The ebb and flow of life in the United States often focuses on two opposite conceptual ideologies. There is a strong conservative desire that seeks to keep things relatively stable, often emphasizing existing policy over new ideas. Contrary to this is the progressive mindset of doing away with pre-existing rules that do not conform well to every day problems that arise through day-to-day living. While this is an overly simplistic way of viewing American politics, it does help to frame the following debate, gay rights.
When people talk about gay rights, they are mostly talking about the rights for individuals who identify as gay to marry one another. In addition to marriage, gay rights often focuses around the rights afforded to gay people, with an emphasis on equality between married gay and straight couples. Gay rights can also sometimes refer to other rights, like equal pay, representation in the military, and legal security in employment.
The Pros of Gay Rights
1. Guarantees Equality Among Citizens
There is a popular quote from the book “Animal Farm.” It is loosely translated as “everyone is equal, but some people are more equal then others.” The idea behind this quote is that a society can live behind equality being a central tenant, while having policy in place that robs certain subsections of the population from the same rights experienced by others. Gay rights works to reverse this trend by providing the same rights to every person, regardless of sexual orientation. Simply put, gay rights work towards equality. As having same sex attraction has been repeatedly proven to be an effect of nature instead of nurture, to deny gay rights is to deny individuals in the same way that you may deny them based on gender or skin color.
2. Promotes Stable Families
A considerable amount of research has been done that shows gay couples being equally good at raising children as straight couples. While a great deal of early research attempted to prove otherwise, significant statistical errors and falsifications were found in said research, throwing the research into question. The truth is that gay couples, like straight couples, want an avenue for raising children together. By denying gay rights, you set up situations where children in gay couple relationships will lack the same security that heterosexual parents enjoy.
3. Bring In The Very Best From Around The World
The United States has stood as a bastion for talent and expertise. In addition, it is known for bringing foreign talent in. A number of highly talented individuals will flee their home country due to religious, cultural, and even sexual orientation reasons. As the United States accepts gay rights, it continues to be open to individuals regardless of their sexual orientation. Considering the incredible number of historical figures that have self reported as gay, it can be no wonder that by passing gay rights legislation, the United States continues to be at the forefront of drawing talent in from around the world.
The Cons of Gay Rights
1. The Fear Of Change
When the question of civil rights was on the table, there were surprisingly few supporters. In fact, if a popular vote was taken for reintegration of the south during this time, it would not have passed. We can all agree that racial equality is key to the success of our country. However, we can also understand the fear that is associated with change. Change can bring about good and bad results. It is human nature to be wary of change, especially if the change in no way improves your life directly.
2. Goes Against Established Religious Doctrine
The United States through the formation of its government was strongly influenced by Christian doctrine. Now, while the United States keeps church and state separate, there are still instances when the two combine. In particular, this is where the question of gay marriage comes into play. The Christian bible does not see gay rights as in anyway lawful. In fact, there are several passages that speak towards being gay as a sin. Because the United States is comprised of predominately Christian individuals who use religion as a tool in politics, there is a great deal of pushback against gay rights. Because gay rights goes against an interpretation of religious doctrine, some people will refuse to accept it.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and see where you fall on this contentious debate. If you have never met a gay person, then talk to them. See what is important to them and see how it will affect your life.