Last updated on: 3/12/2014 7:55:42 AM PST
Should Same-Sex Marriage Be Allowed?



PRO (yes)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) posted "Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Marriage Amendment Act and Gay Marriage" on its website on Feb. 25, 2004:

"Q. What is the difference between civil unions and marriage? If they are different in name only, why do gays and lesbians need to be 'married'?
A. While civil unions are a meaningful step toward ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples, they fall short of true equality by setting up a separate category of rights and protections for gay and lesbian couples. Gay and lesbian Americans serve in the military, keep our communities safe as firefighters and police officers, staff our hospitals, build our cities and pay taxes. Gay and lesbian couples in long-term committed relationships should not be denied legal rights in pensions, health insurance, hospital visitations, and inheritance that other long-term committed couples enjoy. We should end this discrimination.

Q. Hasn't marriage been traditionally defined as between a man and a woman?
A. Marriage is about commitment, love, sharing, and compromise. It is a private, personal choice that should not be denied to couples just because they are the same sex. Today we look back, almost disbelieving, on the time when many Americans did not tolerate marriage between Catholics and Protestants, between whites and blacks. Unfortunately, our laws continue to deny a basic right to marry to two adults simply because they are gay or lesbian."

Feb. 25, 2004 - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 



The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) posted "Marriage and Partnership Recognition" in the Issues section of its website (accessed on June 22, 2005):

"Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are often emotionally and economically interdependent, sharing household and financial responsibilities, and often raising children or taking care of other family members together. Studies show that gay and lesbian couples are comparable to straight couples in many ways, and that relationship quality and satisfaction are about the same across all couple types. According to the 2000 Census, one-fifth of male same-sex households and one-third of female same-sex households were raising children. Same-sex couples, especially those who are parents, would benefit from the concrete family protections and peace of mind offered by the right to legally marry...

Access to civil marriage is completely unrelated to the right of religions to decide whom they will marry. Many legal marriages, such as marriages after divorce or interfaith marriages, are not blessed within particular religious traditions, but the state still recognizes them. Religious congregations should have the freedom of religion to marry only those couples they wish to marry. Allowing marriage for same-sex couples will not change this."

June 22, 2005 - National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) 



The Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement titled "The Case for Civil Marriage Equality," posted in the Issues section of its website (accessed June 22, 2005), which stated:

"Committed gay and lesbian couples are being used as a scapegoat for the weakened institution of marriage. What is a bigger threat to marriage: Britney Spears' 55 hour marriage or a committed lesbian couple pledging to spend their lives together? You cannot blame gay and lesbian Americans for a divorce rate approaching 50%. There are many complicated reasons for the high rate of failed marriages. Instead of examining those causes, some on the radical right find it easier to blame gay and lesbian families. If those on the extreme right were really interested in 'strengthening' marriage, they would be proposing a Constitutional amendment to prohibit no-fault divorce. Or they would be looking for ways to eliminate adultery."

June 22, 2005 - Log Cabin Republicans 



The National Organization for Women (NOW) said in a May 17, 2004 statement, "Same-Sex Marriage is a Feminist Issue":

"While the practice of granting civil unions or partnerships to same-sex couples at the state level has been an important advance in the fight for equality, these options do not carry the full legal benefits or the cultural significance of marriage. The substitution of civil unions, in fact, assigns same-sex couples to second-class status—separate and unequal...

The inability to marry has both emotional and financial consequences... The charge, repeated over and over again, that allowing lesbian and gay couples to wed will somehow tarnish the institution of marriage makes little sense...

This right-wing propaganda also ignores the fact that many same-sex couples, a large number of them with children, already exist, and will continue to exist regardless of a constitutional amendment. Won't giving these families the rights and benefits they deserve make them stronger? And if more families are flourishing, isn't that good for marriage in general and our society as a whole?"

May 17, 2004 - National Organization for Women (NOW) 



Barbara J. Cox, JD, Executive Director of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education, wrote in an essay titled, "A (Personal) Essay on Same-Sex Marriage," published in 1995 in the National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law:

"When my partner and I decided to have a commitment ceremony, we did so to express the love and caring that we feel for one another, to celebrate that love with our friends and family, and to express that love openly and with pride...

