Gay marriage deserves a fair chance

If you wrote a list of the most controversial topics facing our nation today, gay marriage would undoubtedly place near the top of the list. Indeed, it’s hard to read a newspaper or turn on the TV without seeing some sort of story about the pros or cons to allowing members of the same sex to get married.

To most college students, the answer is a quick and resounding, “Yes!” However, when the question is actually considered, the answer can sometimes be trickier than the pundits make it out to be.

People who are against gay marriage usually take the religious route, saying that a marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman.  However, homosexuals aren’t asking the Catholic Church to open its doors and allow same-sex couples to perform their ceremony at the altar. They are only asking the government to recognize that they are as committed to each other as a man and a woman are.

Likewise, those for gay marriage usually end up taking the equality route, saying it is unfair that just because they love someone of the same sex they don’t get the same rights as a heterosexual couple. And they’re right — it isn’t equal. It is most definitely unfair that homosexual couples cannot hold a certificate that allows them to be in a legally binding union.

If the dissenters don’t take the religious route, they usually end up talking about how homosexual couples do not provide the same loving environment for a child that a man and a woman do. Once again though, this is an uncertain ground to tread; there have been studies done by proponents of both sides of the argument that “prove” they are right. There are numerous studies that claim that children of same-sex parents develop completely normally, while there are many others that say it is a detriment to children to live in a same-sex household. Either side could be right; the studies are too new (and too biased) to hold much water. However, there are plenty of children who are raised by unfit heterosexual parents; the recent stories about children being starved by their foster families proves that.

The issue really comes down to the individuals in the relationship, which is what pundits so often miss. It’s the parents — whether they are gay or straight — who determine the quality of the parenting. Even if there is a slight disadvantage to being raised by a same-sex couple, it can’t be proven until there are so many people being raised by gay or lesbian couples the point will be moot anyway.

And for that matter, why does raising children become such a hotbed of contention when talking about gay marriage? There are plenty of heterosexual married couples who don’t raise children; just because you’re married does not automatically make you want to start spewing out babies.

In the end, like so many other issues, this one falls in the gray area. Gay and lesbian couples just want what every “normal” couple can have — the ability to pledge their undying love, through sickness and in health to another human being. On the other side, people are worried about what their god may think or how it may harm the children of tomorrow. But seeing as how we live in America, the self-proclaimed breeding ground of freedom and liberty, it seems like we should at least give everyone a chance to marry whomever they please.

Jack Wehman is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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