4 Responses To Common Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

by Nicholas Manning

The Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, may establish same-sex marriage as a constitutional right in all 50 states.

This time, though, the civil rights debate isn't focused on the singular question of whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized.

Two new questions come to the table:

 1.  Is it, in fact, the responsibility of the Supreme Court to decide, or is this an issue that needs to be determined by the voters on a state-by-state basis?

2.  Must every state recognize same-sex marriage, regardless of where it was licensed?

As expected, these matters are generating varying opinions amongst the Supreme Court Justices making the landmark decision.

What's interesting here are the arguments being made, and the differing responses creating this discussion.

It's a conversation worth participating in, if not to express your opinion, at least to understand the many pieces that compose this very complicated puzzle.

I, too, wanted to know the big ideas being tossed around, and weighed in on a few of the arguments listed below:

Changing a sacred and age-old institution

A huge argument in this case revolves around the fact that the institution of marriage, defined as the union between a man and a woman, is sacred and has been in existence for thousands of years.

One of these is certainly true: Marriage has remained unchanged over many centuries, and the concept of same-sex marriage is incredibly young in comparison.

However, in regard to the sacredness of marriage, or the degree of respect people have for it, modern society has certainly challenged this notion.

If everyone deemed marriage as sanctified or revered, we wouldn't allow reality TV dating shows to use it as a grand prize, or talkshow hosts to publicize five-minute wedding ceremonies in-between commercial breaks.

The purpose for procreation and the dignity of families

If procreation were the sole purpose of marriage, there are several instances where marriage exists, yet procreation isn't an option.

Consider an elderly couple who decides to wed, an infertile pair, or even a man and woman who decide children and family life just aren't parts of their future plan.

On the other hand, is it even logical to say same-sex marriages will lessen the dignity of a family created by heterosexual parents?

Rather, if it has any effect on dignity, it will give greater dignity to families, especially to families with gay parents whose children aren't afforded the legal protections associated with marriage.

A family's dignity belongs to its members, and cannot be stripped away. It's silly to think one loving family could be diminished by the existence of another loving family, just because the second family may look different than the first.

The freedoms and ideals of religious institutions

Same-sex marriages will guarantee gay couples have the legal benefits and protections two married people are granted.

This does not impose upon any religious institutions, as they will still have the freedoms to hold certain beliefs and practices.

No one is asking or expecting the church to hold wedding ceremonies for couples who simply want the equal rights that come with legal marriage.

The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment

Sure, it's not completely democratic when the Supreme Court creates a law for all the land, but in many cases over time, this has been necessary.

Divisions between states caused the Civil War and fueled our nation's arguments over segregation during the Civil Rights Movement.

We've seen throughout American history that the states had the ability to discriminate against certain groups, and for that reason, the equal protection clause was written.

It requires the equal application of laws to all individuals and groups, and, perhaps, the Supreme Court Justices will feel most influenced by this.

In a nation founded upon diversity, we can celebrate our differences and uphold the promise that what unites us is our commitment to treat all people equally.