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Same Sex Marriage

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Definition As citizens of the greatest country in the world, The United States of America, we acquire many rights. A few of the many rights that we acquire are the right to freedom of speech, the right to choose our religion, the right to vote for whomever we feel will run our country to his or her greatest potential, and most important of all, the right to equality. Equality is the one thing that many Americans before us have fought and lost their lives over for centuries. Whether it be for race, religion, or the right to marry whichever gender we please, equality is the most profound rights that we have not only as American citizens, but as human beings. In this paper I will discuss my views on same sex marriage and analyze how the states Massachusetts and California are more liberal than the state of Kentucky when it comes to the issues of same sex marriage. The states Massachusetts and California are more liberal than the state of Kentucky when it comes to the issues of same sex marriage. In my opinion all American states should follow the state of Massachusetts and allow the right to same sex marriages. Granting legal marriage rights under the law must extend to gays and lesbians to ensure that all citizens enjoy full human rights. Same sex marriage is not only the marriage of man and man or woman and woman, but the marriage of two human beings who are in love. Love sees no gender, and my location should not play a role in who I can and can not marry.
Literature Review Same sex marriage has been a major issue in our country for years. This issue has played majors roles in matters such as the legislators we elect, the places we choose to reside, and who we will elect as the next president of the United States.

On May 17th, 2004, Massachusetts began marrying gay and lesbian couples. At this point only residents of Massachusetts are allowed to marry there. Since then many states such as California, Oregon and New Jersey have passed similar laws. On February 12, 2004 San Francisco Mayor Newsom decided that to deny marriage licenses to same sex couples was discriminatory and against the state’s constitution. A lesbian couple, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who have been together for over 50 years were the first lesbian couple to be married in the state of California. On March 11, 2004 the California Supreme Court ordered the city of San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The courts have also ruled that the over 4,000 gay and lesbian marriages that were performed in San Francisco are no longer valid. Initiated in January 2005 gay and lesbian couples can register as domestic partners in the state of California. Couples who register as domestic partners are eligible for many of the same state rights as heterosexual married couples, but only in the state of California (Porter 2004, 35). Recently on October 25, 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state of New Jersey must allow same sex couples to marry. However, the court left the decisions up to lawmakers where these rights would be extended in the form of full marriage or just civil unions that allow gay and lesbian couples all of the privileges that married heterosexual couples have. The New Jersey legislature has 180 days from the ruling date to make a decision in which time they will define exactly what marriage or civil unions rights will be awarded to gay couples. Supreme Court Justice Barry T. Albin wrote “Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state constitution” (White 2005, 11). In Multnomah County Oregon, which includes a large portion of Portland, began issuing same sex marriage licenses on March 3rd, 2004. On April 20th, 2004 a judge ordered the county to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples until the state legislature rules on the matter. More than 3,000 gay and lesbian couples were married in the state of Oregon, but those marriages were nullified by the Oregon Supreme Court in April of 2005. Many Oregon lawmakers are pushing for civil unions. In November 2004 Oregon adopted an amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. In July 2005 the Oregon Senate approved a measure that will allow civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The bill still has to pass the Oregon House of Representatives. There have been many controversies dealing with the same sex marriage issue. Many argue that homosexuality is not natural, homosexual marriages are not valid because they do not produce children, homosexual marriages are not healthy for children involved, homosexual marriages are not supported in religion, and that legalizing same sex marriages will just open the door for other meaningless behaviors. The states Massachusetts and California are more liberal than the state of Kentucky when it comes to issues of same sex marriage. Of the three states and of all states in the United States of America, Massachusetts in the only one that permits same sex marriage. Both the state of California and the State of Kentucky have DOMA laws. DOMA stands for the Defense of Marriage Act. The DOMA law states that: 1. No state need recognize a marriage between persons of the same sex, even if the marriage was concluded or recognized in another state. 2. The federal government may not recognize same sex or polygamous marriages for any purpose even if concluded or recognized by one of the states. (Williamson 2004, 29-31) Table1: Same Sex Marriage in the United States Legalized: Massachusetts Same Sex Marriage Law Proposed: Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

Domestic Partnership Permitted: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont

Permitted by Constitutional Amendment: Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri; Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma

