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Fighting for Equality: Same-Sex Marriages

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Same-sex marriages have been at the center of heated discussion since 1993, since the Hawaiian Supreme Court stated that allowing same-sex partners to license their relationships contradicted the Constitution. In 2004 Massachusetts was the first state to announce that it would make same-sex marriages legal. At present there are seventeen states, along with the District Columbia, which allow this kind of marriage. However, there are still thirty-three states which consider same-sex marriages unconstitutional. In addition, it is important to note that in the United States’ Congress is still making laws that forbid gay marriage. These laws deny a segment of the population (homosexuals) the same right same as the majority: to marry. It is high time the government did something to stop the discrimination of same-sex couples and abolish these laws.
Both cases (Hawaii, 1993, and Massachusetts, 2004) had a legal response. In 1996 Bob Barr, a Republican, introduced a bill banning same-sex marriages. The bill was voted for in Congress and signed by Bill Clinton into law. This bill, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, recognized only opposite-sex marriages and prohibited the states from acknowledging homosexual marriages—even the ones performed elsewhere. The legislation passed in 2004 had a much greater impact as it was aimed at changing the U.S. Constitution. In this document (the Federal Marriage Amendment) Marilyn Musgrave, a Republican, proposed to legally recognize only heterosexual nuptials: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents...

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