Summary: Sullivan & Bennett's Gay Marriage Essay

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Lauren Adams Melissa Helton English 102 2 February 2012 Summary of A. Sullivan’s “For Gay Marriage” & W. Bennett’s “Against Gay Marriage”. Andrew Sullivan and William J. Bennett have very different opinions about legalizing gay marriage. Sullivan suggests it should be legal, but Bennett argues that it would ruin everything marriage stands for in America. In his book Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality (1995), former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan argues that not having gay marriage is a violation of equality. He points out that he is not referring to religious traditions but suggests, in a public institution, marriage should be available to any two citizens. He states that “The center of the public contract is an emotional, financial, and psychological bond between two people; in this respect, heterosexuals and homosexuals are identical.” Contemporary Western society recognizes that marriage is an emotional commitment by two people. And with that definition, if one believes in equality, there’s no reason it should be denied homosexuals. Sullivan adds marriage doesn’t have to be procreative, and there isn’t a civil marriage license that says couples have to have children. Sullivan says that minors and close family members should not be given the right to marry because minors are unable to understand such a commitment. The marriage of close family members creates incest, which threatens the trust and responsibility the family needs to survive. Sullivan asks if homosexuals fall in the same categories. Sullivan says that “domestic partnership,” a conservative concept, is one of the strongest arguments for gay marriage. Domestic partnerships qualify for benefits previously reserved for heterosexual married couples. In other words, people do not have to have a sexual or romantic relationship to be domestic partners.

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