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In the United States, there currently exists a difference of opinion pertaining to who should be allowed to marry. There are many who believe that all should have the right to marry, while others believe that marriage should only exist between a man and a woman. So, who is right? Let's take a closer look at the topic.
The Law Versus Religious Doctrine
For many, the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman is a religious one. They believe that marriage is sacred and should be held to a specific standard based upon historical precedents. The chart below from the Pew Research Center back in 2015 shows a good number of denominations that do not sanction same-sex marriage.
On the other hand, you have the law. The Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage in 2015 set the precedent from a legal perspective. This ruling gave same-sex couples the right to marry and was a huge win for the LGBT community.
The Church-and-State Argument
One of the big factors that plays into this debate stems from the separation of church and state. This goes back to the law-versus-doctrine argument. When considering the right to marry, there could be two ways of looking at those rights. First, does your religion sanction same-sex marriage? The second, should the government allow it under the law?
It should be the goal of any government to ensure that its citizens have equal rights under the law. This is something the Supreme Court likely factored into its decision to allow same-sex marriage. Why should same-sex couples not be afforded the same rights as married couples?
On the other hand, governments should not force religions to have to perform same-sex marriages. It should be up to each religion to decide whether they see same-sex marriage as a right.
You could have a situation where a marriage is recognized legally but not biblically. This would allow a couple to have equal rights under the law, be recognized by the state, but they may need to choose a religion that is more tolerable in terms of marriage if they wish to have their union recognized in a religious sense.
"But Allowing Same-Sex Marriage Is an Attack on My Religion!"
You hear this argument all the time from those opposed to same-sex marriage. They say that allowing marriage between individuals of the same sex defiles the sanctity of marriage. My response to that is—how? How does allowing someone else to do something that you can do ruin your marriage? Or is it more to do with the fact that the law now says something different than the doctrines of your religion? Perhaps some view those differences as the government undermining what they believe to be right.
I've got some bad news—every other religion is also likely attacking your religion, and you should be as upset at all of them as you are at the government. It's great to have faith, but the sooner you drop the comparable belief that your religion is the only correct religion, the happier you will become.
Speaking of Beliefs . . .
In terms of beliefs, I'm all for them. People should have the right to believe whatever they want when it comes to religion. Asking others to live under your belief structure is where religious folks need to be able to draw the line.
It's fine if you say something like, "I don't believe in same-sex marriage." That's cool—that's your belief. But when you say something like, "same-sex marriage should not be legal because I don't believe in it," then we've got some issues. You're letting your belief structure frame the way others should be living, and that's not as cool.
"But It's Not Bigotry!"
It's not bigotry, you argue. Well, when you try to prevent a certain segment of the population from having the same rights as others, I would have to disagree. Bigotry is obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices. The key word here is intolerant. There is a certain intolerance from some religious folks toward those in the LGBT community.
Under just laws, all citizens would have equal rights, including the right to marry. Trying to exclude people from the tax breaks and other benefits that marriage bestows is a certain type of bigotry.
And I get it—you are just trying to live by what you believe. But allowing others to share in marriage has zero effect on how you live. You can still reap those same benefits, live a happy life, and love who you want to love. The government isn't limiting you in any way; it's just allowing everyone to have the same opportunities you do.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Besarien from South Florida on July 31, 2019:
Nicely stated, JOC! Marriage is a human rights issue. Two single consenting adults should be able to marry if they want. My marriage doesn't suffer when celebrities get hitched and divorced for mere publicity, or when just friends tie the knot for insurance and tax breaks. Likewise, it doesn't suffer when same-sex couples fall madly in love and marry. In fact, the only people who cause it any suffering at all are my husband and I, though we both try hard to avoid that.
JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 13, 2018:
As stated in the article, there's nothing wrong if you choose not to accept same-sex marriage. If that's part of your beliefs, that's just fine. But not accepting it versus making policy that conforms others to your beliefs is what this article tries to argue.
JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on November 09, 2017:
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on November 09, 2017:
Well thought out and written, my friend. You especially did a good job of laying out all elements logically.