Gender Studies: Same Sex Marriages

Table of Contents

Jonathan Rauch- Yes

According to Jonathan Rauch, the benefits of legalizing same-sex marriages do not only apply to the gay community but the rest of the society as well. In this article, Rauch addresses the positive aspects of gay marriages that apply to the rest of the community. Rauch argues that there is a thin line between the institution of family and that of marriage. Consequently, the stability of family institutions in America depends on sound marriage institutions.

Furthermore, Rauch reminisces about the state of affairs in the 1960s when most people chose to ignore the existence of same-sex unions. The necessity of legalizing gay marriages is further prompted by the fact that most gay people are already raising children from their previous heterosexual relationships.

According to Rauch, society considers marriage (irrespective of its foundation) a social stabilizer and a source of happiness (Rauch 75). Rauch ends his article by noting that for the benefit of family institutions and social order, legalizing gay marriage is a good option.

Rauch explores the roles of women and children in traditional marriages. According to Rauch, the notion that women and children hold a marriage together is misplaced. Rauch further argues that most of the theories surrounding same-sex marriages are untested and they can only be proven if such institutions were to be allowed. The writer also refutes the notion that allowing same-sex marriages would be bad for children.

Instead, Rauch points out that the current environment in which gay unions are ostracized is already harmful to children. The debate on gay marriages is compared to other historical quagmires such as communism and democracy. According to Rauch, these concepts were strongly opposed in the past, but they have since become norms.

Jeff Jordan- No

According to Jordan, the debate on same-sex marriages are characterized by three distinct models. These three are sacramental, ‘communional,’ and transactional models. The ideologies included in the sacramental model our marriage as a sacred institution between a man and a woman, marriage as the facilitator of procreation and child-rearing, and marriage as a pertinent unit of social order.

The ‘communional’ model suggests that there is a natural biological bond between a man and a woman. On the other hand, the transactional model suggests that marriage is a recognized transaction that is overseen and regulated by the state in the same way as other business-transactions. Jordan notes that the debate on same-sex marriages revolves around the conflicting nature of these three concepts.


Jordan’s considers same-sex relationships illiberal because they promote inequality of citizens. The nature of same-sex marriages cannot be considered in the same light as traditional marriage institutions.

However, same-sex marriages can only be compared to other unconventional practices such as polygamy and polyandry. According to Jordan, disputing the limitation of marriages to couples would open up this institution to many other unconventional practices.

Furthermore, Jordan disputes the notion that marriage should be defined as an individual’s need to marry. In his view, this definition would burden the state with other marriage requests.

The writer solidifies his argument by noting that the law does not allow state organs to subsidize a certain principle unless there are no alternatives to such a subsidy. Jordan also dismisses Rauch’s notion that denying same-sex marriages promotes discord in society by arguing that there is no solid evidence that supports this claim.

Works Cited

Rauch, Jonathan. Gay marriage: Why it is good for gays, good for straights, and good for America, New York, NY: Macmillan, 2004. Print.

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