Freedom of Religion and Gay Marriage

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Updated: Aug 20, 2023
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Category: Freedom
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2021/03/27
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This paper relates to religion in a very important way. Gay marriage has always been a controversial topic in the United States (and still very much is), and the religious aspect of this lifestyle remains debatable to this very day. While some religions are vehemently opposed to gay marriage, others are a little bit more flexible. There are only a few Christian religions in which marrying someone of the same gender is acceptable: two of those religions are Episcopalians and Presbyterians (‘Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Same-Sex Marriage’).

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These religions can give same-sex couples a marital “blessing”, instead of the full-fledged lavish religious wedding ceremony. Even though gay marriage is legal in all US states, some Christian religions still consider it morally wrong, and even grounds for excommunication. According to Genesis 2:24, ‘Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (‘Where in the Bible Does It Say That Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman? | Catholic Answers’). For someone with a religious upbringing, this signifies that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman, which is why some people find gay marriage unacceptable.

At the end of 1996, Hawaii became the first US state to recognize gay marriage. Same-sex marriage became legal in the United Kingdom in March 2014, and 1,409 gay marriages took place within the following three months (‘Female Same-sex Marriages More Likely to End in Divorce Than Male Ones, Figures Reveal’). Following that trend, gay marriage became legal in the US in the summer of 2015. Religious opponents of same-sex marriage include, but are not limited to, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. In Mississippi, where I was born and raised, gay marriage is legal, but highly frowned upon. Mississippi, along with other southern states like Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee, is known as the “Bible Belt”, a region where Protestant fundamentalism is an integral part of life. In 2016, a Southern Mississippi judge ruled that same-sex couples could legally adopt children in all 50 US states. Alabama is the staunchest US state against gay marriage; as of October 2016, eight Alabama counties still refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples wanting to get married in Alabama — despite the US Supreme Court ruling just over a year earlier making gay marriage legal throughout the United States.

The Netherlands became the first nation to legalize gay marriage back in 2000, and other countries within the European Union followed shortly thereafter. In the US, 4.3 million adults identify themselves as “not being in a romantic relationship with someone of the opposite gender.” and 1.1 million people are married to someone of the same gender (‘5 Facts About Same-sex Marriage’). According to the Office of National Statistics, more than ¾ of UK divorces between same-sex couples were between women. Out of these, 87 female unions ended compared to 25 male unions (‘Female Same-sex Marriages More Likely to End in Divorce Than Male Ones, Figures Reveal’).

Studies also show that gay couples tend to earn more money than straight couples. According to US News, the average income for gay couples is $94,000.00 per year, while the average income for straight couples stands at $86,000.00 per year. Almost half of gay couples have college degrees, versus less than a third of straight couples. A higher level of education often correlates with a higher salary. Gay women tend to earn an average of $38,000.00 per year, whereas straight women generally make approximately $30,000.00 per year. The average salary for a gay man is $48,000.00 per year, compared to an average salary of $47,000.00 for a straight man. The US Treasury Department asserts that married men with kids make $275,000.00 per year. Additionally, 183,230 gay married couples filed joint tax returns in 2014 (‘Married Gay Couples Beat Straight Couples in Income’). Studies indicate that same-sex couples also have a stronger participation in the labor force. In 2011, the participation rate for gay individuals was 82%, compared to a 69% rate for straight people (‘Gay-couples-more-educated-higher-income-than-heterosexual-couples’). This higher rate contributes to more stable homes for children, making it easier for gay couples to adopt in the United States. I hypothesize that this is why being raised in a same-sex relationship household can have a unique effect on a child.

According to Cornell University’s Public Policy Research Portal, children of same-sex couples fare pretty much the same as children of opposite-sex relationships. Out of 594,000 US same-sex couples, 115,000 have children. Between them, 16,000 same-sex couples have adopted 22,000 children. According to the American Psychological Association, the well-being of children has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of their parents. The APA opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, custody, and so on.

Some individuals and companies still give unfair treatment to gay individuals, which occasionally results in a discrimination lawsuit. While some privately-owned companies do indeed have the right to turn away people due to their sexual preference, it may not be the morally correct thing to do, regardless of one’s religious beliefs. An example of a gay discrimination case began in July 2012, with the case of a Colorado wedding cake baker named Jack Phillips, of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. He refused to bake a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple married in Massachusetts who wanted to celebrate their reception in Colorado with friends and family. Phillips refused to make them a cake on the grounds of his Christian religious beliefs forbidding gay marriage but told them they were welcome to purchase anything that was already made. Phillips ended up winning the case on the grounds of religious freedom (‘Masterpiece Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission’). Another case occurred in Kentucky when County Clerk Kim Davis declined to issue a marriage license to David Ermold and David Moore, a gay couple from Morehead, Kentucky, in August 2015 due to her religious beliefs. This led to her arrest, and she spent a week in jail for contempt. As a result, the names of County Clerks were removed from Kentucky Marriage Licenses indefinitely. However, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin praised her, and she was encouraged by Pope Francis to “stay strong” for upholding her belief against gay marriage in her county (Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor).

