Many people believe that marriage is an integral part of their lives.
Currently, marriage is defined within the parameters of a partnership
of one man and one woman. Under Canadian common law, a same-sex couple
cannot get married and the government refuses to acknowledge
homosexuals as equals. Prohibiting same-sex marriages in legislation
is discrimination. Denying homosexuals the ability to form this bond
violates freedom of expression, equality rights for minorities, and
freedom of religion, provisions present in the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. This is an issue of equality, security and freedom. If gays
are denied the basic human right of marriage, one must ask the
question: where does society stand today? This issue is controversial
because many fear that marriage as an institution will be destroyed if
same-sex marriage is passed through legislation. Really, there is no
compelling reason to believe that legalizing gay marriage would affect
traditional marriage, that is, if a traditional marriage even exists.
Public opinion is considerably more tolerant of homosexuality than it
has been in the past, but lesbian and gay communities nevertheless
suffer from discrimination due to their sexual orientation. While it
is "discriminatory and unethical to say that you have to be straight
to have rights and to be accepted as a human being" (Steirs 164), many
people oppose gay marriage because they assume that gays have a choice
in who they can feel attracted to, and the reality is quite different.
Through rapid advances in genetic research and biotechnology, many
scientists have confirmed that sexual orientation is inborn. What
makes this scenario possible is the discovery of a "gay gene" (Burr).
Homosexuality is present outside the human race as well. 450/1500
animal species have homosexual mating behaviours (Bidstrup). Marriage
is a symbol of commitment; a public declaration of love. Being gay is
part of that person's core identity (Bidstrup). Since the AIDS
epidemic, there has been a stigma placed on gays being promiscuous,
making respect of gays that much more difficult. Society really cannot
accuse gays of being promiscuous if the law does not permit them to
access the institution of marriage. Allowing gays to marry would
discourage promiscuity in the homosexual population and bring
stability to same-sex relationships. Through marriage, gays can
"reclaim the legitimacy of [their] relationship[s] and demonstrate to
other gay and lesbian couples that lasting homosexual love is
possible" (Tessina 87).
Homosexuals are looking for an alternative way of living with health
and happiness. They have changed their image, habits, and tactics.
Many would like to be mothers and fathers, and are pushing towards
safer sex and monogamy (Gay 90's). A common...