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Ask the White Guy: Will Same-Gender Marriage Negatively Impact Our Society?

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Ask the White Guy: Will Same-Gender Marriage Negatively Impact Our Society?Question:

I can’t believe a country that is the leader in the world is moving toward changing one of our society’s most important institutions, marriage. Is the Supreme Court analyzing the future negative impact LGBT marriages may have on our society?

LGBT marriage is purely un-natural and I am surprised a leading nation in the world encourages this behavior.

Answer:

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If you think it’s “un-natural,” then you shouldn’t do it. Stabilizing already existing family structures will have no negative impact on our society; it will have a positive impact—but that is beside the point. Our Constitution is written in a way that assumes people have rights given them by the creator—and that the government only administers certain functions, among them adjudicating disputes about rights. In the course of our history, this has been a path of liberation.

In this case, the legal privileges inherent in the governmental contract of marriage are what is at stake, not religious values (which are protected under the First Amendment). Therefore, the people opposed to same-gender marriage have to prove that same-gender marriage in some way damages heterosexual marriage in the civil context. In the Proposition 8 case, the people opposed to same-gender marriage could not prove that point—they couldn’t come up with a single expert who had proof.

Nothing’s changed since then, except more same-gender marriages have been performed in the states that permit them. And guess what? There’s still no proof that same-gender marriages in some way damage heterosexual marriages. I expect the Supreme Court will see things the same way as the judges in California.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

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12 Comments

  • grannybunny

    Is the institution of marriage itself considered “natural?”

  • Michael J. Lowrey

    As a happily married heterosexual born-again Christian and former lay preacher who’s performed some marriages himself, I continue to be puzzled by the assertions that my marriage of 31 years is somehow threatened or injured in any way by acknowledging the rights of my gay and lesbian friends, family and neighbors to the blessings of the married state. Marriage is a stabilizing and creative force, which is why society and church alike encourage it: why OPPOSE the extension of this stabilizing institution to a broader segment of our culture?

    If YOUR interpretation of your religion’s teachings leads you to reject gay marriages, then don’t enter into them or perform them; but you have no more right to oppose their recognition by our SECULAR government than you do to oppose governmental recognition of Seventh-Day Baptist, Mormon, Muslim or Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian marriages because you consider their theology unsound.

  • Gee– our divorce rate is at 50%– clearly “natural” marriage, as an institution, is on solid ground…

  • Brigit Elizondo

    My partner and I have been together for almost 15 years. We married in Portland, OR in April, 2004. It was a wonderful feeling! When we arrived back at our hotel, the front desk upgraded our room and sent up a wine basket congratulating us on our nuptials….it was a dream come true. Later, we received a letter from Multnomah County informing us that are marriage had been voided along with over 3000 other couples. Does anyone understand the pain that caused?..what more do we need to do? We have done more than enough.

  • Scott Miller

    Protecting the “institution of marriage” has been used as an excuse to deny equal rights multiple times in the past. Interethnic marriages, interfaith marriages, and interracial marriages were all said to be the start of the downfall of the institution of marriage. Funny, each has come to pass and this coveted institution has not crumbled. This is just another scare tactic that we will look back on in 10-15yrs and wonder why it was such a big deal.

  • Jerry Evans

    Plain and simple, the objection for LGBT marriage comes from a religious standpoint, and I’ll be good money that most of those who object hypocritically agree with “seperation of church and state”. You can’t have both. To deny a fellow American and human being the same rights you enjoy, simply because you deem it “not natural”, is subjective, and an embarassing reminder of this country during the days of civil rights. As humans, we are all entitled to the law being applied at the level of human beings. Any seperation beyond that is unfair, subjective, and irrational (i.e. gender, race, sexual orientation, etc). Also, by saying it would “damage society”, you’re simply evading responsibility & the fact that your life & your actions are your own. Let others live their life, and you can continue to live yours as well. When we are all, as humans, equal under the law, then we can righteously celebrate and argue our differences. But, we can all live through those differnces freely and equally.

    Let’s not forget, anything else is Un-American, let’s embrace those values that created this great country and continue to evolve and set an example. My brother (Air Force) has a buddy in the Marines, who said it beautifully …… “I don’t agree with gay marriage, it’s a sin, but I’ll die for their right to defend it”

    Jerry
    (34 yr old bi-racial, heterosexual male, born & raised in these great United States)

    • Ann Weller

      The only part I disagree with you (Jerry) about is assuming that those opposed to gay marriage also support separation of church and state. I think that many do not–they want the church (their version of church, of course) to be in control of the country, including the legislative bodies and the courts.

  • Does it occur to people who say this will threaten heterosexual marriage that the stress of not giving rights to gay people who are the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents of others is not a stress? The world will be better off with granting this, and it does not have to infringe in anyway on other’s religious rights.

  • I don’t necessarily hold great store in what celebrities have to say on various topics. But I must say that Brad Pitt put it beautifully (and common-sensely, if that’s a word) in a recent People magazie interview. When the reporter pointed out that his Christian mom opposed marriage by gays from a religious point of view and how did he reconcile that with his family, he said, “Certainly we have these discussions. I come from a Christian family…. My argument is, that may be as you believe, and it may be true in the end – I don’t think so – but let your God make that call, and in the meantime we live in a country where everyone should be treated equally, so let’s treat everyone equally.”

    Yes, how about that folks? Let’s treat people the way you would want to be treated – equally with equal rights. Stable relationships can only stablize the family unit and therefore our society (and, yes, our children), no matter the composition.

  • I know that I am not the only person to have pointed this out lately, however it bares repeating…The VERY same verbiate that is being used against same-sex marriage was also used against inter-racial marriage. Biblical arguments were thrown about as was the perception that it would destabilize the “instituation of marriage”. Why was inter-racial marriage not left up to the individual states to decide? Let’s apply that same logic to same-sex marraige and move on down the road.

  • Jonscott Williams

    For some time, as a younger Black man, I had a visceral negative reaction to any comparison of the gay rights movement to the Black civil rights movement. In time, as I came to have openly gay friends of both genders, my reaction – at least intellectually – softened.

    One day, while discussing my attitudinal “evolution” with a colleague, he confronted me with a statement, as a means of separating the Black civil rights movement from the LGBT movement: “Did Martin Luther King march and die for our civil rights or theirs?”

    And that’s when I realized that one’s rights aren’t situational, episodic or individual … either we ALL have them or we ALL don’t. I answered him by saying, “Neither … he marched and died for ‘ours’”.

    Rather than narrowly focus on the impact that same sex marriage MIGHT have on straight marriages, consider the impact that denying rights to out LGBT brothers and sisters – or any of our fellow citizens – could have on us all.

    BTW: Those against LGBT marriage equality never seem willing to address the opposite sex divorce rate or the serial marriages of many of their advocates.

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