The Rights of Gays or The Illusion of AlternativesIn school, we got the task to write a comment to this statement:
Gay and lesbian couples living in an officially registered partnership should have the same rights as married couples.
There have always been people who prefered partners from their own sex to partners from the other sex. In 500 BC in ancient greece, men often had very close friendships and it wasn't uncommon for men to have male lovers. Christianity, however, prohibited any sexual interaction that wasn't directly connected with the maintenance of the human race. Since the Dark Ages, gays have been prosecuted and couldn't live openly as a couple. During the facist regime in Germany, gays were sent to concentration camps just like jews and communists. After the second world war, views on homosexuals changed in all European countries and in 1969 prosecution in Germany was finally stopped. Society had changed and began to accept people who are different. Until now, homosexual couples have gotten many rights and are accepted by a large part of the people. Yet still, married heterosexual couples have many rights homosexuals are denied. For instance, gay couples have disadvantages concerning taxes, inheritances and adoption rights.
In Germany and most of the states of the USA, it is impossible for homosexuals to adopt children as a couple. Children that are free for adoption can only be arranged to heterosexual couples or to single persons. Nevertheless, it is possible for a gay or lesbian person to adopt the partner's biological child(ren) as long as the other biological parent agrees. But why is it made so difficult for homosexual couples to become parents? Those, who oppose adoption by gays, claim that homosexuality is unnatural and/or that children need both, a father and a mother, in order to grow up properly. But history shows that there have always been gays and there are even gay animals so homosexuality clearly is not unnatural. Also there are many children who grow up in single-parent families having only either a father or a mother. So where's the problem with having two mothers or two fathers? The main characteristic of a family is that the parents love and care for their children. It doesn't matter wether there's one parent or two, wether they are hetero- or homosexual.
Adoption is only one example where gay couples have huge disadvantages even though about 10% of the men are gay. Heterosexual couples who are not married face the same difficulties with taxes and inheritances. Society offers a lot of advantages to the "old-fashioned" marriage even though a lot of new kinds of family are developing. In Germany, less people marry and the number of divorces has increased since the 90ties. That's a clear sign, that the traditional kind of family is loosing importance and new forms such as the current life partnership, heterosexual couples who decide not to marry, single parents with their children and of course homosexual couples either living or not living in an officially registered partnership are growing more and more important.
Therefore it is time to change the family laws giving more rights to the new kinds of families and reducing the legal importance of marriage.
The way the task is formulated gives the illusion of an alternative (should gay, officially registered couples have the same rights as heterosexual, officially registered couples or shouldn't they?) when in fact the task should be to compare marriage with all other ways for two people to live together. You shall choose between two alternatives when in fact a third one is true. This illusion of alternatives is very often used when the goal is to let people discuss while avoiding and hiding the true problem.
I would have written much more about other forms of living together in the text above if the teacher hadn't said that the text should be about 250 words long, mine already is twice as long.
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