The Battle Over Same Sex Marriage Essay

2260 words - 9 pages

Same-sex marriage has grown into to a national issue. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry which provoked a firestorm of debate. The discussion extends from private livings rooms and local watering holes; all the way to the floor of the U.S. Congress and the White House. The debate about same-sex marriage has become a hot button issue, which pits secular-progressives who support gay-rights against religious and social traditionalists fighting for the sanctity of marriage.

When La Shawn Barber, Anna Quindlen, Andrew Sullivan and the editors at National Review wrote their opinion pieces regarding the topic of same-sex marriage the debate had already been raging for many years and it still is today. Freelance writer La Shawn Barber and the editors of National Review oppose same-sex marriage and argue that legalizing same-sex marriage would fundamentally redefine marriage and weaken it as a social institution. Conversely, contributing editor of Newsweek magazine, Anna Quindlen, and “The Daily Dish” blogger Andrew Sullivan support same-sex marriage and stress that same-sex couples should be treated no different than heterosexual couples, including when it comes to the right to marry.

In “The Loving Decision,” Quindlen uses the example of the historic court case Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage, to argue that homosexuals should be allowed to marry whomever they want. Quindlen maintains that the Loving v. Virginia case is applicable to the modern-day fight for same-sex marriage because this is an issue of civil rights violations, much like the original case from 1968. In contrast, Barber, counters in “Interracial Marriage: Slippery Slope?” that Loving v. Virginia should not be applied to same-sex marriages because its intent is fundamentally different and not applicable same-sex marriage. Barber insists that although Loving v. Virginia dealt with the inequality of civil rights in marriages, it was still ultimately a fight for the right for one man to marry one woman. Therefore, in her opinion, the case is not applicable to the fight for same-sex marriage. Barber asserts that the goal of miscegenation laws “was to maintain a subordinate class of citizens based on race” (par. 8), and that current bans against same-sex marriage are intended to preserve traditional marriage, not to show prejudice against homosexuals.

Quindlen and many other same-sex marriage champions believe that the right to marry is an inherent civil right; which therefore should be granted to homosexuals under the law. Quindlen believes the desire to marry—even amongst homosexuals—is a “powerful [force] for good on earth” (par 12). She refers to a statement made by Mildred Loving, the woman from the pivotal Loving v. Virginia court case, in which Mildred maintains that all American’s “no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation should have...

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