Essay on The Debate Over Same Sex Marriage

Essay on The Debate Over Same Sex Marriage

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In the United States, the subject of same sex marriage has been a legal and cultural debate since the early 1970’s when the Supreme Court dismissed Baker v. Nelson one of only three cases brought by same sex couples against the state of Minnesota for denying them a marriage license. Over the next three years, various levels in the judicial system deny several other cases seeking validation for same sex marriages across the country. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman thus restricting all legal protections and responsibilities to heterosexual couples. Throughout the nineties, cultural and political pressure mount and several states begin passing legislature that gives same sex marriages limited legal standing. Over the course of the next decade cultural, legal and political forces debate the legitimacy of same sex marriages in a variety of venues, ranging from public protests, to legal actions and town hall meetings. The media plays a significant role in broadcasting the national debate. Individual states begin passing laws either for or against same-sex marriages as debates surrounding the topic become increasingly divisive. On February 23, 2011, President Barrack Obama declares that “constitutional command of equal protection” is contrary to DOMA and the Administration will no longer defend it. The following month the Democratic Party introduces the Respect for Marriage Act to replace DOMA. The national debate grows even more heated as state legislative and judicial branches pass a flurry of rulings and laws on both sides of the issue. In November 2012, the four states where it originated pass the Freedom to Marry Act (FT...


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...nflict to the degree that these examples led to, the public and private discourse relating to this subject is still ongoing, as the artifact demonstrated, despite the protestations of a minority of participants. However, as Lea Stewart states, “there are patterns from the past that have been brought to the present; and in the present, new patterns and forms of symbolic meaning are being created that will enter the future as the past” (Facilitating Connections: Issues of Gender, Culture, and Diversity, 1997, p. 111). Although I anticipate that this ethical nature of this debate will eventually resolve itself, in the meantime, as citizens of a multi-cultural, democratic society, it is important to continue exercising our right to public and private discourse in an ethical and dialogic manner so that in time we move together “toward an ethic of connectedness” (p. 116).

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Essay on The Debate Over Same Sex Marriage

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