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Legalization Of Same Sex Marriages Essay

2432 words - 10 pages

Legalization of Same-Sex MarriagesToday one of the most advocated reforms discussed in law reviews and one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers is the issue of legalizing same-sex unions. 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 and negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples and families are enormous."Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus Deluxe Edition" defines marriage as, "the act of marrying or the ceremony entered into by a man and woman so as to live together as husband and wife." This definition has been the foundation of our culture and the cornerstone of the "traditional concept of family." Homosexual activists would like to modify the definition to include same-sex partners; making the act of marriage a simple civil contract between two individuals regardless of their sex. Marriage, however, is much more than merely a simple contract or a vow to love one another. The act of marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits.Registered partnerships recognize a same-sex partnership at a national level entailing most but not all of the benefits and hardships of a civil marriage and requires a preliminary affirmation of the relationship by a government authority. A domestic partnership is recognition by a local or provincial jurisdiction, including businesses and corporations. Obviously, a union to grant benefits to same-sex couples does not carry the same weight as recognition by the government of that relationship. There are currently 21 states without marriage recognition laws and 29 states that do have marriage recognition laws.Married couples have certain benefits that are denied to single people or to people in non-marital situations. Some of these benefits or rights are:1. Right to joint custody of children2. Right to adopt children3. Right to inherit one another's property4. Spousal immigration rights, including the right to extend one's citizenship to one's spouse or children5. Rights to power of attorney6. Co-ownership of property7. Execution of living wills8. Medical decision-making power in cases of incapacitation9. Rights to share insurance and pension benefits10. Right to receive and dispose of a spouse's body in the event of deathSame-sex unions recognized by the government through the act of marriage would provide the legal recognition and protection that is currently being denied.One of the first states to address the issue of same-sex marriage was Hawaii when in 1991 three same-sex couples had been denied marriage licenses by the Hawaii Department of Health resulting in a lawsuit against the director of the Department. Hawaiian law required couples wishing to marry to obtain a marriage license; the law did not specifically indicate that only heterosexual couples could marry. One couple felt the law to be unconstitutional...

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