Throughout time marriage equality for same-sex couples has been non-existent. Now, gay rights are at the forefront of political and social reform. Same-sex marriage has recently become a fiercely debated topic; however, only nine states allow same-sex marriage and only a few allow domestic partnerships, because of religion, generational differences, and the general and voting public that still denounce it, marriage equality is a natural right that is being stolen from same-sex couples.
Most religious groups openly denounce and speak out against homosexuality, as well as same-sex marriage. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). The Bible teaches that being gay, and same-sex marriage, is an abomination and that they should be put to death. Although no Catholic churches actually do this, it teaches impressionable minds that being gay and wanting to marry in wrong to a degree of almost criminal.
The Pope who is the head figure of the church gives speeches that still say that being gay is an abomination and that they should not be allowed to marry. In a speech given about family values Pope Benedict XVI stated that “gays are eschewing their God-given gender identities to suit their sexual choices – and destroying the very “essence of the human creature” (Winfield). The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted bless same-sex couples but the church still defines marriage as one man and one woman.
However there is one church that accepts and acknowledges the wants of same-sex couples. The United Church of Christ voted to legally recognize same-sex marriage, although because of the autonomous being of the church, each individual congregation is allowed to choose if they want to follow the vote (“Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Same-sex Marriage”). Even though some congregations allow and bless same-sex couples the masses are still opposed and refuse to allow them to marry.
Same-sex marriage is heavily criticized because for thousands of ears, entire nations have been founded on religious views, which defines marriage as union between one man and one woman; such as the colonies of Great Britain along with eastern coast of the United States. It is the same story with the Spanish in Central America and the French in Canada and other northern parts of the United States. All of the colonies founded by these nations have been developed by the idea of spreading a religion to new people in hopes of their enlightenment. In all of these foundations, all believe that homosexuality is an abomination and that is should be rid of the earth.
However as time has gone on and people have been moving away from such puritan views, new generations are slowly becoming accepting of the idea of same-sex marriage. With new generations being more exposed to the idea of homosexuality through movies, T. V. shows, and other kinds of media, younger minds are more accepting than other generations. In past generations it was not socially acceptable to be openly gay. This was the case for John McCluskey and Rudy Henry who fell in love in 1958, but kept their sexuality a secret for fear of what landlords, and employers would think (Turnball).
In 1958 being openly gay would have been social suicide. It was not accepted and was looked down upon as if something was mentally wrong with them. The idea that same-sex couples could marry was outlandish. It went against the social norm of that time and was not met with open arms. As time has gone on new generations have developed new views. One of the best ways to see generational change is through elections and how the current populous vote compared to past generations.
One of the clearest differences is how these newer generations view same-sex marriage. Millennials are those who were born from 1980 to the present. Almost sixty percent favor gay marriage compared to the Silent generation who were those born from 1928- 1945 where only thirty three percent favor gay marriage (Generations, Social Issues and Religion). Gay marriage will not become an accepted issue to older generations because they were raised being taught it was wrong, and that is was a disease and could eventually be cured.
Although not all adults from older generations are closed-minded “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well” (President Barack Obama). With greater amounts of population from newer generations supporting same-sex marriage, equality is inevitable. This current generation is being brought up with adults who have varied opinions regarding same-sex couples, allowing younger people to re-think the definition of marriage.
Different parenting styles can have a major impact on how teens and young adults see the world and everything in it. If a child is taught from a young age that same-sex marriage is wrong then they will believe that it is. As older generations move out of the child-rearing age and more Millennails are becoming parents, same-sex marriage will become more widely accepted because of their more open minded views; just as a person of African-American descent being able to be accepted to date or marry a Caucasian person was twenty years ago. However the social change will not come overnight.
Most people believe that marriage is still a bond only between a man and a woman. Due to this many people defend the current laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. The current voting public of what was thought to be a liberal state has shown their disapproval by passing Proposition 8, a same-sex marriage bill on the 2008 ballot in California. Proposition 8 made same-sex marriage illegal in the state of California. This ballot passes with a 52-48 percent margin that went against a Supreme Court decision earlier that year that found another ban to be unconstitutional.
