Heterosexual Couples Have a Privilege?

December 10, 2011

Political action, Political Theory


The debate on the ban of same-sex marriage has grown into a huge political controversy in the recent years.  It is safe to say that the majority of people today support the ban of same-sex marriage.  As of now, the ban of same-sex marriage looks like it will hold, but the LBGT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community has taken baby steps towards completing their goal of allowing same-sex marriage. Now six states allow same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.  Also, Washington D.C. allows for same-sex marriage.  Although this is only a small portion of the country, it took the LGBT community 7 years to get all of these states to allow same-sex marriage. Massachusetts was the first in 2004, and there has been a steady progression ever since. The debate has increased tremendously, as the LGBT community has been urging for a nation-wide support of gay marriage.  Just as America experienced a long battle in the Civil Rights movement, I believe that America will see an even longer battle in the LGBT debate.

A big question for potential presidential candidates is their preference on same-sex marriage.  Michele Bachmann, a potential Republican candidate, has made her preference on same-sex marriage pretty clear.  She says that we should not allow this kind of marriage because homosexuality is seen as “sexual dysfunction” and “sexual identity disorders.” She does not stop there; instead she goes on to say that homosexuality will lead to “sexual anarchy.” Well from this we now know that if she were to run for president, which does not look promising at all right now, she would lose some votes to the LGBT community.  Is it okay for a presidential candidate to say harsh things like this? Has she set a bad impression on the Republican Party with these comments?

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann

Many LGBT advocators have contested her views and comments on homosexuality.  Recently, a teenager from Iowa confronted Bachmann on her views on the LGBT community.  In the video, the teenager brings up some very good points.  First she asks Bachmann if she would support the LGBT community.  Bachmann responded saying, “Americans have the same rights.  We have the same civil rights. And so that’s really what government’s role is, is to protect our civil rights.  There shouldn’t be any special rights or special sets of criteria based on people’s preferences.” Also, in response to the teen’s question if same-sex people can get married, Bachmann says that, “They can get married, but they abide by the same laws as everyone else.” What is really weird about this is that Bachmann says homosexuals can still marry, but a gay man must marry a women and a lesbian women must marry a man.  Now how does that make any sense? Finally, the teenager brings up a very interesting point when she says, “So heterosexual couples have a privilege?”

My question is do heterosexuals really have a privilege in that they have the right to marry upon their preference? Is the law of the land that homosexuals cannot marry just? Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. says that a just law is one where the majority forces the minorities to follow, but the minority must also be willing to obey.  He also says, along with St. Augustine, that “an unjust law is no law at all” (King Jr., 4). Since the minority, the LGBT community, is not willing to obey this law, does it make that law unjust? What do you think do heterosexuals really have a privilege? Is not allowing same-sex marriage unjust? Is the government doing its role in ensuring that everyone’s civil rights are protected? Do you think that gay marriage should be allowed? If the nation were to allow same-sex marriage would that be a privilege for same-sex people or would that be fair?

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8 Comments on “Heterosexual Couples Have a Privilege?”

  1. bmazus Says:

    First off, I would not be so quick to say that the majority of the public is in support of the ban on same-sex marriage. I have not been following the wild race for the presidential candidacy for the Republican party but Michelle Bachmann is clearly not going to be the Republican candidate, and that opinion has nothing at all to do with gender. We live in a new day and age where as time passes sexual expression, whether it be heterosexual or gay, is becoming more socially accepted. We live in a progressive country and she sounds like an old man from the 1960’s. I know you point this out but it does not hurt anybody to reiterate it.
    It is clear that this teenager is making a presidential candidate look like a fool. In my opinion a ban on same-sex marriage is unjust. I believe that throughout the past half century the United States government has certainly worked to improve the civil rights of all minorities in our country. I believe that the LGBT community is the next group that will be given the rights they deserve, eventually. I cannot see a ban on same-sex marriage lasting that much longer in our country.

  2. kelseymlee Says:

    A presidential candidate has the right to say anything they want–they have the right to free speech just like any other citizen in the United States. In fact, I would prefer that presidential candidates speak their mind, so I know exactly what they stand for before it is too late, and it makes it easy to separate those who are intelligent enough to hold office from those who are not. Bachmann most likely will not recieve the Republican Party nomination anyway, so I do not really think it hurts the image of the Republican Party since they won’t be endorsing her.

    I agree with the student in the video when she asks if straight people have a privilege since they can choose to marry according to their preferences. It feels just as uncomfortable for a gay person to marry someone of the opposite sex as it does for a straight person to marry someone of the same sex, so really gay people do not have equal rights, and Bachmann’s argument is completely illogical and full of fallacies.

    I do think not allowing same sex marriage is unjust, because gay people are not being allowed the same rights as straight people. Therefore, I agree with King and any law banning same-sex marriage should not be abided by, because if a law is unjust there is no reason for people to follow it. The government needs to make sure that all people, of all sexual orientation, are allowed the same civil rights. People should even engage in civil disobedience if they feel strongly enough about this cause, as I feel this cause is justified and change is long overdue.

