Should same-sex marriage be legal?

By: Sergio Cabrera

Panelists for the LGBTT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, and Transsexual) community shared their thoughts and opinions on same-sex marriage last week at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
The panelists asked various questions in which they talked about how same-sex marriage relates to the breakdown of the family union, religion, and economy.

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Gustavo Vazquez (left) and Ricardo Ferrer (right) are answering questions in the panelist table.

Student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and major in psychology, Gustavo Vazquez, said that people find same-sex marriage “threatening” to society because they are not used to it or have yet to see it. “Even though there are some insecurities and doubts that need to be addressed, it doesn’t mean that it is a corruption of the unit or a viable option”. He believes that this is a conservative argument. Same-sex marriage is something new and product of a new society.
However, some believe that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. Federal judge of Puerto Rico, Juan M. Perez, said:“The people of Puerto Rico and its representatives should debate the possibility of defining marriage, not the judges.”
They also talked about how sexual orientation affects religion. All three panelists had different opinions.
Ricardo Ferrer, member of the Gay Straight Alliance and coordinator of educational activities at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, responded first.
He said that he is and was raised Christian. Ricardo was taught that God is love, and that he will love you no matter what. He then mentioned that sexual orientation won’t affect religion if you have a good base.
Novelist, story writer, and journalist Yolanda Arroyo, mentioned that she was an atheist before she decided she was lesbian. Gustavo said that sadly it does, but it shouldn’t. “I’ve seen very religious people that end up losing faith or losing their loved ones because it doesn’t fit in the religion they want.”
The panelists were asked if they believe that support for same-sex marriage has risen over the years. Gustavo said: ”They have proven that they are valuable members in society. They are not broken, sick, or alternatives. They are functional and respectable members of society.”
Ricardo added that the LGBTT community has helped immensely to raise awareness and support about the community and people’s rights. Its persistence over the years has helped.
In a recent press conference, governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared that he thinks that same-sex couples should have the same rights as everyone, but opposes their marriage. “I’ve consistently said that same-sex couples should have the same rights and access to the same prerogatives and responsibilities as couples of different genders”. Even though he believes that same-sex couples should have the same rights, he doesn’t think that they should get married. “However, I’ve also said that I don’t believe in same-sex marriage. We have to look for ways to guarantee that same-sex couples have the same rights.“
The panelists also talked about how approving same-sex marriage represents progress towards society. Ricardo Ferrer compared same-sex marriage to interracial marriage. He said: “Fifty years ago we were saying the same thing about interracial marriage. We were putting people in prison because they were married to a black person. To see where we are now, I think that in five years we will look back and see this as the turning point.”
Yolanda also believed that legalizing interracial marriage represent progress in society. She stated that rejecting interracial marriage is a historic embarrassment when we look back to it today.
The three panelists were asked if they believe that same-sex marriage improves economy. They had different opinions. Gustavo believed that it would because of the licenses, lawyers, psychologists, and mediators involved in the process. Yolanda said that she didn’t think so, because same-sex couples are already spending what they would spend if they were married.
They gave a message to the people that reject same-sex marriage. Ricardo firmly said that he doesn’t look for acceptance, but expects respect. Gustavo said that people should get to know homosexuals. Only then can they criticize.

The panelsits are  answering questions. There is a picture of Yolanda in the background, who is answering questions from the cell phone.

The panelsits are answering questions. There is a picture of Yolanda in the background, who is answering questions from the cell phone.

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