Same Sex Marriage In The U.S. Essay, Research Paper
Political Science 1
Legalization of Same Sex Marriages
The argument over the legalization of same sex marriages is rapidly becoming one of the most vigorously advocated reform subjects in recent law review. Being gay and loving someone is not illegal, but uniting that couple in a legal marriage is rejected by most of society in this country. Each state has had to deal with legal issues concerning same sex marriages to some extent. Most supporters of the ban on gay marriages believe that it would be a strong cause of immorality and corruption of the American family. People who do not support same sex marriages believe that it would create an unhealthy family, and could cause serious harm to children in that family, while supporters of same sex marriages believe that they are being denied the benefits such as establishing a right of survivorship, co-partner medical and retirement benefits. It is felt by most homosexuals that these benefits would help create a stronger stability in a long-term relationship.
Most of the volunteer and financial support against gay marriage comes from religious groups or churches. “Catholics, Mormons, and evangelists make up more than 40 percent of California’s population, and raised millions of dollars to pass the amendment.” Same sex marriages are both mentally and physically wrong in the minds of most parishioners. They find the concept immoral because according to the Bible, sex between members of the same sex is strictly prohibited, much less marriage. Proposition 22 was one of many campaigns led by religious conservatives, which prohibits California from allowing marital rights to gay couples who married in another state, and it only recognizes marriages between man and a woman. Since, some churches have religious ceremonies for same sex couples, they are not considered a religious sacrament. According to a bipartisan group called the California Protection of Marriage Initiative, “ Marriage should be preserved for what it is: An irreplaceable union between a man and a woman.” The belief behind this proposition is that it affirms the irreplaceable role between man and woman in our society. Proposition 22 supporters disavowed any anti-gay motives, and said the goal was to let Californians define marriage for themselves.
Religious conservatives believe that if a gay couple were to marry, the next step would be to have children. Since there is no natural way for two people of the same gender can conceive a child, they would have to adopt, or artificial insemination for some lesbian couples. Although, there have been recent rules and regulations which have been created with the sole purpose of preventing adoption for gay couples. The regulations were made to protect children from being placed in an unhealthy family. According to online columnist Mike Regan, “Marriage between one man and one woman gives children the best economic, emotional, and psychological environment in which to grow up.” Conservatives who support the ban on same sex marriages believe that children placed in a homosexual household would be unbearably harassed by other children, and would suffer though a lot of emotional stress during the course of their childhood. Possibly even having the fear that a heterosexual child growing up in a gay household may eventually turn homosexual in the future. But most of all, since conservatives believe strongly in the tradition family, it is thought that children growing up with gay parents will have an abstract view of the American family and its values.
People, who favor legalizing marriages between gay couples, see it as letting individuals be themselves. Some supporters feel that marriage may help reinforce a stronger stability in gay couples by adding closure to the relationship of same sex unions. Since the same sex marriages are not legal at this time, gay couples are denied benefits which are granted to married couples, such as spousal immigration benefits, appointment as guardian of a minor, support payments in a divorce action, and making partner medical decisions. Most gay couples are also denied the benefits for their partners given by their employers like medical and retirement benefits since they are not married.
It was during the 1970’s some lesbians and gay men also began to advocate the legal right to marry. But, the most recent break through on legalizing same sex marriage occurred on April 26, 2000 when Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont signed into law a bill that will grant gay couples nearly all of the benefits of marriage. The Governor said short after, “I think it is a courageous and powerful statement about who we are in the state of Vermont,” this bill took effect on July 1, 2000. “That will entitle them to all of the hundred of rights and responsibilities available to married couples under Vermont law in such areas as taxes, inheritance and medical decision-making,” according to the Lesbian and Gay Marriage Resource site. But the bill does not officially grant marriage licenses to same sex couples in Vermont, it just recognizes the unions of between gay couples granting them benefits they would receive if they were married. Before Vermont made its mark on the process of legalizing marriage, Hawaii was to thought to be the first state to make a significant mark on the judicial system concerning this issue. But, Hawaii was one of the first states to challenge the judicial system over the issue of same sex marriage, in the case of
Baehr v. Lewin. “The case began in 1991 when three same sex couples were denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health brought suit in state court against the director of the department. Hawaii law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license.” But since the Hawaiian law did not exactly explain the definition of who could get married and who could not. Although, the terms were written in away that it indicated only heterosexual couples could marry. Gay rights activists feel that their rights are being violated under the constitutions’ Equal Protection Clause and Equal Rights Amendment. Peggy Wehmeyer of ABC News reported on Prop. 22 saying, “advocates said the measure isn’t about discrimination. They maintain it’s about closing a legal loophole to prevent gays and lesbians from ever being able to marry somewhere else and have the marriage recognized in California.” Legislation enacted by President Clinton called the “Defense of Marriage Act” allowed individual states to react differently to any interruptions of marriage that they feel is not proper. Allowing each individual state to decide wither or not to recognize same sex marriages.
Recognition of marriage principles derived from choice-of-law and full faith-and-credit rules will most likely be revoked to recognize same sex marriages valid in the states. Marriage is a public act and is performed by a legally designated people, and is an act by the state. Gay couples consider the issue to be a matter of equality, and deserved the same legal rights to marry.
The debate over the legalization of same sex marriages has been a seesaw battle between gay activists and religious conservatives, over what is right and what is moral. Supporters of banning same sex marriages feel that it is wrong to unite members of the same gender in marriage, because it is morally wrong for them to engage in physical relations. But who the hell are they to judge what people can and cannot do. There is no logical reason why marriage should be denied to million of homosexuals who want to get married. By denying homosexuals marriage, the government is denying them their rights as U.S. citizens, and the denial of their rights is as un-American as it can be. This is an issue of equality, as well as economic. Every year gay couples are denied the needed benefits to help their living and health arrangements. I have witnessed first hand the struggles some gay couples have to face without these benefits. They are the same as the rest of us, they pay taxes, they vote, and they are a part of society. So why should they not be entitled to all of the benefits that heterosexual couples are granted. Interracial marriages were once illegal throughout the U.S. So perhaps sometime soon the 30 states that banned same sex marriages will have it overturned. And I believe that same sex marriages will also someday in the future be legalized.
California Protection of Marriage Initiative. Feb.2000
Online Posting. 11 Nov. 2000
Defense of Marriage Act. May 1996
Online Posting. 28 Nov. 2000
Lesbian and Gay Marriage Resource Site. April 2000
Online Posting 10 Oct. 2000
DodgeGlobe: The Dodge City Daily Globe-Court grants April. 2000
Online Posting. 8 Oct. 2000
California Bars Gay Marriage Mar. 2000
Online Posting 11 Nov. 2000
Stiers, Gretchen A. From This Day Forward
St. Martins Press, New York, NY, 1998