This violated the equal protection rights of two same-sex couples being able to marry (Almeida). This ballot made any same-sex marriage illegal, but anyone married before it was passed could remain married. This is a perfect example of non-acceptance of a changing social value. Proposition 8 shows discrimination against one segment of people based of a personal bias. Even after the Supreme Court said that it would be unconstitutional to deny gays to marry, the people of California were able to pass a ballot that made it illegal again.
Although the fight for equality continues. Soon after its passing, Proposition 8 became a battlefield of lawsuits and outrage. Due to the outrage that this ballot has caused, along with the extensive trials, the Californian Supreme Court stated that they would hear arguments and vote on its constitutionality on March 26, 2013. In the oral arguments it seemed as if lawyer Charles J. Cooper, defending proposition 8, was lacking in any kind of a solid argument.
When asked by Justice Kagan “in reading the briefs, it seems as though your principal argument is that same-sex and opposite — sex couples are not similarly situated because opposite-sex couples can procreate, same-sex couples cannot, and the State’s principal interest in marriage is that basically correct? ”(Kagan pg. 15), Cooper stuttered and struggled to answer what should have been an easy if there were an actual reason why (Supreme Court of the United States-Dennis Hollingsworth V. Kristin M. Perry). The true purpose of marriage is not for procreation. A union of marriage should be allowed between any two people that love each other.
Should it truly be right to deny two gay people who truly love each other the right to marry, but allow to drunk people in Las Vegas who have never met before to marry then annulled in less then forty eight hours? The 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Proposition 8, saying it violated the rights of same-sex couples because it stripped them of a previous right to marry in California (Howard Mintz, San Jose Mercury News). Same-sex marriage was legal in the state of California until this ballot passed, after the Supreme Court had ruled that gays could marry.
Making a right illegal, even after a previous ban was found unconstitutional presents a conundrum. Even though it may not be lawfully enforceable, any proposition can be passed. It is also unconstitutional to deny the people the right to amend the constitution. “We have always a right to correct ancient errors and to establish what is more conformable to reason and convenience” (Jefferson). Although it would be illegal to deny the people the right to change the constitution, its not right to allow personal bias to shape a states laws and effect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Proposition 8 represents an unprecedented instance of a majority of voters altering the meaning of the equal protection clause by modifying the California Constitution to require deprivation of a fundamental right on the basis of a suspect classification. The majority’s holding is not just a defeat for same-sex couples, but for any minority group that seeks the protection of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution” (California State Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno).
This quote perfectly describes how proposition 8 is represented. Even though the voter can change the state constitution legally, it is not morally right to allow such a change on the basis of prejudice. Due to the injustice of prejudice and bias marriage equality could be a long way off. Out of all fifty states in this union, only ten of them allow same-sex marriage. Main, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Washington D. C. , Iowa, and Washington state all allow same-sex marriage and all gay rights.
California, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, Wisconsin, Delaware, and Rhode Island allow domestic partnership and civil unions. The rest of the nation either has a ban or law against same-sex marriage. In the state of Florida there is absolutely no form of recognition for same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, nor are gays allowed to adopt. One of the biggest marriage acts passed was The Defense of Marriage Act. This act was passed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, which stated that the United States recognizes marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
This act denies rights to same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples such as survivor benefits, and tax breaks (What is the Defense of Marriage Act). This act also gave the states the right to make their own laws on the subject, and they did not have to up hold any other states laws about it as well. “No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex”(One Hundred Fourth Congress PDF file. Pg one). As new generations grow older, and new laws are being passed, gay marriage is evolving before our eyes. Todays gay rights struggle is to us what black rights were to past years. With newer minds and newer views the battle for equality, however hard and relentless, will be worth the freedom that same-sex couples have been longing for.