Free Essay: How Same-Sex Marriage Changed the History of US

Published: 2023-04-11
Free Essay: How Same-Sex Marriage Changed the History of US
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  United States Economics Sexes Relationship
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1718 words
15 min read

In the past decade, several procedures of legal acknowledgment of same-sex relationships have been advanced in some regions of the United States. These same-sex marriages came by as an outcome of decades of an extensive fight for identical civil rights battled by sections of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community (Lannuttl 136). Notwithstanding the presence of marriage-like unions in designated regions, the advantages accrued to same-sex couples in the United States were not equal as opposed to opposite-sex couples. However, some positive developments emerged in May 2004, when Massachusetts was the first government to legalize same-sex marriages and grant gay couples the same legal benefits as heterosexual couples (Lannuttl 136). Even though the LGBT community remains to work to gain acknowledgment, and legal recognition in the US and the entire world, the majority of same-sex couples have taken benefit of their new lawful access to marriage benefits in Massachusetts (Lannuttl 136). Therefore, historically, the legal acknowledgment of same-sex relationships in Massachusetts sets the precedence in the same-sex marriage debate. The paper will review how same-sex marriage changed the history of the United States.

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Socially, the majority of twentieth-century American citizens perceive marriage to be an institution that inherently encompasses diverse rather than same-sex couples (Eskridge 1420). Albeit some Americans are ready to condone homosexual partnership, and to some extent grant them some oblique consent, few ponder them to be "actual" marriages (Eskridge 1420-1421). The law contemplates these artistic notions. For instance, the most current publication of Black's Law Dictionary describes marriage as the lawful rank, condition or relationship of one man and one woman in life (Eskridge 1420-1421).

The ethical, and lawful agreement denying the legality of same-sex nuptials has been below scrutiny for over four decades now. Following the Stonewall riots of 1969, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals have come out in large numbers to defend their identity (Eskridge 1422). Many of these people have molded same-sex corporations, which followers of the gay-lesbian community have long mentioned to as "marriages" (Eskridge 1423). A number of these couples have emphasized that the state recognizes these marriages on the same scale that they see heterosexual relationships. However, opponents of same-sex marriage argue that their notion is oxymoronic. They insist marital must only involve heterosexuals due to three compelling reasons; it is the definitional core of marriage, the Judeo-Christian custom deems it right, and the contemporary Western nation-state has organized the society around the presumption that only different-sex marital unions are permitted (Eskridge 1423). On the other hand, the proponents of same-sex relationships dissent the argument proposed by their counterparts. They insist that same-sex marriage should be treated equally as the way opposite couples' marriage is treated in a dignified manner.

Liberal Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage

Prior to the Stonewall Incidence, the context of a same-sex couple venturing into a state-recognized matrimonial seemed socially, and lawfully unlikely in the United States (Eskridge 1424). Even though the majority of same-sex partners in American history expressed their desire to have a legal marriage these traditions were often ignored. However, the Stonewall riots changed the whole narrative. Gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals emerged in great numbers to fight for their rights, and many of these newly-liberated couples established acquiescently dedicated relationships ideally comparable to heterosexual relationships (Eskridge 1424). As part of this demand for recognition, the majority of activists sought legal appreciation of same-sex partnerships in the same context as heterosexual marriages.

Since then, gay activists have challenged the legal scheme, particularly the courts-demanding that it ends its prejudice against same-sex marriages. Three types of propositions have been made in support of these demands. First, the negation by the state to identify same-sex marriages violates the right to marry, which the Supreme Court applied from the Due Process Clause in the Loving v. Virginia case (Eskridge 1424). In that case, Loving annulled state laws delaying different-race marriages in retort to arguments that they violated African-Americans' right to equal protection, and multicultural couples' due procedure right to marriage (Eskridge 1424-1425). The ensuing cases have accentuated that the freedom to marry the person of one's liking remains as basic due process right to include poor individuals, and even prisoners and further this right can only be reduced to further a persuasive state attention (Eskridge 1424-1425).

Gay observers argue that denying same-sex marriage through adding a legal authorization to their relationship violates same-sex partners' legitimate right to marry, a stance that is just as irrational as previous state exploit hindering heterosexual marriage (Rosenfeld 1-2). Further, gay legal feminists have argued that by barring same-sex marriage, states participate in fronting sex discrimination thereby violating the federal Equal Protection Clause (Eskridge 1425). Although the state will offer a marriage license to virtually any heterosexual couple, no license will be provided to any lesbian couple. As a result, the state is discriminating against sexual interest. A deeper element of the sex discrimination debate by Slycia law is that any effort by the state to channel sex differences into the notion of marriage perpetuates traditional sex-based bigots of man- being viewed as breadwinners and women-being regarded as a housewife (Eskridge 1425).

