My students' first paper was due today; their assignment was to write a two-page paper in which they choose an issue and examined why the issue is a problem, why it should be talked about, why the issue is a complex one, being sure to include at least one oppsosing viewpoint. Writing a short paper means one doesn't have the space to really get into some of the nuances; it's more of an overview.
I just finished reading a student's pro-gay marriage paper, and I was thinking of some of the arguments I've heard from those who are in opposition of the legalization of gay marriage. Religious reasons aside, we have the following:
- If we legalize gay marriage, then groups of people will want to get married, or some other weird combination will want to get married. [Well, no; we're saying that two people, above a certain age, will be permitted to get married. Polygamy was made illegal some time back.]
- I know a lot of gay people, and they tend to be immature because they haven't had as long to gain all the experience and maturity that comes with years of dating. [Well, I know a lot of gay people too; many of them are older than I, and they've been in monogomous relationships longer than I was before I got married - and I've only started dating when I was 20. I know a lot of straight people, too, many of whom get married in their early to mid-twenties, who then proceed to get divorced within a few years. How mature you are when you get married has more to do with hold how old you are when you get married, and how your life experiences have shaped you. Also, remember when New York legalized gay marriage and you saw all those pictures of men and women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, folks who have been with their partners for 20, 30, and 40 years? The point is that you personally do not get to decide who's ready to get married, when.]
- Won't somebody please think of the children?! </Helen Lovejoy> [Actually, studies have begun to show that children of gay and lesbian couples are just as grounded as those raised by straight couples, although there are also counter-arguments. Yes, exposure to both sexes is important for children's well-being, but this is why children go to school and have teachers of both genders, are close to different members of their family, etc. What seems to be most important is the child having the loving care of a stable household, regardless of gender or number of parents
- They can't have children! [Well, neither can many straight couples, for a variety of reasons, including infertility and age. Should only people who can have biological children be permitted to marry?]
I really don't know what people are so worried about. If you have two consenting, mature adults who love each other, want to spend their lives together, can care for each other, can potentially raise children with honesty and integrity, then what's the trouble? "Family" is becoming redefined as more people are marrying, divorcing, remarrying, adopting children - how one defines one's family is an individual decision.