Equality in Marriages


In my opinion gay marriage should be important for feminists because gays and lesbians are not receiving the respect they deserve, they are being oppressed and isn't that what feminists are trying to do: end the oppression and hierarchy that exists in our society? I believe that religion even though it is separate from the government it still has an influence on the government since law makers pass laws that go with their believes then they have a biased opinion. Gays and Lesbians should have a choice of whether or not they want to get married. It shows commitment to the relationship just as and other heterosexual couples would want. It would be a challenge though because we have everything pre-established so it would be different and kind of exciting since everything we see can change and it would be interesting to see how everything turns out. I neither agree nor disagree. It is their choice or at least they should have that choice.


  1. I agree, gay marriage should definitely be important for feminists because same-sex couples are discriminated against so harshly. Religion and government are supposed to be separate, however, the government we have fights for what they want and what the people want, and since the majority of people in the United States believe in a faith that involves anti-homosexual rules, this is why it has been illegal for same-sex couples to get married. We discussed this in my GWSS class last semester, how in this case, words actually do matter and civil union and marriage need to be separated. If a same-sex couple wants to get married for spiritual reasons, there are churches out there that do the ceremonies for that purpose. However, if same-sex couples just want the benefits the law offers for married couples, then the fight has to continue to change the law to allow that.

  2. I think that it's important to remember that religion and the government operate in totally distinct spheres - religion is a non-falsifiable belief, while the government is in charge of making policies that affect billions of people. While some religions may have repugnant aspects (such as discrimination against gays and lesbians), I do think that those people are entitled to their beliefs - while I strongly, strongly disagree with them, living in a tolerant and peaceful society sometimes demands that we tolerate intolerance.

    Marriage was originally created as a religious institution. While you adult male can marry any adult female (excluding cousins, etc) in a court, this is NOT true in religiouns. Some religions maintain that you cannot marry someone outside of your religion, or someone who doesn't provide you with a dowry, etc. We have come to think of marriage as something that is state-sanctioned, but its origins are in religion. If we accept the separation of church and state, the logical following is that the state should NOT be able to interfere in the institute of marriage - which means the state shouldn't be able to sanction gay marriage.

    However, marriage accrues certain state-sanctioned benefits. Tax benefits, healthcare, and many other policies are all affected when two people get "married". The religious marriage and the political, state-sanctioned marriage are totally different things. It's possible to have a marriage that is recognized by one's religious institution and NOT by the state, and vice versa. In fact, the two types of marriage are completely different - while both of them symbolize a union of two people, one has policy implications while the other has spiritual implications. I think the reason that many religious bodies oppose gay marriage is because they view it as the state infringing on "their" territory. I think the best way to solve this problem - while keeping in mind the constitutional demand of separation of church and state, and the desire to end homophobia - would be to have the state stop using the term marriage. EVERYONE, both heterosexual and homosexual couples, should be given "civil unions", and "marriage" can remain a purely spiritual bonding, where religious bodies can maintain control of whom they desire to marry.

  3. While I agree with each of your suggestions, I have to say Tamar's comments made me consider the issue from a different perspective. Tamar- you make an excellent argument and proposition I have never considered before. Based on the historically religious perception of marriage, it makes total sense that civil unions should reflect the union of state-sanctioned couples and marriage can remain for those seeking a spiritual bond.

    Distinguishing between civil unions and marriage tackles more than just the issue of whether heterosexual and homosexual couples should receive legal benefits. It expands the "charmed circle" to encompass a broader spectrum of people (From the "Normativity" reading). The gay rights movement is a civil rights movement seeking equality and tolerance- it fits very well into the scope of feminism's desire for equality. If civil union between any type of individuals is allowed, and becomes commonplace, I believe that more and more people will come to accept it. Recall that at one time, in this country it was illegal for two people of different races to be married.

    While distinguishing between civil unions and marriages instills a sense of "normativity," but I can't help but wonder if doing away with labels will make even greater strides toward equality. I understand the obvious differences between a homosexual couple and a heterosexual couple, but should those differences matter? The law now creates an "us" and "them" dichotomy where heterosexual couples are normal and every other type of couple is not. Surely recognizing civil unions will ease this polarizing issue, but if civil unions are available for any couple, will we still point to couples and label them homosexual or heterosexual, or simply point and say "the lovebirds over there," ? By repeating "homosexual" and "heterosexual" in the context we have, be it on the House or Senate floor, in our churches, schools or homes, we reinforce differences that we argue should not matter. We should be saying that ANY individual should be able to commit to ANY individual they choose (with respect to statutes limiting the union of cousins, minors, etc.) instead of "homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals."

