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Essay about The Tragedy of Gay Marriage

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Sam Schulman’s “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage” presents an interesting argument against gay marriage that hinges upon maintaining a traditional form of marriage. He actually claims that gay marriage is “unnecessary”(381). According to Schulman, there are 4 primary effects of marriage within his definition he calls the kinship system. First, marriage protects and controls a woman’s sexuality. Second, the possible pairings are limited by the kinship system to avoid incest or other taboos. Third, marriage creates a situation where licit sex can occur. Fourth, it places a clear divide between childhood innocence and adult, married, life. All of which is in addition to maintaining a standard family hierarchy, in which a marriage almost forcibly pulls two family together and creates a structure for children to be brought up in. He also presents a variety of shaky arguments with the general point that gay marriage does not and can’t have “the authority and majesty of the kinship system”(383). Since he sees gay marriage as entirely rooted in the relationship between two people, and he dismisses that as a minor part of the institution of marriage, he predicts this kind of marriage will disappear and will only be remembered with a laugh.
This paper does not consider for a second that any marriage apart from one that fulfills these principles can be satisfying. There is a very strong implication that this is the proper form of marriage, and anything else is some sort of uninspiring deviancy. This is almost completely unsupported. He even concedes that romantic marriage forms the majority of marriages today in the west, but immediately denounces the romantic aspect of marriage. It is pretty easy to tear down his argument that this sho...


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...ouple cannot. There is no reason gay people should not be allowed to marry if we allow non-gay couples who cannot produce children to marry.
There is certainly historical precedent to only allowing straight couples to marry, but since our current concept of marriage has changed so much since that was relevant, we should strongly consider giving gay people the right to marry. Gay marriages would only require a relatively tiny change in the current laws, and it is hard to think of a social structure that gay marriage will create that doesn’t already exist with the current legal form of marriage between a man and a woman. There is not just one definition of marriage in the world, but as many definitions as there are marriages. If the love exists, there should be a marriage that can be created to suit it if both parties are willing to put in the effort to make it work.


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