Submitted By alexanderwarren
Words: 2180
Pages: 9


Same-sex marriage is an issue that has slowly gained the national spotlight since Jack Baker and Jim McConnell applied for a marriage license in 1970. Although they were denied this opportunity, their actions jumpstarted the effort to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay marriage has been a controversial and widely debated topic polarizing Americans in the recent years. Much of the debate has centered on controversy over California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Proposition 8 was created to reverse a California Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage, and was passed into law during November 2008 with a majority vote. The fight for same-sex marriage also suffered another great setback when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 ( The American). This act kept same-sex partners from being legally recognized in a civil union. This prevents same-sex partners from being able to receive spousal benefits granted in opposite-sex marriages. It also gave states the ability to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states (abcnews). In March, two same-sex couples appealed to the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8 on a basis of the 14th Amendment (abcnews). This highly debated topic is clearly not supported by all American citizens or even supported by individual states. The gay community has taken important steps within the past decade by standing up against the national government and fighting for what they believe, that equal rights should be presented to all Americans regardless of sexual preference. In 1957 Franklin Kameny, a Harvard graduate, was fired from the Army Map Service for his sexual preference. A year later, the Civil Service Commission prevented him from ever being able to work another government job strictly on a basis of his sexual preference. Kameny was one of nearly 5,000 government employees who were fired from their jobs during the 1950’s. Kameny decided to appeal to a chairman of the Civil Service Commission. Hisappeal was taken to the United States Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. The judges upheld a previous ruling that validated the Civil Service Commission’s decision to fire Kameny. He and others like him were left with no opportunity to work for the government ever again as a result of the ruling. In January of 1961 Kameny’s case was heard at the Supreme Court. His landmark case was the first gay rights case that had ever been argued before the Supreme Court. Kameny’s argument centered on the following statement: “Our government exists to protect and assist all of its citizens, not as in the case of homosexuals, to harm, to victimize, and to destroy them.” Despite the compelling argument, the Supreme Court agreed with the previous court’s ruling had concurred with the side of the Civil Service Commission. Kameny led the first gay rights protest in front of the White House, which led to many more protests in the following years (Watson). The fight for the legalization of same-sex marriage began with protests for equal opportunity and the fight to prevent discrimination against homosexuals. The actions of Kameny started a movement, and the support for this fight has increased exponentially across the country. This fight has earned equal opportunity in the work place, a prevention of discrimination against homosexuals, and a desire to obtain all rights of spouses in an opposite-sex marriage. Without the national attention landmark court cases bring to equal-rights movements, same-sex marriage would not be a possibility currently or nation-wide in the years to come. In the court case Lawrence v. Texas, Harris County Police Officers found two men in their home having sexual relations. The two men were arrested under Texas law which prohibited physical homosexual relations. The case was taken to the Supreme Court, and it was ruled that intimate sexual conduct