The argument between advocates and adversaries of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and same-sex marriage in America has been a waging war for centuries, gaining substantial attention and consideration in society and the media in the 1960s. Americans are sharply divided on the topic of same-sex marriage, almost split down the middle with fifty-three percent in favor and forty-seven percent1 opposed to it (Kennedy). Because marriage is a vital public institution, this issue has raised many debates, rallies, protests, and even violent acts among citizens who have strong opinions and stances on it.
Currently, Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. The LGBT community in Pennsylvania faces many legal challenges and discrimination because of this. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the protections available to heterosexual married couples (Shaman 213). The ongoing debate had resulted in the formation of many groups and organizations for and against the motion to make same-sex marriage legal throughout the country. Philadelphia is known for its vast array of organizations dedicated to the LGBT community ranging from social organizations, to support groups, to organizations that deal with politics, health, etc. (“PhillyPride…”). One of the most involved and passionate organizations in Philadelphia fighting for LGBT rights, including the right to marry, is the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization founded in 1920 with organization centers and headquarters throughout the nation. The ALCU is dedicated to defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms for all American citizens laid out in the Constitution:
Through advocacy, public education and litigation, our staff and volunteers work to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions and civil rights laws…freedoms of speech, religion and association; the right to petition the government; separation of church and state; the right to privacy; reproductive freedom; due process of law; the rights of the accused; and the right to equal treatment under the law. (Mission – “ACLU History”)
Without promoting violence and radical demonstrations, this organization fights for the rights and liberties of all citizens, covering a wide range of civil and social issues through legal action, lawsuits, educational campaigns, and organized rallies.
The ALCU of Pennsylvania, located here in Philadelphia, is adamant in the fight against gender-based discrimination and believes that discrimination and prejudice against the LGBT community goes against the philosophy with which our country was established upon. They have taken legal action to fight for the right from members of the LGBT community of...