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Equal Marriage for Everyone?

Equal Marriage for Everyone?

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Published by: manueldc on May 03, 2009
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02/01/2013

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Marriage Equality
Luis Duran Cornelio
Marriage equality is a controversial topic well known to most of people.Not because everybody is interested in that topic but because most peoplehave an opinion for or against it, even they are gay or not. Since I have beenin California from May of last year, I have heard about the discussion; shouldmarriage equality be for everyone? The question looks very easy to answer,at least for me. However, my answer, positive or not doesn´t explain by itself why this is so important for a lot of people. I decided to do some researchabout what privileges have married couples in United States. The answerreally surprised me. Marriage offers more than 1,138 Federal benefits andresponsibilities, not including hundreds more offered by every state. I think itis necessary to mention some of the main benefits of marriage because fromthat perspective we could understand why LBGTQ communitiesclaim forMarriage equality. Some of the benefits of Marriage are these:
In times of crisis, spouses have hospital visitation rights and can make medicaldecisions in event of illness or disability of their spouse.
Employers offer spouses sick leave, bereavement leave, access to health insuranceand pension
Married couples in elderly care facilities are generally not separated unless onespouse's health dictates hospitalization or special care.
 The dissolution of a marriage requires a determination of property distribution, awardof child custody and support and spousal support. Absent divorce, there is no uniformsystem for sorting out the ending of a relationship.
With marriage, a couple has the right to be treated as an economic unit and to file joint tax returns (and pay the marriage penalty), and obtain joint health, home andauto insurance policies.
After seeing some of the benefits of marriage several questions arriveto our essay. For instance, why are there big movements against same sexmarriage? What are the justifications, if any, against marriage rights foreveryone? Should homosexual couples understand that marriage is a socialarrangement that does not apply to them? Or maybe, should heterosexualcouples see that a social agreement it is not enough to affect the rights of others? My idea to develop this essay is the next one. First, I will bring someof the arguments against marriage equality for everyone. Then, I will make
 
some comments on Professor Bockover´s point of view. Finally I will share myown opinion about this controversial topic. Two of the arguments against marriage equality exposed in the HSUEthic Forum seem to me to be the most widely accepted. The first one is theNatural Law and the second one Theology argument. The first one has a verystrong weight in Western and Eastern society because ofreligion. The weightof “traditionwith all the implications that that word implies, is reallyimportant here. The natural law theory says that actions are right when theyare natural and wrong when those actions are unnatural. In other words,social actions, to be considered right, should be in accordance with nature.Because homosexuality is not in accordance with nature, equal marriage isinacceptable. The second theory, very accepted in Western culture, is thetheological theory. According to this metaphysical doctrine marriage betweenequal sexes is a bias. Marriage is only allowed between a man and a womanbecause that is what God created.It is not my intention in this essay to give a detailed description aboutthe two theories above mentioned. However, I will defend those theories,although I´m not in agreement with them. Why are those theories, thenatural and the theological, so accepted by many people? I will put myself inthe place of them, the place of the people who do not agreewith marriageequality. First of all, we cannot accept what we cannot understand. It isunderstandable but not justifiable that some people reject homosexualsbecause they just cannot see themselves, sexually, with another person of their same sex. It is hard to change the mentality of a whole community.However, it is the role of our system of education to teach to the cominggeneration about tolerance of all of those controversial topics that fornatural law,” but not for psychology, are hard to understand. I have seen inmany cases that children from tolerant and open-minded parents have moreof probability to understand and accept what they have learned. My secondargument to defend those who are against married equality is to analyze theweight of tradition in human society. This explanation is connected with thetheological argument. The word tradition comes from the Latin
traditionem
,acc. of 
traditio
which means "handing over, passing on". Traditions are oftenpresumed to be ancient, unalterable, and deeply important, though they maysometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. Adding to the weight of tradition we have a lot of kinds of religious beliefs. Unfortunately, most of them, in different ways, are against equal marriage equality forhomosexuals. From the understanding of tradition we can see, in a simplisticway, why so many people see homosexuality like an aberration.
 
After seeing two of the main arguments against marriage equality let´ssummarize and make some comments on Professor Mary Bockover´s point of view in the HSU Ethic Forum. Professor Bockover believes that the view thatlegal marriage should be restricted to heterosexual couples is upheld insome misunderstandings based in what should be the role of the state in ourlives. She proposes that the language of “marriage” should be abandoned inthe political and legal language. This is because that word is loaded with ametaphysical meaning, “sanctity.” As all of us know, the role of the statedoes not include giving transcendental meaning to the citizens´ lives. FromBockover´s point of view “all citizens of age in the state of California shouldhave an equal right to join into civil union with the person of their choosing”.She believes that rather than granting same-sex couples the legal right tomarry we should take away that right from heterosexuals. In this position wewill begin to talk about “civil unions” instead marriage.I am totally in agreement with Bockover´s point of view about civilunions instead of marriage equality, however, I will bring some argumentsagainst her ideas with the intention of having a philosophical discussioninstead of really being in disagreement with her point of view. First of all, whyshould we change the constitution and laws to allow same sex couples to getmarried? Do we not live in a democratic, political, and representativedemocracy? If that is true, and I´m pretty sure it is, should LGBTQ groups notaccept that in a democratic battle they lost the rights that they were lookingfor? If we accepted, for instance, that McCain lost on November 4, whyshouldn´t we accept that the intention to get marriage equality in Californiawas lost as well? Maybe you will argue that in this case, different from theRepublic defeat, we are talking about human rights, but I argue that it is notso simple like that. In the next paragraph I will explain my argument.Western society has a particular way to decide and to put in practicethe most important decisions which will affect the population. We have calledthis democracy. Inside the term of democracy we have something thatthroughout history has been called “majority rule”. The "majority rule" isoften described as a characteristic feature of democracy. Let´s see a brief definition of this term. Majority rule is a decision rule that selects one of twoalternatives, based on which has more than half of the votes. From thisdoctrine the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisionsbinding to the whole group. Although the controversial meaning of themajority rule is not our discussion here, we should accept, under theprevious definition of “majority rule”, that everybody must accept thedecisions that have been made by this strategy. Why? Because everybody,

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