Homosexual Marriage: Arguments and Perspectives

Introduction

This research is aimed at examining the debate about same-sex marriage and conceptions of masculinity and femininity. In particular, it is necessary to explain why homosexual people are denied the right to marriage and why this issue is so often debated. This question can be discussed with the help of scholarly sources that throw light on various peculiarities of same-sex marriage. Other important issues will include arguments based on masculinity and femininity misconceptions that create opposition to same sex marriage; the arguments based on masculinity and femininity that will encourage same-sex marriage; and other forms of discrimination against same-sex couples based on the misconceptions of masculinity and femininity attributes. Empirical data conducted by expert researchers will be provided to support the arguments.

The battle over same-sex marriage being fought in many countries around the world has become intense and has turned into a “culture war”1. One aspect of the controversy is the question of equality and justice. Gay men and lesbians denounce the lack of equality, arguing further that same-sex marriage is a human right2. But in the United States and South Africa, discrimination against lesbians and gays still exists, despite the fact that some states are in the process of legalising or giving some rights to gay men and lesbians, and in the latter constitutional provision has been given to homosexuals.

In other words, legalisation of same sex-marriage and granting gay men and lesbians their rights do not mean prejudice toward them and misconceptions will disappear altogether. Studies on South Africa same-sex marriage mentioned in the later part of this paper have given evidence that there are still large prejudicial sentiments found in society over homosexuals. Societies and the people involved in this fight should be able to unite and not only grant gay men and lesbians their rights but the respect they so deserve.

In the UK, same-sex marriage is not yet legalised but same-sex partners can enter into civil partnerships so they can avail of the rights and benefits afforded for married couples under the Civil Partnerships Act of 20043. However, when the UK government asked the opinion of the populace regarding civil marriage of same sex couples, it was greeted with great opposition, particularly from the Roman Catholic Church through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales which issued a Pastoral letter to 2,500 churches across the UK, citing marriage “as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman” and that same-sex partnerships “are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing” of the parties involved4.

America’s opinion on same-sex marriage is split. In a May 2010 Gallup Poll, the results were 44 percent for legalisation and 53 percent opposing, in which opposition is believed at its lowest in years5. Sullivan, Marcus and Piereson (1982) argued that America is becoming more tolerant to non-traditional marriage6. However, same-sex marriage is not a part of a national law in the United States and same-sex partners are denied of the more than 1,100 rights and benefits available for heterosexual married couples. Some of these rights include Social Security benefits, adoption rights and immigration rights. Marriage equality can provide a host of other benefits for LGBs7.

In the state of California, majority of the populace, about 60% sees homosexuality and same-sex marriage as against moral laws, and about the same percentage of the people oppose to legalising homosexual marriage. It was in this state that Proposition 8 was passed amending the State constitution to support the original provision that marriage should be between a man and a woman. This particularly revoked the marriage rights of same-sex partners8. State laws limiting how homosexuals should behave can be seen as institutionalising “chronic sexual prejudice”9.

Hypothesis

Misconceptions on homosexuality and about gay men and lesbians that have put them on a bad light and have excluded them from society have remained unexplained and unclear in the minds of the opponents of same-sex marriage and the general public. Gay men and lesbians can close the gap by being in close contact with society and explain their side through positive outlook and clean living.

Methodology

This study will draw evidence from past researches. In the research, we found vast contents of qualitative researches conducted by several authors and investigators on the subject of same-sex marriage and partnerships, gay men and lesbians, and the various debates on the sub-issues of same-sex partnerships. When sources of qualitative in nature are the subject of the study, the paper will provide qualitative results.

We have provided an objective analysis on the two sides of the debate. First, we drew on data from traditionalists, or the so-called conservatives, but the progressives were not left behind. Qualitative data and information were taken from the studies of Eskridge (2001), taken from a comprehensive collection of essays titled ‘Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law’10. Weak arguments were analysed from the issues of stereotyping and misconceptions of gay identity. Christian prejudice toward homosexuals was the subject of a study by Ford and colleagues11.

