“The gay rights movement in the United States has seen huge progress in the last century, and especially the last two decades. Laws prohibiting homosexual activity have been struck down; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are now allowed to serve openly in the military; and same-sex couples can now legally get married and adopt children in all 50 states.” (History.com Editors, 2019)
Through the last couple of years, the presence of LGBTQ couples has gotten significantly more popular. It is now a concept that is widely more accepted throughout the world. Before, this new found acceptance it was completely unheard of and people who came out boldly were significantly looked down upon. But even more than just coming out, being different from the rest of the world regarding sexual orientation, it was never legal to marry someone of the same sex. On June 26, 2015, became legal to marry someone of the same sex in all fifty states. Before this, It was considered disturbing to create a family with two dads, two moms, transgender parents or non-binary parents. Now throughout the world, the concept of creating a family in this unconventional way is more and more accepted! But the question is why? What effect did this have on society? Good? Bad? Why did people think down upon this in the first place?
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Well, let’s look at this through the functionalist perspective. “Many religious organizations feel that the institution of heterosexual marriage through the ages has been the foundation within which successful civilizations have had their children, protected their families, and have passed on their society’s morals and values.” (Mercer,2006,p.1).The functionalist perspective adheres to the theory that society is stable, same-sex marriage breaks and challenges this. Any other type of marriage will become accepted on the same scale as heterosexual marriage will.
They believe this will lead to the erosion to heterosexual marriage, polygamy will eventually want equal status! “Historians of Ancient Rome have theorized that the decline of the Roman Empire was immediately preceded by wide acceptance of deviant sexuality, the destruction of the family unit, and the consequential decline of the morals and values of that society” (Mercer,2006,p.1). People who are all for heterosexual marriage argue that the goal of gay marriage is not to produce offspring. One of the main functions of society is reproducing and raising children (which populates society). Functionalist believe that this is the optimal way for society to function to achieve their goals. Same-sex marriages are looked at by naysayers as not the main goal of the marital institution, they would actually make it harder for society to complete its goal of having children. They do not want same-sex marriage to be normalized, they want this to be considered a deviant tag of society.
Homosexual couples argue that this is completely unfair and demeaning, they feel they should have the same rights of people who are heterosexual. They want this to become more and more normalized. Adoptions and certain procedures prove that same-sex marriage can produce offspring! However, homosexual couples can have children and raise families to depopulate society which is another goal of society. Since now, with advances in technologies, shouldn’t children of same-sex marriage get the same rights as heterosexual families? If we want this same overall well being of society with our families, shouldn’t we treat same-sex marriage the same to better help society?
Isn’t that the goal of functionalism? Not accepting same-sex marriage can actually hurt our functionalist perspective, because then society is not stable. We can’t have a stable society with children who grow up in lesbian or gay homes to not get the same equal treatment as everyone else. This new found acceptance has actually had a positive effect on society. It has made those who are in LGBT feel a great sense of empowerment and positivity to keep trucking forward. Functionalists are just concerned with the consequences that this will have on society as a whole.
Overall, if we want to keep heterosexual marriage the primary way of functioning, then yes we should be concerned with this problem. However, same-sex couples nowadays are functioning almost the exact same as “normal” couples with advances in technologies. Same-sex couples are also contributing to our overpopulation problem, de-population is also a goal of society. So, should we be concerned with this problem?
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