Is same-sex marriage a civil rights issue?

Is same-sex marriage a civil rights issue?

Updated: Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:12 AM PDT

Emotions are high surrounding Proposition 8, the marriage amendment. Putting the religious aspect of the debate aside for a moment, let’s look at it from a purely sociological standpoint.

A common argument is that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. But is it? As Americans, both heterosexuals and homosexuals have the same rights — the right to get an education, own a home, pursue a career, live where they want, worship as they choose and vote their convictions. As Americans, this is the way it should be.

But, gay activists say their civil rights are violated because homosexuals can’t marry whom they want. This argument is flawed because heterosexuals can’t marry whomever they want, either. If a man fell in love with his sister, his daughter or his female first cousin, society would prohibit him from marrying her. And, society would also prohibit a woman from marrying her brother, son or male first cousin even if she fell in love with him. There are moral laws in our society against this.

In our society, marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman. A man can marry a woman of his choice and a woman can marry a man of her choice as long as that person is not already married and is distant in terms of blood relationship. This is held as morally acceptable by the majority of Americans and should not be changed. As proof, over 25 states have already passed marriage amendments defining valid marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman by an overall margin of 2 to 1.

The argument against gay marriage is not based on prejudice, hate or shoving one’s morals down another’s throat. It is based on societal moral convictions on what is natural and normal. And these moral convictions have been held for centuries. No, gay marriage is not about civil rights, it is about approval. It is about a small percentage of the population working to have their behavior, which the majority of Americans find morally wrong, accepted as normal by society. In deciding about Prop. 8, keep this in mind.

Frank Nolton


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