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Same Sex Marriage

Politics doesnt make strange bedfellows marriage does. - Groucho Marx Same-sex marriage is a civil rights, political, social, religious, and morally charged policy issue. Marriage is defined as a deeply personal and exclusive commitment between two individuals. Loving v. Virginia defines marriage as one of the basic civil rights of man fundamental to our survival and existence. I agree with my group that the decision whether and whom to marry is among lifes momentous acts of self-definition (444). The right to marry is a fundamental civil right, and marriage is a vital social institution of the highest import. Wenz argues that marriage anchors an ordered society by encouraging stable relationships, which provide children with stability, security, affection, socialization, resources, (and) moral instruction (194). Marriage also provides numerous financial, legal, and social benefits. Marriage is a legal contract, and hundreds of statutes are related to marital benefits. It is the responsibility of the federal courts to uphold our basic civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution, and make marriage a legal right for all. Gay marriage is a gay rights issue, and gay rights activists argue that women might never have won the right to vote, slavery might not have been outlawed, and interracial marriage might still be banned if these issues were decided by voters instead of the courts. Popular majorities and legislative majorities must also not decide these issues, because legislators are susceptible to the tyranny of the majority. Federal gay marriage amendments to define marriage between a man and a woman are a form of the tyranny of the majority. James Madison was probably not directly thinking about women, race, or same-sex couples, but still recognized that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. It is for this reason that strict scrutiny ought to be employed by the federal courts when deciding cases involving a suspect class or a fundamental right. Part of the right to liberty is the right to marry, and the denial of the right to marry violates the equal protection clause. Denying homosexuals the right to marry wrongly sets them apart from the rest of society. I agree that if the state is involved in marriage, we ought to

do it equally (453). Romer v. Evans ruled that Colorados Amendment 2 failed to advance any legitimate interest and violated the Equal Protection Clause. According to Judge Walker, Californias Proposition 8 did not withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. Therefore, criminalizing gay marriage furthers no legitimate state interest. Loving v. Virginia ruled that the law against interracial marriages violated both the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. I agree that marriage is among the most basic of every individuals liberty and due process rights (444). The Lawrence and Garner v. Texas ruling illustrates the Court recognizing Lawrence and Garners right to exercise their liberty under the Due Process Clause. Judge Walker, in the Perry case, reasons that there is a difference between exercising the right to marry and creating a new right to marry for same-sex couples. This distinction is important because homosexuals were not seeking recognition of a new right, but merely asking for the fundamental civil right of marriage to be applied equally. John Rawls argues that public reason should be used to answer questions of basic justice. Rawls presents an ideal conception of citizenship in which people, out of equal respect, maintain the obligation to explain their reasoning rationally in the public forum. The courts exercise public reason when justifying their rulings. Justice Scalia argues in Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans that the governing majoritys belief that certain sexual behavior is immoral represents a rational basis for government regulation. I disagree in that a governing majority cannot reasonably legislate based on subjective or normative value judgments. For example, public reason disallows arguing that God exists simply because I have faith. The fact is that most opposition to gay marriage is founded in the belief that homosexuality is a religious sin. I argue as a moral relativist that Justice Scalia was wrong to regulate certain sexual behaviors simply because the majority considered the behavior immoral or sinful. Civil Unions are not an adequate alternative to gay marriage because civil unions create a marriage lite. According to gay marriage opponents, this new form of marriage undermines the traditional institution of marriage. In 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy was the only Senator to defend the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that the state must allow gay marriage instead of civil unions. I agree with

Senator Kennedy because simple principles of decency dictate that we extend full acceptance, tolerance, and respect (454) to every citizen.