Shall we marry them?

Why do people get married? Individuals get married as symbols of love forever. It’s without my eternal love that we stay together through the negative and positives of our marriage. Marriage is not just a certified document signed by two people. It is a contract that two people make together, with their community and country.

I want you now to imagine your life without the possibility of marriage. More importantly I want you to re-enter your childhood but remember miniscule things such as your first kiss, first date and your first sexual encounter. Now think about any of those experiences that lead you to believe anything serious could have came of it, but think about knowing that marrying was not an option. Gen-Y.org reported findings based on exit Pew polls estimated 47 percent of adults ages 18-25 support allowing gay and lesbians to marry.

The current state of gay marriage in the United States is alive and changing the way we as a people view marriage life all together. When is the last time you heard about domesticate violence between a gay married couple? Yes, me either. Find gale group.com reports, “1.5 million a year are assaulted by their current husband or boyfriend, one in three children are born outside marriage, and so on.” Isabelle Belneau says, “ They love each other. To walk down the streets as a couple knowing the stares and comments behind there backs. That’s why you don’t hear about violence between one another they really love each other.

The only state that allows gay marriage is Massachusetts. Other states such as Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont perform civil unions. Civil Unions is a legal status created by the state of Vermont in 2000 and in California. It provides legal protection to couples at the state law level, but omits federal protections as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the world marriage yffn.org.

Other states such as New York and New Mexico are classified under “Law Silent,” meaning same sex couples that wish to marry can because there is no law banning the act of marriage but there also is no recognition of the marriage. In France the country recognizes an agreement is only recognized by France and offers all unmarried couples, same-sex and opposites sex couples a legal status carrying some but not all the benefits of marriage.

There are many forms of family but as a result of modern industrial society” the modern phenomenon of the nuclear family came to light. Nuclear family includes immediate blood relatives. But with different situations come different types of families such as single parent families, co-habitating couples of unmarried heterosexual adults who chose not to marry but may also be raising other children and same-sex couples rearing children. The ties between members of family are growing weaker at very quicker pace with disaster at its footsteps. Especially, for children because soon after there lives end in delinquency and crime, sexual promiscuity education lack of employment. Not to mention physical, emotional and mental problems. As stated by usatoday.com gay marriage is also said to raise social stability by rewards of strain of social conservatism that benefits families, school, workplaces and congregation.

Research is also suggesting that in California revenue is greatly increasing due to gay marriage. According to articles.latimes.com, by some estimates, weddings and commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples generate $1 billion a year in revenue. Rings, suits, and all things not normally bought for a party is what’s generating this yearly revenue. Gay marriages are being thrown in California and cost is not being spared. Same-sex couples have been waiting for the okay to throw their huge parties and now they have it. A media and entertainment agency called PlanetOut conducted a survey about gay and lesbians and concluded that gay consumers earn 20% more than their straight counterparts, on average, and spend about 10% more on nuptials. (articles.latimes.com)

“I’ve always wanted to get married, and I resent people who may not even know any same-sex couples making decisions she said. I believe this is a civil rights issue.”(gen-y.org) America takes all this time criticizing and trying to help other countries better themselves, how about its own people? How about our civil rights? Do they not know they effect our civil rights when they tell us with whom we can and cannot marry? Conservative Americans might as well define themselves as civil rights violations. America needs marriage in its society and the best way is to encourage gay marriage in our circle.

Accepting gay marriage does not impinge on religious or moral values; it just recognizes it as a civil right. The ability to separate church and state allows citizens to live how they please even if they choose to live differently than the young man across the hall or the lady in another state. Who I marry should be my decision not the states.

-belfort

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Homosexuals, gays, lesbians. Let them marry.

