Gay marriage in Iowa sign of country's regression
The recent ruling in Iowa to permit homosexual marriage should scare all Americans. This change in thinking is indeed indicative of a country's regression. Here in New Jersey, we sometimes forget that the country is not as diverse as we may like to believe; to consider our perspective analogous is obtuse. I agree, to us, the notion of homosexuality may not be foreign, yet that does not give us license to transcend the laws and consensus of the nation. We may harbor a more affable sentiment toward homosexuals, but that is in no way representative of the nation.
The truth of the matter is a majority of Americans oppose homosexual marriage. As per a recent CBS poll, "Americans Divided On Homosexual Marriage", only a third of Americans think homosexual couples should be allowed to marry. We have seemingly — or conveniently — overlooked the fact that, despite Iowa, Massachusetts and Connecticut, 37 states have enacted statutory Defense of Marriage Acts, and 30 states have constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage, while two more states have strong language that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. In fact, three states — Arizona, California and Florida — passed marriage protection legislation just in the last year.
If Iowa does become a "homosexual marriage mecca," the marriage rights bestowed upon those couples hold only nominal value in most other states and federally. As maintained by the United States Defense of Marriage Act DOMA, "the word ‘marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and "[n]o state shall be required to give effect to any relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of [any] other state."
Now in my opinion, the frame of the argument is wrong. This is not an issue of religion as the basis of the court's decision is constitutional, not biblical. Nor is it an issue of equality; homosexuals have the same rights as any heterosexual man or woman. Discrimination is "born of prejudice based not on what but who," in the words of Aryeh Spero, radio talk show host and president of Caucus for America. A homosexual man is not barred from marrying a straight or homosexual woman nor can two heterosexual men marry one another. Inequality exists in the form of discrimination such that one group is deprived of a right given to others (e.g. voting rights given to whites, not blacks). Then what is a valid argument? My assertion is that protecting traditional marriage is to protect the fabric of society and children.
Those who claim that marriage and the "normal nuclear" family have no original purpose or are not grounded in heterosexuality are sadly mistaken: human biology and the laws of civilization prove the opposite. For centuries, leaders of virtually all civilizations maintained that a man and woman had an obligation to raise the child they had created. While the childbearing capacity of a woman bound her physically to her child, a social construct — marriage — served to bring the father into a legal relationship with his offspring. "An extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents," wrote Dr. Kristin Moore, et al., in a 2002 research paper for Child Trends, an independent, nonpartisan research center dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families, proving that "love, care and support" are not enough.
For those who contend that heterosexual marriage is plagued by divorce — a plausible argument — I agree; the prevalence of divorce has weighed heavily on the family, but this does not mean that its original purpose is lost or that we can or should use it to promote and accept an alternative. Redefining marriage undermines the family structure proven to be best for children. The organization Focus on the Family says, "As we consider that marriage is our most pro-child institution, it remains especially pertinent that the wants and desires of adults should not supersede the needs and rights of children to a mother and a father… Marriage is not a legal vehicle for equality; it is a social institution with children at its heart."
The responsibility of any society is its own sustenance. Homosexual marriage undermines this effort as well as the foundation of the traditional, true and only acceptable form of a family and well-being of children. We, the "younger generations," can only hope that Proposition Eight-like legislation is imminent.
Anthony Parillo is a senior accounting major at Rider University. He welcomes feedback at. firstname.lastname@example.org.