Within the last month a highly anticipated law suit toward DOMA or the Defense of Marriage Act has come to a close. A federal judge has named portions of DOMA as unconstitutional. The verdict is a large win for those supporters of gay rights, as well as giant loss for those that oppose this type of union (Trotter). To clarify, if this verdict is upheld, federal government would have no say in whether or not to legalize gay marriage. Each individual states government would be held responsible to do so (Trotter). Thusly, the issue at hand then becomes should gay marriage be legal?
Marriage in the United States, up until the early 1800’s, was a soley private matter. Two individuals were considered “wed” by their peers and religious institutions with an exchange of vows and the couples public declaration (Cott). At present, all states in America require a license to be able to define a marriage as a legal union. In the United States, there were 2,162,000 of these licenses handed out to couples in 2009 (CDC) In states such as Hawaii and Massachusetts, around some 819 civil unions were performed for homosexual couples (CDC) These unions however, are only valid in the state where they were gained and does not grant any federal privileges similar to those that heterosexual marriage licenses do, such as tax breaks (Belge). Other states that are not tolerant of gay marriage have no legal avenue for validating a gay marriage and have laws completely banning it. The moderate states have a type of combination of the later two. They offer registries that document the couples status, however do not grant rights or privileges that licenses and civil unions do.
Those interested in this issue vary widely in position and class, however it seems to spark a strong opinion in most. There are fierce supporters and opponents, with others falling somewhere in the moderate category. With the new verdict that has come into play, it will empower each state to define their own stance on the legalization of gay marriage, They, and their residents, may decide whether they are completely against same sex marriage and thusly ban them all together, completely in favor of same-sex marriages and grant them will full privileges, or lastly, allow for the moderate compromise which are civil unions and registries with similar though not equal rights.
By allowing each states population to make their own choices, each group may then decide whether or not that states views align with their personal ones. For example, those same sex couple wishing to marry and obtain legal licenses have the option of moving to a state, such as Massachusetts or Hawaii, to have their relationship validated and covered under the law. Those that oppose it completely can also choose to move to states where the mass population is tune with their personal convictions and have banned gay marriages altogether. Lastly those citizens who are somewhere in the middle would simply remain in their current...