The Rainbow Debate

Marriage Equality: What's the Big Deal?

So What's Up With the Marriage Equality Debate?

For my research project, I chose the topic of marriage equality. I wanted to know why the marriage equality debate (also called same-sex marriage) was so big in the media now. I also wanted to some of the ways that same-sex couples were being oppressed, and if other countries around the world we're dealing with the same issue that America has been.

Why's the Debate so Heated Now?

Ever since 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, the marriage equality debate had been gaining momentum. Now, 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage. The reason that the debate is so big in the media is because of a Supreme Court case that the U.S. Supreme Court took in 2013, a case dealing with same-sex marriage. The verdict will be decided this summer and will decide whether banning same-sex marriage is constitutional or not (Kohn).

Amazing What a Few Years Does, Huh?

Green=states where same-sex marriage is legal

Yellow=states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage

Gray=states with statutory bans on gay marriage

White=states where gay marriage is neither legal nor banned

How Are Those in Same-Sex Relationships Being Oppressed?

There are three major ways that I found that those in same-sex relationships are being oppressed: opposition to marriage, adoption, and service.

Many people are not fond of the idea of allowing same-sex couples to be able to marry. As of now, 37 states have allowed gay marriage, and 13 have not. People oppose same-sex marriage because according to them, same-sex marriage is immoral, God doesn't like it, and because marriage is for the purpose of procreation ("10 Reasons Why Homosexual Marriage is Harmful and Must Be Stopped").

Many people have also opposed letting same-sed couples adopt. Many oppose it because they believe that same-sex couples should not be able to adopt because it may make the children more likely to be gay or that there is no mother or father in the family. However, a test run by an adoption agency says that children from same-sex relationships and children from dual-sex marriages do just as well in terms of self-esteem, relationships, intelligence, behavior, and yes, even gender identity. Parenting styles were the same for same-sex and dual-sex couples. The only difference was that same-sex couples tended to do more equal shares of work than dual-sex couples ("How do children in same-sex couples fare?").
Gays and lesbians have also been being denied services solely based on their sexuality. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana permits the discrimination of gays and lesbians because of their sexuality ("Southern Baptist Minister: Religious Liberty Law Permits the Denial of Some Services"). A Christian florist in Georgia said that she would deny a service to a gay person but not to an adulterer because "it's a different kind of sin" ("Christian Florist Says She'd Deny Service to Gay People But Not to Adulterers Because it's a 'Different Kind of Sin'"). However, not all Christians hate the idea of providing a service to a gay person. Some are completely fine with the idea of a same-sex couple, where as others don't like it but are still willing to provide their services. Those who refuse to provide their wedding services see their marriage as holy, and that same-sex couples break that (Friederstorf). Still, not all states allow discrimination. The govenor of Arizona vetoed a bill last year that would've allowed the discrimination of gays (Blake).

What Other Countries Are Dealing With the Issue of Marriage Equality?

America isn't the only place in the world that is on the fence over marriage equality. New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, and Australia started to recognize same-sex couples at the same time. In late March of this year, Japan became the first country in East Asia to recognize same-sex marriage (Hu).
A poll conducted in 2013 says that most Western European countries support gay rights. 80% of people in Western Europe now say that gays should be free to live the lives that they widh to live. However, Eastern Europe is much less open to the idea of same-sex couples. Less than 40% of people in Eastern Europe say that gays should be free to live the lives they wish. The map at right shows Europe's openness to same-sex marriage (Lipka).

So What's Up With the Rainbow?

The marriage equality debate is one of the biggest debates in America. It became big in 2013 when the Supreme Court took a case dealing with the issue. Today, those in same-sex marriages are being denyed a right to get married, the right to adopt, and the rift to purchase goods and services. However, not only America is thinking over the issue of marriage equality. Today, same-sex marriage is a world-wide debate.

Why Does This Matter?

It's important to know what's going on in major debates like the marriage equality debate. It's important to respect everybody's choices and ways of life. This Supreme Court case will decide whether or not gays and lesbians will be able to live their lives the way that they choose.