Same Sex Marriage Should Be Legal Essay

1640 words - 7 pages

Marriage is assumed by United States citizens to be a basic human right. When asked, a child will usually say that yes, they do plan to one day be happily married. As we grow older, we realize that it is not that simple; that there are many stigmas placed on “nontraditional” marriages. Throughout the history of the United States, minorities have had to battle for their right to marry whomever they choose. Interfaith, interracial, and same-sex couples have discovered the hard way that the same “natural” rights are not granted to all citizens. Many of these battles have been fought and won, but the struggle of same-sex couples still continues to be a hotbed of discontent throughout the United States.
The United States is, fundamentally, a place where its citizens may practice their own religion without facing discrimination. The first settlers who immigrated to these lands were a small group of Puritans evading religious prosecution in Europe, hoping for asylum in the New World. Because of its roots as a sanctuary, freedom of religion has always been a core value for the United States, drawing a wide variety of religious groups to plant roots in this country. Each of these religious groups believed strongly in endogamy (the idea of marrying within one’s social group, thereby rejecting others on the basis of being unsuitable for marriage), and the people have therefore faced many hardships in attempting to marry someone from another religion. Catholic and Protestant Churches would refuse to recognize interfaith marriages; Tradition requires that a non-Jew must first convert to Judaism in order to marry within the Jewish community. In 2010, the Jewish community was up in arms over the marriage of fellow Jew Marc Mezvinsky to Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist. Such a high-profile wedding concerned the community at large that more Jewish men would be encouraged to marry outside their religion. The percentage of Americans who practiced Judaism stood at only 2%, and the Jewish people of the United States feared that losing more to interfaith relationships would make their societal numbers dwindle even faster. Steven Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, said in an interview with USA Today that “intermarriage does indeed constitute the greatest single threat to Jewish continuity today.” Interfaith marriages have also been observed to result in higher divorce rates, which threaten the integrity of Jewish values.
In 1958, two lovers crossed state borders to be wed in Washington, D.C.. Virginia natives, Richard and Mildred Loving fled their home state to seek a marriage license in a D.C. courthouse due to Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, which criminalized any marriage between a white and a non-white. Richard Loving was white. Mildred was of mixed race. Five weeks after returning home, they were arrested in their own bedroom by raiding policemen and put on trial. The Lovings...

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