Free Rebuttal Essay Sample
Gay marriage or the right to marry legally as a homosexual in the United States has been a right long sought after by gay individuals. For decades, lawmakers and picketers have denied them this right because they have seen homosexuality as unnatural, or a choice. Forcing their views upon the homosexual community, gays and lesbians were unable to marry legally their partners, a luxury promised to heterosexuals upon birth, simply because of who they were. In 2014, that changed nationally. However, it all began with a few states that modestly began to move forward. One of which, was California. An article written by Andrew Sullivan entitled, “My Big Fat Straight Wedding,” commented on the supposed division between a straight marriage, and a gay marriage, and how he felt the thick veil drop after he and his husband exchanged vows. He became an intimate member of his husband’s family, realizing through the exchange of jokes and nuances that a gay marriage was no different from a straight marriage; they were simply marriages. They were bonds and expressions of loves, the joining of families, and declarations of commitment. While Sullivan has a point, there is refutation in his words. The commitments and love are the same, and the ceremonies are similar. However, heterosexuals did not have to fight for their right to marry their partners, making homosexual marriage ceremonies not only more important, but perhaps more meaningful.
When a heterosexual relative or friend announces their engagement, the first though one somebody’s mind is not, “Finally, how lucky they are to be able to finally do that legally!” Typically, the first thoughts are, “Congratulations,” or, “Good luck.” Sullivan mentions in his article when he and his husband announced their engagement, it was met warmly by their families. He was no longer a friend or partner, but a fiancé, and his husband received the same label in turn. As far as Sullivan was concerned, their engagement and the questions that followed were similar to that of any heterosexual couple’s engagement announcement. While it is so fortunate Sullivan and his husband were surrounded by positive, caring family members during a loving, otherwise trying, timing in their life many other homosexual couples are not as lucky. They struggle to come out just as a couple, let alone as an engaged couple. Moreover, they are sometimes met with opposition. In Sullivan’s case, however, while he was met with “typical” reactions for a heterosexual engagement announcement, it is difficult to believe nobody in the room was thinking, “What a glorious day it will be what they can do this legally!”
More important that the reaction to a homosexual engagement announcement or wedding, is the legal status of such a bond. No heterosexual couple has ever had the misfortune of wondering if their vows would be reconsidered in a court of law. Straight couples need not fret about whether their belongings will be sent to their parents if one of them dies because their marriage certificate is seen as invalid in the eyes of law. Most desperately, heterosexual couples know once they are married, if the other is hurt or killed, the remaining partner will most certainly be allowed in the hospital room as a spouse, and will get any surviving children as the remaining parent. Homosexual couples, however, have not always had this luxury. In fact, many couples were not even able to adopt in many states until 2010. Therefore, when Sullivan states that the first Christmas after his vows were exchanged, and he realized his wedding, as well as his marriage, were just like any other, it is difficult to believe. While they are inherently the same thing, homosexual marriages do appear to mean more because the people in them had to fight to obtain them. Normally, when an individual is handed something, or promised something, they come to feel entitled to it. Marriage is intangible, but heterosexuals may have come to feel entitled to the right to marry whomever they wish, whenever they wish. Homosexuals, on the other hand, have never had this luxury. Decades of protests, petitions, and lawmaking went into the simple action of two men, or two women being able to stand in front of friends and family in the same fashion as straight couples to proclaim their love.
It is understandable that, after the debacle that has been every gay right’s protest, homosexuals want to be seen and treated like heterosexuals. At their core, they are humans. Sexual preference is not who they are, and it is reasonable for Sullivan to draw parallels between his marriage and that of his heterosexual sister’s, as he does in his article. After all, the two are both married to men and, therefore, both privy to the same funny quirks and issues. The fact still remains that Sullivan’s sister, a heterosexual female, will never relate to the feeling of not knowing if she will never be able to legally marry her partner. Sullivan lived with this feeling for most of life. While he was, evidently, not in the closet, he was aware that any vows he exchanged may not be recognized in a court, and may not mean anything to anybody but himself and his husband. Essentially, marriage stands for love and commitment, but a homosexual marriage stands for these things, as well as the perseverance of a minority in the face of tyranny. A group of people should not have to fight to be treated like everybody else. As Sullivan points out, the Constitution only names “individuals” as having the right to marry. It puts no claim on sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or any other stipulation. The person only need be an individual prepared to marry another individual. However, homosexuality was deemed a choice, unnatural by the courts and, therefore, marriages between these individuals was considered unlawful and disregarded. In short, homosexual marriages stand for more than heterosexual marriages ever will, because they took time and effort to obtain.
A more personal analysis would elicit a refutation on behalf of Sullivan’s feelings. He mentions that after his vows, he felt a part of husband’s family in a different way. He was finally a part of the inner circle, so to speak. He believed this was because he had gone through a typical rite of passage that every relationship goes through, namely marriage, and having done so the family was able to view the two men as a legitimate couple. He was accepted into his husband’s family as one of their own and vice versa. However, it could be suggested that there was more to these feelings that Sullivan let on. Perhaps the rush of emotions after having finally been allowed to marry his partner was responsible. Living a life as a homosexual, wondering if you will ever be able to marry your partner, or be a part of their family is stressful. More stressful still is wondering how your engagement, and wedding will be received. Will the family accept you as a couple? Will you be treated as homosexuals after feeling like an outsider for so many years? In Sullivan’s case, he was not treated like an outsider, but rather welcomed into the family lovingly. The feelings of normalcy may have been disguising a small sense of accomplishment and pride in Sullivan for having successfully integrated he and his husband’s life so well into the lives of their extended family, which was something perhaps he never considered was a true possibility. In fact, he may have been in shock. While it would be unreasonable to argue the happiness he felt at the normalcy with which he and his husband were received after their wedding, it is also undeniable that there may have been other feelings present as the couple became included in one another’s family gatherings.
In sum, Sullivan’s article was thoughtful and comprehensive. He explained what the marriage experience was like for he and his husband, before, during, and after. He goes on to explain he later realized a gay marriage and straight marriage do not exist; there are only marriages. This is a thoughtful and caring analysis of marriages. However, there is an undeniable statement made with each homosexual marriage vow that is exchanged. Straight people have never had to work for the opportunity to share their love, or express it. They have been entitled to it forever. Gay couples have had to work for it for decades, suggesting gay marriages are a testament to the many decades of fighting and protesting performed to allow each couple to stand before friends and family to get to this point. No longer to gay couples have to wonder if they will be legally recognized as a married couple, or if friends and family will have to accept their union; it is a modern time wherein homosexuals are now a part of the “individuals” the Constitution speaks of, promised the opportunity to marry whomever they choose. While Sullivan had a normal wedding, and felt like a normal person, it is arguable that his wedding stood for more than any straight wedding ever will.