Same Sex Marriage and Ethics
Matters of sex may appear innate, but it has been demonstrated over time that sex has evolved over the ages, just like other aspects of life. Studies show that orientations, sexual identities, and the knowledge of physiology have been shaped by historical forces. As opposed to being intrinsic, human sexuality is influenced by a range of factors, including the food one eats, social class, family systems, and psychological theories. As opposed to being segregated and split into small privacies of people’s lives, sexuality has also influenced people’s lives in turn. Indeed, it has had a strong influence on governance systems to worship styles. When mass society developed in the course of the war, it gave rise to liberal sexual culture. Democracy took root after the war and made governments more accountable to the people they controlled on social and political matters. Consequently, changes in sexual morality occurred fast (Primoratz, 2013).
The concept of sexual morality emerged from the church, community, family, the state, and the individual. Nevertheless, as is demonstrated by the history of sexuality, the major changes resonate through the individual and make it more confusing to tell whether the social changes start when the individual’s sexuality ends (Primoratz, 2013). Same-sex marriage is defined as a union that involves two people of the same sex living together and assumes a family formation. In short, it is, ideally, marriage between people of the same sex. It is consummated via civil ceremony or even in a religious setup. The idea of same-sex marriage entails lots of moral, religious, and legal intrigues and debates across the globe. The moral standing of such unions has been hotly debated and even contested in some quarters. Those who criticize same-sex marriages brand it as an unnatural and immoral act. Those who support, on the other hand, insist that there is nothing immoral about the whole arrangement because it is covered by the doctrine of human rights. What is interesting is that it is still widely unknown to many people that the issue of same-sex marriage is not new to humanity. The practice was common during the early Roman Empire (Koppelman, 2014).
The debate on whether same-sex marriage is morally acceptable has erupted in the 21st century. There are cultures in the west which believe that marriage between people of the same sex is morally defensible and should be legal. The same advocates have used the human rights argument to champion for the same and encourage it across the globe. Developing countries have, however, been widely opposed to the phenomenon. Various religious groups have also vehemently opposed the practice in their communities and elsewhere. The argument is the same old stand that the practice is unnatural, immoral, and against God’s design of things. This paper supports the thinking that same-sex marriages are not defensible morally. It additionally attempts to show that the practice is not entirely a western born phenomenon but that it has been in existence for long, even in some African settings, albeit in subtle forms (Ellison, 2012).
Marriage between people of the same sex triggers moral questions. The concept of sexual morality is still hotly contested in ethical discussions. At the core of the debates are questions such as “at what point and circumstances are sexual activity permissible and acceptable?”, “who should one engage in sexual activity with?” for what reason should one engage in sex?”, “which body parts should be involved in sexual activity?” and “for how long is one supposed to engage in sexual activity?” From a philosophical viewpoint, responses to these questions could be derived from Kantian, situationalsm, Thomistic natural law, and deontologism, among others. Nevertheless, this paper intends to deal with the moral concerns raised and dismissed by critics and advocates of same-sex marriage practice (Ellison, 2012).
One of the commonest objections raised against the practice of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, in general, is that it is not natural. The phrase “unnatural” has been analyzed in three perspectives by James Rachels and Start Rachels (2012). To begin with, they argue that a human trait could be considered unnatural if it is not found in most people. Given this first argument, same-sex marriage could be regarded as unnatural because most people do not practice it. However, the authors say that the position is not a strong ground to reject same-sex marriage because, for instance, being left-handed puts you among the few who operate as such. Yet it is not a phenomenon that any right-thinking person should reject. It is just like being naturally exceptionally tall or exceptionally nice to people. These traits seem unnatural but do not warrant rejection. The second argument presented by the authors is that the meaning of the phrase “unnatural” could be linked with the function of something (Rachels&Rachels, 2012).
They further postulate that each part of the human body seems to serve a specific purpose. Thus, the purpose of the genitals on humans is to procreate. Thus, gayism is unnatural because it is an activity that is not connected to the intended purpose of the genitals. They argue that it is still erroneous to condemn gay sex this way because if it must be judged as such, then several other occurrences should be judged the same way, but they are not. They cite examples of oral sex, masturbation, use of condoms, sex during pregnancy, artificial insemination, and when a woman reaches menopause as some examples of practices that serve no purpose, or deviate from the purpose of the organs and sex â€“ procreation. The latter practices should then be viewed as just as bad as homosexuality (Rachels&Rachels, 2012).
Similarly, Seth Milstein faults considering sex as made for procreation, and thus marriages between people of the same sex cannot produce children. Milstein wonders if straight couples should be prohibited from marrying if they are incapable of bearing children biologically or simply decide not to have them. He further argues that there are many legal gains that heterosexual couples who bear no children enjoy. These include joint tax return, hospital visitation rights, spouse welfare benefits, and inheritance if estate. Thus, if the argument that the fundamental purpose of marriage is procreation, then the benefits towards such couples should be retracted. It should be noted that the likes of Milstein and others who do not seem to subscribe to the fact that every body’s part has its function nor that human activity has a goal, should examine the structure of a human being and realize just how unnatural homosexuality and same-sex marriage is (Millstein, 2014).
