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The 21st century has seen a lot of changes with regards to the marriage institution. Since time in memorial, marriage has been known to serve the purpose of unifying the man and the woman in holy matrimony so that they can now stay together and bring up a family. However, in the 21st century, this is not always the case. People marry because of various personal reasons and not the occasional and traditional love. There are a number of sham marriages that are happening because of individuals having their own personal goal in mind. In other marriages, the two people getting married are not exactly of different sexes. The issue about love, sham marriages and same sex marriages is what has placed a lot doubt on the credibility of the marriage institution. One cannot help but wonder whether these issues are posing a threat to the marriage institution or have completely brought a new dimension of seeing the marriage institution.

There has been a popular notion about marriage and love. Most people see them as being synonymous. Marriage and Love spring from the same motives, and take care of the same human needs. Just the same as other previous notions this one is also not based on actual facts, but on superstition. The truth is marriage and love has nothing in common. The two are as far apart from each other as the poles are. As a matter of fact, it is very right to say that they are antagonistic to each other. This is the reason why some marriages have been the result of love. It is not because love could stress itself only in marriage, but mostly because few people can completely outgrow a convention (Sullu, 2010).  In today's world a lot of men and women find marriage to be a farce. They however submit to it just for the sake of public opinion. At any rate, while it may be true in some exceptional cases that some marriages are based on love and this love continues in married life, I still feel that love is existent between two couples regardless of marriage, and not because of it. A lot of the marriages in the current world are as a result of sham and not love. Sham marriage's are simply motivated by personal convenience and have got nothing to do with love.

Sham marriages are without a doubt the most convenient way to gain a legal permanent residency in any country. The lead up to this type of marriage can take many different forms, but in each one of the couple must be a Unites State's legal citizen and the opposite sex of the other. The United States does not officially recognize same sex marriages for marrying someone from another country and bringing them back to the United States as a spouse. Another form is when a man or woman travels to another country and meets their companion, marries and returns with them. In a scenario like this, the marriage can be genuine. However there are cases where the partner who is in the foreign country does not genuinely feel the same way and views what the two if them have secretly as a marriage for benefits (Robinson, 1997).

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There are also United States citizens who take on a sham marriage because there is money offered by another party to marry someone into the United States. Some people come to the United States on legitimate visas such as work or student visas and seek a marriage with someone who has legal permanent resident status as their visa is about to expire. A number of those people who are not married yet or cannot find a marriage partner are forced to leave the country. It is either they do that or they stay at their own risk as unauthorized or illegal immigrants. The risks involved for being the United States as an illegal immigrant or knowingly be part of a sham marriage can include any or a combination of fines, imprisonment and deportation. The fines can start at $250,000 according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security, and prison time starting at five years. The penalties are severe, but it seems that it does not deter people from entering these types of marriages (Sullu, 2010).

The United States has come to be the ideal place to live for quite a number of people around the world. This environment that it provides is so ideal when compared to that of their home country. This makes them go to great lengths and sacrifices to make it to the United States. One can easily get into the United States legally and become a citizen through a legitimate marriage. Even though illegitimate marriages are illegal, it is a common occurrence.  Articles appear on the newspapers and in the media everyday talking about of new sham marriages. These people know that if they are discovered, they will have to face penalties and pay heavy fines. However, the state of the situation shows that the cost of the "crime" has been outweighed by its benefits. A large number of people living the United States may see this as a problem as it taints the marriage institution (D'Souza & Starr, 2010). However, the cries for immigrants to take responsibility for it are unreasonable. One cannot help but wonder if there a feasible solution to make everyone happy for such a problem that has undoubtedly gone worldwide?  It may just be that humankind needs to undergo another major phase of evolution.

Considering risks involved in a sham marriage, the heavy fines, the long imprisonment or deportation, people still go through with it. Why? For the marginal group who come from middle to high income countries the reasoning may not quite be the same as someone coming from a low income country. The vast majority come to the United States, the country of freedom and opportunity, in hopes of making a better life. These groups of people are often from those lower income countries, those where simply being alive is a struggle in itself, and many of these countries are in turmoil, or the resources available are inadequate to live off of and some may have less than adequate governments.  A struggle does not do justice for what some of these people must go through, and so they seek to ways to improve that life. One answer many come to is to come to the United States, and one of the easiest ways is to simply marry a United States citizen, whether it be a genuine marriage or not. Considering the way of life they have in comparison to the lives they can have the risks must seem insignificant, and the weight of the risk involved is outweighed by the benefits (D'Souza & Starr, 2010).

