Gay Marriage

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The Development of American Law

Dr. Judit BEKE-MARTOS

Essay Goda Gutauskaitė

Same – sex marriage: pros and cons

Legal aspects

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man." Pope John Paul II, referring to same-sex marriage[1].

According to the general opinion of the society and penultimate pope John Paul II, whose standpoint, as well as the notion of the other Roman Catholic Church hierarchs, still remains significant to the congregation, throughout the ages marriage consistently and generally was and certainly still is considered to be a legal and religious commitment, necessarily only between a man and a woman, therefore there could be no possibilities to alter the conception of marriage, especially to legalize homosexual relationships and allow the homosexual part of the society to get married. This is one of the main reasons, why legal marriage for same – sex couples has become an extremely controversial issue all around the world. Since the number of religious people has been constantly decreasing in past decades[2] and certain parts of the society are becoming more and more tolerant for gay people, some countries started to legally recognize same – sex couples marriages. The first country in the world was the Netherlands, which Senate voted to extend full, legal marriage for same-sex couples on December 19, 2000. The legislation took effect in April, 2001[3]. Massachusetts became the 1st state of USA, which offered legal marriage to same sex couples in 2004 via a court suit.

The case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health unquestionably must be acknowledged as one of the most significant and eminent lawsuits in American legal history. In this case seven Massachusetts gay couples, who have been in committed long-term relationships, sued for legal marriage on April 11, 2001. Four of the couples have young children; others have coped with severe health problems. All of the litigants were concerned about providing the security for each other and their families that inevitably comes with a marriage license. On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are legally entitled to civil marriage under the Massachusetts Constitution, because of a number of reasons. Firstly, Massachusetts Supreme Court stated, that The Massachusetts Constitution declares and guarantees the dignity and equality of all human beings. Secondly, according to the Constitution, it is illegal to create “second – class citizens”, therefore even though the Court had given full deference to the position, which was expressed by state of Massachusetts, yet no constitutionally acceptable grounds for banning civil marriage to same-sex couples were provided.[4]

As it was stated before, this case undoubtedly had a huge impact on further recognition of homosexual rights. Many states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, the District of Columbia, etc.) and other countries all around the world, for instance Canada, Norway or Spain, have granted permission for same-sex marriage or at least have also expanded the legal rights available to same–sex couples with civil unions and domestic partnerships.[5] However, despite the fact, that the quantity of recognized homosexual people`s rights is rising, there are still many political and legal disputes and debates between people in favor of gay marriage and their opponents, therefore the fundamental question remains the same: whether same-sex couples should be allowed to get legally married or not. Thus the main objective of this essay is to examine the merits of both arguments for and against. Arguments for same-sex marriage

First of all, it must be reminded, that according to the most fundamental principles of human rights, which are enacted in the Universal...
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