Finally, the majority of gay scholars have contended that statutes classifying individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation should prompt sensitive equal protection scrutiny. Under such analysis, the prohibition of same-sex marriage by the state should be invalidated, since no compelling state interest justifies treating gay couples differently from opposite-sex couples (Eskridge 1426). A number of jurisdictions have ratified human rights acts that sketchily hinder discriminating against gay men, bisexuals, lesbians on the basis of their sexual preference. In the District of Columbia, for instance, the human rights decree prohibits the government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation (Eskridge 1426). The district's denial to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was viewed to be unlawful.

Liberal Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage

By October 1993, the right to grant legal marriage rights to same-sex couples was not successful, though several efforts were still pending; one (in Hawaii) has described a ruling that the government must show a justifying reason for its exclusion of same-sex couples from the right of marriage (Eskridge 1427). Same-sex relationship opponents, who involve attorney general defending state laws, and federal court judges have contended that treating same-sex marriage as a normal form of marriage is a contradiction in terms. It is because marriage must involve a man, and woman and a relationship between individuals of the same sex merely cannot be treated as marriage in the context of the definition, morality, and Western practice (Eskridge 1427). They have also stated that the definition and practice of marriage should include heterosexual couples as that is how society morally views institutional marriage. In Dean v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court used passages from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Matthew, and Ephesians to back its stance that "societal recognition on marriage only accepts it to be of a man, and a woman as a form of Christianity accepted definition of marriage" (Eskridge 1430). Another argument against same-sex relationships appeals to pragmatism. Recognizing same-sex partnerships as marriage would be problematic since it would be widely considered as legalizing homosexuality (Eskridge 1431). From the Posnerian pragmatic, although the moral objections to same-sex marriage have become popularized after the Stonewall riots, the notion of the heterosexual relationship remains culturally embedded in our society (Eskridge 1432).

Social constructivism offers a framework for assessing same-sex marriages that differs from a traditional liberal perspective (Eskridge 1434). This framework can be explained in three hypotheses; first, marriage is not a naturally generated institution with definite elements, rather, it is a construction that is connected with other cultural, and social institutions (Eskridge 1434). Second, the social construction of marriage cannot be neutral and must conform to the norms laid out in society (Eskridge 1434). Therefore, denying same-sex marriage can be interpreted as a notion of denying the thought of having homosexuality within the society that intends to be deeply embedded in Christain values. Finally, the social construction of marriage is dynamic (Eskridge 1434). It means that marriage should alter based on the interests of subordinate groups within the society (Eskridge 1434).

Hart-Brinson in chapter 4 suggests a typology to synthesize the four different discourses on the subject of same-sex marriage namely; explicit support, definite opposition, libertarian realism, and immoral inclusivity (Chan 2). Individuals who articulate the address of unambiguous opposition tend to be Christians, and the older demographics (Chan 2). These are rather expected, so what is more alluring are democratic pragmatism, and immoral inclusivity, which Hart-Brinson calls "middle-ground discourses" (Chan 3). Based on cultural sociologists, Andreas Gleaser's work examining how some younger Christians resist same-sex marriage due to their unpleasant interactions with gay men, and lesbians, and how some older Christians have begun to support same-sex marriage (Chan 3).

America's acceptance of same-sex marriage depicts one of the fastest, most eventful, and significant legal, and political developments in the history of America. For example, in mid-2003, the Supreme Court decision in Bowers v. Hardwick stated that gay men and lesbians could be imprisoned for private sexual acts in their home progressed to be the law of the land (Gerstmann 1). At that period, not one American state-recognized same-sex marriage, and an extensive majority of them opposed it.

However, in mid-2015, even before the Supreme Court's significant decision in Obergefell v. Hodgers the situation had changed in a way that ideally no one had projected (Gerstmann 2). A trend of court rulings and democratically ratified laws initiated same-sex marriage to state after state, while public opinion moved with implausible speed in favor of this once-marginal stance. A series of Supreme Court decisions displayed both in their holdings, and their tone, which was much greater concern on the equal rights of gays and lesbians. An issue that had of late seemed so marginal, sometimes hopeless, unexpectedly seemed all but certain (Gerstmann 2). Even though the majority of legal experts in the same year projected that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of same-sex marriage, there was no consensus about what the Court's rationale would be. After the court made its ruling, it implemented the concept advocated in the first edition of Gretsmann, Same-Sex, and the Constitution book. The notion stated that there is a basic constitutional right to marry that is broad enough to incorporate same-sex marriage (Gerstmann 2).

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