Examining the divide over same-sex marriage

Democratic governor of Maine, John Baldacci, signed the same-sex marriage bill just minutes after the legislators approved it last week. This made the state the fifth in the country to have a bill in favor of same-sex marriages. The rest of the states should follow this example.

The legislators of New Hampshire also approved a similar bill, though it has yet to be signed by their governor, John Lynch. If signed, the state would join Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts, leaving Rhode Island as the only New England state not having a law sanctioning same-sex marriages, according to CNN.

According to MSNBC, the Maine law has already gathered opponents who plan to dispute it through Maine’s “people veto” provision. If the opposition can collect enough signatures, there will be a referendum to overturn the law. The minute the law was signed, its opponents began accumulating signatures, which have a mid-September deadline. If at least 10 percent of the individuals who voted in the last governor election sign, the law can be overturned.

The state of New York Assembly also approved a same-sex marriage bill and its future lies in the hands of the Senate, according to the New York Daily News. This bill, which was introduced a month ago by Governor David Paterson, was passed Tuesday night. 

The economy plays an important factor in the same-sex marriage debate. Married couples enjoy more financial benefits than unmarried couples. These include joint health-care, the ability to use each other’s credit to purchase homes or other big items together and inheritance benefits.

Gary Gates, a researcher at the UCLA School of Law, told CNN that states considering a bill, such as Minnesota, would see “noticeable economic benefit” from passing a same-sex marriage bill.

If a state passes this law, then same-sex couples who want to get married would travel there and get married. They would use the states’ hotels, rent marriage halls, and purchase items for each other, which would lead to higher state revenue.

New jobs will also be created in states that allow same-sex marriages. Wedding planners will see an increased demand for their services, which would also increase other wedding-related jobs such as florists or caterers. This could result in millions of dollars of revenue each year.

In a British study published in Behavioral Neuroscience magazine, researchers found that biological factors contribute to homosexuality. This study compared the responses of homosexual and heterosexual men and women to pre-pulse inhibition (PPI).  PPI tests are used to measure instinctive human responses and characteristics.

The study found the PPI response rate for homosexual women was 33 percent as opposed to 13 percent for heterosexual women. The figure for homosexual women leans toward the heterosexual male spectrum, which was 40 percent.

The United States does not have an official religion and therefore even though same-sex marriage might be against the religion of some, it does not contradict the country’s beliefs.  America was founded as a place people went in order to escape religious persecution and we should not sway from this.

Minorities have been discriminated in the past but we should learn from our mistakes, not repeat them. Barring marriage to two people in love because of their gender falls is discrimination, and America should take no part in it.

Xhenis Berberi is a freshman majoring in political science and economics.