Ok let’s get real. If you ask around, most of “us” especially the generation Y population are in favor for gay marriage and equal rights for homosexuals. This brings us to one of the most controversial issues among America today. The “gays.” There are still many issues people want to know, questions need to be answered. Will society actually benefit from gay marriage? Perhaps. Or most importantly, is gay marriage changing “traditional” current marital sanctions? But, in my opinion there is still one question that concerns me, do we still agree with the notion that all same-sex loving, committed couples can marry?

I believe, clearly and fully that most same-sex couples, along with the gay and lesbian population would marry if same-sex marriage was legal. In a recent study the California Supreme Court concluded that gay marriage will be good for the economy. The study says that same-sex weddings will give California just that boost it needs, also creating about 2,200 additional jobs. The California study also says that same-sex couples should add about $684 million to the state’s wedding business.The study estimates that half of California’s 100,000 gay couples will marry over the next three years and on average about 70,000 come from out-of-state.

Since we know how same-sex marriage can be beneficial for the economy. We can now move on to how it is “good for gays.” A recent article by Gay Patriot, shows that gay institutions “can provide role models for gay people, after the exhileration of coming out, can easily lapse into short-term realationships and insecurity with no tangible goal in sight.” If its not obvious, marriage can provide homosexuals with legal benefits like health insurance, but most gays look for a sense of social acceptance. So why are so many Americans bothered by it? Could it be the fact that they just don’t want to see it? If two people care about each other, who cares if they are straight or not?

Fortunately in France, The Civil act of Solidarity (PACS) is a legal civil union between two same-sex couples. It brings rights and responsibilities, but less than marriage. PACS is a “contract” drawn up between the couple. Individuals who have registered a PACS are still considered “single” with regard to family status for some purposes, while they are considered in the same way as married couples are for other purposes. Registered couples are able to share such things as joint auto insurance, extend their social-security coverage to each other, file joint tax returns, and leave each other property in their wills on favorable tax terms.

Author and homosexual activist Jonathan Rauch, argues that “gay marriage is not so much a civil rights issue as a civil responsibility issue.” Rauch claims, that each gay person is an individual seeking a good life. Just like the rest of us straight people who have happiness and good health, gays deserve it too. It should be a way of life that we should not object to give. Like many others of my generation, Rauch also believes same-sex marriage will “dignify gay love and sex as it has done straight love and sex.”

A close relative of mine, Tamara, 28, when faced with the question-what is the difference between gay and straight marriage? She simply replied, gender, religion, and the law. Tamara who is for gay marriage believes every human deserves the right to love, without discrimination like many people still do.

As to the idea of “traditional” marriage—the nuclear family was not seen in the USA until the early years of the 20th century. And even in the past hundred years, there have been many households that did not fit that model, like divorced and mixed family marriages. So will same-sex marriage weaken traditional marriage? Now, we do not know if gay marriage can actually improve or weaken traditional marriage. Gays marrying or not marrying should not have any impact upon the marriages of straight couples. A close friend of mine Katherine, 22, believes that same-sex marriage may actually influence straight couples to get married, as it can remind people that marriage is an important sanction between two people who share love for one another.

This brings up the reason why gay marriage would be a bad thing, and it is the same reason straight marriage is already a bad thing for many; people are not involved not true. Many people may not be prepared to deliver on their promises whether its was to stay faithful or deliver on financial affairs. Some people who do not believe in same-sex marriage in the United States claim that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would risk the institution of marriage, weaken families, and cause harm to children or loved ones.

We should ask ourselves, what really is marriage? Can the two words “I Do” change the way society views us? Can gays really “marry” without being discriminated? Those who are serious about gay marriage should not have to prove themselves to anyone, and maybe same-sex marriage can change American culture. If gay marriage is to have any meaning, society should not limit love to just man and woman.

–Raquel Ortega

NCLB II: Who Really Knows What’s Best?

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) forces low-income students to be “test-takers” and learn rote tasks which, some say, are preparing them for a life low-skilled jobs and poverty while students in mid to high-income households are being prepared to be creative thinkers. With the upcoming reauthorization of NCLB and upcoming presidency, there are a lot of opinionated individuals. Have a conversation with a future policy maker, two high school teachers and a potential high school teacher and you can see everybody thinks they know what’s best for our children, but does anybody really?

