Same sex marriages, which are also referred to as gay marriages, are legal unions between persons that have the same gender identity or biological sex (Lahey & Alderson, 2010). The American society is divided with regard to opinion on same sex marriages. A case in point is the divergent reactions during the last presidential campaign when the incumbent president revealed that he supported gay marriage. Same sex marriages are widely accepted today when compared to several years ago. It has even been legalized in some states. However, as much as people have become more tolerant towards same sex marriages not everyone treats same sex marriages as normal. Everybody has their own beliefs and opinions as regards same sex marriages. This paper seeks to compare and contrast same sex marriages with heterosexual relationships.
Firstly, same sex marriages are only legalized in eighteen states in the U.S. Colorado was the latest state to legalize same sex marriages. However, heterosexual relationships are legal in all the fifty states in USA (Lahey & Alderson, 2010).Similarly, heterosexual marriages are allowed in all countries. However, only twelve countries have legalized same sex marriages nationwide; Belgium, Argentina, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, South Africa and Uruguay. Same sex marriages are also legal in parts of U.S.A, parts of Brazil and parts of Mexico especially Mexico City (Lahey & Alderson, 2010). In the United States there are some laws that do not recognize same sex marriages. A good example is the Defence of Marriage (DOMA) Law. The law only allows a married American citizen to sponsor their spouse for immigration into the U.S if the spouse is of the opposite sex. Similarly, the General Accounting Office has a list of 1049 protections and benefits obtainable byheterosexual married couples. The benefits include family discounts, survivor benefits, family insurance obtained through an employer among others. From the wording, it is apparent that same sex married couples are excluded.
Same sex marriages that wish to raise children can only adopt. This is because it is biologically impossible for same sex couples to conceive. Apart from Portugal, all the other countries and states that allow same sex marriages also allow same sex couples to jointly adopt children. In some instances same sex couples may opt for intro fertilization or artificial insemination. However, this option is only viable for lesbian couples due to biological limitations. Male same sex couples may opt to use surrogate mothers. On the contrary most heterosexual marriages prefer raising children that they procreate. Although in some situations, heterosexual couples are forced to adopt children if they cannot procreate for medical reasons. Artificial insemination and surrogacy are also options for heterosexual parents who cannot procreate for medical reasons depending on the nature of the medical problem. It is also not uncommon to find heterosexual marriages with both biological and adopted children.
On the same vein, there are differences with regards to parenting. Whereas in heterosexual marriages children are brought up with parents of different sexes, in same sex marriages children are brought up with parents of a single sex. It is often argued that children raised in heterosexual marriages grow up into responsible and well-balanced citizens than children brought up in homosexual marriages. This is because children need both male and female role models to learn their roles in society properly. They argue that children raised in same sex marriages are likely to seek same sex relationships when they grow up. However, these arguments are based on personal opinions and belief since they are not backed by any data. In fact, scientific research has consistently shown that there are no significant differences between children brought up by same sex couples and those brought up by heterosexual couples.
Various studies have also shown that same sex marriages and heterosexual marriages are different with regards to relationship duration and health risk. Generally, heterosexual marriages tend to last longer than same sex relationships despite the high divorce rate. A survey conducted by the National Centre for Health indicates that 66 per cent of heterosexual marriages last at least ten years and 50 percent last at least twenty years (Dailey, 2013). Various studies on same sex marriages show a different picture. An online census of gay/lesbian couples that surveyed about eight thousand couples revealed that a mere 15 per cent indicated their relationship has lasted for at least 12 years. Similarly, a survey which was conducted among homosexual couple couples in the Netherlands revealed that most same sex marriages have an average lifespan of two years. Another glaring difference is health risks. A national survey sponsored by the Journal of Sex revealed that 77 per cent of men in heterosexual marriages and 80 per cent of women remain faithful to their partner (Dailey, 2013). On the contrary, a Dutch study sponsored by the Journal of AIDS revealed that same sex partners in steady relationships have at least eight sexual partners in a year (Dailey, 2013). This increases their risk to contract AIDS and other STDs.
In conclusion, there are various similarities and differences between same sex marriages and heterosexual marriages. They include; jurisdictions that they are legalized, recognition by the law, adoption of children, parenting, marriage lifespan and health risks.
- Dailey, T. J. (2013, January 0). Family Research Council. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from www.frc.org:
Lahey, K. A., & Alderson, K. (2010). Same-Sex Marriage. New York: Insomniac Press.
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