The legal and cultural consensus that denies the validity of same-sex relationships and marriages has been confronted and capsized over the course of the last five decades. As a result, the term marriage has evolved from its conventional man-woman relationship into a more inclusive expression that takes account of other interactions in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. This evolution has created an avenue for the formulation and implementation of same-sex marriage policies, which have in turn changed the political landscape of love. However, redefining the elements of love and relationships has been a colossal encounter between scholars and activists of the opposing sides. Among the issues that they have raised, equality with regard to gender, ages, abilities, cultures, and races has remained the most instrumental in shaping various concerns about social justice, inclusion, and human rights in sexuality matters. At the same time, conservative individuals have demonstrated different motivations behind their opposing influence on the implementation of same-sex policies. With regard to the argument, this paper shall elaborate on how the same-sex marriage policy has impacted the politics of love, the policy’s history, its impact on the societal norms, its critiques, as well as its significance in the social conformation to equity, inclusion, justice, human rights, and representation.
The origin of the same-sex marriage policy dates back to when California Supreme Court made a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage on May 15, 2008. The decision was marked by mixed commentaries from prominent media outlets, organizations, and common interest groups. The Family Research Council was particularly quick to issue a press release that read “the California Supreme court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process, and the right of the people to affect change in public policy.” At the same time, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund applauded the decision, citing it as an act of the court’s fulfilment of its traditional duty. The two entities represented the opposing forces in the issue and a political divide between conservative groups and those seeking the pursuance of same-sex marriage policy. Even so, the issue of same-sex marriages had begun to manifest in the American society as early as the 1970s when two University of Minnesota students James Michael McConnell and Richard John Jack Baker applied for a marriage license but got denied. Due to strong conventional norms and legal boundaries, objections to such court decisions were not possible until the beginning of the 21st century when some states started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The acceptance of gay and lesbian communities to achieve same-sex marriages by law was seen as a move to protect the rights of minorities in order to fulfil the government’s obligation to uphold equality in the society.
Today, the same-sex marriage policy has influenced the politics of love in various ways. As opposed to the past, the law now plays a key role in outlining the construction of marriage and sexuality. For example, the law characterizes the latter based on behaviors and practices, attraction and orientation, social attitudes and norms, legal and political structures, as well as sexual identity and expression that constrain individual identities. This has widened the definition of love and altered the meaning of care among members of the society. Many people have moved away from the concept of child-bearing and child care to adopt new ideologies such as those of gay and lesbian communities. This transformation is much evident in the way the modern society promotes the concept of love via movies, novels, and popular music. Although the change has maintained the connotation of love as an experience to enjoy, pursue and maintain conventional ideologies of love like the assumption that women and children need men for emotional and economic survival, it has deemed some traditional philosophies invalid. A case in point is the evolutionary theory of love which claims that love is a social glue that bonds a man and a woman or parents with their children. Overall same-sex marriages have changed the way the society perceives sexuality and marriage.
Many scholars, activist, and leaders have shared their religious views about the implementation of same-sex marriages. In fact, the issue has raised one of the most renowned debates in the political landscape of love – the same-sex marriage debate. While some same-sex marriage activists have wished to exclude certain region and moral viewpoints from this debate, other scholars and leaders have cited it as a necessary component. Those who have wished to remove the religious elements have claimed that religion is the primary obstacle to the redefinition of marriage so that it can include same-sex unions. However, activists have mixed religion with politics and law in a bid to support same-sex marriages. Apart from the topic of religion, critiques of this policy claim that the immediate effects of its implementation would lead to the classification of homosexual and heterosexual relationships as one and the same among school-going children, the decline of birth rates and increase of fatherless children, the promotion of infidelity, and the subsidization of homosexual relationships by consumers, taxpayers, and businesses. These subjects have raised debates as to whether the policy of same-sex marriage is beneficial or destructive to the society with regard to the productivity of the nation.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand the same-sex marriage policy in light of larger concerns about social justice, equity, inclusion, human rights, or representation. Perhaps the most crucial aspect to consider is that the policy is instrumental in the promotion of equality and non-discrimination in the society. Millions of members of the gay and lesbian community contribute to the nation’s way of life economically, politically, culturally, socially, spiritually, and vocationally. Therefore, it is important to protect the welfare of these minority groups in the same way that it is essential to defend the prosperity of different racial groups. Secondly, the same-sex marriage policy helps to foster the physical, social, and psychological wellbeing amongst people from LGBT communities. The denial of rights and benefits to such people constitutes discrimination and institutional exclusion, which poses significant negative impacts to the nation in matters pertaining health, psychological distress, and social conflicts. Lastly, the policy ensures the strengthening of international reputation, and national identity when it comes to fostering the true freedom of religion. Religious freedoms allow people from all races, genders, and social groups to pursue the practice of their religion without legal interference. The legalisation of same-sex marriages removes all religious notions that may have shaped the current laws in order to treat all people equally.