Legalisation of gay marriage in the US


What does it say about us?

On the eve of June 26th, we experienced a plethora of criticism and open thoughts as they unloaded widely all over social media. What followed this was a viral change in display pictures all over Facebook; the social site was ridden with rainbow hued displays; a symbol in support of this contentious issue. Strangely, a considerable lot of people in support of this issue were those least affected by it. We all became part of the new movement to support homosexual marriages taking place thousands of miles away in the United States of America. We heard and read mixed views and to a large extent, took it upon ourselves to express our religious opinion even though the movement was more of a cultural revolution than a religious one. While we are lost in the frenzy of this criticism, we seem to be ignoring the more sinister issues plaguing our nation; the rising deaths brought about by the severe heat and the ever present negligence of our political leaders. However, since we are on the subject, we can choose to explore the matter further and understand the importance of legalisation of homosexual marriages to the Americans.

Striving towards gaining a respectable place in society, the homosexuals have been part of the cultural movement for decades. Prior to the ruling of the US Supreme Court, homosexual marriages were allowed in 37 states but now it has been officiated to include all 50 states on the popular US public demand, which has seen a tremendous shift from 27 percent approval in 1996 to 60 percent this year. The proponents of same-sex marriage argue that disallowing the homosexuals to engage in such activities is to discriminate against them and discredit them as “second-class” citizens. Judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade County Court ruled that the ban on gay marriage in Florida is unconstitutional and stated that it:

“…serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.” (Source: Nisha Chittal, “Judges Chip Away at Florida Gay Marriage Ban,”, July 26, 2014)

Prior to the ruling of the US Supreme Court, homosexual marriages were allowed in 37 states but now it has been officiated to include all 50 states

Moreover, as part of an assessment made by the General Accounting Office, there are numerous benefits, rights and protections available to heterosexual couples under the Federal Law (up to 1,138!) which include the privileges of getting reduction in tax burden, family health coverage and inheritance rights amongst many other. The proponents argue that same rights should also be made accessible to homosexuals engaged in a marital relationship. Furthermore, while people also comment that the purpose of any marriage is the procreation of life, the proponents of same sex marriage openly argue that infertile couples or couples who do not intend to have children should also be prevented from marrying since they are not participating in procreating life. According to the research conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, six percent of married women are infertile. In addition, the number of married couples without children outnumbered the couples with children by nine percent in 2012 in USA. Moreover, the instances of granting marriage licenses to couples where man and woman are both over the age of 50; as noted by the US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, go on to show that the idea of procreation is not the number-one priority in their society, else such couples would not be allowed to get married.

A study by University of Melbourne in June 2014 showed that children who are raised by same-sex parents score higher in terms of general health and family cohesion, much like the study of 2010 published in Pediatrics showed that these children also possess higher social and academic competence with fewer social problems. These students also go on to show how the integrity of social values stays intact and rather prospers in same-sex marriages than introducing more conflicting moral issues. However, this does not mean that the institution is to be promoted with such arguments, it is merely a side-thought on the matter.

While, the struggle to acquire social egalitarianism by homosexuals has been ongoing for a very long time; critics are of the opinion that the success of this social movement is greatly owed to the widespread use of social media by its proponents. From vociferous debates elaborating that international covenant of human rights recognises homosexuals as a vulnerable group, to tales of their sufferings and marginalisation — social media has indeed created a massive impact, suppressing religious opposition towards this issue in United States and in promulgating freedom of choice. In addition to the use of social media, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) profusely advocates same-sex marriages. According to the HRC’s website, same-sex couples should simply be given the right to marry because they are in love like other “normal” couples. After spending a significant chunk of their life together they should be allowed to honour their relationship in the most gratifying manner that society offers, which is marriage. Hence, disallowing them the freedom to declare their love and commitment, as society deems appropriate is a clear deprivation of their rights. But, then again it is imperative to understand that does giving this right constitutes as promoting same-sex marriages and undermining the sacred union that marriage is altogether? The answer remains open to debate in different parts of the world.

We are all allowed to have opinions and be sceptical and critical about various cultural matters, however, only to the end of improving our living standards and our cultural integrity

Therefore, to the American society, such research and opinions matter on how and what should be allowed for their people and what should be prevented. The religious opinion on the matter has no decisive power and people are comfortable with that option. As long as there is public support for cultural matters, they will persist and determine how their society chooses to develop. Such concerns and nature of power is not true for a country like Pakistan. We owe our decisions and life choices to religion and let its verdict command our lives. We are all allowed to have opinions and be sceptical and critical about various cultural matters, however, only to the end of improving our living standards and our cultural integrity. Our religion breeds tolerance and equality, and that means that while not all fingers are equal, we all shall live under a single banner; that of Islam. Yes, we all are allowed to have opinions and views but at the same time, it is our utmost duty to be absolutely certain of the consequences our words might have on the people around us; especially on matters that should not be of our concern to begin with. Our voice on such matters goes on to represent our nation and we need to be mindful of the image that we portray of ourselves in the global community. Are we then people of tolerance or the ones who are quick to judge and discriminate? At this moment in time, such questions are not a matter of concern rather it is pertinent to shed light on the fact that our priorities should be different; focused more towards our country and its impending issues, which need immediate attention and swift action.