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Empowerment Channel Group

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Archipp Tikhonov
Archipp Tikhonov

Essay Questions On Gay Marriage

We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, offer here some basic truths to assist people in understanding Catholic teaching about marriage and to enable them to promote marriage and its sacredness.

essay questions on gay marriage


Marriage,as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children intothe world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1602-1605). These truths about marriageare present in the order ofnature and can be perceived by the light of human reason. They have been confirmed by divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture.

These biblical passages help us to appreciate God's plan for marriage. It is an intimate union in which the spouses give themselves, as equal persons, completely and lovingly to one another. By their mutual gift of self, they cooperate with God in bringing children to life and in caring for them.

The natural structure of human sexuality makes man and woman complementary partners for the transmission of human life. Only a union of male and female can express the sexual complementarity willed by God for marriage. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of sexual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build up the bond between husband and wife (see CCC, nos. 1639-1640).

In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity (see CCC, no. 1643). They are equal as human beings but different as man and woman, fulfilling each other through this natural difference. This unique complementarity makes possible the conjugal bond that is the core of marriage.

Across times, cultures, and very different religious beliefs, marriage is the foundation of the family. The family, in turn, is the basic unit of society. Thus, marriage is a personal relationship with public significance. Marriage is the fundamental pattern for male-female relationships. It contributes to society because it models the way in which women and men live interdependently and commit, for the whole of life, to seek the good of each other.

The marital union also provides the best conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public institution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good.

Laws play an educational role insofar as they shape patterns of thought and behavior, particularly about what is socially permissible and acceptable. In effect, giving same-sex unions the legal status of marriage would grant official public approval to homosexual activity and would treat it as if it were morally neutral.

When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution ofmarriage is devalued and further weakened. The weakening of this basic institution at all levels and by various forces has already exacted too high a social cost.

Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage. Marriage, whose nature and purposes are established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children. The union of husband and wife becomes, over a lifetime, a great good for themselves, their family, communities, and society. Marriage is a gift to be cherished and protected.

The French parliament approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in the country, a policy favored by more than two-thirds of French citizens; but reaction was far from unanimously supportive in France. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens took to the streets to voice opposition to gay marriage in some of the largest protests seen in France in years. In a well-written essay of five pages, present an argument for why gay marriage is either (a) consistent with French culture and values or (b) not consistent with French culture and values. Be sure to draw on specific examples and illustrations from French history. (5 pages, 4 sources, MLA style)

The French parliament recently approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in the country, a policy favored by a significant majority of French citizens. Public acceptance of the legislation was anything but unanimous, however, with hundreds-of-thousands of French citizens taking to the streets to voice their opposition to aspects of the bill. With the protests representing some of the largest public demonstrations seen in France in years, the question arises as to whether gay marriage is consistent or inconsistent with French culture and values. Interestingly, if one traces the evolutionary direction of French law concerning LGBT rights, it becomes evident that gay marriage is consistent with French culture and values, especially in terms of tolerance, open-mindedness, and respect for personal rights to privacy.

Over the past three decades, significant legal advancements have been made with respect to rights for the LGBT community. The trends demonstrate how French cultural values for tolerance and open-mindedness are engendering respect and acceptance for homosexuality. In 1982, for instance, the French government equalized the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexuals at fifteen (Hughes and Reader 260). In 1999, the civil solidarity contract (PACS) was passed. For the first time in French history, homosexual (non-married) couples were allowed to enter into a civil solidarity contract and receive the same legal rights and protections as married heterosexual couples - joint tax return filing and other legal rights and options (Cody). Legislation supporting gay marriage was introduced in early 2013 and approved in the National Assembly in April, 2013. Thereby, French cultural values for tolerance, open-mindedness, and respect for personal rights to privacy ultimately prevailed in making gay marriage lawful in France.

In presenting a final piece of evidence to show that gay marriage is consistent with French culture and values, it is widely recognized worldwide that Muslims are almost uniformly against homosexuality and gay marriage. In a recent study, 500 British Muslims were surveyed about their attitudes towards homosexuality. None of the British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable; by comparison 35 percent of French Muslims found homosexual acts to be acceptable (Butt). The point, more specifically, is that the cultural values and acceptance of homosexuality are so prevalent in France that even traditionally conservative Muslims are influenced by them. This says almost everything with respect to the claim that French culture and values are consistent with the idea of gay marriage.

The author argues that the greatest potential for changes in social meaning will arise in three areas for which there is empirical evidence of significant differences between gay and straight couples: division of household labor, sexual exclusivity, and childrearing. In each, although recent data indicate some signs of converging behaviors between the two types of couples, major differences appear likely to continue. While the number of same-sex couples in the population is too small to produce significant change in overall patterns of behavior, the issue of gay marriage has generated so much attention and debate that a mixed process of gay assimilation to and effect on the social meaning of marriage is a reasonable expectation.

First, we may see an increasing uptake by different-sex couples of marriage equivalent and marriage alternative statuses (e.g., domestic partnerships) that have grown out of LGBT rights efforts. If present demographic trends continue, the group of different-sex couples most likely to seek access to these new statuses will be persons middle-aged or older.

Second, federal recognition of same-sex marriage, which will occur if the Defense of Marriage Act is invalidated or repealed, could significantly increase the number of same-sex couples who marry. The end of DOMA is also likely to further complicate the law of interstate recognition, as more gay couples have their marriages recognized for federal law purposes, such as tax, but not under state laws that regulate divorce, custody and property division. Since 60 per cent of same-sex marriages are performed for out-of-state residents, the complexity of federal-state conflict regarding recognition of particular marriages is likely to increase dramatically.

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and Washington DC, but was banned in the remaining 13. US public opinion had shifted significantly over the years, from 27% approval of gay marriage in 1996 to 55% in 2015, the year it became legal throughout the United States, to 61% in 2019.

Proponents of legal gay marriage contend that gay marriage bans are discriminatory and unconstitutional, and that same-sex couples should have access to all the benefits enjoyed by different-sex couples.


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