One single voice rang out over the sound system, while the DC City Council prepared to vote in the Wilson Building on Tuesday. Stating that he had always supported homosexuals, but did not support this bill, Marian Barry was the lone voice in opposition against recognizing Gay Marriage in DC. Voiceterous crowds outside and inside the building, spoke in favor for and against this campaign, and as the members voted, the room stood still. With four States supporting Gay Marriage (Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) DC will be among many state legislatures discussing the passage of Gay Marriage. San Francisco started handing out same sex marriage certificates in 2004 and since then, campaigns have been launched for gay marriage to be recognized in states across America.
One would ask, what is the controversy? But, before we tackle that can of beans, we should familiarize ourselves with the current definition of Homosexuality. *As defined by US Legal Definitions:
“Gays and lesbians are homosexuals who are sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Typically, gay refers to a man whose sexual orientation is to men and lesbian refers to a woman whose sexual orientation is to women. Bisexuals are sexually attracted to members of both sexes.” During the 20th century, homosexuality was a “taboo” subject, causing some of our most notable figures to stay “closeted” or to suffer ridicule and/or discrimination because of their sexuality; Montgomery Clift, Jack Cassidy, Barbara Jordan, Thornton Wilder, Gene Robinson, Rock Hudson, etc.
The definition of marriage is not that simple. Law dictionaries recognize eight different styles of marriage:
The type of marriage mostly associated with religious organization is Covenant Marriage which is defined as:
“A covenant marriage is a marriage entered into by one male and one female who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong relationship. Parties to a covenant marriage have received counseling emphasizing the nature and purposes of marriage and the responsibilities thereto. Only when there has been a complete and total breach of the marital covenant commitment may the non-breaching party seek a declaration that the marriage is no longer legally recognized.” (Although this was traditionally used by religious fundamentalist, most churches recognize the individual’s right to seek a divorce. This divorce is typically recognized in most protestant churches).
To make things even more complicated (as far as religion is concerned); according to the CIA, the following is the order of religious preferences in the United States:
§ Christian: (78.5%)
§ Protestant (51.3%)
§ Roman Catholic (23.9%)
§ Mormon (1.7%)
§ other Christian (1.6%)
§ unaffiliated (12.1%)
§ none (4%)
§ other or unspecified (2.5%)
§ Jewish (1.7%)
§ Buddhist (0.7%)
§ Muslim (0.6%
Within each one of these religious sects, marriage customs are different, and hold different requirements for the parties involved.
Religious circles here in the US (predominately Muslim, Jewish & Christian) view gay marriage as a non-issue because their religious convictions prohibit same sex marriages to be recognized by the Church, Synagogue, or Masque; while non-religious citizens view this also as a “non-issue” stating that due to the separation of church and state, marriage is not legitimatized by a religious sect, to be recognized by the state. Since the turn of the 21st century, tolerance to same sex marriage has increased, and if continued at the same rate, 10 states will recognize same sex marriage by 2020.
Sexual Reorientation was a widely used practiced in the United States during the 20th century, and was designed to keep humans from practicing Homosexuality. Although varied, treatments have included biological, behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, and religious modalities. In recent years, treatments intended to alter sexual orientation have involved religious and psychodynamic counseling. In recent history, intolerant attitudes and views regarding same-sex marriage and/or homosexuality have been compared to the bigotry attitudes suffered by women in the 1910’s and African American’s in the 1960’s. In the United States, 45 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation (the exceptions are AZ, GA, IN, SC, and WY).
Christianity, which most American’s identify with, has varying views on homosexuality and its acceptance by the church. Most churches do not accept the act of homosexuality, and views it as a sin. With this view, the idea of marriage between homosexual is not an accepted practice within their religious sect. Being that this arrangement is not recognized by the sight of GOD, they also believe that it should not be recognized by the state. Practicing homosexuality, in the eyes of the church, is a moral and mental decision made by an individual.
My opinion: Until Religious Leaders step up to the plate, dialog with politicians, and define the line of separation, that properly checks both church and state, this argument will continue. Homosexuals seek to have marriage recognized by the state, so they can be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples have (such as insurance, medical decision power, property, etc). This judgment cannot and should not be clouded by the church’s non-congruent attitude towards marriage, divorce, and/or homosexuality.
Both those in favor have created videos: Some more satirical, others more serious. How long this debate will last, one may never know, but James Baldwin did have incredible insight that might just tell us the answer:
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. “