Public Opinion About Gay Rights and Gay Marriage


There is great paradigm shift in quite a number of things in modern world. Towards this, there is no consensus on specific thing which might be the root cause of change of mind in crucial aspects of life such as marriage, religion and so on. In this regard, the demand for better human security and human rights is in higher demand now than ever before and the international community needs to undertake a new paradigm of human security.

This is because security has continued to change since the advent of state security in the 17th Century. Today’s global trade, movement of goods and services are interlinked to the aspect of human security. Human beings as a race share a planet, a biosphere and exist because social fabric that put the different races, colors, religions, beliefs and backgrounds together. This is because the security and fundamental rights of a single member of the human community, security of a nation, a region or state is influenced by the decision of others.

According to Doebbler (12), “The objective of human security is to safeguard the vital core of all human lives from critical pervasive threats, in a way that is consistent with long-term human fulfillment”. This paper takes a comprehensive and critical analysis of human right at the international perspective and further looks on the improvements which have been made on the issue. I strongly believe that much of improvements have been made on human rights protection world wide, however much of these improvements need to be made.

Background information

Human rights are issues which have evolved throughout human history. These fundamental rights are intricately pegged on laws, customs and religion. According to Alston, and Vasak, (27),It was in ancient Greece where the concept of human rights began to take a greater meaning than the prevention of arbitrary persecution. Human rights became synonymous with natural rights, rights that spring from natural law”

Human right Definition

According to Doebbler, (67) Fundamental rights which humans have by the fact of being human, and which are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government. Supported by several international conventions and treaties (such as the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human rights in 42), these include cultural, economic, and political rights, such as right to life, liberty, education and equality before law, and right of association, belief, free speech, information, religion, movement, and nationality.

Promulgation of these rights is not binding on any country, but they serve as a standard of concern for people and form the basis of many modern national constitutions. Although they were defined first by the UK philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) as absolute moral claims or entitlements to life, liberty, and property, the best-known expression of human rights is in the US Declaration of Rights in 1776 which proclaims that “All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent natural rights of which when they enter a society they cannot by an compact deprive or divest their posterity.”

International relations theories on human rights

The rise of human rights as a critical international issue is of great concern to the whole world. Doebbler, (31) highlights that, Many of our dominant theories – realism, rational choice, and economic interest group theories – have trouble accounting for the rise of human rights politics except to dismiss them as marginal, insignificant, or an ideological cover beneath which economic groups or hegemonic countries pursue their interests. But as the other essays here and the daily newspapers make abundantly clear, human rights issues are not marginal and increasingly detailed policy and institutional mechanisms exist to ensure the implementation of international human rights standards

The rise of human rights can be effectively analyzed and comprehensively understood by the use of international relations theories. There are a number of arguments on whether human rights are universal issue or a subject for few countries. The answers of this question still remain illusive and no consensus has been arrived at. However, many countries have made a considerable stride to embrace the protection of human rights. In this regard, the United Nations has promoted human rights protection through encouraging most countries to sign a number of treaties which spell out the need of human rights protection globally.

International theories such as realism and idealism are critical in the explanation as to whether human right is universal. The theory of realism points out the use of power to fulfill a given nations’ interest. In this case, countries which follow strictly the tenets of this theory tend to dispute the universality of human rights. On the other hand, Idealism theory revolves more on the spiritual issues as in the case of Islam culture. In the explanation of human right a long side this line as a universal issue is illusive due to strong ideological beliefs.

Conceptions of International Political Economy and human rights

The 20th century has seen a general rise of integration between countries in terms of economic activities. The international economic activities have recorded tremendous levels of integration.This are due to cross–border exchange of goods and services particularly after the end of World War II. This has been facilitated mainly within the framework of international trade integration. One of the effects of World War II was the rise in economic integration that is experienced by the liberal capitalist nations, as well as the rise in number of developing nations. Former communist nations are not left behind and are undertaking trade reforms towards more open markets. “It is prudent to note that this integration calls for universal human right” (Belser, 39).

In seeking to fully differentiate the concepts, consequences of contemporary international economic integration, international political conditions such as hegemonic leadership, its demerits and merits and the main sources behind rapid integration of contemporary global economic activities will be highlighted. Further, the major mechanisms of political and economic relations between countries will be examined, and how these relations shape the respective countries’ economic activities. In deeper understanding of the IPE, the consequences of international economic integration and openness will be synthesized. Lastly, the merits and demerits (dangers) of hegemonic stability in international trade dissected. These international relation theories and argument point out to need of universal human rights.

Laws inhibiting Gay Rights

Two prominent American Supreme Court decision concerning same sex marriage have for along period of time open a heated debate as to whether American law and constitution defend homosexuality. “The court in the first instance reflected on the mater in 1986 case of bowers v Hardwick, which was a challenge to a Georgia law which placed criminal penalty for individuals found guilty of homosexual behavior” (Doebbler, 2006 p.9). According to Doebbler, (11),

The Supreme Court chose to consider only the constitutionality of applying the law to homosexual sodomy. (Michael Hardwick, who sought to enjoin enforcement of the Georgia law, had been charged with sodomy after a police officer discovered him in bed with another man. Charges were later dropped.) In Bowers, the Court ruled 5 to 4 that the Due Process Clause “right of privacy recognized in cases such Griswold and Roe does not prevent the criminalization of homosexual conduct between consenting adults. One of the five members of the majority, Justice Powell, later described his vote in the case as a mistake.

