Washington state has been fighting to grant same sex couples the right to mary legally and the fight has been won. Two days ago a federal appeals court declared California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said it was a civil rights violation of gay and lesbian couples. One day later same sex couples in the the state of Washington won the legal right to marry. These are huge victories! Opponents may try to get it overturned, but right now, let’s just go with: it was won!
There are a lot of reasons why same sex couples should have the right to marry. Many of them you might have already heard elsewhere, so I’m going to focus on three big ones I don’t believe other sources have addressed.
1. The Legal Validation of Couples Makes Couples and Families Stronger
Aside from the fact that legal marriage grants a whole slew of rights and responsibilities, couples need to be able to say in front of family, friends, and the world that they are committed to each other. Why? To have their commitment be legally recognized validates the relationship for the couple, for the community they live in, and the world around them. Couples acknowledge at an even deeper level that their marriage is a commitment and this influences the course of their relationship.
When push comes to shove, this is a legal tie that empowers couples and pushes them to work on their marriage in hard times rather than abandon it because, ‘it wasn’t real anyways.’ Marriage isn’t easy for any couple, but when society legally discriminates against you, it’s harder. Another positive is when same-sex marriage is legalized, the society at large will further view LGBTQ people deserving rights and fair treatment. The lens for celebration is widened and the gap for discrimination, hate, and homophobia shrinks.
2.Gender Roles in the World Have More Potential To Be Reorganized
When same-sex couples have the right to marry, some heterosexual people inevitably question: who wears the pants? This may be ignorance and an excuse to say something homo/lesbo-phobic, but if we look a little deeper, it is a questioning of gender and gender roles that are equated with one’s sex and it is deeply rooted in patriarchal values.
By that queston, they ultimately mean: How are gender roles decided between people who are the same sex?
Gender roles that are traditionally assigned to women and men are what the average heterosexual couple base their behavior on. They are what help them understand how to act with each other and in the world. Same-sex couples are not immune to gender roles, but they have to re-work them. The re-organizing of gender roles in people’s minds is what is key for systematic change and for women’s rights in the world! What can women do? What do women not have to do? So much of our world is set up according to gender roles and is affected by who does what role. Women traditionally clean up the dirt and grime, we take care of the dirty dishes, we serve people, we scrub the floor, we clean the toilets- no wonder we are seen as second class, we’re like servants for the ‘kings.’
Allowing same-sex couples the legal right to marry, throws important questions of gender into the mix for everyone- and that’s a good thing.
3. The Public Recognition of Same Sex Couples Can Lead To Less Homophobia and Violence
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities is alive, but it needs to be unwell. It needs to go away. Having legal same-sex marriage makes same-sex couples and the issue of same-sex marriage more visible, which will lead to it being ‘just a part of how the world is’ for middle America. The legalization of same-sex marriage will ultimately raise awareness about LGBTQ rights and lower hate crime violence and discrimination.
Washington is joining the ranks!
9 states (including 1 District): CA, CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, NY, VT, WA
1 Tribe: Oregon’s Coquille Indian Tribe
5 states: DE, HI, IL, NJ, RI
REGISTERED DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
(few, some, many, or virtually all marriage rights)
7 states: CO, MD, ME, NM, NV, OR, WI