10 Facts For Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is an extremely controversial topic. There are very strong feelings on both sides of the issue. It is an issue that entangles legal rights and religious beliefs, always a volatile mix. This article will list ten facts that are commonly given as reasons for gay marriage.

  1. Divorce protection. Married couples who decide to end their relationship must do so through the court system. This protects the two parties from inequitable division of assets and liabilities that have been held jointly. This protection is not available to unmarried gay couples or unmarried heterosexual couples, though they can certainly enter into contractual agreements in regards to their relationships that would provide the same or better protection to their rights.
  2. Bereavement leave.  Whether it is paid or unpaid, almost every employer allows for time off from work for the bereavement of your spouse or other close family members. Couples, whether gay or straight, who do not have a marriage certificate, are dependent upon the compassion of their employers to provide them a similar benefit, should their life partner die.
  3. Survivor benefits. Social security and many pension plans provide survivor benefits to surviving spouses, another benefit not available to unmarried couples.
  4. Tax benefits.  There are many different tax benefits that are offered to married couples, such as filing jointly, that a gay couple does not have access to without marriage. Again, the same is true for unmarried heterosexuals.
  5. Insurance benefits. Although this has changed with a few employers and insurance companies, most insurance benefits that are available to an employee’s spouse or family members are not available to an employee’s life partner.
  6. Sick leave to care for a partner. State and federal laws provide protection for worker’s jobs when they need to take time off to care for family members for medical reasons. Without the benefit of marriage, these laws do not provide the same protection for unmarried couples.
  7. Stability of relationships. There are those who would argue that entering into a marriage relationship that is recognized legally, and by society in general, would bring greater stability to some gay couples. With the high rate of divorce and marriage conflict among heterosexual couples, this argument would imply that the same would not apply to gay couples, which seems unlikely.
  8. Validation of family unit. This reason for gay marriage is much more societal than the ones that relate to monetary and legal benefits listed above. Proponents of gay marriage would argue that a legal and recognized marriage would legitimize their family unit in the eyes of society, which would be emotionally beneficial to a gay couple and any children in the household. The truth to this can only be theorized, as with any other major change to the norm of society.
  9. Relational ties to extended family.  Conventional marriage relationships become easily translated into inlaws, aunts and uncles. Non-married couples can be left without these inclusive family titles that have always come via marriage. With the increase of heterosexual couples that have chosen not to marry, this issue, again, is not exclusive to gay couples.
  10. Cultural change.  When all the reasons for gay marriage are brought together, they boil down to this one. Proponents for gay marriage believe that there needs to be a change in how modern society views and relates to homosexuals. Legalizing gay marriage is considered to be a major step in bringing about that change. It is also the reason why those who do not feel that homosexuality is acceptable, for religious or other reasons, take such a strong stand against it.

The affect of the legalization of gay marriage on society is something that can only be speculated at. First of all, no one knows how many gay couples would choose to enter into a marriage relationship, if it were available. The initial influx into the marriage ranks might be large to begin with, but whether or not the trend would continue is hard to judge. The financial impact of such a major shift in private and governmental benefits cannot be accurately calculated, but it would certainly be significant, as would the impact on society in general. The legalization of gay marriage, as shown above, would be a major cultural change that affects many more lives than the gay community itself. The debate over this issue will not be quickly or easily settled, nor should it be.

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