Some say it’s a law that looks good on paper but its primary purpose is lost in translation or difficult to put into fruition.

Like many times before, many political observers predict that the Republican and Democratic parties will not be able to make a decision on the reauthorization of the law because it has so many intricacies such as making a school day longer to give kids time to meet the standards or giving more money to low-income schools.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama fully supports the law, but says it wasn’t executed as best as possible. If he makes it as our nation’s President, you will see the law, but with more flexibility in the application process for a student who is zoned for a “bad” school to be bused in to a “better” school.

“I do not like the idea of school choice for all who want it simply because people buy houses in areas where the schools are better. It is not fair for them because the schools will be overcrowded. This may sound harsh but you should go where you are zoned. If the schools aren’t good where you live, maybe our parents shouldn’t have had kids if they couldn’t afford them,” says a Long Island High School teacher who wants to remain anonymous.

A policy major at Nassau Community College says, “It’s a problem that we are running away from the problem.” He then continues in the other direction, “It leaves behind the children who need the help the most.”

Obama also would want to move away from traditional testing as well making the way students show what they know more of a holistic assessment, instead of one test score, which is helpful for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, who may show what they know in multiple ways, instead of a standardized test.

Presidential candidate John McCain also supports the law and even voted for the law as a senator. He believes it is a good beginning but still requires some changes such as testing children with disabilities and English language learners.

With so much money spent on education, the latest authorization may also offer more time students to meet the standards, costing $150 million a year, approximately $1,200-$1,400 per pupil a year.

John Giangrasso, a 25 year old, who is working towards becoming a high school teacher, says, “It may sound like a lot, but it doesn’t. It should be $500 million.”

“What John might not realize is the paycheck he will be receiving and the lack of it if and when yet more tax money is taken out of his already measly paycheck to sponsor such endeavors,” says fourth year special education teacher, Vicky Young.

So, with NCLB already being highly debatable among the masses, some zero in even more, focusing on the low-income students, and how this law effects them, their communities and the people who teach, or will, teach them.

Primary criticism says that NCLB can reduce effective learning because it makes teachers “teach to the test” and Vicky Young agrees. “There is no time for a teacher to want to expand on any topic because they are always preparing for a standardized test, or even a standardized practice of a standardized test. You don’t have time to build model roller coasters out of pipe insulation to teach acceleration and force or create a monster coordinate grid in the playground with chalk that they could walk on. That would be seen as “fun” and when my kids (students) were seen by the principal doing these things, who would get in trouble? Me. These are the kinds of things that get kids going, especially the kids where I work, in East New York, who could care less about test prep!”

She does believe that we are preparing low-income students how to have low-skilled jobs. But she has to stop herself, because she knows her special education students are already at a disadvantage, aside from being poor. “I think for some, we just have to focus on showing them how to attain and maintain a better quality of life for themselves, and it’s definitely not perfecting quadratic equations.”

But shouldn’t children in every school in this nation be taught the same material so they have the same opportunities? Right now, each state has different state standards. Our policy student feels the states should have autonomy and have different standards. “It’s a sticky situation that should be up to the state of New York how to spend it.”

Will education ever have simple answers? Probably not. We all come from different places and have had different experiences that shape us to disagree with even ourselves when it comes to education policy. Maybe we should leave it to the kids.

Product Of Your Environment: Different Perspectives From Different People

John Giangrasso, Future High School Teacher

Nassau Community College Policy Student

Vicky Young, Special Education Teacher (4 years), low-income school

Long Island High School teacher (10 years)

Age

25

20

28

33

Schooled at

Valley Stream Public Schools, Community College

Lawrence Public Schools, attended college in London

Queens Public and Catholic Schools, was a NYC Teaching Fellow

Flushing Public Schools, has two masters including school administration

Continuing arts and music in schools

Against

“When you graduate, arts and music will do nothing. I know because I was caught up on it and you’ll never be able to support yourself.”