Valuable data were taken from Whitehead’s12 research in which respondents were asked to tell their views about an “angry” God, homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Misconceptions about gay men and lesbians were taken from the studies of Fingerhut et al.13; “danger and threat” posed by homosexuals was sourced from the study of Becker14, Blashill and Powlishta15, and a host of reliable authors and investigators. Arguments and counter arguments were also analysed.

Literature Review

Maccoby16 defines a “feminine woman” as the one who works “to be attractive to men,” and “a masculine man” also does everything in order to look attractive to women. The differences of what are seen as attractive and the ways in making one’s self attractive to others are great within and between cultures. Culture is one factor that influences people’s perception of homosexuals and their actions. Religion is another. This can be one of the misconceptions thrown against homosexuals that they are trying to break cultural norms because they tend to create their own culture.

Kirkpatrick (1993)17 studied whether an intrinsic orientation and Christian orthodoxy (CO), which is “the degree to which one accepts central, fundamental tenets of the Christian faith”18, foretold negative feelings toward homosexuals based on some factors from Herek’s (1987) scale of attitudes toward homosexuals. The responses found prejudiced attitudes toward homosexuals based on intrinsic orientation and CO, and also found to have predicted prejudice on a group of participants and negative prejudice on another group. This finding was supported by another study by Laythe et al. (2002) which found that CO had prejudice against gays and lesbians, and also with race.19

In a study by Mwaba20 involving 150 undergraduate students attending a predominantly black university in the Western Cape province of South Africa, a country that has legalised same-sex marriages, results indicated conservative beliefs and attitudes with respect to same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Up to 44% considered it immoral, while up to 46% indicated that homosexual couples should be denied the right to adopt children; participants said that they could not understand same-sex marriage and this should not be legalised. Critics against the Civil Unions Bill said it was against the will of the people, a majority who believed that marriage is the union of a man and a woman21.

These facts reveal that even with same-sex marriage legalised by the state, prejudice against gay men and lesbian couples continue to exist. The participants in this study were students who had notions and misconceptions against so-called third sex. The results of the study found very negative feelings and misconceptions against gay men and lesbians.

Rowatt and Franklin (2004 as cited in Ford et al., 2009, p. 148) indicated that true internalisation of orthodox Christian teachings is the basis of faith of the intrinsically religious, not the extrinsically religious. The study used on the CO scale was based on intrinsic orientation and raised the assumption that CO teachings did not support homosexual relationships. Social psychological theories are some of the tenets that support CO beliefs that might have contained gay men and lesbian discrimination. Ford and colleagues22 further state that religion has a different basis for an “internal nonprejudiced standard of conduct”; meaning, that people who have strong points internalised orthodox Christian beliefs (i.e. did very well on the Christian orthodoxy scale), and religion serves as a basis of behaviour that has been internalised as a way of defining the self.

They have a strong belief to follow this “Christian standard” and feel negative and conscience-stricken when they are not following it. The theory expounded by Ford and colleagues23 states that orthodox Christian beliefs have to be internalised so that they can be the fundamental basic principle for a personal moral standard that does allow prejudice but this does not rule out the approval of the biblical view of homosexuality as immoral.

Postmodernist views

Postmodern critics have for- and against-arguments for same-sex marriage. According to postmodernist views, giving equality to same-sex marriage would make marriage a normal thing, close off potentials for increased choices and could degrade unmarried individuals. But this argument can be opposed with another postmodern argument that says the same-sex phenomenon has provided choices for state acknowledgement of nonmarital partnerships and has given lesbians and gays the necessary voice for their quest. Another postmodern view against same-sex marriage is that recognition would weaken the independence of LGBs, but this should always be the case because the state has the responsibility in making relationships work24.

The false identity

False identity is another misconception, or notions which have remained in the mind of anti-gay activists or people who just do not want to include gay men and lesbians in society. According to such notions, homosexuals are considered deviant, short for sissified or men who cannot be leaders of the family. They are also referred to as masculine women who deny the usually proscribed gender roles (Marshall, 1981)25. Men do not want to be called “sissy” and they feel more masculine when they denigrate those who are displaying homosexual traits in public. Heterosexuality has become evidence for masculine identity and thus men find satisfaction when they ridicule homosexuals.

