This week, the world will be watching as the United States Supreme Court considers the first two gay-marriage cases in its history. These cases, which could lead to the federal recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States, have made the U.S. public realize that marriage equality could become a reality in the not-so-distant future. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype and propaganda against same-sex marriage coming from conservative and religious groups. Many of the arguments used against marriage equality, however, are completely illogical. For example, one of these arguments is that same sex marriage destroys marriage itself. Theoretically, this makes no sense whatsoever! How could granting more people the right to get married destroy marriage? If anything, same-sex marriage promotes the belief that committed couples should take the plunge, say "I do," and live happily ever after within this highly regarded, state-sanctioned institution. If conservatives were really concerned with the protection of marriage, the more logical step would be to lobby for a bill that would outlaw divorce. However, if common sense isn’t enough to convince you that supporting same sex marriage is a reasonable thing to do, here are four simple reasons why you should.
Numerous studies have found that married individuals live longer than those who are single. Marriage is connected to both physical and emotional health, and the longer a couple stays together the more benefits they reap. Psychologists and public health experts have long debated the real reasons why married people live longer. Some believe that lifelong companionship offers the emotional and physical security and nurturing that humans need to thrive, and that only marriage can bring the type of commitment that will add 10-15 years to one's life. A recent study by Danish researchers demonstrates that men in same-sex marriage are living longer just like heterosexual married couples. Also, heterosexual individuals who marry several times throughout their lives have an increase in mortality rates, as do people in long-term dysfunctional relationships. This data proves that stability in a long-term relationship goes hand in hand with sound mental and emotional health regardless of one's sexual orientation, and marriage can only help to solidify an already stable relationship. So why deny an entire demographic the right to live longer and happier?
History has demonstrated that two people who are in love are going to be together, whether it is legal or not. How many couples have risked everything, including the wrath of their families, in order to be together? So what happens when you and your loved one commit to spending the rest of your lives together but receive no support from the government? Unfortunately, once you share a home, children, and a whole life together, things can get a little complicated. The difficulties faced by same-sex couples whose union remains unrecognized legally are numerous. A person can be denied the right to visit their life-partner in the hospital in cases of illness or accident, upon the death of a partner they can be denied the right to inherit the home in which they have lived jointly for decades, they are usually denied family rates for health and other types of insurance, and they can even be denied the right to visit their partner in jail. Same-sex couples are also denied visas for a foreign spouse, and in many cases they are denied the right to adopt children together. Consequently, same-sex couples have lost thousands of dollars due to the government’s refusal to support them. This is quite simply unjust. If the government is willing to bestow a plethora of benefits on heterosexual married couples, why shouldn’t all couples be granted the same rights and privileges?
There are plenty of reasons not to support gay marriage, but as was mentioned above, none of these reasons are good! Many of the arguments against same-sex marriage are based on religious beliefs that have no basis in fact or logic. While everyone is entitled to their own belief system, legislation should not be determined by the blind faith of one segment of society, especially in a country that prides itself on the separation of church and state. One example of a completely unfounded reason for opposing gay marriage is that it is a violation of natural law. This assertion is based on the concept that sex itself is for the sole purpose of procreation, and that any sexual act not intended for this purpose is sin. However, if this were true then why would other species, including dolphins, also participate in recreational lovemaking, and why would homosexuality exist in over 15,000 species? Surely a phenomenon that is so widespread couldn’t violate the laws of nature. In fact, homosexuality is a part of nature just like sexuality is, a fact proven by brain scans that demonstrate real and natural differences between heterosexual and homosexual subjects. Perhaps most importantly, homosexuality doesn’t hurt anyone. So why not support the right of two people to be legally joined if there is no good reason not to do so?
Even if none of the above stated reasons have succeeded in convincing you, if you believe that a democratic majority should count for something then you should support the recognition of same sex marriage in the United States. In a recent poll conducted by NBC/Wall Street Journal, 53% of respondents stated that they are in favor of gay and lesbian couples having the right to get married, and only 42% claimed to be opposed. Additionally, findings from the Pew Research Centre show that 70% of millennials support gay marriage. With these kinds of figures it is only a matter of time before politicians and law-makers are forced to listen up and recognize gay marriage in the United States. Let’s hope that is the case this week!