Reproduction, no reason to ban gay marriage

Franklin AnnisWhen I was a much younger man I remember having a conversation with several of my friends that wanted to become Roman Catholic priests. They told me that one of the requirements to become a priest was that they had to be fully functional males; Men that where incapable of fathering children were prohibited from joining the seminary. It didn’t matter what caused their reproducing problems, birth defects or physical trauma to their reproductive organs could bar them from this profession.

The theory behind this was that only a man that was fully capable of reproductivity was able to make the complete sacrifices when taking the vows of celibacy. The early Catholic primary intent behind marriage was for reproductive purposes. Therefore one man and one woman would wed in order to create a family.

If either of these two individuals were known to be sterile for any reason, then they could be denied the privilege of marriage because they could not meet the reproductive purpose of the union. Since entering the priesthood was similar to marriage, it was understandable in this context that sterile men could not enter into this type of union. While I understand the intent behind this belief I could not imagine denying individuals a chance to marry or enter into the priesthood because of a birth defect, trauma or old age. Nor could I ever imagine having to provide the capability to be fertile to get married. Ever since that conversation I have always felt strongly against limiting individuals based on their reproductive ability. I could not view a man less than a man or a woman less than a woman just because they couldn’t bare children.

While we claim to be a nation which separates church and state I find it perplexing that we continue to limit marriage based on religious principles. It is apparent that not allowing homosexuals to get married will not impact the practice of homosexuality within our culture. If we try to claim that marriage should be restricted for those intending to start and raise a family than we need to adjust the way we grant marriage licenses. If this were truly the purpose of marriage, then we should have those getting married sign contracts stating he or she will attempt to have children and each party should be tested for fertility.

If we deny homosexuals the right to marry based on the fertility issue we also have to tell all those that have become sterile due to birth defects, trauma, or advanced age that they are also no longer entitled the right to marry. I doubt we would ever go that far and I would certainly not want to see our country sink to such a level.

While I am heterosexual, but I am not willing to deny any person, regardless of sexual orientation, rights that I would claim for myself. We might as well give them the chance to get married. Would it really make that much of a social impact? If homosexual couples are living years together in committed relationships now, do they truly need a paper from the state saying they are married if they already live a married life? Having or not having a piece of paper will not change current social practices. So we might as well stop treating them as less than equal.

While allowing homosexuals to marry would have significant impact of entitlements normally associated with marriage such as access to health insurance, I do not believe that these factors alone can be used as legitimate reasons to prevent this community from being allow to be married. It is true that the impact of homosexual marriages would impact several industries. We need to be aware of these impacts before we can move forward, but we should not allow fear of change to lock us into the position America largely holds to.

If we truly want to be a country that separates church and state, maybe it is time to let go of some specific Christian principles that are not universally found in the hundreds of other religions or Christian denominations practiced in America. If we are not willing to prevent sterile heterosexual individuals from marrying than we have no grounds to prevent homosexual marriages on the grounds of fertility.

Once we remove the issue of fertility, we are left with only the argument of gender. I believe this country has already made strives in realizing that both genders are capable and that prejudice on gender alone is not an effective means of determining an individuals capabilities. I think it is time that we stop denying individuals rights based on reproductive limitations we are only willing to apply to the homosexual community.

With recent referendums in states like Maryland, Washington, and Maine showing public support for same-sex marriage, opposition to equal rights is losing more and more arguments. People need to stop kidding themselves and learn to accept others for who they are, and allow them to freely make their own marital and familial decisions.

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