Ridiculing is not enough; antigay violence has been practiced in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States, where antigay violence has become a trend even since the 1930s26. Discrimination, harassment, and violence have been directed against homosexuals and lesbians; gay men and lesbians were even charged of sodomy in order to ridicule or discredit them27. Berrill (1992)28 conducted surveys on gay rights violations which showed a number of human rights violations like violence and bullying, verbal harassment, stalling, being spat upon, etc. In the cited places, same-sex marriage or partnerships are looked down and threatened with violence29.

The concept that homosexuals possess characteristics that defy traditional gender roles relates to Freud’s “gender inversion theory” (Kite & Deaux, 1987)30. According to Freud, gay men are just like heterosexual females than they are to heterosexual males, and lesbians are more like heterosexual males than to heterosexual females. Freud refers to the actions and feelings of homosexuals and lesbians. Stereotypes simplify the world, i.e. objects that are alike in one way are assumed to be alike in other ways, such as the characteristic traits they have. Freud’s theory enables us to focus on important distinctions when learning a new type while ignoring irrelevant distinctions.

Modern-day psychologists, the anti-Freudian, accused Freud of focusing on sexual traits, i.e. the female lack the sex organ of the male and thus they envy the male. But Freud provided proof of his theory on the definitions of male-female and homosexuals-lesbians. While modern psychologists honor and respect Freud for his original ideas on psychoanalysis, they argue that this is not so in the modern views of psychoanalysis. Modern psychoanalysis does not focus on the male and female sex organs, but there are other factors.

Discussion and analysis of the issues in the literature

The two sides to the debate are the traditionalists and progressives. The traditionalists do not want to sacrifice the gender roles, but the progressives state that same-sex marriage does not affect the gender-role concept31. Opponents argue that to recognise same-sex marriage is to challenge the basic concept of marriage and gender functions, that it is the union of man and woman. Progressives argue that same-sex marriage promotes equality and includes homosexuals and lesbians into the institutions of marriage and society. The traditionalists contend that same-sex marriage is against the true value of man-woman marriage which has long been practiced in western culture.

But the progressive critics disagree, saying that this kind of marriage is not radical, rather it supports mainstream values. The traditionalists disapprove of giving benefits and privileges to same-sex partners as it would weaken the state’s encouragement of the traditional marriage; progressives are also against it, saying that they do not want increased state involvement in gay and lesbian affairs32.

One of the strongest points raised by opponents of same-sex marriage is the issue of morality with arguments taken from the bible and cultural norms. Culture and religion state that gay men and lesbian couples violate cultural and religious tenets of marriage: man is for woman. This puts LGBs (lesbians, gays and bisexuals) into bad light who are asking for their rights and privileges from the state and from society itself. Many oppose same sex marriage because of social, cultural and religious beliefs but these issues can be resolved if such socio-cultural and religious beliefs are closely examined and understood.

Religiosity or belief in God and bible interpretation influences people’s perception and attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Religion and beliefs on the causes of homosexuality are significant in seeing people’s belief toward same-sex marriage. Proponents do not agree. They argue that religion should see them as part of the church and should not exclude them, saying that the church should be the first to understand and that the many misconceptions should be examined and objectively understood.

Nevertheless, Christian prejudice toward homosexuals are often tolerated or encouraged, while some Protestant Christian denominations have developed prejudicial policy; for instance, the banning of ordination of homosexuals and lesbian pastors by the Presbyterian church in 199633. Some religious sects accuse homosexuals as a disgrace. In Leviticus, homosexual acts are considered “an abomination,” a direct description about homosexuality in a rather complex Judeo-Christian tradition34. Religion has always been against homosexuality but there are people within some denominations that tolerate it. McFarland (1989)35 indicated that religious fundamentalism (RF), “the belief in strict adherence to the fundamental or basic tenets of one’s religion (Pancer et al. 1995)”36 is a clear example of discrimination toward homosexuals.

Experience in religion affects people’s perception toward homosexuals. Allport and Ross (1967)37 narrated two possible experiences in religion that affect people’s attitude toward homosexuals. The experience of extrinsic orientation stimulates people to use religion for their own satisfaction. They hold normally to their own religious beliefs “or selectively shape them to fit more primary needs”38. On the contrary, people who experience “intrinsic orientation ‘find their master motive in religion’”39.

