Same-Sex Marriage and the Changing Institution of Marriage

Topics: Same-sex marriage, Marriage, Homosexuality Pages: 7 (1659 words) Published: February 27, 2015

When thinking about same-sex marriage some of the the most common questions that appear have to do with the impact it will have. How will this effect todays society such as the impact on the future generation, the affect on the institution of marriage, and the legality of gay marriage. Most of all this paper will cover some questions that have to do about how society’s attitude toward gay marriage has changed.

The most common occurrence of this topic is in current events in the United States. Same-sex marriage is the big topic of discussion now and is very relevant today with changing the institution of marriage. The long term effects of the continuing changes to the institution of marriage are the battle of equality, giving the rights for all couples to marry. Although many changes have happened throughout the history of marriage, struggles still occur today for all types of marriages. This topic influences everyone today. People have an opinion on the situation whether good or bad. The impact of this subject is huge. Not only are the people who are fighting for equality affected but everyone else as well. Even if people turn their cheek to the issue they still play a role. Same-sex relationships will continue to evolve and it will take everyone’s involvement to make changes. For instance interracial marriage has paved the way for marriage equality and much of what interracial couple have gone through is what same-sex couples are going through today.

The first question that sparks it all is, what was the first major spark in the gay right movement? On May 18th, 1970 Richard Baker and James McConnell attempted to apply for a marriage license in Minnesota. Gerald Nelson denied the application because it was two men trying to get married. Shortly after Baker and McConnell sued Nelson stating the marriage law in Minnesota made no mention of gender. It was struck down by the lower court and was then pushed to the states supreme court, where it was also struck down. This application of marriage is what started one of the most heated and controversial topics in the United States.

Even though it looked like there was a glimmer of hope in marriage equality it went the exact opposite way. In 1973 Maryland was the first state to ban same-sex marriage. Many years followed and many states also followed in Maryland footsteps in banning gay marriage. Law suits from multiple partners flooded in many states but continually were struck down. Then in 1996 Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law that prevents same-sex couple to be recognized by the federal Government.

When taking in the fact that same-sex marriage would probably never happen, Cara Segal stated, “...although we had fantasized loosely about one day having some kind of public celebration of our commitment to one another, neither of us had had a strong personal investment in legal marriage. Instead, we had always imagined that we would one day have a commitment ceremony in which our own personally meaningful rituals would affirm our commitment, regardless of the lack of legal recognition.” But to her and her partners surprise Massachusetts legalized marriage on May 17th, 2004 after legislation didn’t take action after 180 days.

Later on in the article Members of the Wedding: The Psychological Impact of the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts by Cara Segal she states, “Complicating matters further is the fact that for many gay and lesbian couples, making the decision to marry legally carries a symbolic meaning of recognition, but in reality can lead to further ostracization by those who feel threatened by our entrance into an institution that remains so heavily guarded. As we gain political proximity, they seem willing to seek any means to bar us from entrance, in a desperate effort to reaffirm their difference from us. It is true that for those who reify their heterosexuality and its supposed God-granted benefits,...

Cited: Page:
Chauncey, George. Why marriage?: the history shaping today 's debate over gay equality. New York: Basic Books, 2004. Ebook.
Bridegroom. Dir. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Virgil Films. 2012. Film.
Segal, Cara. Members of the Wedding: The Psychological Impact of the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts. Taylor & Francis Ltd. 2008. Article: English.
Barnes, Robert. At Supreme Court, victories for gay marriage. Washington Post 26 Jun. 2013. Print.
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