For

“It lets people’s minds work differently. Finland’s schools focus on play and discovering the world on their own and their test scores are the highest in the world.”

For

“Studies have shown that kids who have art and music in their classrooms, do better in all of their classes because it gives them self-esteem.”

Mixed

“I don’t like limiting kid’s experiences. On the other hand, I can understand because we need to teach them to read, write, count and some higher order thinking. It’s great if a kid can sing, paint, or play an instrument, but, many consider that a hobby.”

Should there be merit pay for teachers of students who score high?

Yes

“That’s how they do it in the business world.”

Yes

“Teachers won’t get better without motivation.” He once had a (high school) teacher say, “I would love to stay and help you, but I would be breaking my contract.”

No

“It doesn’t take into account students with disabilities, and I would never get that raise!”

No

“This will cause teachers to cheat so they can get their bonus. Do you really blame them? What if you teach lower levels of kids? How about special ed? They will never see merit money.”

Did your schools prepare you?

No

“I don’t think my high school prepared me for shit. There was no emphasis on work and the future. I did awful at Nassau Community College at first.”

Yes

Yes

“For me, I had a mixture of gifted classes, private and public schools, progressive and traditional teachers. I think the diversity helped me a lot.”

Yes

“I didn’t do crap in school but I always listened and always did well on tests. I wasn’t lazy, I just didn’t see the point in some assignments. I did fine.”

Catherine Livigni

Gay Marriage: It’s in the Numbers

John Giangrasso Intro to Journalism

Prof. King 7/26/08

Gay Marriage: It’s in the Numbers

The statistics are alarming and speak for themselves. Half of all marriages end in divorce, 1.5 million women a year are assaulted by their current or former boyfriends, one in three children are born outside marriage, 9.68 million female single parent homes, three children a day die from child abuse and neglect and each year an estimated one million cases of suspected child abuse and neglect are substantiated. Seldom has the political manipulation of an issue been so great but as soon as the statistics behind family breakdown are raised in public, the ideological debate about the ideal family form ensues.

The three different views being debated in the churches on this issue are exploring new rites of church “blessings” for gay and lesbian couples commited to lifelong relationships, others want sacramental inclusion and most Christians still believe that the sacrament and theology of the church on marriage shouldn’t be altered. Both sides of the argument have succeeded in overstating the issue. Conservatives relating homosexual marriage to the end of Western Civilization is unfounded and some liberals say that resolving the issues of gay unions is morally equivalent to the issues of racism, apartheid, and the Holocaust. They blew it out of proportion.

So the question I want to know is whether the history of family dynamics and the statistics associated with them suggest that possibly the nuclear family is an unrealistic and unwarranted ideal form of union? Furthermore, what impact if any gay marriage can and will in the future have on the nuclear family dynamics which are already in bad shape? According to an editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune called Statistical Census Findings: Traditional Married Couples are Better Off by any Available Standard, “The latest census data show that the traditional family — a married couple and their children — constitute just a little less than one-fourth of all households. On the other hand, such families constituted just a little more than one-fourth of all families a decade ago. Any reports of the demise of the traditional family are greatly exaggerated.”

So what are the most common causes for marriages failing? A survey of experienced divorce lawyers who have been elected by their peers to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers broke it down for us. Poor communication, financial problems, a lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities and infidelity topped the list. The other causes seen a lot but not as often were failed expectations or unmet needs, addictions and substance abuse, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and a lack of conflict resolution skills. The only thing I couldn’t seem to find on the list was the high amount of divorces due to the relentless pressure felt by families in the form of gay marriages or civil unions breaking them down externally.

