Sociological Forces That Have Generated Controversy over Same-Sex Marriages and Civil Unions in the United States
A same-sex marriage is a legally accepted marriage amongst two partners of the same gender. In same-sex marriages, the spouses have the same benefits and rights as lawfully married opposite-sex spouses (Herek, 2006). The benefits are such as tax relief, access to domestic associations’ laws, inheritance rights, spousal benefits, and spousal testimonial privilege. Same-sex marriages have always been ahighly controversial issue, one that politically polarizes matters concerning American public policy. Despite all the public attention, or maybe arising from it, the hostility that many people express against the institution of same-sex marriage seems to surpassthe support from the masses. The reasons many people give for their hostility towards same-sex marriages tend to drift towards the sphere of their individual values rather than that of public reason.
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Social forces that generate the controversy over same-sex marriages in the United States are such as moral pluralism, public reason, and religious arguments (Avery, Chase, Johansson, Litvak, Montero & Wydra, 2007).. The idea of the need to approach the social issue of same-sex marriages from a public perspective arises when individuals contemplate the reality of moral pluralism. Moral pluralism bases on the understandingthat regardless of a liberal society characterized by the free exercise of human conscience, people ought to follow a certain framework of sound moral values and judgments. However, human rationality often limits the diversity in the frame of judgment. United States is a society characterized by remarkable pluralism (Herek, 2006) where public reasoning often emerges as the best way to negotiate social and ethical dilemmas such as same-sex marriages.
Religious views greatly endorse some of the public arguments negotiating the moral uprightness of same-sex marriages. Such arguments purport to make claim on the naturalness or unnaturalness of same-sex marriage in the understanding of religious doctrines.Thisinevitablysolidifies the question of nature relative to comprehensive traditions on homosexuality.
Ramifications of Civil Unions on Society
A civil union provides legitimate recognition to a couples’ relationship and provides legal rights to the same-sex spouses similar to the rights accorded to spouses in different-sex marriages. In the United States, same-sex spouses who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage more often seek after civil unions (Avery, Chase, Johansson, Litvak, Montero & Wydra, 2007). The benefits of a civil union vary among different states that permit same-sex civil unions. The reimbursements may include benefits relating to title, property ownership, and loss of consortium, emergency care, and adoption.
Civil unions help fight the idea of a society whereby one segment of society has permission to enter into a marriage contract while another segment of same-sex couples lacks permit for the marriage contract but allowed to enter into a civil union. Civil unions provide same-sex spouses with similar rights of a marriage under a different name. Civil unions seek to create a society without a social stigma against homosexuality (Goldberg-Hiller, 2004).
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