The LGBT Community and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

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As of 2015, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continues to struggle for equal rights held by their straight counterparts. Socially, LGBT persons are subject to discrimination, hate crimes, and stigma, while legally, LGBT persons encounter obstacles that preclude them from basic rights afforded to every other subculture in America. One of the most divisive issues related to LGBT rights has been same-sex marriage, which has been creating conflict both politically and socially dating back to the 1970’s (Finnis, 1997). Those in favor of same-sex marriage argue that regardless of gender or sexual preference, marriage is a basic right that the government has no legitimate interest in blocking. Opponents argue that same-sex marriage is ethically and morally wrong, and they cite reasons spanning from religious beliefs to the creation of a slippery slope that would lead to the demise of the institution of marriage (Volokh, n.d.). Faced with the difficult task of balancing both sides of the equation, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the policy that will be analyzed in this paper. DOMA, which passed by a majority in both houses of Congress and was signed by President Clinton in 1996, essentially defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman (Finnis, 1997). In this act, no states are required to honor same sex marriages performed in other states (Finnins, 1997). No state is required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of another such organization with respect to a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other organizations or a right or claim arising from such relationshi... ... middle of paper ... ...s: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2003 Stewart, Monte Neil, “Judicial Redefinition of Marriage”, Canadian Journal of Family Law, (2004). Moore, N. J. (n.d.). In This Moment: The American Academy of Pediatrics says same-sex marriage is good for kids and good for society. In This Moment. Retrieved April 21, 2012, from http://hopeandpolitics.blogspot.com/2006/07/american-academy-of-pediatrics-says.html LII | LII / Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). LII | LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://www.law.cornell.edu Volokh, E. (n.d.). SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND SLIPPERY SLOPES. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND SLIPPERY SLOPES. Retrieved April 21, 2012, from http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/marriage.pdf Gay Marriage ProCon.org. (n.d.). Gay Marriage ProCon.org. Retrieved April 21, 2012, from http://gaymarriage.procon.org/

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