The transformation taking place in the society determines the changes in the social institutions, one of which is family. The traditional forms of family exist in the parallel complement to the alternative models of the family relations. According to the sociologists, the deviations from the classical monogamy can no longer be interpreted unambiguously as a deviation from the norm. They should rather be seen as a sign of the significant and irreversible evolutionary changes in the institution of family. Despite the fact that the compulsory heterosexuality protects the institution of marriage and patriarchal relations in the modern society, there is a growing number of the same-sex families (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012).
The concept of the “same-sex marriage” appeared in the American lexicon, particularly in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language in 2000. In 2003, it was included in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The controversy around the concept of same-sex marriages has been present in the world since the late 1970s to the present day, which explains the relevance of the chosen topic. The same-sex marriage is the expanded view of the family union, the marriage between people of the same sex, which, by the idea of the supporters of this concept, should cover the same rights and obligations as the traditional marriages between men and women. The struggle to change the public morality and public recognition of the same-sex marriages as the normal kind of family is an important part of the movement for equal rights of the homosexuals. In this case, the purpose of such a struggle is a “full-fledged same-sex marriage”, which is different from the “same-sex civil partnerships” and other forms of non-traditional family unions that legally have no significant restrictions (Heaphy, Smart & Einarsdottir, 2013).
Every homosexual couple still has male and female carriers of the psychological origin. Any marriage, even same-sex, is union of male and female principles, if not physical, than psychological, merging the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Paradoxically, the fact is that many men carry the female principle, and women carry the men one. The woman, on spirit, appears in a male body, and a man appears in a female; hence, there is the physical desire to same-sex, but psychologically, it is the desire to the opposite sex. Some argue that the one who is born to be ‘different’ should have the same social rights as everyone else.
The development and expansion of the number of the same-sex marriages can be associated with the following sociological concepts: the cultural pluralism, gender socialization, and the nuclear family. Therefore, the attitude of the society to the phenomena of the same-sex marriage could be reviewed through the mentioned sociological concepts.
The Cultural Pluralism
A characteristic feature of the modern world is not only an intensive dialogue between cultures, but also the interpenetration of cultures, which can be described by concepts such as the diffusion, convergence, integration, convergence, assimilation, creative interaction, cultural pluralism, and the pluralism of values.
The cultural pluralism is the co-existence and manifestation of the various, sometimes conflicting values, ideals, beliefs, opinions, etc. in a single culture. The cultural pluralism in the society presupposes the existence of the various social institutions through which different groups of people can realize their cultural needs. The cultural pluralism is manifested through the fact that the individuals are free to express and defend their estimations of values regarding the significant matters of the situations and events. The cultural pluralism and the freedom of choice of values, which may differ from the values of the society, contribute to the expansion of the concept of the same-sex marriages.
The world is not globalized on the moral grounds. How people of different cultures, with different values can be subjected to a single center? The easiest way is to deprive them of these differences. Therefore, the globalists implant everywhere the militant pluralism, ridicule the mass national culture, destroy the family structure by the rigorous standards of the juvenile justice, as well as the legalization of the same-sex marriages.
The Gender Socialization
The theory of the gender socialization argues that an important part of the socialization is the study of the roles of men and women. The gender socialization is a process of the cultural assimilation of the individual gender of the society in which the individual lives, a kind of social construction of the differences between the sexes. The social psychologists have also used the differential socialization, thus emphasizing that the overall process of socialization of men and women is formed in different social and psychological conditions (Morita, 2009).
The gender socialization involves two interrelated aspects:
- a) the development of the social accepted models by both male and female behavior, attitudes, norms, values, and gender stereotypes;
- b) the impact of society, the social environment on the individuals with the purpose of the instilling of the certain rules and standards of behavior, socially acceptable for men and women.
The collective, universally valid norms are assimilated primarily; they become part of the personality and subconsciously guide the behavior. All information relating to the differentiated behavior is reflected in the human mind in the form of gender schemas. There are two distinct phases of the gender socialization:
1) the adaptive one (the external device to the existing gender relations, norms, and roles);
2) the internalization phase (the absorption of the essential male and female roles, gender relations, and values).
The main socializing factors (social groups and contexts: family, peers, the institution of education, media, work, service clubs) influence the formation of the concept of the same-sex marriage if some kind of the deviation occurs during the second phase of gender socialization.
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The Nuclear Family
In the second half of the XX century, the fundamental break of a number of the ethical family values has taken place; the ethics of family relationships have been changing. The broad kinship become weaker, the clan model breaks up, a special kind of the marital relationship arises – the nuclear family, in which each member is then independent unit of the kinship.
Finally, nuclear family needs deeper examination. It is a family in which the relationship between the spouses (partners) is foreground. The members of the nuclear family do not think about procreation, bearing and raising children. For the majority of the nuclear families, children are not the main point (Cherlin, 2010). Usually, the nuclearization process is associated with the massive spread of the intra-limiting of the births. Thus, the main point is the partner; so, the lack of the focus on the continuation of the family contributes to the development of the same-sex marriages trend.
The marriage laws have always been descriptive in nature. They described and recognized the existing reality of the relations between people. Even the laws governing certain aspects of marriage (the prohibition of the polygamy or the laws against incest) are designed to protect the popularity from those who want to distort its traditional contours. The concept of giving a new definition of a marriage, which will mean something quite different from the reality existed before, is a concept that creates a new reality (Herdt, 1996). The marriage in its proper sense is an important and necessary pre-condition for the existence of the stable and healthy families. The opponents of the traditional marriage, of course, are talking about the exceptions, but we know that children who grow up in the traditional monogamous family with a father and a mother do better in school, are less prone to the criminal tendencies and the influence of drugs, they have not so much mental and emotional problems, and are less prone to the suicide (Sullivan, 2004). Thus, the striving of the libertarian to keep the personal freedom is completely understandable; however, the sociological change in the concept of marriage will lead to the opposite effect.
The conclusion that the ideal structure of marriage and parenthood contains one man and one woman could be made on the basis of wisdom, accumulated during more than two thousand years. Arrogant disregard of this wisdom, proven by centuries, and the use of children as guinea pigs in a radical experiment is at least risky and threatens with the cataclysm. The same-sex marriage is definitely not in interests of children, and although we can sympathize with homosexuals who want to start a family and raise children, we cannot allow our sympathy to outweigh the compassion for the children. In the contest between the desires of some homosexuals and the needs of all the children, the society cannot afford children to lose.