The Same Sex Marriage Debate Essay

1684 words - 7 pages

The Same Sex Marriage Debate

The controversial debate over whether same sex marriage should be legalized has gained a lot of attention in recent years and there are strong arguments for each side of the issue. There are many different factors that must be looked at when considering same-sex marriage. A marriage is not something that is just slapped on a piece of paper to show a couple's love; it involves legal, social, economic, and spiritual issues. Throughout this essay, I intend to focus on all of the issues just mentioned, and how all of these issues are interrelated in some way, shape or form. I will also pay attention to the state influence on marriage, how one state's decision affects another state's actions, and last how the legislation and courts deal with same sex marriage. While I am strongly against the marriage of individuals from the same sex for political, social, and personal reasons, I will be sure to include the pros and cons of each argument.
There have been a few states or towns that have allowed same sex marriage to take place, but in each of these cases a court later found the licenses granted to gay couples unconstitutional due to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act that was enacted in 1996. Soon afterwards, thirty-eight states followed with similar legislation. The act serves two purposes; first, it makes the "full faith and credit" clause null and void in regards to same sex marriage. Second, it puts in writing what has been understood under federal law for over 200 years: marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex. Many of the religions practiced in America established marriage as a sacred institution since the beginning of time.
These same spiritual beliefs of Americans are generally reflected in their moral beliefs, and a combination of the two set the expectations of society. Although the gay community makes up a small percentage of the American population, they have and will be very influential in our society. Our society sets many standards for people to live by, but often times these standards evolve through time in such a way that no one can predict. Slavery serves as a good example: A survey done in the 1700's of the American colonies would probably reveal a majority of people felt slavery was alright, some might have even pointed out that Christians used slavery in the past, as mentioned in the bible. Slowly the black population, who was clearly the minority, gained more and more support for freedom. While there are still Americans who do not see the black community as equals, it is safe to say that society as a whole believes discrimination against blacks is wrong.
While slavery is far more extreme of an issue than homosexuality, the two have some things in common. For example, during the civil war there were Americans on one side that supported an amendment to ban slavery and those on the other side who...

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