Defense Of Marriage Act Essay

1940 words - 8 pages

Defense of Marriage Act

Introduction

Within our society and the western hemisphere, it is believed that only a man and a woman should be allowed to participate in the sacred ritual of marriage. These beliefs are instilled through the socialization of society and family. Our society illustrates marriage through the media. Our family illustrates marriage by first hand experience. In a traditional family, we perceive a man and a woman as our parents. Traditionally, people marry with the expectation that reproduction will occur, and one will grow old along side of children, and grandchildren. There is an image to marriage, and the thought of altering that to include same sex unions is disturbing to many.

Gay or same sex marriages have a negative connotation in our society and many others across the globe. Same sex marriage is seen as sinful, or against the laws of nature to many people in the western hemisphere, especially in the U.S. The debate on gay or same sex marriages in the United States has produced an enormous amount of attention. To legalize same-sex marriages, or at least recognize civil unions is recently the hot topic of debate for the state, legislation, and federal governments. The following states, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California have recently recognized same sex marriages under the label of “civil unions” in lieu of complying with DOMA. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) introduced on May 7, 1996 does two things. First, it ensures that no State shall be required to give effect to a law or any other State without respect to a same sex marriage. Secondly, it defines the word “marriage” and “spouse” for the purpose of Federal and to eliminate lope-holes. It was a bill passed to define and protect the institution of marriage.

Historical Content on Same Sex Marriage

Between 1990 and 2000 Hawaii and Vermont addressed the issue of legalizing same sex marriages. However, in 1996 the U.S. Federal Constitution mandated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “which was created to keep any state from acknowledging same sex marriages” (Kranz & Cusick, 2000, p. 12). DOMA stated, "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 relationship, and marriage is the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” (Stewart, 2003, p.32).

The state of Vermont accepted and promoted same sex marriages by classifying them as “civil unions” in order to maneuver around DOMA. Vermont believed that “civil unions” would provide lesbian and gay individuals with financial and emotional benefits that are accessible to heterosexual individuals who are married (Kranz & Cusick, 2000). Vermont’s objectives were to provide an inclusive versus separation and discrimination reality for...

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