Homosexuality has always been a taboo subject. However, recently it has been more and more accepted. Yet those who have chosen to live as homosexuals don’t have all the same rights heterosexuals have. Can we justify that some don’t have the same rights as others just because they are attracted to persons of their own gender? Is a person’s choice of partner a good enough reason to be treated differently? In this text I want to write about homosexuals and their rights – or rather lack of them. Is this discrimination, or is it protection?
According to Norwegian law, marriage is a relationship and a contract between a man and a woman. Many find this law discriminating, and now that the EU has decided to abolish all discrimination against homosexuals, I don’t think it will be long until the European Convention on Human Rights will be changed to include same-sex marriage. According to a widespread point of view, the state should not forbid marriage between two people no matter what their gender is, and this is how I look upon it too.
Those who are against gay marriage also have many arguments, and one of them has to do with the term itself. They say the word marriage describes a heterosexual relationship, and that homosexual marriage is self-contradicting. On the other hand, their opponents do have a point when they stress that the concept of marriage has changed drastically throughout history. Equality between the man and woman in marriage is a concept which has only recently been focused on, and it has changed drastically during the last few centuries, if not century. Parents no longer decide who their children are to marry, and in our part of the world there is no longer such a thing as dowry. There are many examples like this, but the main point is that there is no “traditional marriage” in today’s society.
Religion is for many a big part of marriage, as well as life in general. Many Christians firmly believe that God does not approve of homosexuality, and that it’s a sin. Some may feel obliged to teach others to live a sin-free life. This is one of the reasons why some are so against gay marriage, they want to follow God’s law and feel they need to encourage others to do the same. This is all good and well in the eyes of those people, they do it because they think it’s the right thing to do and I think many, myself included, realize this. The problem is, however, that the fact that they think what they are doing is right does not give them the right to decide how other people should live their lives. It would be something else completely if we were talking about something which could harm others, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it isn’t hurting anyone.
However, many hold the opinion that gay adoption may cause harm to these children. I think that today’s society is in many ways based on the traditional family, but as the divorce rate and number of single parents increase, gay people are not the only ones who fall outside this generalization.
The first argument I would like to address is very commonly used, but according to all research I have ever seen, it’s not at all true. Claiming that a child will suffer if raised by a homosexual couple proves, in my opinion, a lack of research. Youdebate.com’s gay adoption debate says good parenting is not influenced by sexual orientation. Further, it says that children of homosexual parents are not less popular, and do not have lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual parents. I, for one, do believe that this is true. I believe that though there will always be some child or other who will use it as an excuse to bully, supporting parents will give their children the strength to overcome this pettiness. Another thing to consider is the fact that children are very open-minded to begin with. If the grown-ups had taught their children tolerance instead of homophobia, the bullying of children with homosexual parents would not be a problem in the first place.
A second argument is one I can agree with in theory. I believe children need to have both male and female influences growing up, and children growing up with homosexual parents may, in theory, lack that. On the other hand, a child with two fathers is not automatically a child without female influence. The same goes for a child with two mothers. Influence can come from close family friends, grandparents, at a day-care centre and at school. Another counter-argument is that the same goes for single-parents. If the argument that children need influence from both sexes is the reason why homosexual couples are not allowed to have children, then I think it’s wrong for the same law to not also concern single-parents, which I think many would agree is absurd, because there is nothing wrong with growing up with a single-parent.
According to what I have just written, there’s nothing wrong with homosexuals adopting children. Some may say that getting married is, or at least should be, a right, while adopting a child is a privilege. I do agree with this, and I also believe that not all gay couples should be allowed to adopt. There are good and bad parents among homosexuals just like there are among heterosexuals. Yet the good, caring, responsible gay couples who want to adopt and raise a child in a home full of love should, in my opinion, be allowed to do this just like a heterosexual couple is allowed to. Anything else is, I would say, discrimination.
That is also my conclusion. The laws stating that homosexual couples cannot marry and adopt children are not protecting anyone. No-one will get hurt by a gay couple getting married. The children who are raised by homosexual parents do not suffer from this. Therefore, it is my conclusion that these laws are discriminating. Similar laws have so far been abolished in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and South Africa, and it’s my wish that they are abolished in Norway as well. I also wish that many years from now, when I’m an old woman, I will be able to tell my grandchildren about the discrimination against homosexuals in 2007, and they will look back at me in awe, truly puzzled that we in the 21st century still were not more tolerant. Because tolerance is what it’s all really about, and I really would have liked the world to be more tolerant.