Alex Taylor, 19, second year History student at Leeds University, aspiring journalist. Editor of The Soapbox for Leeds Student newspaper this year.
Same sex marriage should be legalised throughout the world. I don’t understand why homosexual people are still denied a basic human right: the pursuit of happiness. The right to pursue happiness is written into most democratic countries constitutions, yet homosexual people cannot completely pursue happiness. Why should someone who is gay not be allowed to marry the person they love? Democratic countries pride themselves on freedom. America in particular projects itself as ‘the land of the free’, but denies homosexual citizens a basic human right. Hardly free. In fact, this denial seems to draw more parallels with the past than society as it should be today. We overcame prejudices against women and ethnic minorities, so I know we can and we must resolve this issue.
Of course, there are those who argue that it is ‘unnatural’ for two men or two women to love each other and raise a family together. This is clearly a completely futile argument. Gender does not affect ones ability concerning love or raising a family. It is only those who still believe in age-old male/female stereotypes that think gender matters. Are we not taught that the most important thing is love? I may sound sentimental, but I still believe this is true. Why should it matter to the government, or anyone else, who marries who? If two people love each other and want to formalise this through marriage, then they should be able to.
Marriage is also supposed to incite ‘good’ morals in society. I believe legalising same sex marriage would encourage gay people to have stronger family values and give up the high risk sexual lifestyles which can sometimes be associated with homosexuality. This can only be regarded as a positive thing for society, especially as adoption is expected to rise if same sex marriage is legalised.
It further irritates me that the law treats homosexual couples unfairly because they are not married. For example, same-sex couples who have been together their entire adult lives are often not entitled to their partner’s death benefits when one partner dies. Finances and insurance policies have also been a legal mess at times. Surely then, same sex marriage should be permitted, even if only for legal reasons.
And then there is the religious argument: certain religions don’t agree with homosexuality, so marriage should not be permitted. There are several problems with this reasoning. Firstly, we ignore multiple religions in many circumstances, such as sex before marriage and the consumption of alcohol. The Bible decrees that women should be silent and never assume authority over a man. We certainly don’t live by that rule anymore. Why should we abide by religious ideas that are clearly no longer widely believed? Most democratic countries are not religious states, but are religiously diverse. Our rights as citizens should not be based on a supposed religious doctrine. Why should religion play a role in law?
Secondly, some Christians will argue that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman. This is wrong. The Bible also defines marriage as one man and many women. This projection of marriage is clearly sexist, out-dated and no longer applicable to our society. It is time we stopped focusing on religious ideas that are thousands of years old.
Same sex marriage must, and no doubt will, be legalised. It might take time, but there is no way the world’s leaders can continue denying gay citizens a basic human right, especially as religion is becoming less, and less influential in society. Society has overcome countless injustices in the past. This hurdle too will eventually be overcome.
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