This entire concept reveals that people who have had extrinsic orientation “use” their religion while those with intrinsic orientation “live” their religion. Herek (1987)40 showed in a study of Christian students that intrinsic orientation had a positive correlation of prejudice toward homosexuals, and provided a conclusion saying that intrinsic orientation does not tolerate acceptance of others but accepts “specific groups that are accepted by Judeo-Christian teachings”41.

Several religion variables have been used by researchers to see religion’s influence on people’s perceptions concerning the cause of homosexuality and their attitudes toward same-sex marriage. A religious variable used in Whitehead’s (2010) research was how individuals interpret their belief in God. This is important in the study of the causes of homosexuality which can lead researchers to conclude and recommend whether homosexuals and lesbians should be granted same-sex marriage by the state42.

In Whitehead’s43 research, respondents were asked how they viewed God and whether God was present or not. The questions were put together to see if there was an active God as perceived by the respondents. There were also questions about an angry God as seen by participants. They were asked if they saw God as angered by the sins of humanity. Words synonymous or describing anger were presented and the results were added together to describe an angry God.

The respondents indicated that individuals turn to homosexuality if they choose to become. People who display high religiosity are inclined to believe that homosexuality is the result of individual choice. The results of the survey showed that Protestants and Catholics differed in their perception of homosexuality and their perceptions of same-sex marriage. Evangelical Protestants had a robust, unfavorable opinion about same-sex marriage which was not affected by their opinion about the cause of homosexuality. Marriage and civil union were not any different, except that marriage would connote a “sacred” rite, and civil union was more on the legal aspect of the marriage.

In granting same-sex marriage, it should be known how individuals became gay and not just by “mere disposition”. This argument states that a person’s homosexuality can be controlled. The attribution theory by Heider (1944, 1958)44, later proposed by Weiner (1979),45 states that “individuals work to predict and control their environment by attributing others’ behaviors as the result of internal or external factors”46. Behavior can be seen as controllable or uncontrollable and there are homosexuals who know how to control their behavior47.

More misconceptions

Most commentaries are generally negative (Herek & Capitanio, 1996; Yang, 1997)48. LGBs and gay marriage advocates have been falsely accused of changing the teachings in school and of the church (Leal, 2008)49, or of being modern-day fascists who trample on the rights of others (Smith, 1977)50. Others say that homosexuals are “perverted and mentally ill” (Simmons, 1965)51, and that they violate “sex role norms” (Laner & Laner, 1980)52.

Discrimination and misconceptions continue even as gay men and lesbians, like most heterosexually married couples, want to live normally. Religious advocates question the morality of same-sex partnerships and they see homosexuals and lesbians as neo-fascists trying to interfere in the rights of others (Smith, 1997)53. Investigations have found that men’s attitudes toward homosexuals tend to be more negative than those of women (Herek & Capitanio, 1999; Kite & Witley, 1998)54. Religion is one of the reasons for racial prejudice.

One very negative misconception is that homosexuals are dangerous (Corbett, Troiden, & Dodder, 1977)55. The “gay or homosexual threat” exists among those who perceive that marriage is solely a union for procreation and raising children (Barth & Overby, 2003)56. Conservative people with traditional opinions on marriage and family usually oppose gay and lesbian couples raising children because of their belief that same-sex marriage weakens the institution of different-sex marriage and their religious beliefs coupled with traditional sense of the definition of the family (Brumbaugh et al., 2008)57.

But this same people lack knowledge, i.e. they have less contact with homosexual and lesbian couples rearing children, their culture is confined to a community that lacks a basic level of support for different family structures, or have notions that only a very few gay and lesbian couples exist in society (Barth, Overby, & Huffmon, 2009; Overby & Barth, 2002)58. There were studies that reported fear of homosexuals which were associated with “conservatism and support for traditional sex roles” (Hansen, 1982; Hudson & Rickets, 1980; MacDonald & Games, 1974)59. A study by Stephan and McMullin (1982)60 reported that people in urban settings were more tolerant of gays and lesbians than were those raised in the countryside. But younger people and better educated had less negative opinions toward homosexuals (Irwin & Thompson, 1977)61.

