Guest Author - Carla Cano
The issue of allowing same-sex marriage is a hot topic yet again. Equality is a basic foundation of human rights. Human beings need and want intimate relationships. Sex is not the only goal of intimate relationships. Adults want someone to share their hopes, dreams, and aspirations with. They want to share their memories with someone as they grow older. These desires are found in people from all over the world, from different walks of life, they are universal. Why would we deny these ideals from homosexual, bisexual or transgender people based solely on their sexuality?
Several states allow civil unions which is similar to marriage. It gives the partners certain rights in the state in which they applied for the civil union license. The rights differ from state to state, if it is recognized at all. They may help partners in times of hospitalization, death, ownership of land and homes and other areas married adults benefit. Domestic Partnerships may be formed by a man and woman, two men or two women in some states. Again it’s very much like a marriage and has limited legal rights to partners. It is still a legal union. However, they do not give the same security to partners and it promotes inequality and discrimination. Marriage is a contract between two people, which for all intents and purposes does not differ much from that of civil unions and domestic partnerships. Gender should not play a role in it. If this was a business contract it would be considered discrimination.
Marriage as defined by the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA), is a legal union between a man and a woman. The U.S. code indicates that a “spouse” must be the opposite sex. The Defense of Marriage Act gave rights to the states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage performed in other states. This law was passed even though it seems to be in direct conflict with the Constitution, Article IV, Section 1, states “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each state to the public Acts, Records, and Judicial Proceeding of every other state. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings Shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.” In February 2011 Obama encouraged the Judicial Branch to stop defending DOMA, because he believed it to be unconstitutional. Yet, the Obama administration does not seem to think that the topic is a federal issue. Equal rights should certainly be a federal issue. Discrimination should not be allowed in any of our states or territories.
In the summer of 2011 only three states recognize same-sex marriage from different states, Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland. However Maryland still does not perform marriages to same-sex couples. The subject can be taken before their Senate and House in the beginning of 2011. Throughout the next few years there will be more states added to this list, as many constituents are fighting to have more laws allowing freedom to marry whoever it is you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Men and women regardless of sexuality have grown up with marriage as part of their culture. Marriage ceremonies are a kind of rite of passage around the globe. Refusing to allow people to marry because of the gender of their partners is an antiquated practice that needs to stop in today’s society.
When will we truly be an equal society? How do we teach tolerance to not only the present generation but the past and future generations as well? If you would like to discuss these questions or any other ideas concerning current events please stop by the Current Events Forum. If you enjoyed reading this article and would like free updates when new articles are available please subscribe to the free Current Events Newsletter.