Homosexuality and the American Society
Introduction of the homosexuals’ position in the USA
Homosexuality is a very common kind of relationships not only in the USA but also worldwide. Despite the fact that some years ago it was prohibited; currently we have a growing tendency towards accepting it. Many people are free to choose whether to marry the same-sex person or to follow the traditions. What is the impact of these changes? Does it bring any benefits in the USA society?
Analysis of the gay’s impact on the USA society
Transgendered people are those whose biological sex is different from their social gender, meaning that a man is living as a woman or vice versa. The term lesbian refers to a woman with a homosexual orientation, and the term gay usually refers to a homosexual man. However, the term gay is also used for both men and women (Lanier 37).
The overall history of the homosexual movement is relatively short, despite the fact that people have never limited their pleasure from sex. During 1860’s and 70’s in Europe it was noticed that some people organized their personal life, not with the help of marriage but around a great variety of forms of sexual pleasure. They left their home and families and by these deeds reduced the importance of marriage. It was an alarming situation and, in order to eliminate its bad consequences, the people, whose sexual behavior was unacceptable in the society, were called deviants and separated from the average population. One such class of deviants was homosexuals. They did not accept such unfair treatment and started to protest against it. It was the beginning of sexual movement in Europe. American history of gay (homosexual) was even shorter than in Europe (A Brief History of Homosexuality in America). Modern American history of gay rights began with a riot in the New York City in 1969. The “Stonewall” riot, named after the bar where it occurred, was a result of a concerted attempt on the part of the police to harass gay and lesbian people. They did this by posing as homosexuals and arresting those who made sexual advances to them, which was then illegal for same-sex couples. Gays and lesbians, tired of being harassed, rose up to proclaim their rights as equal citizens. As one of his first official policy initiatives, President William Clinton proposed ending the ban on gays in the military in a compromise that pleased neither side of the debate: the “do not ask, do not tell” policy. This policy made it acceptable for a gay man and lesbian woman to be in the armed forces, as long as no one knew about it (Lanier 37).
However, the history of its movements is not long but it greatly influences the society life. First of all, it has a great impact on traditional family values and structure. In the USA different opinions exists on the topic of homosexual family. In 2003, in a stunning 6–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning homosexual sex in Texas, and twelve a Texas law banning what some states have called deviate sex other states. In its ruling, the Court declared that act was an unwarranted government violation of the right to privacy (Kornblum 400). It gave the push for homosexuals not to hide their relationships. Moreover, in 2004 the newly elected mayor of San Francisco allowed issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The state of Massachusetts also legalized same-sex marriages in early 2004 (Peoples and Bailey 184). However, President George W. Bush and conservatives in the U.S. stood against this legalization. They pressed for amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment states that “marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman” (Marriage Protection Amendment, 2006). Although there were many politicians for these amendments, the bigger part still believed that it would cause infringement of homosexuals’ rights. In general, proponents of gay marriage believed that it was a question of fairness, while opponents believed that marriage was a special institution that should be reserved for its traditional members of the community (Lanier 74). In the vote, the proposal failed to gain even the majority in the U.S. There was only a two-thirds vote for passage of a constitutional amendment. Leftists, liberals, and most moderates opposed the amendment. Even without this particular change, 11 states later passed amendments to their constitutions to ban gay and lesbian marriages (Peoples and Bailey 184). From these facts, it is clear that attitude of politicians to gay marriage is ambiguous. What is the attitude of regular people? In general, attitudes toward same-sex relationships have been becoming more tolerant for the last few decades, so that at least 60 percent of Americans say that they condone same-sex relationships (Herek). It is difficult to know exactly how many gay and lesbian families there are in the United States. However, the 2000 Census included data on 601,209 gay and lesbian families, of which 304,148 were gay male families, and 297,061 were lesbian families. These families were found to be living in 99.3 percent of all U.S. states, with the greatest concentration found in major metropolitan regions across the nation (Smith and Gates). Although the number of such families is high, it is not final results because many respondents hesitate to reveal information about their private life. Moreover, the number of such families has increased significantly by 2012. As for me, besides of different opinions about gays and statistic the most important issue while considering the impact of gays, is the role of children in homosexual family. Millions of American children (estimates range from one to nine million, according to the Associated Press) are being raised by gay or lesbian parents (Associated Press). There are many different opinions about the usefulness of raising a child in such a family. Opponents of gay marriage suggest that children of gay parents are harmed, while proponents say that the harm stems strictly from the discrimination their parents face without legal recognition of their relationships as marriages (Lanier 74). Some researches of 2002 show that growing up in a lesbian or gay family does not have a negative influence on child development. It reveals that children growing up in lesbian and gay families may be more open-minded about relationships, far less homophobic than children growing up in heterosexual families (Goode).
In my opinion, gays have a great impact on family life. However, this influence is not negative. I strongly believe that such people have to have equal rights with those who have regular sexual orientation. Moreover, I suppose that they do not influence children badly, that is why I am for the legalization of gay marriages.
Secondly, it is essential to consider the relation between religion and homosexuals. There are three broad classifications of religious perspectives on homosexuality. These classifications are offered based on stated denominational positions and behavior at the elite level. The first ones are religious liberals. Liberal churches embrace homosexuals and have public positions welcoming gays and lesbians to worship in their congregations. Such churches engage in little discussion of the equal rights for gays and lesbians, the blessing or marriage of same-sex couples. The second ones are religious moderates, who believe that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity, and because of it homosexuals can never be fully a part of these churches. The third ones are religious conservatives. They subside to the view that homosexual behavior is prohibited. Their strict and literal interpretation of the scripture leaves little chances for compromise on this issue. In each religious conservative tradition, homosexuality is understood as contrary to “natural law” and the order that God has set in the universe. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Children have parents from each of the sexes. Wives are primary nurturers; husbands are primary providers (Wald and Calhoun-Brown 328-335). Religion, without doubts, should follow the scriptures. However, besides it, the church should also pay attention to a real situation in society and treat gays with understanding.
Thirdly, it is necessary to reveal gays’ position in the society. The United States may appear to be something of a gay heaven if one is in San Francisco or New Orleans. In these cities, there are bars and restaurants catering to gays and lesbians. If one is lesbian, or bisexual, he or she may find listings in the telephone directory for a gay and lesbian community center or service center, which will provide information on local bars, organizations, or clubs. In addition, one can often find newspapers and magazines in large bookstores that will list establishments catering to gays and lesbians. However, in small American cities situation is horrible. There are, sadly, still incidents of violence, including murders, directed at individual gay people. In general, law from discrimination does not protect gays and lesbians there. Like many societies, the U.S. has no singular viewpoint on homosexuality (Lanier 37-59).
To sum up, homosexuals are a growing part of the modern U.S. society. They have a great impact on traditional family life. However, its impact is not harmful for children according to many researches. That is why religion and policy have to treat gays in a proper way and create all conditions for their equal rights.