Gay Marriage in America

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American government Research Paper
On gay marriage
10/2/12

In the United States, marriage has always played a crucial role in the lives of its citizens. Known to some as a lifetime commitment of devotion, to others a promise to reside with a stranger, or even a matter arranged by parents, marriage is widely practiced and celebrated all over the world. Marriage can be said to be the ultimate act of love, supported with benefits and privileges from the government. The right to marry and love whoever you want has been an corner stone in culture for centuries. It has naturally left such an impact on the development of our country that it has been integrated into the parameters of the law. However, out-dated traditions dictate that marriage must be between a man and a woman, a notion that has sparked much debate in a society where the battle for equal opportunity and freedom of expression run rampant. The institution of marriage is only as strong as those who are in it, and it is weakened, by definition, when it arbitrarily excludes any class of couples. Moreover, to outlaw same-sex marriage is to deny equal-individual’s rights and freedoms under the first amendment, and a clear discrimination against one of our founding principles that is held dear by many.

There has been a notable decline in the opposition of gay marriage. In 1996, three years after Bill Clinton’s “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy took effect, 68% of American’s opposed gay marriage. In 2012, after Obama publicly stated that he supported gay marriage, the disapproval drops down to 48% of opposition.[1] The ideal of gay liberty is a dividing factor among our political parties. 65% of Democrats and 24% of republican’s advocate the issue. Although only 3.5% of Americans accounts for the “outted” LGB community[2], it’s support has gain mainstream attention through pop-culture and mass media, and has become a keystone in the debates of many religious and political figures. Like other issues that has drawn into question the confines of the first amendment (such as slavery and immigration) the effort to win equal marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples has seen a tremendous increase of attention in recent years. Throughout early American history, homosexuality was considered taboo and criminal, which were punishable even by death; a clear violation and disregard for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as stated in the declaration. Prior to 1962, it was considered a felony in every state to perform any form of sodomy. In June of that year, Illinois become the first state to decriminalize homosexual sodomy between two adults in consensual acts in private. This set the profound benchmark for several other states to follow, initiating the drawn-out legal processes which eventually led the Supreme Court’s findings in Lawrence v. Texas to deem all sodomy laws to be unconditional, abolishing the laws in remaining states (Which contradicts a previous verdict in Bowers v. Hardwick). Thus, the frame work is set for the debate of equality in marriage for homosexuals. The first formal organization to advocate homosexuality was in 1951 when the Mattachine Society was formed by Harry Hay, which fought against issues of forced assimilation of gays . Police offices regally enforced laws against homosexuality in public . One of the most notorious events leading to their equal rights started with the stonewall riots in 1969. While police were conducting a regular raid of a gay bar, a argument broke out that infuriated those in attendance. In response to the brutality, they preformed random acts of violence against the police, which sent repercussions across the nation, bringing homosexuality into the realm of political discussion. In 1993 bill Clinton enacted the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, which forbid the sexual preference of soldiers in the military to be questioned, while still maintaining the right to ban same-sex relationships and sexual acts. Much...
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