Rights for Homosexuals
Gay marriage is a hotly debated issue in today's society. Andrew Sullivan and William Bennett offer opposing views in the June 3, 1996 edition of Newsweek. Sullivan's article, “Let Gays Marry,” offers several arguments supporting the issues of same sex marriage. Bennett counters in his article, “Leave Marriage Alone,” that same sex marriages would be damaging to the sanctity of marriage. Each author presents several reasons for the positions they defend and bring up valid points to defend their opinions. William Bennett and Andrew Sullivan share a mutual respect for the values and sacredness of the bond of marriage. Their disagreements stem from who they believe should be allowed to marry.
Bennett’s article states that there are two key issues that divide people on the idea of same sex marriages; the basic understanding of marriage itself and whether or not same sex unions would strengthen or weaken the institution (29).His concern is that by allowing same sex unions, the rules which govern behavior in the conventional definition of marriage would be shattered (29). He fears that broadening the definition of marriage any further could stretch it beyond recognition (29). The well known promiscuity among homosexual males, Bennett feels, would conflict with the values of marriage. He believes that “marriage is not an arbitrary construct which can be redefined simply by those who lay claim to it” (30). Bennett sees marriage as a religious commitment, “an honorable estate, instituted of God and built on moral, religious, sexual and human realities (30). Bennett concludes his article by acknowledging that as United States citizens, individuals are allowed to do as they wish, but he feels that any further weakening of the institution of marriage would not be a good idea.
Andrew Sullivan argues in his article that gay men and lesbians are citizens like everyone else, entitled to equal rights and equal protection (25). Marriage is central to the hopes of monogamous, committed homosexuals. Sullivan states that “no one is seeking to take away anybody’s right to marry, and no one is seeking to force any church to change any doctrine in any way” (26). He seeks to eliminate the connection of marriage with religion in respect to the issue of same sex marriage. Sullivan reminds his readers that the...