The issue of same-sex marriage is something that divides a lot of Americans. Like so many other issues, this topic has a lot of different angles. An overview of the same-sex marriage debate shows how complex the issue is. However, perhaps solutions are simpler than the first appear.
It seems that perceptions about same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships in general have steadily changed over the years. A Gallup poll showed that in 2013, 64 percent of the people surveyed believed that gay or lesbian relationships between consenting adults ought to be legal. While there were some ups and downs over the years, the poll clearly showed a rise in the percentage of people who think gay and lesbian relationships in general should be legally permissible.
When it comes to actual marriage, the numbers were closer. About 54 percent of the people surveyed believed that marriage between couples of the same-sex ought to be valid, and recognized as such by law. While this number was not quite as high as the result for the first question in the poll, it still showed a steady increase over the years. In polls from back in the 1970’s numbers were apparently much lower. Of course it is fairly obvious that the national culture in general has slowly become more accepting of same-sex relationships, as well as alternative relationships in general.
Still, there is quite a debate raging on about this topic. A lot depends on the particular state a person is in. There has been an interesting case out of North Carolina. Apparently, some members of the clergy of the United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit because of an alleged restriction of religious freedom. The difference from many cases was that these clergy members approved of same-sex marriage. Therefore, in their opinion, restricting pastors from performing same-sex wedding ceremonies would actually be a violation of religious freedom.
An overview of the same-sex marriage issue would show several basic stances that a person might take on the topic, although it is also possible to fall somewhere in the middle. One stance is of course the traditional “one man and one woman” philosophy. A poll from back in 2012 showed a fairly even split on the number of people who thought same-sex marriage was morally wrong. Of course, the number of people who find marriage between people of the same gender morally acceptable might well have risen since that time.
The other major stance is that is that same sex-marriage should be legal. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution is something that could perhaps be used to argue in favor of same-sex unions. In part, this clause says that states cannot make laws which would restrict the immunities and privileges of any people who are citizens of the United States.
Perhaps the answer to this debate is simpler than it seems. Maybe part of the problem is that the government should not be in the business of determining what constitutes marriage in the first place. In this scenario, people could get married if they so choose, and other people could recognize said marriage- or not. However, the issue comes in when people try to force their views on people. If government, be it state or federal, was not involved in the institution of marriage, maybe things would be a little less problematic.
A brief look at the same-sex marriage debate shows that the issue is complex and at times can be volatile. People will likely never totally agree on this issue, but the good news is, maybe they do not have to agree. Determining what marriage is or is not should be left up to individual people, the less that government is involved in such issues, the better off things will be.
Opinion By Zach Kirkman