Gay Rights Activists view on Same-sex Marriage

Question: What are the views of Gay Rights activists on same-sex marriage? There are many Gay Rights activists who are strong supporters of marriage. One reason for them supporting same-sex marriage is that marriage has many economic advantages over single life. Married people get tax breaks and are entitled to Social Security benefits if one spouse dies. Since gays are not allowed to marry except in California, they cannot get the benefits in most places in the United States. Also, legally married people can inherit from one another without a will. Many companies offer benefits to a person’s spouse, but since gays cannot legally marry, they are denied these benefits.

Since the general public is against same-sex relationships in general, gays receive little support for having and sustaining long-term relationships compared to heterosexual couples. The textbook states that “On average, relationships for both gay males and lesbians last two years to three years, and a pattern of serial monogamy exists.” Gay Rights activists who support same-sex marriage would argue that if gays were allowed to marry, this average span of relationship life would increase. The reason, they would argue, is that there is more support in society for people who are married to stay together than there is for people who aren’t married. Also, it is commonly expected by society that married people will stay together, which plays a role in actually keeping marriages together.

Lesbians and gay men also feel that denying them the right to marry says that they aren’t as good as heterosexuals. If they are to be equal with heterosexuals, they should have the same rights as heterosexuals, including the right to get married. The textbook reads “Some lesbians and gay men believe that legal marriage would be their most important civil rights victory yet.” This shows the huge importance that these people put on marriage and having the right to get married. They also believe that having the right to marry would start a chain reaction for other changes in favor of their equality to heterosexuals.

While many gays and lesbians are adamant in the support of same-sex marriage, there are also gays and lesbians who oppose same-sex marriage. The textbook states that some of them “such as gay rights attorney Paula Ettelbrick, object to mimicking a traditionally patriarchal institution based on property rights and institutionalized husband-wife roles.” The traditional marriage roles set up by society don’t really apply to gays and lesbians, so it is possible they would want a word or name other than marriage to describe their life-long union. One quote from a lesbian in the textbook had her referring to her “life partner” instead of her spouse.