Gay males and lesbians are commonly subjected to discrimination of various forms, and even with the changes in several advanced societies, homosexuals are still being ostracised (Horek & Gamets, 2007; Lewis et al., 2003; Yang, 1997)62. Their perceived violation of traditional gender roles makes matters worse because the so-called violations draw negative reactions. They stimulate these negativities as they are presumed to have achieved cross-gendered traits.

The counter arguments

Advocates of same-sex marriage, including scholars and gay activists, place the fight for same sex marriage equality in the wider field of the homosexual’s fight for their rights. Marriage equality is similar to the fight of decriminalizing “same-sex behavior,” eliminating discrimination in employment and housing, acceptance in the military service, and in the wider context of exercising the rights and privileges of all people regardless of sexual orientation (Chauncey, 2004; Rimmerman & Wilcox, 2007)63. Many oppose this view, suggesting that fighting for one’s rights is different from the fight for legalisation of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage advocacy must be a separate debate as this involves social, cultural, and religious issues apart from the issue of human rights. States have granted rights to all because it is inherent in every human being. Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that same-sex marriage is not an inherent human right. Homosexuals argue that marriage is a civil right64 and since marriage involves love, everyone has the right to love anyone even from the same sex.

Conceptions on feminine and masculine

According to Maccoby65, a situation may occur that “a man and a woman, who find each other attractive, are both attracted by the same things (e.g., the other one being a good listener), and also agree on what makes themselves attractive (e.g. caring about the way they look)” (p. 6). This definition applies to those who are attracted to the opposite sex. And through this definition, homosexuals or bisexuals could not be feminine or masculine, or they might be neutral. Another definition by Maccoby66 states: “A masculine or feminine person is one who embodies the characteristics prescribed by the male or female sex roles in the person’s society”. This definition connotes cultural and traditional values and the way society views a man as masculine and woman as feminine. Any deviation from the masculine and feminine definition may be against cultural and traditional definition or views.

Masculinity and femininity therefore are based on what people believe fits better to the one or the other sex. This definition defines how an individual fits to stereotypes or social prescriptions for their sexual orientation. An example of this is assigning characteristics to masculine or feminine. For example, aggressive trait refers to a “masculine” trait, while nurturant is “feminine”. This could be based on what people believe because that fits on the person. Maccoby67 also indicated that a masculine or feminine person shows the traits that distinguish them from the other sexes. The concepts of masculinity and femininity provide ideas what can generally be expected from women and men. This often assumes who one should fall in love with, i.e. someone of the opposite sex. If this is not the case, then one fails in the masculinity and femininity test68.

Gender roles

Gender role orientation is defined as “behaviors, expectations, and role sets defined by society as masculine or feminine which are embodied in the behavior of the individual man or woman and culturally regarded as appropriate to males or females” (O’Neil, 1981)69. In years past, masculinity and femininity were seen as “polar opposites,” but now they are perceived as “existing on separate dimensions” (Bern, 1974)70.

In other words, instead of calling them masculine and feminine, Bern (1974)71 argued that individuals can acquire different levels of both masculine and feminine characteristics that may lead to classifications of individuals as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or “undifferentiated” (probably, neutral). There is now this shift of bidimensional, and concepts on gender roles have changed, taking into consideration personality traits, like occupational inclinations, activities, and personal appearance (Blakemore, 1999; Levy et al., 1995; Liben & Bigler, 2002)72.

Along this line of thought, masculinity refers to having traits predominant on autonomy, dominance, and assertiveness; while feminine refers to traits on empathy, nurturance, and sensitivity. Gender roles, however, do not only point to personality traits, but in Lippa and Connelly’s (1990)73 work, gender roles were measured with added identifiable activities like hobbies, occupational inclinations, and personality traits. Moreover, the traditional views of masculine and feminine seemed to be overpowered by Bern’s views of the masculine, feminine and androgynous. In other words, homosexuals and lesbians may not be “born” as such but they develop these traits according to experience and the ways of living and activities they may have, as they are influenced by occupational inclinations, activities, and personal appearance.

