Marriage is traditionally viewed as the legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. But what happens when those two people are two men or two women? Until recently, homosexual couples could not legally marry in any state in the United States. A recent series of events sought to change that. The Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidated a Texas law that made sodomy a crime and affirmed the privacy rights of homosexuals. In November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the state cannot deny marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Following the Massachusetts decision, gay marriages occurred across the nation from San Francisco to New York. Former President George W. Bush responded by calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. In May, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to grant legalized same-sex marriages. Currently, there are more than a half a dozen nations that have legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, including Canada, Spain and South Africa. Supporters of same-sex marriage say gays and lesbians have a right to marry and receive the same marriage and legal benefits, such as medical coverage and pension rights, as heterosexual couples. Opponents of same-sex marriage say marriage is between a man and a woman and view anything else as morally wrong. They argue that allowing homosexual couples to marry is unconstitutional and would destroy the sanctity of marriage. The gay rights movement in the United States can be traced back to the Stonewall Riots that occurred following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June, 1969. Police raids on gay bars were commonplace, but on this occasion the gay and lesbian patrons fought back and sparked days of protests. The Stonewall Riots marked the beginning of a political movement for gay rights during a time when it was illegal to have homosexual sex in all states except for Illinois. Between 1969 and 1974,...
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