Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gay Rights Mediation Paper

Kaycie Goding
English 103
Adam Million
Gay Rights
One of the major political issues today would overwhelmingly be gay rights. Although many people will agree that homosexuals and heterosexuals should be granted equal rights, they are hesitant to allow gays the right of marriage and the right of adoption. This hesitation is completely understandable as marriage has always been culturally accepted as being between one man and one woman. Not only is it our culture to deny gay marriage, but it is also clearly stated in the Bible that marriage is not between two people of the same sex. The implications from Genesis 2:24 is that marriage should be between “one woman for one man for one lifetime (Bible).” People’s hesitation concerning gay adoption stems from these same cultural ideas. To grow up to be well-balanced adults, children need role models of both sexes. Also, some may argue that children raised by gay parents are offered only one partnership model and are therefore more likely to be gay (Sullivan). However, in the year 2007, some of these attitudes towards gay rights are a little outdated, and some changes need to be made.
Because there are so many legal and economic benefits that come along with tying the knot, denying homosexuals the right of marriage also denies them many other rights enjoyed by straight married couples. For example, marriage gives couples the status of next-to-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to make his or her own decision; allows joint insurance policies including home, car, and health insurance; and ensures automatic inheritance in the absence of a will (“Legal and Economic Benefits of Marriage”). By prohibiting gays from marrying, you are unjustly limiting these many other rights for them. It is evident that this is unfair, yet the idea of same-sex marriage is still a controversial topic. People are not yet ready to justify a complete change in the definition of marriage as we know it.
However, there is an alternative to marriage that would not change the sacred union in the eyes of the church. This alternate option would be a civil union, which is “a legally recognized and voluntary union of adult parties of the same sex” (Dictionary). Civil unions or domestic partnerships would not only maintain the existing traditions and sentimentality of marriage for heterosexuals, but also allow homosexuals to celebrate their commitment to one another. Civil unions would also grant couples of the same-sex the rights granted to married people that is otherwise unjustly denied to them. Allowing civil unions would solve the problem of discrimination against homosexuals because they would be able to enjoy all of the same economic benefits as their heterosexual counterparts (Rauch). Permitting gays to partake in a civil union seems to be the best solution to the same-sex marriage controversy as it is a mediation between the two viewpoints arguing the issue.
Another legal benefit that comes with marriage is the facilitation of adoption (Peterson). Married couples have a much easier time concerning the adoption of a child than that of couples who are not married. By granting homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals when they have a civil union, you are bringing the issue of gay adoption to the surface. This is another controversial issue that many people are unwilling to accept.
Since homosexuality is socially unacceptable in many parts of the United States, it may be considered unfair to place children where they might face persecution from their peers. However, with orphan statistics as they are today, gay and lesbian homes no longer appear so terrible. There are currently approximately 520,000 American children living in foster care and nearly a quarter of those children are available for adoption by a loving family. However, with restrictions and bans on gay adoption rights, only 50,000 of these children find homes each year (“Legal and Economic Benefits”). This statistic would change significantly if homosexual couples were allowed to adopt. As long as children are able to live in a stable two-parented home, sexuality should not be a factor.
Therefore, a solution to the gay adoption issue would be to allow gays the right to
adopt on the condition that they have had a civil union prior to adoption. This would ensure that the homosexual couple is committed to one another before bringing a child into the picture. Not only would allowing domestic partners adoption rights create places for the thousands of orphans to live, it would also create loving stable two-parented homes for them.
Another major issue concerning gay rights would be the argument that laws cannot be made based off of religious beliefs. It clearly states in the United States constitution that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” (“Legal and Economic Benefits”). Inarguably, basing laws off of religion discriminates against minorities and is simply unconstitutional. However, it is mainly religion based arguments that are used as evidence to oppose same-sex marriage. Although Christian ideals do reflect the thinking of the majority of Americans, it is unjust to suppress the gay minority strictly based on the beliefs of the majority. Separation of church and state is an important ideal, yet it is one that is being infringed upon by the United States government with its limitations on gay rights based upon religious dogmas.
As society constantly undergoes change, changes in the attitudes of Americans need to take place as well. Homosexuality is becoming more and more acceptable in foreign countries and in states around the world. For example, gay marriage is now legal in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Massachusetts, and as of February 19, 2007, New Jersey (Johnson). The United States government is delayed in jumping on the bandwagon to join these open-minded nations and it’s about time they step up to the plate. This is not to say that homosexuals should necessarily be allowed to get married in a church anytime soon, but a civil union to recognize them as partners and grant them equal rights is not too much to ask. Civil unions have no effect on the heterosexuals opposed to gay marriage and they succeed in bringing equality to the unequal rights experienced by homosexuals.
Although asking for a complete change in the system as it stands today may be unrealistic and take a very long time, taking steps to improve upon the current system needs to start. A recent poll taken by ABC news found that although 55 percent of Americans are opposed to same sex marriage, only 50 percent are opposed to civil unions (“Support for Civil Union Rises”). This percentage is continuing to decrease as more and more people become open-minded to the idea of allowing homosexuals to partake in civil unions. With half (and growing) of the American population willing and ready to accept domestic partnerships, why not make them legal in more states than Massachusetts, and in doing so grant homosexuals the many other rights and benefits that come along with marriage? Also, improvements need to be made on gay adoption rights. By allowing homosexual couples that have committed themselves to one another through a civil union to adopt, you are creating many more stable two-parented homes for the thousands of orphans that will not find homes this year. Although people still hesitate to place children in a home that may cause them persecution from their peers, there have been very few studies showing that children living in homosexual homes are at the disadvantage. With no evidence to support the common beliefs against gay adoption, gays should be permitted to adopt and should have an easier time adopting once having had a civil union just as heterosexuals have an easier time adopting after having been married. Lastly, because most of the arguments opposed to gay marriage or civil unions and adoption are based mainly on Christian ideals, the United States government is integrating church and state, which is clearly unconstitutional. If America wants to continue denying homosexuals their rights, they need to come up with better reasons that are not religion based.

