Steven Seidman’s topic, “Gay Marriage” is within his book, “The Social Construction of Sexuality”. The topic recounts that marriage is not only a relationship of love and intimacy, but also an institution (Seidman, 123). Marriage has the appreciation of the state, and it comes with different benefits and rights. America only recognizes marriage between men and women. However, there has been a discussion over the role of gender and the state in regulation of marriage choices. Gay marriage came into the scene in the earlier 1970s when gays redefined homosexuality. Gays have since been fighting for their rights, and it has become an urgent issue in the United States. The gay marriage debate has raised political and social questions in America and even brought a new configuration to the concept of marriage.
In my opinion, gay marriage is a just opinion. I feel that gay people have the entitlement to rights of equality just like other individuals in the society. They should be equal citizens and their families state and mass media should be treat them with respect. Denial of their right to marry will deprive them of equality.
The changing roles of gender, from a state where it shapes the texture of marriage to a less significant role, ought to be used as a gauge of its negligible significance in the determination of marriage. In the earlier days, men were to start lead in sex matters while women were to comply without showing a lot of conflict. Men made a vast amount decisions such as where to live or how and house budged. In turn, women arranged the social affairs of the couple. However, today, many women work, have careers and pursue interests outside the household. In addition, the current expectation for men is that they ought to assist in the household and child care tasks. This denotes that gender is becoming decreasingly relevant in organizing marriage. Therefore, the gender of those that marry should be less significant (Seidman, 127).
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I feel that some people are against gay marriage because they feel vulnerable to this democratic ideal of marriage. They feel that this ideal dilutes the significance of gender in marriage. Some men fear for a loss of status and power while some women fear for economic insecurity and the loss or deflation of their identity as wives and mothers. In addition, some women and men have invested heavily in gender roles and distinctiveness or in marriages that are about having children. In this case, they may view gay marriage as a hazard, not because the shortcomings of its heterosexual privilege, but due to its challenges of gender and the family. However, in my opinion, this should not form a basis for deprivation of gay rights to marry. It is a selfish notion and advances the interests of minority (Seidman, 131).
The changing meaning of marriage should also signify the acceptance of gay marriage. A good quote from the topic is “Marriage has various meanings. For some people, it is about forging a family, for others, it is for social and financial security while others visualize marriage as a source of love and a basis for forming an intimate life with another person.” This changing nature of the notion of marriage has brought a different understanding of the aspect. The dominant factor is that individuals look to marriage to form an emotional, social, even spiritual relationship. It seems that gender plays a little role in forging marriage. Men and women share domestic roles they attempt to strike a balance between a life together as equal individuals. Spouses want to be appreciated and fulfilled as individuals. This reveals that individuals can plead that their exceptional wants and desires, irrespective of their gender and they can be considered in the social organization of personal relationships. This leaves a gap for recognition of gay marriage in America (Seidman, 132).
In America, more than 50% of married couples get divorced. The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. This is against the social respect that should be given to the purity of marriage. Acceptance of gay marriage offers the opportunity to increase marriage rates. In addition, fewer couples will get divorced due to in harmoniousness or infertility. I see that allowing gay marriage will decrease the divorce rate in the United States (Laurenmilan, 1).
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The reader can conclude that the institution of marriage is undergoing a lot of transformation. Gay movements are exerting pressure for the recognition of gay rights. In my opinion, the American society should defend the rights of gays and lesbians to marry for both moral and practical political reasons. However, there should be an expectation of a consensus over gay marriage because it overrides on the strong tradition of marriage as an institution.
Philippe Bourgeois’ article, “In Search of Respect” is in Susan Ferguson’s book, “Mapping the Social Landscape: Readings in Sociology”, the fourth edition. The topic recognizes that crime is one aspect of social aberration. It articulates that deviance is the state of violation of social norm. Crime is the violation of social norms written down as the law. The topic examines the use of illegal drugs and analyzes why some segments of the population decide to engage in the activity.
Philippe Bourgeois examines the crash of the economy in East Harlem, New York City. Through his life in “EI Barrio,” Philippe Bourgeois came to know the residents and their day-to-day struggles for economic existence. He uses this knowledge to present the manifestation of social deviation in the society (Bourgeois, 253).
I agree that social marginalization leads to people to deal with illegal drugs. Social status determines an individual’s drug of choice. For instance, the high class individuals indulge in cocaine while the low class individuals go to the alcoholic factories. I see that an individual’s choice to use illegal drugs has roots in an unequal social structure. A social formation that results in unequal outcomes for drug users contingent on their social status perpetuates the use of illegal drugs.
Primo is a Puerto Rican settler residing in New York City’s Spanish Harlem. He is unable to find legal employment because he lacks the necessary education or cultural capital. He feels powerless by his hopeless situation. He begins to exploit his lover physically and indulges in illegal drugs. The exploitation of his girlfriend gives him an avenue to exert his supremacy while the drug dealing provides him with a source of income. These actions serve to establish Primo into poverty. Drug commerce leads Primo to drug compulsion. He lavishes much of his income in supplementary drugs (Bourgeois, 257).
I feel that Bourgeois precisely reveals that drug abuse extends Primo’s social marginalization, which in turn intensified his poverty and marginalization.
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The reader can conclude that the recurring aspects of poverty, inequality and addiction surpass a person’s individual independence, making them victim to illegal drug use. In my opinion, individuals like Primo do not make a decision about their fates as autonomous individual but rather have their providence influenced through a combination of social, environmental, and biological factors. Social marginalization is a significant player in this ordeal. Victims suffering from the hardships of social and financial relegation can become the actual proxies running their own devastation. They can also run their community’s misery through turning to the use of illegal drugs and crime. Bourgeois’ ethnographic narration of life and social marginalization in this neighborhood reveals that many social parameters lead people to deal illegal drugs. Bourgeois also recounts that social barriers prevent illegal drug dealers from reentering the legal economy (Bourgeois, 260).
Philippe Bourgeois’ article, “In Search of Respect” can be related to Steven Seidman’s topic, “Gay Marriage”. These sociology topics reveal that changes in the way of life can influence the character of individuals. For instance, the deprivation of gay marriage rights in United States of America can trigger a feeling of marginalization among gay individuals. This can lead them to indulge in social vices such as crime and use of illegal drugs because they want to search their identity.
In conclusion, sociological units such as family, culture, status are integral in the determination of the character of an individual. Social marginalization relegates individuals to the fringe of society. This leads them to develop unacceptable social vices such as crime and illegal drug use. People ought to acquire their rights, opportunities and resources. Debatable issues such as gay marriage should not compromise the rights of others. Social integration is critical in enhancing harmonious life in the society and can be redressed through equal treatment of different individuals.