One of the strongest arguments to the opposition of same-sex partnership is that the husband should be the head of the family; the husband should also be a servant-leader. Evangelicals’ ways point to Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians which emphasises that husbands are heads of the family just as Christ is the head of the church, and that they should love their wives. In western culture, families are based on heterosexual relationship between husband and wife; the husband is the leader, provider and his decision should be followed by the wife. In same-sex partners, this is not possible and the situation diverts what is mentioned in the biblical texts about the family. Same-sex partners who are living together adopt the roles of husband and wife; in other words, there is no distinction. And most homosexuals and lesbians do not want to take those responsibilities74.

In same-sex partnerships one cannot distinguish who is the provider and who is the homemaker. Most lesbians and homosexuals are working and same-sex partners have these dual roles. Partners are in flexible working conditions as they share the responsibilities of doing domestic work and earning for a living. In a study by Bell and Weinberg (1978)75, the researchers asked same-sex partners living together if one partner could work all the feminine tasks and the other could do all the masculine job. The respondents indicated that they did not segregate the feminine and masculine tasks but shared in domestic work equally.

On the contrary, Kurdek’s (1993)76 study on heterosexual married couples without children revealed that there was a division of labour between the couples: the housewife did the cooking, going to the market, and doing ordinary chores, or the wife did most of the household work. But in gay marriages, couples shared the tasks almost equally. Homosexuals and lesbians living together would usually share tasks and perform equal responsibilities in the home. Lesbian partners would do the same. In caring for their children, lesbians and homosexuals would usually share the task of child rearing, unlike heterosexual couples where the task is the responsibility of the wife or the mother.

Nan Hunder77 added that same-sex marriage might undermine the traditional definition of marriage, as defined by people’s culture and religion, and may promote the idea that marriage is a relationship between people of similar “social status”. But Eskridge78 cites Nancy Polikoff who argued that most same-sex marriages in the past did not show problems to societies in which they resided.

These same-sex partnerships were recognised by societies and cultures as marriages, which opposed the traditionalist views that it is a contradiction. Further evidence also revealed that pre-industrial communities had a dominance of males in the population and so same-sex marriages were common and these mimicked different-sex marriages79. Same-sex marriage proponents argue that the gender-role issue does not mean same-sex partners will eliminate the traditional roles of husbands and wives. Lesbian couples and gay men will still have separate tasks like the traditional husband and wife roles.

Gay Stereotypes

Some studies about stereotypes focused on lesbians. Eliason et al. (1992)80 asked participants who were nursing students to state their reaction if they learned their coworker was a lesbian? Some thirty-one percent of participants said that they could identify the “aura of a lesbian”. The lesbian could also be identified through appearance, for example, jeans, heavy boots, flannel shirts, leather coats, insufficient make-up to be feminine, short hair, etc. The results of this study indicated that respondents considered lesbians as masculine in their behavior and appearance, which tells that individuals use sexual orientation as a basis for conclusions about gender-related attributes. Another study was conducted by Geiger et al. (2006)81 also focusing on stereotypes of lesbians.

The participants were undergraduate students from a large Midwestern university in the United States, who were asked to list as many traits associated with lesbians that they could think of. In another stage, another set of participants also generated traits into different types of lesbians, by way of sorting tasks. The first group generated many traditionally masculine traits, but numerous feminine traits were also produced. Results from the sorting task revealed several subtypes of lesbians, with some (for example, career-oriented feminist, soft-Butch, and Angry Butch), but not others possessing masculine attributes. The authors suggested that some lesbians were becoming masculine in their acts while some have remained traditionally feminine.

They also found that although lesbians were believed to possess both masculine and feminine characteristics, it is also difficult to determine whether they were viewed as more masculine, or maybe less feminine than heterosexual women or whether they were viewed as similar to heterosexual men.

Homosexuals and lesbians in places where antigay violence is predominant cannot live normal lives. They compose a small minority and they have no one to ask for support. Heterosexism is a belief that stigmatises homosexuals and lesbians who are perceived violating the cultural norms and sexual beliefs. Homosexuals and lesbians who “obey” cultural norms on gender and heterosexual practices are accepted in the community than those who continue to deviate from the common practice (Millham & Weinberger, 1977)82.

