The LGBT community began to fght back after the Stonewall Riots and are still fighting for the ame freedoms heterosexuals currently hold. These freedoms include the right to marry and marriage provides couples with many benefits that only heterosexual couples are privvy to. One by one the states are changing their views and legalizing gay marriage, but there are still many states to persuade. Gay marriage needs to be legalized in all states because the purpose of marriage is love, legalizing gay marriage will not harm heterosexual marriages or the current “family values”, and marriage is a basic civil right.
The view on gay marriage has varied over the last one hundred years. According to the PBS film Stonewall Uprising, in all states besides Illinois, homosexual acts were illegal in 1969. Dr. Socarides, a guest in the film says, “Homosexuality is in fact a mental illness which has reached epidemiological proportions” (Davis, 2011). This was said in the 1960’s Just before the Stonewall Riots. Back then, the costs for being gay were extreme, and punishments included institution in California named Atascadero, where the medical extremes were practiced.
At Atascadero, they used medical experimentation that included “administering, to gay people, a drug that simulated the experience of drowning; in ther words, a pharmacological example of waterboarding” (Davis, 2011). They punished gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans-genders for something they could not control. A riot member named Doric Wilson reported that many who underwent this treatment, turned into walking vegetables (Davis, 2011). Before the riots at the Stonewall Bar, homosexuality was treated as a contagious sickness of the mind.
Law enforcement and the media encouraged citizens to hate all people who were not conforming to the typical mom and dad household with two point three children. Councilman Ed Koch of New York City states, “Gay rights, like the rights of blacks, were constantly under attack and while blacks were protected against constitutional amendments, gays were not protected by law and certainly not the Constitution” (Davis, 2011). That is when the Riots occurred.
The Stonewall Bar was located in The Village, a place where gays, lesbians and drag queens could go and be themselves, but the police raided this gay bar frequently, usually in the mid afternoon. One night in the summer of 1969, a group of six policemen raided the bar; however, they were unsuccessful. The police were pushed into the bar and trapped inside, while thousands of people gathered outside in protest. Eventually additional officers showed up in riot uniforms with clubs and face guards, and were again ambushed by the protestors.
Soon enough, the police charged and started beating and clubbing people. This went on for a few days and eventually the Stonewall Riots became a part of history. The Riots essentially said to America, miou promised freedom, now get off our backs and deliver on the promise” (Davis, 2011). Since the Stonewall Uprising, sixteen states have legalized gay marriage including New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois. Surely, Americans have evolved since the Stonewall Riots, but there is additional progress to be made. Only sixteen states have legalized gay marriage; moreover, there are still thirty-four states left.
The real question is what is keeping people from voting for same-marriage? There are a variety of reasons opponents argue same-sex marriage should be illegal. Their main argument involves the traditional definition of marriage. For generations the definition of marriage has been “a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of hildren with a family’ (ProCon. org, 2013). This is supported by religious texts such as the Bible, but there are many arguments as to why the above definition in invalid. To begin, it is also stated in the Bible that women are property of men.
It is the twenty- first century and there are equal rights for women, many women participate in the workforce and it is no longer acceptable to suggest that a woman’s place is at home. Supporters are in agreement with Sylvia Law when she stated, “any effort by the state to hardwire sex differences into the concept of marriage perpetuates traditional sex- ased stereotypes of man-as-breadwinner and woman-as-housekeeper” (Eskridge, 1993). Everyday an increasing number of Americans become more open-minded and accepting of others, so why can people not be accepting of homosexuals.
If people of religion can disregard one statement, why can they not disregard another? Ted Olsen, former US Solicitor General also argues the definition of marriage. Ted Olsen who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership” (Olson, 2010). Proponents to gay marriage believe this is what the definition of marriage should be and will be in the future. Gay marriage is opposed not only because of the definition of marriage, but also because critics believe that it could damage the family values of Americans and that the purpose of marriage is to procreate.
Family values such as equality, work ethic, and the importance of family are all values that would be strengthened by same-sex marriage, not weakened. The value of equality and work ethic are especially prominent in same-sex couples. Homosexual couples worked extremely hard in order for equality, and giving them the option to become married would only increase the value of their morals. The importance of family is another value that is only being diminished when same-sex couples are forbidden to marry. Marriage is the gateway to family, and without it, the importance of such family becomes invisible.
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