Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Well, last I checked, it was an accident of birth (ie undeniable genetic reason) that causes people to be whatever race they are. There is no conclusive proof that homosexuality is genetic, so strictly speaking, your comparison is apples and oranges.
Segregation was based on factors beyond the control of the individual (ie we dont determine our race, it's chosen for us), thus your comparison is forced at best.
There are conclusions that at least show that genetics *is* involved. What hasnt' been shown conclusively is that homosexuality is 100% genetic. Homosexual males have been demonstrated to be more likely than you'd expect by chance to have homosexual brothers as well as homosexual maternal uncles and cousins on the mother's side (Hamer, et al, 1993). Near the tip of the Xq28 region of the sex chromosomes, researchers have found five identical markers shared by a high percentage of homosexual brothers. The evidence of a hereditary nature to homosexuality is clear, moreover, the pattern of incidence confirms this.
Now, having said that, one cannot simply say that because one has the "markers" for homosexuality, one will be homosexual upon maturation. These markers are more analogous to a recipe than a blueprint. Give an engineer a house and he can create a blueprint of it simply by close examination and perhaps by de-constructing it. A chef, however, cannot create a recipe simply by handing him a finished pastry. The parts cannot be closely examined enough or de-constructed to do it. This is what's involved in human maturation: a recipe of parts, instructions (DNA) and conditions.
But regardless of whether or not homosexuality can be conclusively demonstrated to be "genetic" or not, and even the American Psychological Association (APA)
recognizes homosexuality as a condition that cannot be cured or readily changed in a healthy manner. I mention the APA not as an appeal to authority, but because they offer some sound opinion with regard to same-sex marriage:
Prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is discriminatory and unfairly denies such couples, their children and other members of their families the legal, financial and social advantages of civil marriage [...] The APA recognizes the importance of the institution of civil marriage which confers a social status with important legal benefits, rights and privileges."
The APA ends their position statement by noting that the United States Accounting Office (Shah 2004) cites over "over 1,000 federal statutory provisions exist in which marital status is a factor in determining a person’s eligibility to receive various benefits, rights and privileges." Many of these are rights and privileges that cannot be had by non-married couples through other means and no where can a single contract provide those that can be.
The rights and privileges include:
- legal recognition of a child's relationship to both parents
- joint or coparent adoption
- foster parenting
- eligibility for public housing and housing subsidies
- ability to own a home as "tenants by the entirety - a special kind of property ownership for married couples so that when the spouse dies, the surviving spouse gets title to the property
- automatic financial decision-making authority on behalf of one's partner
- protection of marital home from creditors
- access to employer-based health insurance
- ability to take advantage of the federal Family Medical Leave Act
- abiltiy to obtain life insurance
- ability to obtain joint homeowner and automobile insurance policies & family discounts
- recognition as an authority in educational settings (register your kid for school, provide consent waivers, etc)
- access to spousal benefits of worker's compensation
- ability to travel with a child if it will require proof of parenthood
- the privilege of not having to testify against a spouse in court
- surviving parent's rights to maintain custody of and care for nonbiological/not-jointly-adopted children
- social security survivor benefits for a surviving partner and children
- tax exemptions for surviving spouse in property taxes
- ability to roll a deceased partner's 401(k) funds into an IRA without paying a tax penalty
- the right to sue for wrongful death of a deceased spouse
The fallacious notion that same-sex couples can't reproduce was mentioned, but this is obviously not true. They just cannot reproduce with each other. They can, and do, reproduce using surrogates and former partners. But they also adopt. Nationwide, over one quarter of same-sex couples are currently raising children. This is compared to 45.6% of heterosexual couples and 41.3% of single heterosexuals (US Census Bureau 2003). That so many obstacles exist for same-sex couples and yet they are raising children would indicate that there is a need for legalized, same-sex marriage.
There is no logical reason to disallow and some very good reasons to legalize it.
Hamer, D.H., et al (1993) A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science, 261, 321-327.
Pawelski, JG; et al (2005). The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children. Pediatrics
, 118, 349-364.
Shah, DK (2004). Defense of Marriage Act: update to prior report
. US General Accounting Office
, accessed Oct. 21, 2006.
US Census Bureau (2003). Married-couple and unmarried-partner households: 2000—Census 2000 special reports. Available at: www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-5.pdf