  4. Tamar, although you raise interesting ideas, I generally do not agree with you.
    In an ideal world, government and religion operate as distinct institutions, but as Alienad mentioned, our government is highly influenced by religion, specifically Protestantism. Almost all our nation's presidents, congressmen, judges, etc have been protestant men. These men were and still are a product of the society that they grew up in- a relatively conservative, christian society. Do not be fooled that there is a distinct separation of church and state in our government. Even John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, who are both credited as having come up with the idea were Protestants. (Locke was a Puritan and Jefferson was an Anglican).
    Another point to make, the world's religions do not own marriage, like you make it seem- our government is very much in control of who marries who in our society. Why do you think that a couple that is married in a church still has to obtain a marriage license whereas a couple who is married in a court house needs no permission from any religion?
    The statement that religious bodies oppose gay marriage because they don't want the state infringing on their territory is extremely false. To begin, like I said before, marriage isn't their territory- it is very much the state's. Religious bodies do not want homosexuals to marry because that would go against what the church has been teaching for the past two thousand years. The church was founded basically as a way to control large amounts of people. It was a great way to perpetuate our species- making it a mortal sin to kill another person (an obvious way to prevent unnecessary deaths), to cheat on your spouse (which causes great harm to any children from the marriage and disrupts the fine balance of reliance found in a family), and also to have sex with somebody of your same sex (an obvious way to make sure that everyone reproduces). Basically, the church doesn't want homosexuals to marry because it is an ancient institution filled with tradition to hold tightly to its beliefs, whether or not they be fitting in the modern world.

  5. In this instance, I am more or less in agreement with Tamar, and I would like to defend some of the things she is saying.

    Matt, you raise some points against what Tamar writes about the separation of church and state. First, you note that our government is highly influenced by religion. This is certainly true; however, I don’t think Tamar’s argument was denying this. If anything Tamar’s argument was simply pointing out that the separation of church and state is an ideal, and, moreover, it is an ideal that was adopted by our nation in our own nation’s interest. That is to say, while it is certainly true that our state isn’t devoid of religious influence, this is still something that can be pursued. After all, the United States was founded on the idea that all men are created equal, yet this is still something that has yet to be realized in the United States. Thus, just because an ideal doesn’t happen to be true under present societal circumstances does not mean that is something that cannot and should not be pursued. Moreover, in this case, the justifications for continuing to pursue the ideal—namely, the chance for the betterment of a group of people, the end of discrimination and oppression, et cetera—are certainly valid reasons for attempting to realize this goal. Next, you point out that the idea of separation between the church and the state was engendered by people who happened to have religious affiliations.

    The next point that you make is that marriage is not owned by religion, but is very much a matter of the state. Again, I would like to contest this claim. I think the biggest argument against this claim is the idea of legitimacy that is conferred by a church-sanctioned marriage. While you can get ‘married’ at a courthouse, it really isn’t the same thing as a marriage (in a church). There is a certain amount of societal legitimacy that stems from the aisle, the mass, and the ceremony, and, moreover, this legitimacy (or, more accurately, lack thereof) is the basis for a lot of the inherent discrimination that those who receive civil unions—especially gays and lesbians—receive. In this sense, then, the church controls marriage to a more significant extent.

    Yet again, however, this is no reason to not pursue the reconstitution of marriage as a state-controlled institution in order to bring equal rights to a group that has suffered discrimination and injustices at the hand of our very own government. Thus, I completely agree with Tamar’s closing remarks: “ EVERYONE, both heterosexual and homosexual couples, should be given ‘civil unions,’ and ‘marriage’ can remain a purely spiritual bonding, where religious bodies can maintain control of whom they desire to marry.”

  6. One very important question to consider that seems to be left unsaid in this discussion thus far: is everyone included within "heterosexual and homosexual couples"?
    Also: Why are we so concerned with couples or the privatization of family units? Why is marriage, in any form, the license for legitimacy? Is this debate simply about discrimination?

  7. user-pic Author Profile Page Michelle J. | May 7, 2010 8:57 PM

    Gay marriage is an important feminist issue that we are still fighting for whether it should be legal or illegal. However, I think it should be legal and we should respect them because it’s not their fault to being gays or lesbians. I have some gays and lesbians friends and I can’t understand why some people hate them so much. They don’t give you any negative effects to harm you. Being abnormal comparing to majority of people around us must be difficult because the majority of people give them weird looks and they think they are very different. But they are still human as we are, so we should fully respect them. We don’t have to accept them fully, but maybe just trying to understand and to respect them would be great.

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This page contains a single entry by Aleinad published on April 4, 2010 11:41 PM.

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