Good Same Sex Marriage Research Paper Example
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It cannot be discounted that in the advancement of the rights for the members of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community leaped to a higher level when gay marriage began to be legalized. On the other hand, the full recognition of and respect for gay couples is still a battle ground even within the families of LGBTQ. Despite the legalization of gay marriage, the fight for the full recognition of LGBTQ rights is still a long way to go.
Patriarchal definition of marriage
The patriarchy that strictly identifies male and female romantic relationships is still the standard of society – even in the perceived most liberated country. Married gay couples still encounter the question of who among them is the wife and the husband. It is a concept in a heterosexual relationship that the society is trying to embed in the people’s minds.
Stewart, Briggs, and Slater mentioned in their study that in all cultures across the world, the standard notion for marriage is a union “of a man and a woman.” The man-woman union they mentioned can actually be changed by the power of the law. It means that a wider recognition of a “genderless marriage” is possible. The writers stated: “Without dispute, the law with its own domain, has the power to replace the man-woman meaning with the any-two-persons meaning” (Stewart, Briggs, & Slater, 192-193). They added that the power of the law is instrumental in deinstitutionalizing the patriarchal system of marriage.
Turmoil after gay marriage
A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family entitled “The Power and Limits of Marriage: Married Gay Men’s Family Relationship” expounded on the turmoil faced by married gay men despite the legalization of same sex marriage in Iowa. The study noted that there are positive effects of the marriage legalization in terms of the legitimacy of the relationship. In the current society where marriage is still the recognized binding of a relationship, gay marriage helps in family acceptance of their relationships. Abigail Ocobock stated: “This perception mainly applies to family members, whom they believed now saw their relationship as more “legitimate,” “solid,” and “real” (Ocobock, 196).
The legally binding union of gay couples in Iowa according to the research however lead them to hope for further family acceptance which normally did not happen. With their hopes not achieved, it lead to feeling of family rejection. The study further explains that there were many instances where families of gay couples finally accepted their relationship due the legally binding ceremony. However, full acceptance is not shown after the marriage. Gay male couples the study mentioned are normally hopeful that relationship acceptance during marriage ceremony would lead to a full recognition and respect.
Ocobock also cited a gay couple who were married but their parents has no appearance. The parents’ reason was that, gay marriage is against their religion. Ocobock cited the parents saying that they would love to join them in their important union ceremony but the concept of homosexual united in marriage totally violates their religious beliefs.
Homophobia during the Cold War
During the Cold War, women school superintendents were significant in number. In a patriarchal society, these women were often times single or widowed. According to Jackie Blount, in her article entitled “From Exemplar to Deviant: Same-Sex Relationships Among Women Superintendents, 1909 – 1976,” during that time, married women were not allowed to work especially as school superintendents as it required much time and wives will not have a chance to care for their family which is their priority. The women superintendents before were allowed to have female companionship to support them in their household tasks. This was later on prohibited during the Cold War as society suspected that it is breeding same-se relationships. For the female superintendents who are having harrowing schedules, the prohibition was not helpful but some endured rather than be suspected as a homosexual and fired from their jobs. Blount stated in the article:
“In the 1930s, women’s companionship with other women was scrutinized as sexologist, and other argued that some relationships contained sexual components. Then the Cold War years brought a heightened awareness of and antipathy toward anyone rumoured to be homosexual” (Blount, 104).
Milestones of the LGBTQ rights movement
Tracing back the situation of homosexuality in the 1930s will give a hint that the journey of advancing the LGBTQ rights has moved forward by miles. Taking into consideration that during the time of the female superintendents, suspicion alone of homosexual relationship arbitrarily cancelled female companionships. Today, some countries in the West are legalizing same sex marriage. Same sex marriage may have been too impossible before but it is now a reality. Some of the victories can now be manifested in the definition of marriage. Stewart, Briggs and Slater in the article entitled “Marriage, Fundamental Premises and the California, Connecticut, and Iowa Supreme Court” mentioned that the definition of marriage for the three states has no gender specificities. It said that entering into a marriage is to “establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person.” It did not mention that a couple that should be married is a male and a female.
