Marriage: the ceremonial binding of two people into one couple. Historically marriage has been the institution were a man and woman join together in the promise of love. Now days the traditional view of marriage is being changed by gay and lesbian couples demanding the same right to love, honor, and cherish their partners as heterosexual couples have. This argumentative essay on Gay Marriage will explore both sides on the debate of gay and lesbian marriages.
Historically, marriage was seen as a religious and civil union that brought together a man and woman for the purpose of joining family and community interest. Love may have been a part of choosing a mate but not the only factor. Also, a purpose of marriage was to provide a socially sanctioned place for sexual relations. Over time society has came to believe that love is the only reason to marry. Following the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s few people see sex as only being confined to the marriage bed. With these shifts in why to marry, what we expect from marriage has also changed. No longer is marriage a union that is based on the future and welfare of the community. Modern American society has privatized its view of marriage. Society sees marriage as an institution whose contours are plastic, whose purpose is to provide emotional satisfaction to the person concerned, and whose terms are negotiable and revocable. Marriage, traditionally limited to unions between men and woman, in its modern state is slowly beginning to include the idea of same sex couples. When love becomes the primary driving force to marry not the need to set up your own family then marriage can be open to any forms of partnerships.
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Currently a same sex couple cannot marry in the United States. A few states such as Vermont have same sex marriage laws that allow gay and lesbian couples to form civil unions, a formal ceremony is performed by a civil servant and the couple receives a piece of paper, similar to a marriage license, saying that they are committed to each other. A civil union is not recognized as legally binding by any state other then the state wear it was performed in. Also, civil unions afford none of the rights to same sex couples as marriage does to heterosexual couples.
While same sex marriages are not legal in the United States, Canada allows them. Over the summer the Canadian federal government decided not to contest the ruling of three provincial courts that had all came to the conclusion that denying homosexuals the right to marry violated Canada’s constitution. Canada, following the Netherlands and Belgium, is the first country in the western hemisphere to give full-fledged martial rights for gays and lesbians.
But how likely are same sex marriages to occur in the United States? Currently there is a case before the Massachusetts’ State Supreme Court to determine if banning same sex marriages in that state violates civil liberty laws. Despite general tolerance of outed gays and lesbians and same sex civil unions, the country as a whole does not seem ready for full fledged same sex marriages. Less than 40% of the American population is in favor of same sex marriages. In 1996, then President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same sex marriages and allows states to refuse to recognition of them. Current President Bush has gone on the record as saying that marriage is a union between man and woman.
Current popular opinion does not hold with same sex marriage. Even if Massachusetts allows same sex marriages to take place, federal law allows for other states not to recognize the unions made in Massachusetts as being legal. For same sex marriage to happen in America each state would have to recognize that marriage is no longer a contract between a man and woman to share a life together put a contract between any two people to commit to a life long partnership.
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