Marriage Equality Essay

Submitted By srush91
Words: 2848
Pages: 12

One of the basic principals for the social work profession is social justice. In order to achieve social justice social workers must often times take part in policies and programs that seek to reach equality for individuals who are not treated fairly. According to the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics “Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully” (NASW, 2008). Taking a stance for oppressed individuals requires social workers to “prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability” (NASW, 2008). For years legalization of gay marriage has been a constant struggle for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) individuals who live in the United States. LGBT individuals have had to fight and protest against laws that prevent them from receiving the same civil rights that heterosexual couples receive when they get married. Having marriage equality would allow same sex marriages to have the same recognition as individuals who are married to the opposite gender. The elimination of marriage discrimination would allow gay marriages to be recognized throughout the United States. This paper will discuss the inequality that LGBT individuals have faced at both the federal and state level for gay marriage. Topics discussed in this paper will include the historical background of the problem, perspectives and analysis of the individuals who are for and against policies created about gay marriage, the impact policy places on LGBT individuals and a recommendation on how the problem can improve.
History and Scope of Issue Throughout history same sex marriages have faced an uphill battle to try and change the negative way that gay marriage is viewed. Before the act of marriage between LGBT individuals was even considered gay sexual activity was treated as a crime in the United States. LGBT individuals have had to face several laws and policies that banned them from being recognized or respected by the government both locally and federally. There have also been several policies implemented to allow LGBT individuals to be treated more fairly. Although not every policy or plan of action has been successful each attempt has paved the way for same-sex marriages to become more accepted by individuals in the Untied Stated. In recent proceedings gay marriage has started to become accepted in some states and by the federal government. Since the establishment of the 13 colonies sodomy was considered to be a criminal offense in common law. Individuals who were gay faced unfair judgment and discrimination. In 1952 the first publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) listed homosexuality in the sexual deviation category, which then listed it under a sociopathic personality disturbance (Freidman, 1976). The categorization of homosexuals in such a category caused the “lavender scare” which resulted in several men and women to loosing their jobs or be discharged from the military. LGBT individuals were banned from working for the federal government because they were “security risks” (PBS,2011). In 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick was one of the first major Supreme Court rulings that upheld a Georgia sodomy law. The ruling stated that laws forbidding sodomy were constitutional. Having homosexuality be considered deviant behavior caused the U.S. to implement more polices that caused LGBT individuals to face inequality.“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was a policy legislation used to silence gay and