The issue of the same sex marriages has attracted a lot of controversy globally with increasing pressure to legalize same sex marriage in most countries. Those pursuing the legalization of the same sex marriage advocate that it is a form of discrimination and a denial of human rights. However, those opposing same sex marriage propose that it is a social decay and a diversion from the norm since same sex marriage are biologically unviable since the same sex couples cannot bear children. Globally, various nations have legalized same sex marriage due to public outrage as the cultural and societal norms change due to modernity. These states include Canada, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, Netherlands, various states in America, Argentina, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Finland (Ricci 2012).
Same Sex Marriage in Australia
In Australia, same sex marriage is not legalized. The ban of the same sex marriage in Australia includes not only same sex couples entered in the country but also those entered by Australian abroad. Various Australian psychological associations explain that same sex couples are committed just as the opposite sex couples, and children are not disadvantaged when raised in same sex marriage. However, the concern of those against same sex is the kind of generation that will be brought up by same sex couples. They are concerned that if all the community adopts same sex marriage, it would lead to the extinction of the society. In addition, several church communities are concerned and explain that same sex marriage is a representation of societal and moral decay. The church advocates for the normal marriage between opposite sexes as it was from the creation since same sex marriage is against the biblical teachings (Noonan 2003). In addition, the Islamic religion and several others globally recognized religions such as Hindu do not advocate for same sex marriage.
The issue of the same sex marriage has developed controversies in Australian political, social and economic aspects of life as some advocacies of the same sex marriage explain that this phenomenon will result in enormous positive impact on the economy. The proponents argue that prohibition of the same sex marriage in Australia will produce adverse effects to the economy. Same sex weddings would boost the economy through expenditures as more visitors from the world would come to Australia to marry. In addition, they state that the legal discrimination and social exclusion of the same sex married people cause them to have more than average levels of stress and mental health. Some proponents predict that the legalization of the same sex marriage in Australia would inject more than $700 million into the economy. These predictions are based on the legalization of the same sex marriage in other developed economies such as the state of California in the USA where the economic benefit of the same sex marriage is approximated at $684 million (Newton 2010).
However, the Christian community in Australia has been the first to argue against same sex marriage in Australia. They persist that it is discriminatory for the country to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. From the religious perspective, God created male and female for the purpose of marriage. Therefore, same sex marriage is against the law of the Supreme Being whether in Hindu, Christianity, Islamic or any other religion. However, some religions have started changing their perspective of the same sex marriage with some softening their ground on the issue. However, the mainstream church has described this approach as blasphemous, ungodly, and as one that may bring unclean spirit in the church. The Christian lobby of Australia and Australian NSW council of churches has opposed the attempts by lawmakers to legalize same sex marriage. The issue has created political divisions in the Australian politics; some house representatives think that the legalization of the same sex is good for the country while others are against it (Zaimov 2012). The proposal to approve same sex marriage has been introduced into the Federal Parliament more than three times advocating for equality in marriage.
Although the issue, of the same sex marriage has attracted a lot of controversy, the number of public supporting the legalization of the same sex marriage has been increasing tremendously. According to the recent poll, more than 60% of the Australian population is supporting the same sex marriage. This has also received support from celebrities such as Hugh Jackman hence compounding the controversy (Ricci 2012). The issue of the same sex marriage has gained a great focus from the political environment, and debate has intensified the question whether to legalize same sex marriage or not. The Green Party has shown support for the bill to legalize same sex marriage, while the opposition remains against any bills to make same marriage legal. However, the labor MPs remain divided about this issue. The Marriage Act of Australia gives the provisions about marriage. It was amended in 2004 by Liberal attorney general Philip Ruddock where the definition of marriage was redefined as the ‘union of a man and a woman while excluding others’ (Mann 2012). The union has to be voluntary between a man and a woman.
The argument against the change of the marriage laws has been based on social, religious, political, and psychological factors. The argument against the legalization of the same sex marriage is based on the Australian traditions and culture which state that marriage is a social entity that enables procreation of children. This has been in the Australian norms and culture for more than hundred years of the country's existence. The family has been an essential unit of the society as it enables the development of children and upholding of the social norms by the community. Therefore, the change of paradigm of same sex marriage will adversely affect the growth and development of children and undermine the conventional family unit. This will lead to societal and community values decay which can affect the society adversely (Zaimov 2012). The church has also been strongly advocating for the conservation of the traditional definition of marriage as same sex marriage is ungodly, unnatural, and morally unacceptable.
Those advocating for the change of the Marriage Act have had various reasons to support their argument. For example, the issue of the minority discrimination and violation of minority human rights has risen as the proponents claim that the current law discriminates and violates the rights of the same sex couples. They explain that the law creates equality to all citizens illustrating the various countries where same sex marriage has been legalized. They have also said that a secular democracy is not controlled by religion and should, therefore, have no reason to discriminate against same sex couples. They argue that same sex marriage is an overdue democratic right which should be granted by the government (Zaimov 2012). In addition, legal discrimination and social exclusion of the same sex marriage has alienated the gay and lesbian community exposing them to tremendous mental risks.
However, the Australian authorities have all reasons to deny the legalization of the same sex marriage due to various cultural, biological, societal, and psychological reasons. In terms of the desire to have children, same sex marriage cannot qualify as a marriage since the natural act of giving birth constitutes a lot in the definition of marriage. Those who are supporting the same sex marriage miss the point when they argue that bearing children is not a core purpose of marriage. If same sex marriage is legalized, children will be genetically created and will not be developed by the institution of a family as it is the norm. In this generation, will children have two have two fathers or two mothers? Therefore, the societal impact of the same marriage will be enormous, and the country slipping into this vice will have a decay of their cultural values and traditions. Same sex marriages disregard the institution of marriage which is an important unit in the society. They also disregard the aspect of quality parenting stating that imperfect parental responsibilities are shared in all ways. The society will be creating a generation which will be dispossessed of their relationships with their biological parents. Even with the push to eliminate discrimination against the same sex marriage, legalization will inadvertently discriminate against the children. Although the pressure has intensified in the recent years with more people expressing the importance of legalizing same sex marriage, the long run effect to the society will be dire (Ricci 2012). It may result in a morally decayed society which has no regard of its religious affiliations, cultural, and traditional backgrounds.
In conclusion, controversial issue of the same sex marriage has become a concern of the global community as the society gives contradicting perspectives of their view on the same sex marriage. Religion has been among the groups against same sex marriage as it is against the religious beliefs and practices across mainstream religions. In Australia, the debate whether to legalize same sex marriage or not has intensified attracting various stakeholders in the societal and political affiliation. However, all indicators show that the legalization of the same sex marriage may not be coming soon due to political divisions and the continued opposition by religious leaders.