Another milestone of the LGBTQ rights movement is the ability of gay couples to assert their marriage legally even in the states that do not recognize their union. In the article entitled “Valid Same Sex Marriage Enables Joint Bankruptcy Filing” with the courtesy of American Journal of Family Law elaborated that gay couples will not lose their marital status just because they relocated to another place. The article added that the validity of marriage is not about the place of celebration but the legally binding document. The article discussed the case of a gay couple who married in Iowa but relocated in Wisconsin where they filed for joint bankruptcy. Wisconsin is a state that does not recognize same sex marriage. The creditor contested that the filing for joint bankruptcy was not valid because Wisconsin is not recognizing the couple’s marriage. The assertion of the couple was however ruled by the court.
The continuing challenges in furthering LGBTQ rights
It is however saddening that despite the recognition of the LGBTQ rights today and the legalization of same sex marriage in some states in America, the community is still significantly in dilemma of trying to adapt in the society where heterosexual relationships are dominant. In the countries where gay marriage is not yet legalized, many advocates of LGBTQ rights are performing a union ritual in order to declare that a couple are bound by love and community.
In the face of patriarchy where marriage ceremonies and papers are necessary for relationships to be recognized, there are brewing questions on whether or not marriage is necessary. Ellen Lewin from the University of Iowa in her paper mentioned that marriage is still necessary as long as people – heterosexual or homosexual – widen their perspectives of marriage. She added that marriage should be beyond a life achievement, and legal duties among others. Marriage should be sought towards the advancement of families.
Breaking the traditional rule that marriage should be entered into only by heterosexual couples is not easy. It needs overhaul in the mind-set of people all over the world. Across all cultures, there has to be a radical move to start remoulding the minds of people especially the youth. As mentioned earlier by Stewart, Briggs, and Slater, the power of law is instrumental to start dismantling the said mind-set. They added that creating a new worldview for marriage does not mean that it will overlap with the former worldview. They explained that the genderless marriage will co-exist with the former male-female marriage. It is important to note that the genderless mind-set of marriage will respect both heterogeneous and homosexual union. Changing the mind-set will direct all the legal institutions to recognize and respect the rights of the LGBTQ to be united in marriage. The journey however will never be a walk in the park.
In the increasing recognition and legalization of same sex marriage, the LGBTQ community is still battling with the anxiety of repeated non-acceptance from their families and close friends. The same sex marriage should however be seen as a silver lining from the decades of struggle of the LGBTQ and tireless advocates. It should also be a challenge to other states in the United States of America that still despise same sex relationship to finally recognize the community by legalizing marriage. The community of LGBTQ can only be free from discrimination when all the people would come together and fight for the LGBTQ.
Moreover, as Ocobock concluded, it is not enough that there are laws legalizing the union of homosexuals. It is detrimental for the families of origin of gay couples to show support not only by showing during the wedding ceremony but by treating them just like the heterosexual couples. Based on the confessions of gay couples in Ocobock’s study, the dynamics of gay couples should not be isolated rather; it should be incorporated in the day to day lives of the youth. In this manner, not the recognition and acceptance of gay marriage will not only be symbolic by legal means but most especially, it will be accepted by the very core of the society which is the family.
Blount, J. (2004). From exemplar to deviant: Same-sex relationships among women superintendents, 1909 – 1976. Educational Studies, Vol. 35 (2) pp. 103-122.
Lavine, A. (2014). Wisconsin bankruptcy court says “I Do” to same-sex spouses’ bankruptcy petition. Bankruptcy Blog. Retrieved from http://business-finance-restructuring.weil.com/jurisdiction/wisconsin-bankruptcy-court-says-i-do-to-same-sex-spouses-bankruptcy-petition/
Lewin, E. (2004). Does marriage have a future? Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 66 (4) pp. 1000-1006.
Ocobock, A. (2013). The power and limits of marriage: Married gay men’s family relationship. Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 75 (1) pp. 191-205.
Stewart, M., Briggs, J., & Slater, J. (2012). Marriage, fundamental premises and the California, Connecticut, and Iowa Supreme Court. Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 2012(1).
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