Works Cited
Inspired by the Bible Experience: The Complete Bible. Cambridge UP, 1999.
Johnson, Ramone. “Gay Marriage Around the World.” Your Guide to Gay Life. 31 Aug.
“Legal and Economic Benefits of Marriage.” Religious Tolerance. B. A. Robinson. 10
June 2007
Peterson, Leland D. “A Rosy Future for Same-Sex ‘Marriage’?” New Oxford Review. June
Rauch, Jonathan. Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for
America. Yale UP, 2001.
Sullivan, Andrew. Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. New York: Oxford UP, 2004.
“Support for Civil Union Rises, Yet Sharp Divisions Remain.” ABC News. Gary Langer. 8 Nov
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Dec 2001.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mediation Brief

Problem 1: Should gays be allowed to marry?
Scott: Yes, It is against the constitution to make laws based on religious dogmas. The only argument against gay marriage is religious based.
Kaycie: No, marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. This is not only clearly written in the Bible but it is also cultural. Same-sex marriage would completely change the definition of marriage.
Both: Civil union would be an acceptable alternative to a religiously observed marriage. Both of us can agree that homosexuals should be granted equal rights of a married couple.
Problem 2: Should gays be allowed to adopt?
Scott: Yes, There has not been one study that conclusively shows that children raised by same-sex couples are inferior in any way to those raised by heterosexual couples. In fact, by allowing gays to adopt, you are creating stable two-parent homes for the orphans in America.
Kaycie: Since homosexuality is socially unaccepted in many parts of the United States, it is unfair to place children where they would face persecution from their peers. Also, there have been studies that show children raised in homosexual households are at the disadvantage.
Both: As long as the homosexual couple has had a civil union, we agree that they should be able to raise a child. Regardless of sexuality, more two-parent homes are needed for the orphans.
Problem 3: Is it wrong to base laws off of religion?
Scott: Yes, Basing laws off of religion discriminates against minorities and is unconstitutional. It clearly states in the constitution that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Kaycie : By denying gays the right to marriage, we are not basing a law off of religion alone. Christian ideals reflect the thinking of the majority of Americans so it is more cultural than religious.
Both: We agree that it is wrong to base laws off of religion.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Brief 2

Although many people will agree that homosexuals should have equal rights to heterosexuals, many are hesitant to accept allowing them marriage or adoption. These people have perfectly legitimate reasons for their hesitations. We have been brought up to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Whether this assumption is religion based or not is unclear because it has been in our culture, one of many different religions, that people of the same sex should not marry. Same-sex marriage goes against everything we have understood about the sacred union of marriage and people are not willing to accept such a sudden change. Not only are gay relationships immoral according to preachers of the Bible, but they also seem unnatural according to anyone raised in a normal surrounding, regardless of religion. How can one argue against homosexuality being unnatural when engaging in sexual activities as a homosexual is fruitless. Oftentimes, along with marriage comes procreation. This is certainly not the case for homosexuals, should they marry. As far as the financial benefits that come along with marriage is concerned, I do feel homosexuals should have equal rights. However, they should be able to obtain the same rights without exploiting the sacred bond of marriage. Gays also should not be allowed to adopt because I don't feel raising children in a same-sex household is the optimum environment for the child's social growth.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Scott and I are arguing over gay rights. I'm arguing that because gay relationships are unnatural, go against Christianity and the Bible, and create a negative impact on their children (if they have the right to adopt), some rights of gay couples should be limited. According to conservative Christians, sexual acts are for procreational purposes only. Being that the sexual activities of homosexuals are fruitless, homosexuality goes against many people's beliefs. Not only that, but the Bible implies in Genesis 2: 24 that marriage is between "one woman for one man for one lifetime." Therefore, arguing gays' right to marry is directly related to arguing against the Bible. That's asking for a ticket to hell. Also, studies have shown that children growing up in a household with parents of the same-sex are more likely to become gay and/or be socially different from their peers than those raised in a straight household. Imagine growing up with two dads or two moms. There's is no doubt that you will be teased and humiliated by your peers; it's just common knowledge. This will most-likely result in social problems for the child. As a whole, I'm not arguing to discriminate against gays, but I do believe that in reality, the rights of homosexuals must be limited. They should not be allowed to adopt, nor should they be allowed to marry.