Sunday, April 26, 2015

Its All About the Kids When it Comes to Same-Sex Marraige

This coming Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear oral briefs in the case of Obergefell v Hodges, which deals with the nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage.  It was brought about when a same sex couple filed a lawsuit in federal court in order to change Ohio’s constitutional amendment which states that legal unions are between a man and a woman, without exception. Ohio also fails to recognize same sex unions that were made outside of the state in places where it is legal. These couples believe it is a violation of their constitutional rights and they want the amendment redacted from Ohio’s state constitution. There are many rallying against them, including the National Association of Evangelicals and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who claim that a legal redefinition of marriage would pose a direct threat to their religious liberty. 

A new angle is being taken in opposition the claimants however. Several briefs have been filed with the high court which takes into account the potential negative impact that this redefinition of marriage could have on the countries children, as a ruling here would effect the entire nation, essentially forcing the states to comply with same sex unions that were made out of state.  They argue that traditional definitions of marriage must be kept intact at all possible costs, as same sex couples wont be able to provide the same amount of stability and parenting dynamic needed to raise well adjusted and emotionally stable children. They argue that the governments main concern in marriage is children, so the government has a compelling interest to make sure the laws regarding marriage are tailored around the children’s needs, and what will be best for them.  "Marriage law ought to reflect the reality that every child is born to a mother and father and that children have a natural right to a relationship with both parents. Children suffer emotional harm when they lose a relationship with one or both parents, which is categorically the case when they are raised by a same-sex couple. Two loving women cannot replace a missing father. And two loving men cannot replace a child’s mother. Government should institutionalize and promote only the family structure that ensures children’s rights and well-being are protected.” This was the testimony of Fulbright Scholar Katy Faust in her friend of the court brief,  which came from her experience as being a child of same sex parents. 

I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the only proper parents for a child are a man and a woman, and that same-sex couples shouldn’t have the ability to marry simply because certain people believe they are ill-equipped to provide a good life for their children. What proof is there to back up any of this information? Kary Faust’s argument to me is completely irrelevant as that was simply her isolated situation, which really does nothing to prove any sort of inadequacy of same sex couples ability to raise children, How many children are abused at home every year, or go to sleep hungry, or have developed emotional issues due to stressful and un-satisfactory situations at home. How many of these inadequate parents were of the same sex? I would beg to argue less then 1%, so to me this whole argument of not being able to provide a stable home is somewhat of a joke, because every family is unique, and many situations are not ideal. So to point the finger and make accusations that same-sex couples children will suffer emotional distress is somewhat ridiculous. To me, this is just a hollow claim to keep our antiquated traditions of conventional marriage the same as they have been for hundreds of years, clearly not willing to adapt to the changing times and give same sex couples the same constitutional rights as every other couple. Slapping a label on a relationship and telling two people who are in love that they cant exercise their right to marry because they are the same gender, and that "it's just the way it always has been," or that their parenting abilities be called into question is to me a direct violation of their constitutional rights and the fourteenth amendment.

In regards to the religious groups claims that their rights are being infringed upon, I personally don’t see how this is the case. How would other people’s rights to marry affect their religion or ability to practice it? There is no substantial burden in any way. It seem that they are most likely in opposition because they are fundamentally against same sex marriage, but I don’t see how it directly burdens their religion or ability to practice it. It also goes along with this idea of tradition that the court always loves to bring up, stating that the traditional values which this country where established upon 200 years ago should in some way determine the laws which are in in effect in an ever evolving modern society. They say that marriage is historically a religious ceremony, and that throughout our history our Christian values have taught us that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and anything other than that is seen as an abomination. I think that it is the time for the court to finally drop this antiquated way of thinking and shed the consistent precedent regarding the idea of “tradition” when making their decisions. Times have changed, and it is about time that the definitions of marriage legally change along with it throughout the entirety of the US, and this is an important case in taking the next step to the desired level of equality we should all want to see in our society, regardless of our religion.

What do you think? Would the redefinition of same-sex marriage have a negative effect on the children of America? Are certain religious groups rights being infringed upon?

1 comment:

Peter M said...

While you strongly disagree with the notion that children are better off if they have both a mother and a father, I believe that one can reasonably make the argument that children ought to be raised by heterosexual couples. The fact that many heterosexual couples happen to be poor parents does not prove that the ideal situation for a child would be one where they are being raised by a mother and father. As far as Ohio's definition of marriage, while it may be referred to as antiquated, it is not unconstitutional. However, religious people could recognize the right for homosexual couples to marry, even if they morally disagree with it. Allowing gay couples to adopt children though is a different issue than simply allowing gay marriage because the child involved most likely does not have the option or isn't equipped to make the decision of whether he or she would want to be raised by homosexual parents. There is a compelling state interest in ensuring that children are put in the best situation possible and reasonable people can disagree about which situations are ideal.