Most unbiased evaluations of marriage as an institution consider it an unmitigated benefit, at least for those who enter into it willingly and avoid the shoals of divorce. Married people report higher levels of happiness than their unmarried counterparts, live longer, and lead healthier lives. They are less depressed, drink less, and report more satisfaction with their status than those who have never married or are divorced. The benefits of marriage also accrue to the children of married couples. The children of intact couples, whether straight or gay, are happier and more well adjusted, on average, than those of either single parents or couples who are living together but are not married. Why, then, would anyone oppose extending these benefits to a group of willing individuals-gays and lesbians-who are otherwise qualified-that is, old enough, mentally competent, in love, and financially responsible? Opponents of same-sex marriage contend that, even if gays and lesbians would benefit from the ability to marry each other, allowing them to do so will harm the institution of marriage or redefine it in an undesirable manner. Some object that extending the right in this fashion contravenes their religious beliefs. Finally, some posit that such an extension would amount to stepping on a slippery slope. Gay marriage, they assert, is part of a homosexual agenda, and granting access to it will only embolden gay activists to demand further concessions. Each of these objections warrants examination.
Let's Get Married: An Essay in Honor of Mari Matsuda,
Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_fi/vol112/iss1/7