  3. adamskt Says:

    You ask at the end of your post whether it is just for homosexuals to not be allowed to marry, and my opinion is that it is not just. Preventing them from marrying their preference is inherently unjust, even based on Michelle Bachmanns’ reasoning that homosexuality is “sexual dysfunction.” Although I may not believe her ideas myself, even if this were the case, that would not be enough of a reason for a ban on same-sex marriage. Actions based upon other types of biological dysfunctions are not made illegal by our government. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., says that there are three reasons that a law could be considered unjust: if it is a bad law, if the law is abused, or if a law is not enforced. In my opinion, the ban on same-sex marriage is an unjust law because it is a bad law. The basis for this law does not seem strong enough when facing arguments against it. However, my view on whether it is a bad or good law is subjective, and I do not think that is enough to categorize something as just or unjust overall. I do agree with the author of this post when he says that the majority of Americans today support the ban on same-sex marriage. The main proof for this is the fact that our democratic system has allowed it to stay in place for so long. The law is put in place by a majority who are willing to follow the law, and the law is clearly enforced. Before legalization of same-sex marriage in a given state, it is not possible to break the law, since it will simply not be recognized by the state. Based on this and on Dr. King’s standards, the law could be considered a good law.

  4. julieele Says:

    I personally do believe that this is an unjust law. I think that it is safe to say that since same sex laws were not able to pass in all states, they express ideas of the majority. The LGBT community movements demonstrate the minority’s discontent and desire to not comply with these unequal rights.
    Though Michele Bachmann expresses concerns that are strong and hurtful to others, I appreciate her being open with her thoughts. It allows voters to have a better idea of what she stands for and to see whether or not you truly agree or disagree with what she can do for our country. I also don’t believe that she extremely damages the Republican image because it is already known that many Republicans do not support same sex marriage rights.
    I think that the teen expresses an interesting idea when she says that heterosexual couples have a privilege. Gay couples are not able to receive marriage rights because they are not seen as the norm and that they do not express the traditional values. Since some people oppose gay marriage, we wrongfully restrict gay couples from equal rights. I strongly oppose Bachmann’s argument that gay people are able to marry but just have to follow laws like everybody else. Laws are often revised and the marriage laws are not up to date with our ever changing society. The right to marriage should be open to homosexual and heterosexual couples.

  5. habavol Says:

    First off, I don’t think it’s wrong for Michelle Bachmann to say what she believes, everyone has the freedom of speech. As for myself, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but I think not allowing two people to marry is unjust. I want to make it clear that just because I believe in traditional marriage, doesn’t mean that I think it’s wrong for LGBT’s to marry. It seems totally unfair that they are not allowed to get married, it’s not like it would cause problems or anything.

  6. reidmech7892 Says:

    Though historically marriage has been a privilege for heterosexual couples solely, I believe times are changing and our society needs to realize that homosexual couples are crucial to society and need to be treated equally and fairly. By saying homosexuals cannot marry, it’s almost like saying Jewish people or African-Americans can’t marry, solely based on a minority quality. Personally, marriage is a symbol of love for your partner, despite of sexuality. With this, gay marriage should be legalized and I think the 6 states that have made the legal change are slowly yet surely pushing our government in the right direction pertaining to this issue.

    As for Michelle Bachmann, I believe it is absurd for her to say that yes, homosexuals can marry but have to still have to with the opposite sex. What would that even accomplish? In retrospect, that actually would be taking a step back from where we are now with this issue: it would display complete miscommunication and inequality amongst the government and gay communities.

    In all, the government needs to realize that the gay community is prevalent and we should support the fact that they are comfortable with coming out, instead of bashing them for the courageous feat they made by choosing to freely and openly express their homosexuality. So, I believe gay marriage should be universally legalized throughout the nation, and personally, I believe this issue has been way over-hyped and should have been resolved many years ago.

  7. jkb34383 Says:

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    It seems that the issue of same sex marriage always comes down to an issue of religion. Anti-same sex marriage advocates usually reference the bible as their main source to justify their beliefs. What Thomas Jefferson is saying here is that religion should only be between an individual and his god. Also, he calls for a “separation between church and state” which declares that government should not infringe on someones religious beliefs,and that religion should never be considered as a means for political practice. If our representatives listened to our forefathers, then conservatives would not be able to use “what god wants” as the spearhead to their argument. Thus without opposition, most likely this reform would be passed with flying colors.

  8. Brandon Baxter Says:

    The only excuse for not allowing same-sex marriage is religion. It is as simple as that. Neo-conservatives however claim that same-sex marriage and gay people are harmful to society and will ruin the American family unit. In addition to that claim I’ve heard people suggest that gay people will recruit our kids more than they already do, gay people and others will then demand their right to marry animals, gay people are harmful to the economy and our health system because apparently they are the only ones who get aids, and other disgusting and spiteful things that have no basis in fact.

    The fact of the matter is that the Defense of Marriage Act is essentially supporting religion (in the U.S. case the Christian religion) under the guise of ‘protecting American values.’ And that is absolutely wrong. It is hypocritical for our country to claim freedom of religion and equality when it oppresses people on the basis of one religion’s morals alone. The only counterargument I can think of that a neo-con would suggest is that all of our laws are based on religion, and there’s nothing wrong with basing our laws on ‘moral systems.’ My reply would be that they are then placing the religion of Christianity above other religions because not all religions have a problem with gay marriage, or other social issues that Christians oppose.

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