In his editorial, “No New Gays” Bill Maher says, “nobody seems to find it abominable about Britney Spears tounging Madonna…or anything else on the third shelf of my “library”. No, in America when a man puts something in another man it had better be a bullet.” Although it’s hysterical it does point out the fact that gay and lesbian acts are already right out in the open in our culture in the form of movies, TV shows and even professional athletes. When Conservatives talk about the moral degeneration brought on by homosexual values and how much of an impact they are having they fail to bring up one thing. In recent years the personal computer and the internet have become a phenomenon that spread faster than anyone could have imagined. It has transformed many industries for good, in some cases making people rich beyond their wildest dreams but for the mass populace a replacement. Yet what is the most visited website on the internet: porn. So much for the moral degeneration, we’re already there.

I talked to Pattie Daly of Rockville Centre whose brother is a homosexual. I asked her what she felt about her own brother being involved in a gay marriage and she said, “I would be completely relieved. He would no longer be in my hair.” I had to laugh but then she said, “he would have someone, company he desperately needs. Some people are gay by their innate nature and they shouldn’t be scrutinized to have a family life because of who they are.” I asked her what her initial reaction was when she first found out her brother was gay and she said, “I wasn’t surprised. I don’t care that he’s gay I care that he’s cheap. I don’t care what his sexual preference.” Her son Dan was there and he said, “That two gay men should not be allowed to be parents because then the child will be ridicule and find it won’t relate as well to the majority who are heterosexual couples.” Even between a mother and son we see that this issue touches as at our core and most people will voice their opinions openly on this topic.

The states themselves will ultimately resolve the legal and civil issues through legislative proceedings. One thing is for sure. Politicians and anyone with a vested interest in seeing us divided as a nation will polarize this issue to further tear us apart as a community and highlight what makes us different to keep us from rising up against all the other social intolerances that are over looked by this silly issue.

Gay Marriage… What are the Alternatives?

What is it like to grow up gay in a predominantly straight and homophobic world? Gay children struggle to envision a future that includes marriage, family, and children. Gay children who grow up in America face a serious dilemma; if they assert their sexual identity for all to see, they run the risk of public scorn, alienation from family, and civil rights discrimination. On the other hand, if they hide their sexual identity and pretend to be straight, they enjoy all the benefits that society has to offer straight people but are forced to live with a private pain that often leads to alcohol abuse, drug addiction, severe depression and in some cases suicide. Recently the topic of gay marriage has arisen as a civil rights issue and has generated a heated debate among gay activists, and religious fundamentalists primarily. Marilyn Maxwell, a former Hewlett High School English teacher, and the only openly gay person in school district 14, illustrates the complexity surrounding this issue through the difficulties she has experienced.

Like many gay adults living in a committed relationship in the United States, Dr. Maxwell and her partner are unsure as to how they should proceed regarding the issue of marriage. Dr. Maxwell and her partner have been in a committed relationship for 10 years and would like to celebrate their love for each other publicly in a formal ceremony that is acknowledged by the state of New York.

Unfortunately, many states are passing legislation in favor of gay marriage, and then cancelling that legislation. I asked Dr. Maxwell the “should 2 partners go through a same sex marriage in New York State if the voters of New York make it null in void?” She said, “New York State recently, by executive order of the Governor Pattison agreed to accept same sex couples who are legally married outside of New York State and who then returned to New York State to live.” When Dr. Maxwell and her partner heard about this development, they, like other gay couples in New York, considered traveling to those states where gay marriage is legal and then returning to New York to enjoy the benefits that straight couples have. According to Maxwell there was such an outcry against gay marriage in New York, that there is a threat that Governor Pattison’s executive order will be overturned by a public referendum in the next election.

