Marriage equality is a subject that frequently triggers intense emotions for those who battle towards the legalization of it and for those who battle against. Same-sex marriage is the union of two individuals of same sex in a marital relationship with full legal rights, recognition, and protection by the state as in the marital contract between a man and a woman. Currently over 37% of Americans live in 17 states that have adopted full equality on the state-level, another 12% live in cities that only recognize partial equality, but 51% live in the 34 states that have completely banned all forms same-sex union1. Although legal in many industrialized nations around the world, the debate over the equality of marriage in the United States has not yet lead to a unified solution.
Often referred to as marriage equality, same-sex marriage arguments in the United States have been spiking controversial debates ever since Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell applied for marriage license at Hennepin County District Court on May 18, 1970. The clerk at the court, Gerald Nelson, denied the couple’s application without any consideration. According to Mr. Nelson, as they were both men, Mr. Baker and Mr. James were not qualified to enter into a marriage contract. Mr. Baker and Mr. McConnell sued Minnesota law, stating that nowhere in the marriage application it mentioned the requirements of specific gender of parties involved. Starting a legal debate over marriage equality, the couple took Mr. Nelson to state and federal supreme courts. Despite the couple’s efforts, the lower city court, Minnesota State Court and U.S. Supreme Court all sided with Mr. Nelson, thus not allowing Mr. Baker and Mr. McConnell the rights to marry one-another. Baker vs. Nelson case has ever since been used by many states to set precedence against same-sex marriage disputes.
In the United States, same-sex marriage is recognized in the District of Columbia as well 13 of the 50 states. Despite the sluggish statistics, same-sex marriage is gaining more support in the 21st century. During the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice publically announced that it would no longer legally support the Defense Marriage Act in court2. Enacted in 1996, the Defense Marriage Act was to prevent the federal government from supporting gay marriage, and thus as it served as a precedent in many legal cases and political debates, for many years influenced federal and state policies.
Despite the forward movement of social and political recognition of the marriage equality, the anti-gay-marriage advocates continue their battle for protection of their discriminatory beliefs and values. Many argue that by fighting against equality of marriage rights, they are protecting traditional meaning of marriage and family. As advocates of such point of view argue that same-sex marriages do not fall within the brackets of tradition, they combat for the state not to sanction homosexuality. Offensive to many conservative individuals and communities, activists do not believe that government should “force” anyone into supporting a relationship that offends their views or believes. As they believe same-sex relationships are immoral and “unnatural”, they think that backing such affairs by law will open unwanted doors up for further “immoralities”.
Besides those that do not recognize the union of same-sex couples all together, there are those that believe that the union of homosexuals should be allowed as long as it is not given the name of marriage. Sacred to them in the meaning and the nature of the word, the activists of this more moderate perspective stand by the core rights of homosexual unions, yet believe that marriage should be preserved exclusively for the union of a man and a woman.
An advocate for human liberties, John Stuart Mill would argue against both of the stated anti-marriage-equality views no matter what the his personal opinion on