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Same Sex Marriage Essay

2394 words - 10 pages

“We hold these truths to be​ ​self­evident​, that​ ​all men are created equal​, that they are 
endowed by their​ ​Creator​ with certain​ ​unalienable Rights​, that among these are​ ​Life, Liberty and 
the pursuit of Happiness​.” This quote was written by Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of 
Independence, on July 4th, 1776. This country is supposed to be based on these ideals, yet we 
know this is not always the case. The right for same sex couples to marry has been denied by 
the majority of the states in the United States of America.  Why should the government dictate 
who a person can and cannot marry, based on gender? What gives heterosexual couples the 
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” When the news broke of this case several states started passing 
anti­gay and anti­same­sex marriage laws, in the years following it. DOMA is the direct result of 

the claims made by Hawaii. During the Iowa caucuses of 1996, several of the Republican 
candidates promised to “protect marriage.” On September 21, 1996 former President Bill Clinton 
signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law. In DOMA the federal government defined 
marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman.”  Meaning that on a federal level, 
“this law requires all federal departments and agencies to disrespect the valid state­licensed 
marriages of same­sex couples but not other married couples. As a result, only married 
same­sex couples are denied all rights, protections and responsibilities associated with 
marriage at the federal level.” Also with DOMA, the federal government gives states the 
authority to recognize same­sex marriages or not. “While marriages are mostly respected 
across state lines, it is also true that states have the power – within constitutional limits – to 
decide what marriages to accept in accord with their own public policies.” Therefore, if a 
same­sex couple marries in their home state and vacations in another state, there is potential 
that the state they are vacationing in will not recognize their marriage.   Today, President 
Obama has deemed DOMA as unconstitutional. In a letter by Attorney General Eric Holder to 
the Speaker of the House, John Boehner he states, “After careful consideration, including 
review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the 
determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as applied 
to same­sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection 
component of the Fifth Amendment.” 
  
One of the first cases of marriage prohibition in the United States is the Loving vs. 
Virginia case in 1967. Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter were an interracial couple who married 
in the District of Columbia, but when they returned home to Virginia, their marriage was not 
valid. They were issued “an indictment charging [them] with violating Virginia's ban on interracial 
marriages” (Justia.com). In the 1960’s, miscegenation laws were in place and they prohibited 

any sort of sexual relationship between African Americans and Caucasians or marriage 
between the two races. These laws were applicable in 16 states in the U.S., including Virginia. 
Eventually the judge ruled these laws to be unconstitutional and the miscegenation laws were 
soon abolished.  The reason African Americans and Caucasians could not marry was because 
African Americans were not thought to be equal to Caucasians. This is a similar example to the 
setback same sex couples face today. Same sex couples are receiving the same treatment the 
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