Same-sex Marriage Should be Legal
"I do." These two simple words have the power change lives in an instant. For most people, the phrase conjures up images of a man and a woman being joined in marriage. But for gays and lesbians, having the chance to legally say "I do" is a far-off dream, not a reality. In many European countries, marriages between same-sex couples are federally recognized, but unions of American homosexuals still go unrecognized by the United States government. Same-sex marriages deserve to be legalized in this country. Homosexual couples should be entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples.
To initially understand this issue, one must understand what a marriage is in the eyes of the law. A legal marriage is a "civil contract established through a license issued by state governments" ("About Marriage"). This type of marriage is often frequently called civil marriage, making it a contract recognized by society in a political, social, and legal fashion ("About Marriage"). Civil marriages are an entirely separate entity than typical religious weddings ("Quick Answers About Same-Sex Marriage").
In defense of same-sex marriages, the first aspect that should be examined is the pure legality of the subject. A legally recognized marriage enacts hundreds of state and literally thousands of federal laws and benefits. These benefits, including social security, inheritance rights, child custody, and health care, are available only to people who are legally married. By United States law, the only people able to receive a marriage license are two people of the opposite sex (Demian). These laws, in order to be fair, should be applicable to all citizens, not just opposite-sex spouses.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. This Act says that states have the right to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states if they were to be legalized. The federal government as well would not recognize legal same-sex marriages. However, according to the U.S. Constitution's full faith and credit clause, states must recognize each other's laws and regulations. In addition to that, DOMA defines marriage for federal purposes as a legal union between a man and a woman. Since the passage of the act, every state has filed a DOMA bill ("About Marriage"). This bill is clearly an unconstitutional, unprecedented attack on the rights of gays and lesbians. It is discriminatory, designed to deny same-sex couples equal protection under marriage laws.
Many people oppose the legalization of same-sex marriages because they are "morally" wrong. These people, however, confuse religious aspects of marriage with legal ones. The legalities of the issue have nothing to do with what a religion specifies. A "legal" marriage is a contract established by the state government. No matter where it takes place, a marriage is not legal unless accompanied by an official marriage...