The issue of same-sex marriages has also been a factor that has brought about different opinions about the credibility of current institutions of marriage. In May 2008, California lifted the ban and legalized same-sex marriages. Within the first three month after the ban had been lifted 11,000 gay and lesbian couple shared their vows.  However, this ban was not to stay around for long and in November 2008 proposition 8 was put on the ballot for the citizens of California to ban same-sex marriages in the state. Proposition 8 won. The 11,000 gay and lesbian marriages were deemed to be no longer valid (Christian Century, 2008). In my opinion, same-sex marriages should not be legal. In ethical terms, marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. Legalizing same-sex marriage will redefine marriage as we know it. Legalizing same sex marriages will threaten the definition of a marriage between a man and a woman. The meaning of marriage can change. Marriage will thus be redefined as any relationship, no longer specific to between a man and a woman, but as a relationship between multiple partners of either sex (Vestal, 2011).

I believe there are only two types of marriages; the first one is a church marriage, and the other being through the government. A church marriage is one that is done in a religious setting in front of god, family, and friends. The other marriage is through our government that says we are not legally responsible for this other person. This type of union is a piece of paper that our government uses to tie two people together into a union to help them benefit from each other legally. With these two types of marriages I can hardly see how someone can oppose for religious reasons. A gay couple does not have to get married in a church it can be all done throughout government to unite them as being responsible to each other and for each other this will help with people and their fear that gays will violate the sacred institution of marriage (Christian Century, 2008).

It is a known fact that the real reason people are opposed to gay marriage is simply because they are not comfortable with the idea of two people of the same sex being able to marry. People in general don't like change and therefore it can be scary to them with the unknown. It also offends everything that they believe religion stands for. This is of course speaking about most religions but not all. There are some religions that do accept gays. With this people feel marriage is sacred and that gay marriages will violate that sanctity which makes them upset about it (Kornblum, 2010). Another reason though not nearly as vocal is that straight people find gay sex repulsive and when you think about two gay people getting married one cannot help but think about that meaning they will be having sex. I also think that people feel that by legalizing gay marriages it will make homosexuality legitimized and that it will increase the gay population and in turn increase sexual diseases.

Though our country is supposed to be separation of church and state, there is part of a scripture passage from the Bible that has made its way into our government's laws. As such it is defined by our government that a marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Looking for any scriptures or passages in the Bible that says anything about same sex marriages is impossible but the Bible does speak about homosexuality. One of the most popular scripture from the Bible speaking against homosexuality is "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable" (Lev 18:22). This scripture is rather clear that it is a sin to have relations with someone of the same sex.   However, this is not the only issue that there is no separation of state and church. Other ethical issues in the Bible have also been condemned by the government.  For example having an abortion or killing someone for their crimes (Kornblum, 2010).  For some reason though, we have made it okay in our society to allow for gay marriages to continue despite them being unethical. I feel that as a society, we do not have to make any exceptions for same sex marriages.  

Some people may believe that having sex with someone of the same sex is a sin but also a personal decision.  If a person wants to sin it is their business and they will have to be the ones that will have to deal with it when their time comes. However, as Christians, we know that we cannot make people see the "light" and we can only lead them to water but we cannot make them drink. Our country was founded on the fact that people wanted to have a choice in choosing a religion and we need to respect other people's views and allow them to have the same freedom and choices that we have also been given.  It is not as if gay marriages are going to destroy our country or that it will harm the population is some way (Robinson, 1997). This freedom and the fact of us having separation of church and state may be the reason for some people's main defense why gay marriages should be legalized. However, beyond all these, I also feel that all the other reasons for people being against gay marriages is all because of being ethical and maintaining the real purpose for marriage as God intended it to be.

 In our current world, state love has become a stranger to many people. It has been misunderstood and shunned. This is because of the fact that it rarely takes root, and if it does, it soon withers and dies. The marriage institution has been shunned and it has lost the pride that used to accompany it as the couple took the major step. Most people find themselves forced into marriage by circumstance. The hard times of the 21st century have posed a great threat to the pride of the marriage institution. However, there is still hope that some day, men and women will raise above all these circumstances and restore the glory and purpose of marriage into its ethical ways, with love being at the center of it all.

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