Prof Joel Levise
ENG 3010 – Job #4: Argument
Two women walking in the hall, beaming with love, making jokes and sharing their laughter with the world around them, pass you. They don’t acknowledge you, a man, who is an orthodox catholic, single and acknowledging them. You stop and stare while they proceed. You notice they are showing the behavior lovers show. This, to you, is not a relationship; this is a same sex relationship. It is easy to assume that sexual identity and sexual orientation are one in the same. Sexual identity is ones gender based identity defined more by social standards based upon sex. On the other hand sexual orientation is the attraction to the opposite, same or both sexes debatably based on biological makeup. The lack of understanding in these definitions is why the American public hold on to traditional values in reference to same sex marriage rights. The public must have a social education shift to promote legislation legalizing same sex marriage.
The man who sees the women in a same sex relationship as opposed to a relationship has different definitions for them based upon sexual orientation. This is the key concept in the ban of same-sex marriage. The collective public recognizes opposite-sex relationships as acceptable although the same does not hold true for same-sex relationships. Whitney Mitchell in Deconstructing Gender, Sex, and Sexuality as Applied to Identity opens her piece noting “we as humans have a need to identify ourselves and others in broad and exclusionary/inclusionary terms” (432). This is a logos appeal to the need for logical processing of social ideals, identity and behavior. Simply put humans like to define the people around them for social superiority/inferiority. Eluding the religious debate, the biological standard is that relationships should be maintained between men and women, exclusively, to promote procreation and the survival of the species. Some studies conclude that children raised in households with their, non-abusive, able-bodied, biological parents fair better than their counterparts raised by single parent, same sex parents, and non biological parents. This is inarguably the best condition to maintain a strong race of children. Proponents of traditional marriage argue that changing the definition of marriage would affect our species survival negatively. Although the definition of marriage has changed throughout history, modern knowledge defines it as the formal union of a woman and a man as husband and wife. Those terms, husband and wife, are rooted in terms of economic provisions. Though we have adapted in many ways, women are still seen as inferior regarding providing for families. It is known that on the aggregate single women have more difficulty raising children in terms of income. Because socially women are still regarded as inferior and subjected to a different set of standards traditional marriage is held as the best way to ensure a good breed of family. The argument against same-sex marriage is to maintain marriage between men and women so the traditional family unit is not lost and the best species survives. Proponents of the ban believe redefining marriage would lead to slippery slope fallacies. They fear more gay children, more sexually abused children, women who will not procreate and most notably weaker boys who grow to be weaker men that do not perpetuate sexist or misogynistic ideals that women and their children should be cared for by men. The fears are not far fetched as being raised by two men or two women or a transgender parent does provide a different dynamic for a child.
As adults are not adapted to non-traditional relationships there are more social problems with same sex marriage than opposite sex marriages. Because people are not comfortable in many ways or are ignorant of the effects of parenting on children maintaining a superior or better species is made more difficult for same-sex couples. While couples in some places are allowed to adopt children as a same sex couple in other places it is difficult or banned altogether. Sometimes same-sex families fight systems to adopt and have the same rights as traditional couples for their children. Though when problems occur it causes for a more tumultuous childhood. Legal battles over children are not conducive to producing children that will lead healthy lives. The likelihood of gay couples producing more gay children or being more likely to sexually abuse their children is not likely at all. Children raised in homosexual households will experience different social relationships. This could cause issues in children’s social circles that have families or parents who are not ready to discuss the homosexual world to them or cause parents to misinterpret a child’s behavior as homosexual. The community could ostracize the child of a homosexual couple if the community interprets their behavior and or parents as a danger. Introducing bi/homosexuality to children in a heterosexual world is daunting and difficult to explain to children much less explaining heterosexuality to them. Our society is built on male and female paradigms. In color, language, appearance, voice, touch, sight and many other exhaustive ways we are not ready to lift bans on same-sex marriage without proper education.
The paradigm shift of practices based on traditions to those based on new knowledge and principles would provide for a new dynamic in becoming a better species. “[I]f the class of “man” were to disappear, if it were no longer used, then the same would occur with the class of “woman.” Gender would no longer be able to leave anyone behind, condemning them as sick or mentally ill for not fitting standards… Identity could exist independently of gender.” (432). Ridding of exclusionary/inclusionary social classes based on sexual identity and orientation lets individuals define themselves in terms of choice. This would make for a better species with confidence, less need to rebel, less hostility and hate and less war over social difference. A gradual shift of shedding sexual class identity would properly educate the public to allow for same-sex marriage without social ostracism for its participants. If our societies can move beyond “gender = sex” we can have more political discourse on issues that affect all on the planet instead of what primarily affects state laws and personal rights (432).
The right to marry, now, is exclusive to the sexual identities of man and woman but what if you’re not born a woman and become one and then marry a man? Is that fitting of the definition of marriage? Is sexual identity subjective to biological determinants? These very questions are subjectively defined and highlight how dependent people are on the perception of sexual identity based on social standards. Its is apparent that sexual identity and sexual orientation “are inefficient for identifying people. They tell us nothing about a person because they are all noninclusive concepts created by humans out of convenience and discomfort.” Knowing the formula for a superior species is much more comfortable than trial and error. There is no conclusive information that the species will have better survival rates if homosexuals are not allowed to marry.
The survival of the human species is a trial and error experiment by which adaptations have aided in success. Children are trial and error experiments. Most parents do not like to admit that but aside from feedings, health and cognitive skills people on average have very little training on how to socially acclimate their children in society. It is nurtured behavior built on tradition (seldom-empirical knowledge or principles) that parents use to teach their children roles and definition of sexual identity and orientation. While certain nurtured behaviors are burned into the psyche much is adaptable. As there was once an age when women were more subjugated than present, there were sure to be some men who felt the injustice but could not speak out because of social standards. Those men adapted with little quake to the social equality of women while the status quo oppressor needed law enforcement for coaxing. The very same concept of bandwagon fear/hate is the moniker for racism in America. When laws prohibited civil injustices, many businesses and individuals had to adapt to the social changes in an about face manner. Once affirmative action laws encouraged businesses and individuals to accept other races the ignorance of the long time epithets was admonished. While currently America is not a post racism society, overt forms are not tolerated and racism in itself is constantly adapting. Having a more successful species is not based on what definitions are fit or social rules we follow, it is based on the evolution of biological and social constructs and adaptations.
Adapting the definition of marriage to fit two people who by law become a family entity will be as groundbreaking as defining an African American man as 5/5ths instead of 3/5ths. Though that was not immediately accepted as a social norm it had adaptations leading up to banning Jim Crow laws, Civil Rights legislation and affirmative action laws. Once we stop defining social groups in exclusionary and inclusionary terms the definitions of marriage can shift to suit current social paradigms. Sexual identity and orientation are currently ways we make sense of the world and our nature but are not bane of human existence. While we must adapt there must be an education process and a steady shift to allow for principle and knowledge based practices in the survival of the species. The survival depends on a ratio of education about who we are as men or women, who are, besides some chemical makeup, the same? No the survival depends on our differences and acknowledging that healthy relationships and families are not about sex.
Mitchell, Whitney. “Deconstructing Gender, Sex, and Sexuality as Applied to Identity.” In Perspectives on Contemporary Issues: Readings Across the Disciplines. 5th ed. ed. Katherine Anne Ackley. Boston: Wadsworth Cenage Learning. 2009. 431-433.