In conclusion, gay marriage remains a highly sensitive subject. It is important to respect people’s ways of life. Whether you’re pro-religion or pro-gay marriage, it is vital to respect an individual’s right to their own opinions and to respect each other as human beings.

Works Cited

  1. ‘5 Facts About Same-sex Marriage.’ Pew Research Center, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/26/same-sex-marriage/.
  2. Adoptions, Lifelong. ‘LGBT Adoption Statistics | Gay Adoption | Same Sex Adoption.’ LGBT Adoption | Gay & Lesbian Adoption | Infant Adoption, www.lifelongadoptions.com/lgbt-adoption/lgbt-adoption-statistics.
  3. AJ Willingham, CNN Design: India Hayes, CNN. ‘The First Amendment Doesn’t Guarantee You the Rights You Think It Does.’ CNN, 6 Sept. 2018, www.cnn.com/2017/04/27/politics/first-amendment-explainer-trnd/index.html.
  4. Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter. ‘Supreme Court Rules for Colorado Baker in Same-sex Wedding Cake Case.’ CNN, 4 June 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/06/04/politics/masterpiece-colorado-gay-marriage-cake-supreme-court/index.html.
  5. Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor. ‘Former Vatican Official Says Pope Knew About Meeting with Kim Davis.’ CNN, 2 Sept. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/09/01/world/vigano-pope-davis/index.html.
  6. ‘Female Same-sex Marriages More Likely to End in Divorce Than Male Ones, Figures Reveal.’ The Independent, 18 Oct. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lesbian-couples-more-likely-divorced-male-same-sex-marriages-uk-ons-figures-a8006741.html.
  7. ‘Gay Marriage Vs. the First Amendment.’ The Daily Beast, 22 Aug. 2014, www.thedailybeast.com/gay-marriage-vs-the-first-amendment.
  8. Index of /, www2.census.gov/cac/nac/meetings/2017-11/LGBTQ-families-factsheet.pdf.
  9. Index of /, www2.census.gov/cac/nac/meetings/2017-11/LGBTQ-families-factsheet.pdf.
  10. ‘Kids Can Thrive with Gay Parents.’ Psychology Today, 21 Nov. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/adopting-reason/201611/kids-can-thrive-gay-parents.
  11. Library, CNN. ‘Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts.’ CNN, 26 Aug. 2018, www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marriage-fast-facts/index.html.
  12. ‘Married Gay Couples Beat Straight Couples in Income.’ The Seattle Times, 12 Sept. 2016, www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/married-gay-couples-beat-straight-couples-in-income/.
  13. ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.’ Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 19 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece_Cakeshop_v._Colorado_Civil_Rights_Commission. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.
  14. ‘Religious Groups? Official Positions on Same-Sex Marriage.’ Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, 26 May 2015, www.pewforum.org/2012/12/07/religious-groups-official-positions-on-same-sex-marriage/.
  15. ‘Same-Sex Couples Can Now Adopt Children In All 50 States.’ HuffPost Australia, 1 Apr. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/mississippi-same-sex-adoption_us_56fdb1a3e4b083f5c607567f?section=australia.
  16. ‘Same-sex Marriage in the United States.’ Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 23 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.
  17. Southern Illinois University Law School, law.siu.edu/_common/documents/law-journal/articles-2017/winter2017/6%20-%20Weeden%20Proof.pdf.
  18. ‘What Does the Scholarly Research Say About the Well-being of Children with Gay or Lesbian Parents?’ What We Know, whatweknow.inequality.cornell.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-the-wellbeing-of-children-with-gay-or-lesbian-parents/.
  19. ‘Where in the Bible Does It Say That Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman? | Catholic Answers.’ Home | Catholic Answers, www.catholic.com/qa/where-in-the-bible-does-it-say-that-marriage-is-between-a-man-and-a-woman.
  20. ‘Your Right to Religious Freedom.’ American Civil Liberties Union, www.aclu.org/other/your-right-religious-freedom.   
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Freedom of Religion and Gay Marriage. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/freedom-of-religion-and-gay-marriage/