Dr Maxwell has given a lot of thought to alternatives to gay marriage. She and her partner had a public commitment ceremony where they celebrated with 100 of their friends and family members. The ceremony was led by a minister from the Ethical Humanist Society and was conducted like a marriage. When the minister was writing out the certificate, Dr. Maxwell said that the minister deleted the word marriage and wrote “ceremony”. Dr. Maxwell and her Partner exchanged vows and rings and celebrated with their friends. However, they do not enjoy the same civil rights benefits as do straight couples. They like many gay couples, feel it is unfair that gay people must pay additional money to ensure survivor benefits for their partners. Also, when a husband or wife dies, the surviving spouse does not have to pay inheritance tax on all the goods and property left to him or her. Gay couples, on the other hand are faced with such enormous costs when a partner passes away. In addition, when a wife or husband is sick and hospitalized, the spouse is admitted into his or her room and is allowed to make medical decisions. For gay couples, each partner must pay an attorney to draw up a medical proxy that allows the partner to make such medical decisions. Gay couples at this point in time must suffer these civil rights violations because New York State and the rest of the country cannot decide on the legal status of civil unions for gay couples is unethical. Those who are opposed to gay marriage often argue that marriage is a religious ceremony that recognizes the union between a man and a woman. Dr. Maxwell, like many gay adults in New York, understands that the word marriage may be the obstacle preventing people from accepting gay unions. Her solution is “drop the word marriage and call it a civil union that entitles the couple to all the same rights and privileges given to straight couples.”

– Jared Albaum

Gays! Laws! Marriages!

Across the country gay marriage has been an important issue for a long time. While some people support to idea of passing the law and allowing gay couples to get marry, some have been strongly against it. In fact, some states like , Massachusetts is one of the very first to have passed the law and has even welcomed gay couples from out of states for their wedding ceremonies. Recently, California passed the law that is allowing gay marriage, which made the gay marriages a hot topic again.
When I spoke to a friend of mine Abraham Kalkan,27 who has been living in San Francisco and has been working as a wedding consultant, the first thing he asked me was what I personally was thinking about gay marriage. I responded with what George Michael said; ” California has passed the gay marriage but it is definitely overdue.” Abraham said ” San Francisco has been known as the city with the most gay couples, and the law has been passed too late that I know some gay couples living together for 11 years.” Later, I told him that there are 51,000 gay couples inhabit in New York State, and 21,000 of them are planning to go to Massachusetts or California only to be able to get married significant others. He asked me If I knew how much loss in business and dollars it would cause New York State not to pass the law and let those people go, get married in Massachusetts or California. Recently, the accidental governor of New York, David A. Paterson endorsed the gay marriage and he said ” I support the idea of gay couples to be able to get married in New York, I will do anything I can to ensure, we don’t let gay New Yorkers go somewhere else just to be able to get married.” I believe while he was endorsing the idea of passing the law, the governor had the business part of the action in mind, which Abraham was pointing out.
The other day I was watching the news with my landlord John Mendola, 35 and the gay marriage showed up as an issue. The interviews that I made in mind, I asked him what he was thinking about it. As a retired NYPD police officer, he said ” I believe, If gay marriage is going to be allowed in New York, some of the illegal drugs should be allowed as well.” I found that funny (since he was a police officer) and asked him why he was thinking that way, he said ” some drug users will bring up the issue and push for the law to legalize some drugs and their argument could be the belief that the law is going to affect ONLY the drug users just like legalization of gay marriege will ONLY affect gay couples.
We could think that sooner or later ( probably sooner) in New York Sate, the gay marriage will be legalized and gay couples will not have to travel to other state for marriage. However, one could argue that, Yes , New York is going to be fine with this law, but how could we expect this very same law to pass in some of the states in South and Central America.Since New York, California and states like those are culturally and nationally diverse, it wouldn’t cause as much trouble to pass the law as it would in those parts of the country. B. Rubinton, a classmate said that “Today America and Americans regret that the Civil Rights Law passed too late and it should have been passed much much earlier. One day and hopefully a soon day will come and like it happened with the Civil Rights Law, America will realize that there was in fact no reason to be against gay couples and their marriages.”
Ozzy Gezer