The year is 2050, and the human race is still hanging in there, despite the overwhelming odds against us. Some cynics might argue that, as a whole, mankind is not doing all that well. We are stifled by the pollution we were too stubborn to prevent, it is largely accepted that our home planet is doomed, and a large percent of the population is too absorbed in the gadgets that have practically become extensions of our body. All of these are valid points. However, by some miracle, we humans have managed to progress an impressive amount in terms of the social issues that plagued the decades behind us.
Picture this. You are in your early thirties, and you move into a lovely little house in the suburbs with your spouse and your toddling child, away from the smog of the city, on a street of houses just different enough from your own to make your home feel unique. You quickly make friends with your new neighbors, inviting them over for a quaint little potluck dinner. There you meet Kathy and Richard Davidson, and their ten year old daughter Sally, and Jessica and Nick Anderson, and their three year old son Darren. You remark fondly to your spouse that you should make sure to set up a playdate for your two little tikes. Then, in walks a pair of men around your own age, bearing between them a rather precocious five-year-old girl with a pixie cut, a drooling one-year-old in a onesie printed to resemble a tuxedo, and a scrumptious looking plate of homemade cookies. The pair introduces themselves as Ted and Zach, and you find out that they live three houses down from you and they’ve been married almost eight years. You are not shocked by these revelations whatsoever – you had already met the newlywed lesbian couple who lives across the street from you, and your roommate in college had been openly bisexual. In fact, no one at your little get together seems especially perturbed by the arrival of this same-sex couple, or at the fact that they are the parents of two children. The rest of your get-together goes swimmingly, and as it comes to a close, you have made plans for a playdate for your child, the Anderson boy, and Ted and Zach’s tots as well. You muse to your spouse as you prepare for bed that you are so glad you decided to host this party. You sleep well.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a lovely little bubble of suburbia?
In the year 2013, thirteen states in the United States of America allow same-sex marriage ("States"). However, the majority of the US population lives in an area without same-sex marriage rights ("States").Whether or not you believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married, the plain fact is that, eventually, it is nearly inevitable that marriage equality will come out victorious. Therefore, it is important that we ask ourselves what gay marriage rights will mean for the average, heteronormative citizen. Well, you've found yourself in the right place.
In recent years, there has been much controversy in the news media over whether or not same-sex couples should be afforded the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Interestingly enough though, while the public dispute became much louder, the marriage equality movement was picking up significant momentum. According to a 2013 ABC News poll, since 2004, popular views on gay and lesbian marriage have essentially flip-flopped – with support steadily increasing, and dissent dripping at a nearly identical rate (Kliff). If opinions continued to change at the same rate, the percent of people in favor of same-sex marriage rights in the US would reach 75% in less than ten years. Talk about progress. Studies have found that members of the Millennial generation (1981 or later) are much more likely to support marriage equality (Kliff). Similarly, the older the person asked, the less likely they are to be in favor of the same proposal (Kliff). Therefore, reason stands that as we move forward into the future, support for same-sex marriage will increase, as new children are born into this world and are taught by their Millennial parents, right from the start, that there is nothing abnormal about homosexuality, and that marriage equality is a favorable proposition.
Same-sex marriage laws will allow same-sex couples to have legal and economic protections for themselves and their children ("Why Marriage?"). These protections include being able to transfer property in the event of the death of one spouse, and hospital visitation rights. "But, children?", you may ask – how does that work? Some gay and lesbian couples chose to use surrogate mothers and sperm donors respectively, but many others choose to go the route of adoption. Considering the amount of children waiting to be adopted in the US alone, this can hardly be a bad thing for our country. Additionally, to address the concerns of the skeptical, many studies, including one from the American Academy of Pediatrics, have shown that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are, "affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents' sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents" (Perrin, Siegel, and The Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health).
So what is to become of our great nation? We are heading full speed towards full marriage equality, and with the birth of new generations, our social values will progress to the point that same-sex marriage is no longer a debate. Same-sex couples will be able to marry and adopt children the same way heterosexual couples can. Imagine that.
Equality is in the future for LGBTQ+ Americans. At this point, it is only a matter of time.
- Kliff, Sarah. "Whatever the Supreme Court decides, these nine charts show gay marriage is winning." Washington Post - Wonk Blog. Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/26/whatever-the-supreme-court-decides-these-nine-charts-show-gay-marriage-is-winning/>.
- Perrin, Ellen C., Benjamin S. Siegel, and The Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. "Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian." From the American Academy of Pediatrics (2013). Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
- "States." Freedom to Marry. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/>.
- "Why Marriage?." Why Marriage Matters. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.whymarriagematters.org/pages/why-marriage>.