“Same-sex marriage permits couples of the same gender to enter legally-recognized marriages and provides them with the same legal rights as couples in heterosexual relationships” (Same-Sex Marriage). “Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that the institution of marriage should apply to only unions between one man and one woman. Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, they say, undermines the institution of marriage” (Same-Sex Marriage).
Where the Issue Stands Today
“In America, six states plus D.C. allow same-sex couples to marry, three more respect marriages of same-sex couples validly preformed in other states, eight provide civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships, and three more have limited domestic partnership systems. That’s twenty states plus D.C. that provide some significant state-level relationship protections, and those states are home to 130 million people” (LGBT Relationships). “ Unmarried couples who live together can now tell their Facebook friends they’re more than just “in a relationship”. The social networking service added “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership” to possible relationship status options in its user’s profiles in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France, and Australia (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Thesis: Same-sex couples deserve the same full marriage rights and benefits given to heterosexual couples; marriage is one of the basic civil rights and denying any American that right is unconstitutional.
Issue 1: Legislative History
First Push For Marriage Rights
“In 1942 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Skinner v. Oklahoma that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights.” Loving v. Virginia, decided by the Supreme Court in 1967, ended race discrimination in marriage and also affirmed: “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free me.” These decisions paved the way for same-sex couples to demand equal marriage rights” (Same-Sex Marriage). “The tide began to turn in 1933, when 3 same sex couples in Hawaii sued the state for marriage licenses. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the state was required to demonstrate sufficient reason for denying the licenses, or stop discriminating. In the 1996 trial decision, Judge Kevin Chang ruled that there is no good reason to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Despite this clear ruling to end discrimination in marriage, Hawaii amended its constitution to block same-sex marriages” (Same-Sex Marriage). “In 2001, the same year the Netherlands became the first country to to give same-sex couples full marriage rights, seven same-sex couples in Massachusetts who had been denied marriage licenses sued the state. Their case was bolstered by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws and stated that the "moral disapproval" of voters or government is not a valid basis for discrimination in marriage. In 2003 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state constitution mandates equality in marriage for same-sex and heterosexual couples. Three months later the court specified that civil unions did not meet this requirement, and on May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” (Same-Sex Marriage). Defense of Marriage Act
“The word marriage means only a legal union between 1 man and 1 woman as husband and wife” (United States Cong.). “No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or including Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or right or claim arising from such relationship” ((United States Cong.). “Obama...