My ceremony was an expression of the incredible love and respect that I have found with my partner. My ceremony came from a need to speak of that love and respect openly to those who participate in my world...

I understand the fears of those who condemn us for our weddings, but I believe they fail to look beyond the symbol and cannot see the radical claim we are making."

1995 - Barbara J. Cox, JD 



CON (no)

Family Research Council (FRC) posted on its website remarks made by Peter Sprigg on Mar. 29, 2004 at the World Congress of Families III in Mexico City:

"The debate over whether homosexual couples should be allowed to legally 'marry' is not about rights, equality, or discrimination, despite the often heated rhetoric to that effect. Still less is it about the allocation of an entitlement package of legal rights and financial benefits. Instead, this is a question of definition: How do we define the social institution we call marriage? To answer that we must ask, What is the public purpose of marriage?...

Why is marriage a public, civil institution, rather than a purely private one? The answer, I would argue, is that marriage is a public institution because it brings together men and women for the purpose of reproducing the human race and keeping a mother and father together to cooperate in raising to maturity the children they produce...

Nevertheless, some observers ask, What harm could same-sex civil marriage possibly do to anyone else's heterosexual marriage? One answer is, it could destroy it... As the transient, promiscuous, and unfaithful relationships that are characteristic of homosexuals become part of society's image of marriage, fewer marriages will be permanent, exclusive, and faithful--even among heterosexuals. So-called 'conservative' advocates of same-sex civil marriage are optimistic that legal unions would change homosexuals for the better; it seems far more probable that homosexuals would change marriage for the worse...

In fact, homosexuality and homosexual civil marriage would rip the fabric of society in ways that may be difficult, if not impossible, to mend."

Mar. 29, 2004 - Family Research Council 



Aryeh Spero, Rabbi and President of Caucus for America, wrote in his Mar. 3, 2004 column "Opposition to Gay Marriage is Not Discrimination," published by Accuracy in Media:

"The claim being made by advocates of gay marriage and its editorial proponents such as the New York Times (November 20, 2003) is, the ban of gay marriage is simply about prejudice. They are wrong, for discrimination means that because of prejudice we do not allow a person of a particular race, religion or sexual orientation to participate in our existing institutions or enjoy the same activities others do...

Marriage is a contract, and as with all contracts there are elements that define it and superimpose on those committing to it. For the contract to be legal and binding, each party to it must abide by its inherent elements. In this case, the elements are one man, one woman...

Certainly prejudice against homosexuals is not at the root of those wishing to preserve the integrity of marriage. Those opposed to gay marriage do not advocate against homosexuals the historic discriminations -- such as denial of voting, housing, employment, etc... It is not the homosexuality per se but the union of the same-gendered that is oxymoronic with marriage...

The problem bedeviling society over the last forty years is more than having been asked to tolerate and accept modes of conduct heretofore outside the respectable pale. It is that those engaged in those activities demand that society redefine its institutions and overturn cherished and wise traditions in order not only to accommodate but also affirm as equally legitimate and desirable such activities."

Mar. 3, 2004 - Aryeh Spero 



Ken McElroy, Blogger at Ken McElroy Online, wrote in his Mar. 20, 2005 column, "No Rational Basis for Redefining Marriage," published in the American Federalist Journal:

"It's self evident to most people that male-female relationships are essentially different from same-sex relationships. For society to recognize that fact in the law is entirely legitimate...

There are all sorts of human relationships that the government doesn't license - friends, roommates, co-workers, dance partners, siblings, neighbors. Because we license one type of relationship does not obligate us to license every type. It's perfectly legitimate to treat different relationships differently. People happily engage in all sorts of behavior without official government sanction; couples can live together happily without it. So happiness of couples is not the reason society sanctions marriage...

One of the inherent, fundamental interests of government is to perpetuate the society it governs, and try to provide the next generation with stable homes, preferably with a mother and father. We officially sanction marriage for the sake of society, more so than for the sake of married couples. Same-sex and opposite-sex couples simply do not fulfill the same role in our society. We are under no obligation, through our laws, to pretend otherwise. That would be irrational."

Mar. 20, 2005 - Ken McElroy 



The Vatican proclaimed in its June 3, 2003 "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons":

"It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They 'play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour'. Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage."

June 3, 2003 - Vatican City