January 11, 2008, Newsletter Issue #66: The Debate on Gay Marriage

Tip of the Week


The gay marriage debate has occurred because marriage is not only a social but a legal institution. This means that couples wishing to marry must have the approval of the local authorities, and until recently only two people of opposite sexes applied for approval.




Some of the pros and cons of same sex marriage:


Although part of the debate stems from homophobia, some of the arguments have been presented by people who otherwise support gay rights. In these cases, the argument is that marriage is a heterosexual institution as its purpose is procreation, and it is reasoned that gay people have no need to marry.Gay rights activists argue that refusing gay couples the right to marry is discrimination. As marriage is a legal act, preventing gay couples from marrying also prevents them from accessing certain legal privileges that marriage endows.A compromise has been attempted in several areas by allowing gay couples to enter into a civil union, with many, if not all, of the privileges of marriage. However, gay rights activists argue that this is another way to separate gays and lesbians from mainstream society.Another part of the debate involves trans-gender and transsexual people, who may not necessarily be gay. Many countries do not allow a post-operative transsexual to change their gender legally, and thus prevent them from marrying a member of the opposite sex.

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