Marriage Equality

Topics: Same-sex marriage, Homosexuality, Marriage Pages: 5 (1808 words) Published: February 7, 2014
Marriage Equality
Marriage is defined in the dictionary as the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. (Marriage). The key words here are man and woman. But, what about a woman and a woman, or a man and a man; why is this institution not allowed? Marriage equality has become a highly debated topic in America. Yes, there are alternatives, such as civil unions, but this is not the same as being legally joined to their partners; homosexuals feel that civil unions are a slap in the face, because they do not offer all of the benefits traditional marriage does. In some states it is illegal, and it would require a piece of legislation to allow a state to permit same-sex marriage rights. However, as I stated before, it is a highly debated topic, and there are always two sides of a debate.

Same-sex marriage (also called gay marriage/marriage equality) is a legally or socially recognized marriage between two persons of the same biological sex. Same-sex marriage is a civil rights, political, social, moral, and religious issue in many nations. Marriage equality is important because it allows two human beings to legally be with the one person they love. There are other important aspects of marriage equality. Same-sex couples are excluded from the privileges heterosexual couples receive on a federal level, such as; they cannot use Family & Medical Leave for a same-sex partner, sponsoring a foreign spouse for citizenship, employer-sponsored health benefits for your spouse / partner is assessed federal taxes, Social Security benefits are not issued to same sex partners in case of death or disability, relationship status (married, domestic partner, civil union, etc.) are often not given recognition when you cross state lines, spouses cannot file joint taxes, claim certain tax breaks, or avoid inheritance taxes on property passed from one spouse to the next. (Why). These drawbacks do not just apply to federal issues, but also other issues like, homosexuals cannot donate blood, in some states homosexuals cannot adopt children, and educational discrimination based on sexual orientation (some Catholic schools will not admit a child to attend their school if their parents are homosexuals). (8 Things)

Same-sex marriage in the United States is currently recognized in several jurisdictions in the United States. As of November 2012, nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington—as well as the District of Columbia—have legalized same-sex marriage. In addition, Rhode Island recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, and California, which briefly granted same-sex marriages in 2008, now recognizes them on a conditional basis. While several jurisdictions have legalized same-sex marriage through court rulings, legislative action, and popular vote, nine states prohibit same-sex marriage by statute and thirty prohibit it in their constitutions, including Georgia. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows each state to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. DOMA has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including two federal appeals courts. Five of these cases are pending review by the Supreme Court.

The Fourteenth Amendment in the constitution states that, “No state shall make or enforce laws which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property…” (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir A15). So, is marriage equality a civil rights issue? “I don’t think it’s a matter of civil rights. I think it’s just a matter of whether or not we’re going to adhere to something that’s been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many...
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