Gay LGBT Marriages: Sociological Imagination

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Sociology ・Harvard ・4 Sources

Gay LGBT Marriages: Sociological Imagination In the 1990s, the question of same-sex marriage in Canada was not necessarily one that would be debated at the national level. The contemporary lifestyle at the time meant that the pair could not be considered a legal entity when they were together. The understanding of gay marriage was focused on religious values that characterized it, and it differed significantly from the current version of the problem in Canada. It is undeniable that today's strange view of gay and lesbian relationships is based on the mainstream debate that is focused on ensuring that marriage rights are expanded while the religious position has often been involved in limiting them. The situation thus creates an ironical effect that can only be described and understood by contextualizing it in the model of sociological imagination (Mills 1978). The paper thus seeks to examine both viewpoints of the social divide to augment the reasoning from both perspectives in enabling an observer of Canadian social affairs from a sociological imaginative context.

The concept of sociological imagination was developed by C. Wright Mills in 1959 to enable the appreciation of personal experiences and perceived them in the greater context of the society. The assessment of the issue of LGBT marriage would thus explore more diverse effects such as the historical and the political processes that help shape them for better comprehension. The controversy that shapes the manner in which people describe the subject is primarily based on the existing power structures and assertions that cannot be perceived to be strict but rather, those that change based on time and place. Canada today is divided on the understanding of what constitutes the rightness or wrongness of marriage between people of the same sex. The balance between the two is thus perceived best by getting out of the comfort zone and examining the subject from a multifaceted viewpoint basing on the historical and religious discourse of each argument.

The modern proponents of the divide often focus their argument on the historical developments. It is based on the fact that they are inclined to the historical progress that the subject has undergone and compared it to similar challenges today. It is worth describing that such a viewpoint in itself constitutes sociological imagination because it is often perceived as a subject that is on the "on the right side of history" (Kazama 2003). In fact, some even think of it as a similar case to the issue of interracial marriage. It is believed that the extrapolation of the opposing interracial unions to be the reason why people tend to oppose gay marriages. The interracial marriages were a significant issue of contention in the 20th century and especially before the 1967 ruling by the Supreme Court, which meant that interracial marriages were unconstitutional at the time. Proponents believe that the same effect is what was used to oppose gay marriages and because interracial marriages turned out not being wrong, they think that homosexual unions also deserve a place in the society. The historical laws against interracial marriages are now perceived in the contemporary Canadian setting as unnatural and defiling God's principle and racist. Activists believe that religious opposition to same-sex marriages will likely to be perceived as a barbaric move by the future generations hence the need to consider its position (Uprichard 2012).

The other perspective that the Canadian society has found itself entangled in is describing the subject of same-sex marriage as immoral. Sociological imagination is a multifaceted way of describing the issue, and in such situations, the goal is not inherently to arrive at the same conclusions. It is common to find that when subjects turn to the discussion of same-sex marriages, many people feel intimidated as it is too great a concern in the current Canadian contemporary setting (Bhambra 2007). Hundreds of legal and economic benefits are in place for those who follow the natural context of marriage that does not raise eyebrows. One gets the chance of seeing their marriage as legitimate when it is heterosexual, and it is primarily because of the environment that people are brought up. Parents would disown gay kids, and because they were the most immediate representation of marriage, many did not have many options and ended up perceiving the right course to be the marriage between a man and a woman (Kazama 2003).

The arguments presented above seeks to examine why the proponents of gay marriage and those who oppose it believe that both stands are justifiable. Interestingly, they are both founded on the principle of historical developments and the understanding of morality as the primary determinants of the course. The argument thus maintains the model of sociological reasoning because, in the end, one would only try to relate to the issue of same-sex marriage from a broader societal viewpoint as opposed to the more objective personal assessment of whether its right or wrong.

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Reference List

Bhambra, G.K., 2007. Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination,

Kazama, T., 2003. The politics of same-sex marriages. Japanese Journal of Family Sociology, 14(2), pp.32–42.

Mills, C.W., 1978. The sociological imagination,

Uprichard, E., 2012. Being stuck in (live) time: The sticky sociological imagination. Sociological Review, 60(SUPPL. 1), pp.124–138.

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