Another study focused on stereotypes of gay males and their subclassifications. The study drew participants from a U.S. East coast public university, which identified many feminine stereotypes for gay males, such as “walks like girls”, “feminine”, “emotional”, and “soft voice”.

The factor analyses showed that there were two different groupings of gay male stereotypes, but both consisted of traditionally feminine characteristics (one appearing to represent positive feminine traits; the other, feminine behaviors and appearance). The results of this study tell us that many see gay males as being feminine. But as to the extent as to which gay males are viewed as feminine compared to other groups is not clear83.

The findings of Blashill and Powlishta’s84 studies revealed that the extent to which men and women were viewed as different depended on the respondents’ sexual orientation. Traditional views of men and women were reversed for gay targets, with gay men seen as more feminine and less masculine than lesbians. Put it simply, male homosexuals were seen as feminine than masculine; lesbians were perceived as masculine than feminine. This leads to a conclusion that gay stereotypes traditionally confide to the gender inversion theory. This theory states that gay men are more likened to heterosexual females than they are to heterosexual males; likewise, “lesbians are more similar to heterosexual males than to heterosexual females” (Kite & Deaux, 1987)85. Homosexuals are always seen as feminine.

Gay men and lesbians constitute a minority of the population but this may not be the case if we look at the definition of masculinity and femininity which states that these are not anymore “polar opposites”. According to Bern (1974)86, individuals can acquire masculine and feminine traits which can lead to their classification. If this is the case, any individual can acquire this trait at any time of one’s life, and the level of the traits acquired depends on how this was acquired. It can be presumed here that this minority group may someday shift to majority. In the present study, we found some studies in the past where a particular population was dominated by male and so same-sex partnerships were common and recognised by that particular culture.

Another important aspect drawn from the literature is that some societies are beginning to recognise or legalise same-sex marriages. Moral issues and conservative views, gender role misconceptions, along with discrimination by anti-gay activists, may continue to dominate and influence the debate over same-sex marriage. It will depend on the people involved, the sexual orientation of people and the level of morality of society, whether how fast it can change and accept same-sex partners. People change along with society.

Gay men and lesbians have gone a long way in their quest for equality and justice. Some have found successes in their quest to live normal lives. But there are many situations, reasons and factors mentioned and discussed above that will continue to fester their way of living. Legalising or state recognition is one step to this quest for normalisation, and some of these have already been achieved. As mentioned, it would depend on people’s mental attitude, on how they would accept homosexuals and their way of living. Gender stereotyping and all those discriminatory attitudes have to be eliminated. Society has got to do something but in doing this, everyone must change their beliefs.

References

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Worell, J. (2002). Encyclopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender. San Diego, California: Academic Press. Web.

Footnotes

1 Fingerhut, A., Riggle, E., & Rostosky, S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 225-241. P. 226.

2 Fingerhut, A., Riggle, E., & Rostosky, S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 225-241. P. 226.

3 Hand, M. (2013). Framing classroom discussion of same-sex marriage. Educational Theory, 63(5), 497-510. P. 497.

4 Hand, M. (2013). Framing classroom discussion of same-sex marriage. Educational Theory, 63(5), 497-510. P. 498.

5Jones as cited in Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

6 Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

7 Ghavami, N. & Johnson, K. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 394-412. P. 395.

8 Ghavami, N. & Johnson, K. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 394-412. P. 394.

9 McCann, S. (2011). Do state laws concerning homosexuals reflect the preeminence of conservative-liberal individual differences? The Journal of Social Psychology, 151(3), 227-239. P. 228.

10 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. P. 114.

11 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

12 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79.

13 Fingerhut, A., Riggle, E., & Rostosky, S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 225-241.

14 Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

15 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793.

16 Maccoby, E. (1999). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. United States of America: First Harvard University Press.

17 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

18 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

19 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

20 Mwaba, K. (2009). Attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality and same-sex marriage among a sample of South African students. Social Behavior and Personality, 37(6), 801-804.

21 Mwaba, K. (2009). Attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality and same-sex marriage among a sample of South African students. Social Behavior and Personality, 37(6), 801-804.

22 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

23 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

24 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. P. 129.

25 Franklin, K. (2004). Enacting masculinity: Antigay violence and group rape as participatory theater. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 1(2), 25-40. P. 27.