For most westerners, it does not matter who you engage in a relationship that would lead to marriage. The western minded individual has been attuned to know that it is their right to marry whoever they wish irrespective of their gender. This viewpoint is a libertarian one that grants one the right to do whatever they wish with their body as long as it does not harm society in any way. People with such a view have argued loudly why some people think it is odd to have lunch with someone of the same sex but unacceptable to have sex with them. They ask why one should not have sex with another of the same sex for the sake of deriving pleasure only. They say, after all, those who play football, basketball, and other recreational activities do it for pleasure. Thus, for the westerner, sex is not just for procreation. It is also for pleasure and is considered an inalienable personal right (Akpan, 2017)
The human right faÃ§ade is used as a weapon to defend and popularize what is naturally immoral. For instance, former president Barrack Obama was not inclined to legalizing same-sex unions. He was, however, subjected to pressure from political groups from the western axis and cultures until he gave in. Therefore, 26th June 2015, The Supreme Court ordered that same-sex marriage was a right of every individual and that it should be considered legal. Same-sex marriages were then legalized. The former president received praise from several western quarters for having openly supported gay marriages. It is noteworthy that the US is more of a role model for a lot of other countries. Other countries look up to the US for protection and guidance on many issues, including social problems. Owing to the latter fact, many countries in Europe and Oceania followed suit by legalizing same-sex marriages. The move has also affected African countries (Morini, 2017).
This paper argues that the human rights fad that justifies same-sex marriages is an elixir of sorts. It is more like a flavor that cheats one into swallowing something that s other-wise bitter and harmful. Same-sex marriage is wrong and a slap on the sensibility of humanity. If male animals do not engage in same-sex relationships, how would it be that human beings would think it is a natural thing to do? Why would humans think it is okay to marry another man? If a man is part of nature’s setup, then he should understand that there is a perfect natural order in which everything was meant for a purpose, including man and woman (Akpan, 2017). We surely do not use our hands to walk, or our legs to hold things.
If we use some of our bodies for functions that aren’t specific, then we should be aware that it is not natural to do so. If we came across a man with full breasts with milk in them, medics would consider such a development abnormal, hence not natural. The chances are that there would have to be an effort to correct the physiology of such a man. If that be the case, then why does it not occur to supporters of same-sex marriage that two men sleeping with one another are sickening and abnormal? Is it not indecent and immoral (Akpan, 2017).
In the same breath, I think that same-sex marriage practices witnessed in some Sub-Saharan communities are cultural anomie. The argument in these arrangements is that they perpetuate lineage. Since most Africans consider marriage as an arrangement for procreation, then female same-sex marriage, where a woman married to another woman permits her mate to have sex with the husband of the other for procreation, is outright anomie. It is so because the same cultures treat adultery as immoral. Yet, the wives married by females are allowed to engage in acceptable adultery to procure heirs for the perpetuation of family lineage (Akpan, 2017).
Furthermore, I think that same-sex marriages between females are promiscuous. It is also unfortunate that the wives of such female husbands consider themselves as freer, socially, compared to those bound in marriage to male husbands. Such wives are usually not limited to one sexual partner as the case in heterosexual marriages. Such a scenario is a clear immoral setup. While it may also be natural to sympathize with women without children having to procure wives, the immorality cannot be swept under the carpet. Therefore, I think that allowing same-sex marriage even among females for the sake of procreation and perpetuation of lineage is an immoral engagement. Such practices are also likely to encourage the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Hence, they should be discouraged (Akpan, 2017).
The difference between same-sex marriages as practiced in the western world and Africa has been highlighted. In the western sphere, homosexual marriage is popular. The practice is fired by the human rights fad, that it is a fundamental human right to do what one wants with their body. In the latter case, same-sex marriage is not based on sexual satisfaction but an alternative of ensuring continuity of a lineage and for procreation. This paper posits that although gays may have developed feelings for which they love, and would want an attachment with those they love, it is still immoral to go on and do so because it is unnatural and hence unacceptable. The human rights fad of the right to marry is a misinterpretation of what was originally meant. The misinterpretation is considered an elixir by the author. Same-sex marriage should not be packaged beautifully through the argument of the so-called fundamental rights, to convince the world to adopt it when the content is bitter and undesirable. It should, therefore, not be made a global trend and practice because it is anomie. The practice in some Sub-Saharan regions should also be discouraged because it is still immoral, irrespective of the intention of wanting to perpetuate a lineage, ensuring procreation and providing a chance for childless women to have children.
Akpan, C. O. (2017). The Morality of Same-Sex Marriage: How Not to Globalize a Cultural Anomie. Online Journal of Health Ethics, 13(1), 2.
Ellison, M. (2012). Is Same-Sex Marriage a “Must” or a “Bust”? In Making Love Just: Sexual Ethics for Perplexing Times (pp. 59-76). Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress. DOI:10.2307/j.ctt22nm74r.8
Koppelman, A. (2014). Judging the case against same-sex marriage. U. Ill. L. Rev., 431.
Millstein, S. (2014). How to argue for gay marriage and win any debate with a hater. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/15957-how-to-argue-for-gay-marriage-and-win-any-debate-with-a-hater
Morini, M. (2017). Same-sex marriage and other moral taboos: cultural acceptances, change in American public opinion, and the evidence from the opinion polls. European Journal of American studies, 11(11-3).
Primoratz, I. (2013). Sexual Morality. In International Encyclopedia of Ethics, H. Lafollette (Ed.). DOI:10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee127
Rachels, J., &Rachels, S. (2012). The Elements of Moral Philosophy. (7th ed). New York: McGraw Hill Press.