Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gay Marriage Should Be Legalized

May 27th, 2004 saw the introduction of the Marriage Amendment Bill within Australia stating that “marriage means the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of others, voluntarily entered into for life. certain unions are not marriages. a union solemnised in a foreign country between; a) a man and another man; or b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.” The then Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, and the Liberal party, along with the support from the Labor party, the Nationals, Family First and Christian Democratic parties, argued that this bill was necessary to protect the institution and true meaning of marriage. But isn’t the meaning of marriage to legally bind oneself to the one that they love for life? So who has the right to make the decision over who a person chooses to love, whether that be someone of the opposite sex or the same?

Homosexuality branches from a number of factors including social, psychological and genetic. A study of twins conducted by the Personality and Individual Differences journal produced results that showed that sexual orientation is 50%-60% determined by your genes, and also suggests that sexual orientation may be linked to differences within the brains anatomy. Studies on the human male brain have found that compared with straight men, homosexual men have an enlarged suprachiasmatic nucleus which controls human behaviour and can affect sexual orientation. Qazi Rahman, a researcher from the University Of London, has led studies into this theory over the past two decades and believes that “human sexual behaviour is predominantly biologically determined”. Many other researchers may not fully agree with this, but all agree that your sexual orientation is stemmed from a biological component. Within society today homosexuals can be sometimes treated with little respect, and are often groups that are targeted within society, so why would one choose to put themselves through that?

By not allowing same-sex marriage Australia gets put behind countries such as Canada, Belgium, Spain, South Africa and various parts of the USA where it is legal. A 2007 poll run by GetUp! asked Australians over the age of 16 what they thought about same-sex marriage. 71% agreed that same-sex partners should have access to the same rights as de-facto heterosexual couples and 57% supported the idea of same-sex marriage. There was an increase in over 20% in favour of same-sex marriage from when they last poll was conducted in 2004, showing that the general population is becoming more open minded towards this idea.

Many groups argue that a marriage is a religious ceremony and as homosexuality is not condoned by the church, then why should same-sex couples be allowed to marry? Many consider this to be a valid argument, but what about Atheists? An atheist can be simply defined as one who does not believe in the existence of God, or various other gods, yet they are allowed to partake in this “religious” ceremony. This proves that marriage is not solely a religious institution.

One of the basic social conventions that everyone is bought up with is to not discriminate against people for things they did not choose themselves such as race, sex or a disability. If one’s sexual orientation was added to that list would people be more lenient in offering homosexuals more rights within relationships? At the present time in Australia same-sex couples now receive the same rights as a non-married heterosexual couple. But how long will it be till the discrimination stops and same-sex couples receive what they truly want; to be able to show their love and commitment to one another in the form of marriage.