26 Franklin, K. (2004). Enacting masculinity: Antigay violence and group rape as participatory theater. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 1(2), 25-40. P. 27.

27 Human Rights Watch Staff. (1998). Human rights watch world report 1999. New York: Human Rights Watch. P. 473.

28 Franklin, K. (2004). Enacting masculinity: Antigay violence and group rape as participatory theater. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 1(2), 25-40. P. 27.

29 Botha, K. & Cameron, E. (1997). South Africa. In D. West & R. Green (Eds.), Sociolegal control of homosexuality: A multination comparison (pp. 5-37). New York: Plenum Press. P. 5.

30 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

31 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. P. 114.

32 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 113-114.

33 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

34 Tygart, C. (2002). Legal rights to homosexuals into the areas of domestic partnerships and marriages: Public support and genetic causation attribution. Education Research Quarterly, 25(3), 20-28. P. 22.

35 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

36 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

37 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

38 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

39 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

40 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

41 Ford, T., VanValey, T., Brignall, T., & Macaluso, M. (2009). The unmaking of prejudice: How Christian beliefs relate to attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(1), 146-160.

42 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79.

43 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79.

44 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79. P. 64.

45 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79. P. 64.

46 Whitehead, A. (2010). Sacred rites and civil rights: Religion’s effect on attitudes toward same-sex unions and the perceived cause of homosexuality. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 63-79. P. 64.

47 Botha, K. & Cameron, E. (1997). South Africa. In D. West & R. Green (Eds.), Sociolegal control of homosexuality: A multination comparison (pp. 5-37). New York: Plenum Press. P. 7.

48 Mwaba, K. (2009). Attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality and same-sex marriage among a sample of South African students. Social Behavior and Personality, 37(6), 801-804.

49 Fingerhut, A., Riggle, E., & Rostosky, S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 225-241. P. 226.

50 Fingerhut, A., Riggle, E., & Rostosky, S. (2011). Same-sex marriage: The social and psychological implications of policy and debates. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 225-241. P. 226.

51 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

52 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

53 Ghavami, N. & Johnson, K. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 394-412. P. 396.

54 Mwaba, K. (2009). Attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality and same-sex marriage among a sample of South African students. Social Behavior and Personality, 37(6), 801-804.

55 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

56 Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

57 Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

58 Becker, A. (2012). What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. Social Science Quarterly, 93(4), 107-1029.

59 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

60 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

61 Gentry, C. (1987). Social distance regarding male and female homosexuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 127(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1987.9713680. P. 200.

62 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 783.

63 Ghavami, N. & Johnson, K. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 394-412. P. 396.

64 Ghavami, N. & Johnson, K. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67(2), 394-412. P. 395.

65 Maccoby, E. (1999). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. United States of America: First Harvard University Press. P. 6.

66 Maccoby, E. (1999). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. United States of America: First Harvard University Press. P. 6.

67 Maccoby, E. (1999). The two sexes: Growing up apart, coming together. United States of America: First Harvard University Press. P. 6.

68 Watzlawik, M. (2009). When a man thinks he has female traits constructing femininity and masculinity: Methodological potentials and limitations. Integrated Psychological Behaviour, 43(1), 126-137. doi: 10.1007/s12124-008-9085-4. P. 127.

69 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

70 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

71 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

72 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

73 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 784.

74 Worell, J. (2002). Encyclopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender. San Diego, California: Academic Press.

75 Worell, J. (2002). Encyclopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender. San Diego, California: Academic Press. P. 658.

76 Worell, J. (2002). Encyclopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender. San Diego, California: Academic Press. P. 659.

77 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 127.

78 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 127.

79 Eskridge, W. (2001). The ideological structure of the same-sex marriage debate (and some postmodern arguments for same-sex marriage). In R. Winemute & M. Andenaes (Eds.), Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships: A study of national, European and international law (pp. 113-132). Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 127.

80 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 785.

81 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 785.

82 Franklin, K. (2004). Enacting masculinity: Antigay violence and group rape as participatory theater. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 1(2), 25-40. P. 27.

83 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 786.

84 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 786.

85 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 790.

86 Blashill, A. & Powlishta, K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 783-793. P. 790.