In the United States, nine states have legalized and recognized same-sex marriage including: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Iowa, Vermont, Washington as well as the District of Columbia. The same-sex marriage issue can be traced to the civil rights movement. In Skinner v. Oklahoma in 1942 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights.” In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that “Freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” These Supreme Court rulings have helped pave the way for national same-sex marriage efforts. These court orders, in themselves, give way for same-sex couples to have a right to marriage. Same-sex couples started applying for marriage licenses in the 1970’s and started trying to sue for license but most lawsuits were rejected(“Same-sex marriage”). In 1993, three same-sex couples sued the state of Hawaii for marriage licenses. The State’s Supreme Court ruled that “There is no good reason to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” Shortly after, Hawaii amended its constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman (“Defense of Marriage Act”). In 2003, the case Lawrence v. Texas stated that “the moral disapproval of voters is not a valid reason for discrimination in marriage” (“Same-sex Marriage”). The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996. The Act defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman and allows each state to decide if it will recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Many had objections to the Act, saying that it violates the Constitution’s equal protection pledge (“Defense of Marriage Act”).
Many people oppose gay marriage for different reasons. In a 2003 survey, 45% of the people surveyed believed gay marriage is morally wrong because their religion says so. (“Main reasons for opposing gay marriage, 2003") Religion is the leading and most prominent reason people oppose same-sex marriage; even though, some religions have started to accept and/or support gay marriage. In the United States, Church and State are supposed to be separate. This means religion should have no influence over government’s laws or regulations (“Same-sex Marriage). Some people oppose same-sex marriage because they believe it is damaging to children brought up in same-sex couple households. In reality, there is no such evidence. Children raised in homosexual households are just as well off as children raised in heterosexual households. It is increasingly recognized that children are damaged more by prejudice than by diversity itself.
One of the main reasons people support same-sex marriage is because of the rights that are taken from equal citizens. Denying same-sex marriage, also denies many rights and privileges given to married couples including: Social Security benefits, hospital visitation, inheritance, family leave, adoption, insurance coverage, immigration, child custody, retirement benefits, tax exemptions, etc. These rights are needed for citizens to experience their rights to pursuit of happiness. Many say civil unions give these rights to same-sex couples but all rights are not reserved through civil unions and all states do not recognize civil unions. Same-sex marriage being unrecognized by the government does not only deprive citizens of rights but is also discriminatory. The discrimination is present because homosexuals are treated less and different than heterosexuals. Homosexual couples being denied marriage rights is discrimination. Because same-sex marriages are not recognized or given benefits; children of homosexuals also suffer the consequences.
Why do you approve or disapprove?