Prohibited By Statute: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

Marriage Undefined: New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

This table breaks down the same sex marriage laws across the 50 states. (Watson, 2006)
Methods and Evaluation In this section of my paper I will test my thesis. I will actually discover if the state of Massachusetts and the state of California are actually more liberal than the state of Kentucky when it comes to issues of same sex marriage. I predict that through extensive research of same sex marriage laws in the states of California, Kentucky and Massachusetts I will discover that the states of California and Massachusetts will outweigh the state of Kentucky with civil liberty laws dealing with same sex marriage. First I will start by defining the term liberal. The term liberal means favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties. (Dictionary.reference.com) Next, I will compare and contrast the same sex marriage laws in the states of Massachusetts, California, and Kentucky. I will do this by analyzing each states laws and evaluating my findings. Determining the status of same sex marriage in California has been politically a very intense battle for the last decade. The state of California is known for having many gay communities which usually is a very strong sign of liberalism. Currently the state of California permits domestic-partner registration which is very similar to civil unions found in many other states. A permit of domestic partner registration grants same sex marriage couples all state level rights and obligations of marriage in areas such as inheritance, income tax, insurance and hospital visitation but does not apply to federal level rights of marriage that cannot be granted by states. (Radleson, 2006) The state of Kentucky has a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. In November 2004, the state of Kentucky, which is usually viewed as more of a conservative state voted to ban marriages and civil unions of same sex couples. Many religious organizations and churches as well as the governor protested against same sex marriage. Many felt and still to this day feel that God created men for women and women for men. Same sex marriage was already prohibited in the state of Kentucky. But the amendment supporters argued that a constitutional change was necessary to close the door on any possibility of a future counter ruling that would allow same sex marriages in the state of Kentucky. (Allen, 2004) Many votes felt as if the amendment went too far. They argue that even though they are gay, they are still human beings and deserve to right to civil liberties. I want to put emphasis on the state of Massachusetts. As mentioned earlier, the State of Massachusetts in the only state in the United States of America that permits same sex marriage, and although Massachusetts is the only state in America that permits same sex marriage in America, and although the state of Massachusetts is known as a liberal state, I was surprised to find that only same sex coupled living in the state of Massachusetts were permitted to marry there. This kind of shifts me away from my thesis in my argument that the state of Massachusetts and the state of California are much more liberal than the state of Kentucky when it comes to issues of same sex marriage. It shifts me away from my thesis because I believe that love sees no gender and who you can and cannot marry should not be based on your location. I believe that all human beings deserve equal civil liberties to the greatest possibility, and although the state of Massachusetts permits same sex marriage, it only permits it to its residents, which to me violates human civil liberties. I also discovered that California wasn’t as much of the liberal state that I expected it to me when I first looked in to doing this project. I automatically assumed that the state of California was the liberation capital of the world, and along with that I assumed that if there was going to be any place in the world, let alone state in America that was for same sex marriage, than it would be California. Although California permits civil unions between same sex couples and domestic partnerships between same sex couples, it still for some reason doesn’t feel that same sex couples deserve the same civil liberties as heterosexual couples. This violates my theses in a sense as well. It violates human beings from human civil liberties. As a citizen of Kentucky I can honestly say that I have always viewed Kentucky as being one of the most conservative states in America. That is the main reason why I was so shocked to see that so many people stood up for same sex and equal rights. Before the term conservative was a term that meant to be stern, by the book, no exceptions even if it is what’s best for the people, while the term liberal meant freedom, pleasing the people and equality. Now I realize that even the most conservative state has at least an ounce of liberalism. After comparing and contrasting the three states, I found that when it came to same sex marriage all three states had many similar views and many different views. I found that most views opposing same sex marriage all stem from a religious standpoint. Most of those who were against same sex marriage were against it because they felt that it was ungodly, and what is ungodly is wrong. I also found that a lot of people that were for allowing same sex marriage were those who were in many awkward positions themselves. Many of them were felons, many were in prison at one point in there lives, and many were minorities, such as African Americans and Hispanics. California is a melting pot of many different races and cultures. This further supports my thesis in the sense that California is a more liberal state that the state of Kentucky.

After evaluating the fact that most people who supported same sex marriage were either minorities or were in some other outcast situation, this made me question whether or not they supported same sex marriage because they feel as if gay couples deserve the same equal rights as heterosexual couples, or if it was more of a selfishness and they supported same sex marriage because they would want their own outcast situation to be supported if the tables were turned.

Conclusion After evaluating same sex marriage laws for the states of Massachusetts, California, and Kentucky, I must say that for the most part I can still stand strong by my thesis when I say that the state of California and the State of Massachusetts are more liberal that the state of Kentucky when it comes to issues of same sex marriage. There were a few things that I discovered after extensive research of the same sex marriage laws of the three states that honestly made me question my thesis, but when it all comes down to which state I feel state shows the most equality, and best represents equal rights, the state of Kentucky comes last on my list of the three.

Reference: 1. Cooper Mary Lou, Life with Tern Limits (State and Local Government, 2005-2006). 2. Cooper Mary Lou, Mind Your Manners (States and Local Government, 2005-2006). 3. Greenblatt Alan, Strong Governor (State and Local Government, 2005-2006). 4. Porter Melanie, Controversies of Same Sex Marriage (New York, NY 2005). 5. White Herbert, Same Sex Marriage in America (New York, NY 2004). 6. Williams Ralph, Liberalism in the United States (New York, NY 2005). 7. Radleson Regina, Fighting Equality: The Key to Equal Rights (People in Politics. 2006). 8. Smith Kevin B., Greenblatt Alan, Buntin John, (Governing States and Localities, 2002-2006). .…...

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