The Proposed Legalization of Same Sex Marriage

analytical Essay
2727 words
2727 words

The Proposed Legalization of Same Sex Marriage

The proposed legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the

most significant issues in contemporary American family law.

Presently, it is one of the most vigorously advocated reforms

discussed in law reviews, one of the most explosive political

questions facing lawmakers, and one of the most provocative issues

emerging before American courts. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it

could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history

of American family law. The potential consequences, positive or

negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples, families, social

structure public health, and the status of women are enormous. Given

the importance of the issue, the value of comprehensive debate of the

reasons for and against legalizing same-sex marriage should be

obvious. Marriage is much more than merely a commitment to love one

another. Aside from societal and religious conventions, marriage

entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally

authorized financial benefits. Marriage provides automatic legal

protections for the spouse, including medical visitation,

succession of a deceased spouse's property, as well as pension and

other rights. When two adults desire to "contract" in the eyes of the

law, as well a perhaps promise in the eyes of the Lord and their

friends and family, to be responsible for the obligations of marriage

as well as to enjoy its benefits, should the law prohibit their

request merely because they are of the same gender? I intend to prove

that because of Article IV of the United States Constitution, there is

no reason why the federal government nor any state government should

restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship.

Marriage has changed throughout the years. In Western law,

wives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial

marriage is now widely accepted, both in statute and in society; and

marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be

grounds for a divorce. Societal change have been felt in marriages

over the past 25 years as divorce rates have increased and have been

integrated into even upper class families. Proposals to legalize

same-sex marriage or to enact broad domestic partnership laws are

currently being promoted by gay and lesbian activists, especially in

Europe and North America. The trend in western European nations during

the past decade has been to increase legal aid to homosexual relations

and has included marriage benefits to some same-sex couples.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the proposed legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the most significant issues in contemporary american family law.
  • Opines that legalizing same-sex marriage could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of american family law.
  • Explains that marriage provides automatic legalprotections for the spouse, including medical visitation,succession of a deceased spouse's property, as well as pension and other rights.
  • Argues that because of article iv of the united states constitution, there isno reason why the federal government nor any state government should restrict marriage to a predefined heterosexual relationship.
  • Explains that interracialmarriage is widely accepted, both in statute and in society, and marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for divorce.
  • Explains the trend in western european nations to increase legal aid to homosexual relations and marriage benefits to some same-sex couples.
  • Explains that in the netherlands, the parliament is considering domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, and all major political parties favor recognizingsame-sexual relations.
  • Explains that belgium allows gay prisoners the right to have conjugal visits from same-sex partners. an overwhelming majority of european nations have granted partial legal status to homosexual relationships.
  • Reports that by mid-1995, thirty-sixmunicipalities, eight counties, three states, five state agencies, andtwo federal agencies extended some benefits to, or registered for someofficial purposes.
  • Opines that california's governorwilson vetoed the bill, but its passage by the legislature represented a notable political achievement for advocates of same-sexmarriage.
  • Explains that the hawaii supreme court vacated a state circuit courtjudgment dismissing same-sex marriage claims and ruled that hawaii's marriage law allowing heterosexual, but not homosexual, couples toobtain marriage licenses constitutes discrimination under the state constitution.
  • States that the case began in 1991 when three same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by the hawaii department of health brought suit in state court against the director of the department.
  • Explains that baehr and her attorney sought a judicial decision that the hawaii marriage license law isunconstitutional.
  • Explains that the state moved for judgment on pleadings and for dismissal of the complaint for failure to statea claim. the circuit court upheld the heterosexuality marriage requirement as amatter of law and dismissed the plaintiffs' challenges to it.
  • Explains that the circuit court of hawaii decided that hawaii violated baehr and her partner's constitutional rights by the fourteenth amendment and that they could be recognized as a marriage.
  • Opines that baehr is the most positive step toward actual marriagerights for gay and lesbian people.
  • Argues that homosexuals should have marriage rights in the general public, but the courts voted for baehr. the judiciary has its own mind on how to interpret the constitution, which is obviously different than most of american popular belief.
  • Explains that same-sex marriage affirms that there is a fundamental constitutionalright to marry, ora broader right of privacy or of intimateassociation.
  • Argues that the supreme court compelled states to allowinterracial marriage by recognizing the claimed right as part of the fundamental constitutional right to marry, of privacy and of intimateassociation.
  • Opines that hawaii's decision will impact marriage laws in all of the united states.
  • Explains that marriage qualifies for recognition under each section: creation of marriage is "public act" because it occurs pursuant toa statutory scheme and is performed by a legally designated official.
  • Explains that a marriage has been validly contracted, that the spouses meet the qualifications of the marriage statutes, and they have duly entered matrimony.
  • Argues that if heterosexual couples use article iv as asafety net and guarantee for their wedlock then that same right should be given to homosexual couples.
  • Opines that homosexuals are denied the opportunity to get married because of the obstacles being out in front of them.
  • Analyzes how the full faith and credit clause has rarely been used as anything more than an excuse to get a quick divorce.
  • Explains that after six weeks, the man applies for a singular marriage void, and because nevadalaw allows one side to vouch for their marriage because they are residents of nevada.
  • Explains that the defense of marriage act allows states to react differently to any intrusion of marriage that they feel is not proper.
  • Argues that by allowing individual states to alter and change what the meaning of marriage is, it could create a disaster if even heterosexuals want to marry
  • Explains that the underlying principle in doma is that states now have the right to redefine what they feel is or is not appropriate behavior. president clinton's signing was more of a presidentialcampaign gesture than an actual change in policy.
  • Argues that clinton should rethink its policy on social change and whether he wants to go out as the president that denied hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Argues that the supreme court's statement that marriage is one of the most basic civil rights of man is appalling.
  • Explains that the uniform marriage and divorce act states that all marriages contracted outside the state are valid in this state. this act could be the foundation for full faith and credit if married in other states.
  • Explains that the doma act has been widely criticized as unconstitutional. it is bias and discriminatory toward homosexuals and is against the united states constitution and the fourteenth amendment.
  • Explains that the state legislatures of arizona, south dakota,utah, oklahoma, kansas, idaho, and georgia, have made preemptivestrikes and enacted state legislation which bars recognition ofsame-gender marriages.
  • Opines that such laws will lead each state into a potential separate constitutional challenge of its same-gender marriage ban, which could be the new foundation for sweeping change in popular american politics and thought.
  • Argues that bigotry and prejudice stillexist in our evolving society, and traditionally people fear what is strange and unfamiliar to them. it is an argument for legalizing homosexual marriage through consensual politics.
  • Quotes the wall street journal, new york times, los angelestimes, the boston globe, page 15a, dec. 2, 1996, and bonauto.
  • Cites cox, barbara, gibson, reidinger, paul, stoddard, thomas, et al., "same sex marriage and choice of law".
  • Analyzes wiener's "same-sex intimate and expressive association: the pickeringbalancing test or strict scrutiny?"
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