In the year 1996, the issue of gay marriage emerged again this was in the case of Romer v Evans which was a challenge to the radical provision in the Colorado constitution which was adopted by a majority of 54% against minority with 46%.This law prohibited any sub-division, region as well as the state from adopting any law that purport or give protection to gay rights and homosexuality. In 2003, the American Supreme Court overruled its earlier judgment on gay issue based on Bowers v hardwick case. In this regard the court found that the state had no legitimate authority in controlling private sexual behavior of consenting adults.

The clamor for gay rights has been increased by both human right activists and the Gay people. In this regard, it calls for laws which not only protect the gay people bet also clearly define their existence in the society. Mohr, (12) illustrates that,

The American Civil Liberties Union has identified as one of the fundamental their key issues the subject of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender discrimination, and more specifically the fight to legalize same-sex marriage.

This category is of personal interest because as an American who is lesbian, who is currently involved in a committed and loving long-term relationship, the bans on gay marriage are examples of overt discrimination against a group of people for no reason other than the gender of the person they have chosen as their partner in life.

“The heated debate surrounding gay marriage is the discussion over the meaning of traditional marriage and what the inclusion of same-sex couples would do to the definition” (Lewin, 7). Doebbler, (21) illustrates that, “the word marriage means the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” The argument is that marriage would be a form of recognition of gays, which some do not agree with, versus the desire of same-sex couples to strengthen marriage by making commitments in their relationships, which in turn build stronger communities.

The response from traditionalists is that if marriage is altered to include homosexuals, then other fringe groups such as polygamists and incestuous pairs will demand marriage, which in turn leads to its alteration. The idea that marriage is reserved for those who procreate and the importance of childbearing are used as an argument against gay marriage. The section of the population which opposes gay marriage uses this argument to support their position, while supporters of gay marriage respond with the argument that postmenopausal women or people who are infertile then would not be allowed to marry if that were the guideline used. (Doebbler, 33) Illustrates that,

The Human Rights Campaign and the National Organization for Women have joined the American Civil Liberties Union in supporting equal marriage rights for all Americans. The National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, and Concerned Women for America are organizations which oppose same-sex marriage and actively seek to enact legislation which would ban equal rights to marriage for people who are gay or lesbian.

The legal case which has in calls for public attention is Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case was initially filed in 2008 when voters in California passed Proposition 8, the initiative that ended gay marriage in California. “The case is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court, which has issued powerfully pro-gay-rights decisions at key points in the past 20 years, such as striking down criminal statutes forbidding gay sex in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas”. (Doebbler, 19). How the court would rule specifically on gay marriage is unknown. Many gay-rights advocates fear that if the plaintiffs in Perry are successful in their efforts to have their case heard by the Supreme Court, the issue will be decided by conservative-leaning justices. “When I try to count the votes in favor of same-sex marriage on the Supreme Court, I have trouble getting to one.”

According to Murdoch, (19) “study underwritten by the Pew Charitable Trusts, fifty-eight percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine support gay marriage, compared to twenty-two percent of Americans sixty-five and older”. Based on a survey carried on of public opinion in America on gay rights indicated that in five s time many American will support Gay marriage. “The shift will be the result of generational replacement” (Murdoch, 28). “When people change their mind on this issue, they tend to change it toward marriage equality” (Kantor, 35).Same-sex couples are not seeking special rights in their fight to obtain the right to marry. The issue is about equality. Married couples have over one hundred legal rights. Some of the rights gay couples would be entitled to upon marriage.


Human right is vital for the development of a society. In this regard, the right of same sex marriage should never be ignored. It is prudent to note that human rights are never given but are fought for. In this line it is good for the gay community to stand up and defend their right for same sex marriage.

Since there is fundamental right and freedom of association, it is in this line that, gay rights activists have been arguing that two consenting adults should be left free to choose their best way of doing sex. In addition, these consenting adults should be left to marry. This view has received a great opposition from the conservatives and religious groups in the society. These groups put forward their augment that marriage is a sacred union between a female and a male adult and therefore homosexuality and lesbianism are social evils which goes against the fabrics of societal norms.

Works Cited

Alston, Paul. and Vasak, Kelly. The International dimensions of human rights: The International Dimensions of Human Rights. New York: Greenwood Press. 1982.

Doebbler, C., Felix. Introduction to International Human Law Rights. New York: CD Publishing, 2006.

Kantor, Martin. Homophobia Description, Development, and Dynamics of Gay Bashing. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Lewin, Ellen. Recognizing Ourselves: Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Mohr, Richard. The Long Arc of Justice: Lesbian and Gay Marriage, Equality, Rights. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.

Murdoch, Joyce, and Price, Deb. Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians V. the Supreme Court. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

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