to be allowed to get married to a person of the same sex. According to DeLaet and Caulfield (2008), the definition of marriage as a unification between a man and a woman has origins in denominational religious views of marriage. Supporters of gay marriage have greatly depended on equal rights arguments or claims based on substantive due process and the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment to make the case that gay marriage should be legalized (DeLaet & Caulfield, 2008, p. 2). If America is ignoring its own Constitution in favor of glorifying a religious practice, what kind of message does that spread to the rest of the world? Americans would not have to be pegged as hypocritical or stubborn if we just understood that the framework on which our country is based on is telling us that gay marriage is constitutional without coming out and saying those exact words. Although gay marriage goes against traditional Christian values, some people that practice said religion either support gay marriage or are gay themselves. This can be interpreted as making a progressive step towards complete equality in the face of factors like religion and the undeniable role it plays in legislation. Chenier (2013) found the following: “Blessing lesbian and gay unions took pastors out of the spiritual and into the political realm…the battle [to legalize gay marriage] demonstrates how progressive Christian support for same-sex marriage was also a political act that directly challenged the way state laws oppressed gay people” (p. 20). The separation of church and state is not so separate as long as gay marriage is illegal nationwide. If Christians are willing to accept gay marriage as legal and as normal and beautiful as a marriage between a man and a woman, there is no reason the entire country should not feel the same way. Traditionally, the only people that same-sex couples would offend are the ones whose religion prohibits the union between them. However, if pastors and other Christians, like in Chenier’s research, feel the same way about gay marriage as each other, the United States should not hesitate to legalize the union between same-sex couples. While it is important to focus on the religious viewpoints and legislative aspects regarding gay marriage, there is another huge reason why it should be legalized: the unavoidable factor of its sheer inevitability. Now that being gay is more socially acceptable and largely talked about, more gay people are finding themselves more comfortable with their sexuality.