Should Same-Sex Marriages be Legalized?
Today the issue of same-sex marriages is widely discussed in the legal and social spheres in the USA. Every day the situation becomes more and more controversial because this problem involves the questions of the equality of civil rights for all people in the country and the role of states in solving this problem. In spite of the fact this question remains current during more than one decade, the debates are still acute.
The supporters and opponents of the idea to legalize same-sex marriages defend their positions acting as social organizations and at the Senate. Any decision which has the legal power provokes strong reactions in the society. Nevertheless, the peculiarities of the events in the legal system of the country which take place during last two years can help to support the opinion that same-sex marriages should become legal in all states.
It is necessary to legalize same-sex marriages in order to overcome the problems which arise in connection with the questions of social and legal discrimination of the same-sex couples, their indefinite social status, and the impossibility to have equal marriage benefits. There are many problems which the activists of the gay-rights movement can face.
Thus, during the period of two decades “the issue of same-sex marriage has been a flashpoint in American politics, setting off waves of competing legislation, lawsuits and ballot initiatives to either legalize or ban the practice and causing rifts within religious groups” (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
Today the representatives of the gay-rights movement and the supporters of the idea to make same-sex marriages legal strive to combine all their efforts and to develop their struggle on the political arena (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
The main arguments of the proponents of same-sex marriages are associated with such aspects as the dependence of many social rights and freedoms on definite points connected with the institution of marriage. And moreover, “the institution of marriage is a unique expression of love and commitment and that calling the unions of same-sex couples anything else is a form of second-class citizenship” (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
The situation in different states of the USA related to the problems of same-sex marriages is still not equivalent. If such states as Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. permit same-sex marriages and give same-sex couples equal rights with the other couples, such state as California only realizes the laws according to which it can recognize same-sex couples who were married before the legalization of Proposition 8. Furthermore, there are a number of states in which same-sex marriages are strictly forbidden (Messerli).
Twenty-nine states have definite constitutional bans which forbid same-sex marriages. Twelve states realize definite laws against same-sex marriages. The situation in New York in 2011 was considered as the ray of hope against such a background.
Thus, in June of 2011 the majority of New York politicians voted for the legalization of same-sex marriages. This fact made New York the largest state where semi-sex couples become able to wed. Moreover, the situation was considered as the real revolution of the national gay-rights movement (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
When the proponents use all the possibilities to spread the idea of the necessity to legalize same-sex marriages in all the states the opponents of the opinion concentrate on the aspect that same-sex marriages should be considered as unconstitutional.
All these debates have a long history in the USA. The first issue connected with same-sex marriages attracted the public’s attention in 1993. It seemed that the situation of 1996 when “Defense of Marriage Act” was adopted can prevent the supporters of same-sex marriages from continuing their active actions.
The Supreme Court in Massachusetts permitted same-sex marriages only in 2004. It was the first state who adopted such a law, and it was the first victory of the gay-rights movement (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
When the next several states began allowing same-sex marriages the reaction of the public was rather negative. Nevertheless, during these last years more and more people began to think over the necessity of realizing the principles of the democratic society with all its aspects including equal rights for same-sex couples (Messerli).
The opponents of the idea of same-sex marriages focus on the opinion that same-sex marriages cannot be considered as the ‘healthy’ social institution because “allowing same-sex couples to marry would undermine the institution of marriage itself” (“Same-Sex Marriage”).
Moreover, the aspects of traditional visions of marriages are closely connected with the traditional religious vision of the issue.
Thus, those people who declare that same-sex marriages can break the norms of morality, the traditional norms and principles of marriages, and the religious norms also accentuate that the legalization of same-sex marriages can become the first steps to the destruction of the idea of a family as a social cell which can preserve the moral norms in the society.
Nevertheless, this argument cannot be considered as legally approved because all people which live in a definite country should have equal rights in spite of their sexual orientation and preferences.
Same-sex marriages should become legal in all states of the country in order to prevent the discrimination of people according to their sexual orientation and provide equal rights for the population of all states, but not the minority of them. The right to be married should be based only on civil rights and freedoms which are the same for all people.
Messerli, Joe. “Should Same-Sex Marriages be Legalized?” balancepolitics.org. BalancePolitics, 2011.
“Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships”. topics.nytimes.com. The New York Times, 2012.
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