Approximately 11 million Americans identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, yet despite this figure being such a substantial portion of the United States population, these Americans still have to battle for equal rights. Same-sex marriage is arguably the most exposed and tensest issue that surrounds the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community. Currently, same-sex marriage is one of the most controversial political issues in the United States, making headlines on a near daily basis. This essay is to explore the growth of the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States, as well as the progression towards equality over time. In the past ten years, same-sex marriage has become legal in eleven states and Washington D.C., and the number keeps growing at a rapid rate. The fight for marriage equality, however, has spanned over decades. According to my research, more states are expected to change their laws as support for same-sex marriage grows around the country, as this is something that is effecting the whole country. The support for equality continues to grow, showing signs that the anti-gay bias in America is finally starting to subside. The difference between a same-sex marriage and a civil union between parties of the same sex is commonly overlooked. There are several differences between a civil union and marriage. Couples who have a civil union will not have any of the protections or responsibilities federal law provides to married couples. These include Social Security Survivors Benefits, Spousal benefits, filing joint federal tax returns, exemptions from income tax on your partner’s health benefits, and federal exemptions from inheritance tax. Same-sex or Opposite-Sex couples can get a Civil Union. A Civil Union would guarantee that you could make medical decisions for your partner if he or she is unconscious, even if you are unable to show the hospital staff an executed power of attorney. Even in states where same-sex couples are legally able to marry there is another law in effect that is preventing them from the same protections and responsibilities federal law provides to opposite-sex married couples. Allowing same-sex couples to only be allowed to enter in a civil union does not grant the same rights that are afforded with matrimony. The United States has made huge strides in ending racism, sexism, and all together creating and keeping equal rights, however, members of the LGBT community do not have full equality, without the right to enter in a same-sex marriage. Recent history has shown large strides in the battle of marriage equality, but there is still work to be done. The issue of same-sex marriage impacts more than just the members of the LGBT Community. It also impacts the family members of that community, and this country. The majority of the public does not realize how long this has been a battle for the LGBT Community. It has effected millions of people, hundreds of thousands of children who have same-sex parents, and the battle for marriage equality continues to impact the future of our ever changing, evolving, free country I have chosen same-sex marriage as my topic because marriage equality impacts my life directly, and the right for marriage equality is something I am passionate about. I am personally in a same-sex relationship, and have family, friends, and acquaintances who are as well. In my opinion, we all deserve the same rights and protections given to married couples of the opposite sex, should we choose to make the same commitment to one another. Being more exposed to this than most, I would say I have certainly seen some much happier same-sex couples than opposite-sex married couples. Although this is not to say that is always the case, it certainly does help raise the question why a same-sex couple is unable to have fair and equal treatment. The fundamentals of a relationship do not change when both parties are the same sex. This makes it hard...
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