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Running head: GAY RIGHTS: MARRIAGE

Gay Rights: Marriage
Jose Garcia
Dr. Christopher Wielgos
Research Paper
Dec 8, 2014

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This paper provides an analysis and evaluation of the current and prospective policy
alternatives regarding Gay Marriage. The research draws attention to the fact that in 1996
President Bill Clinton passed a bill that enables states to choose whether or not they would ban
marriage between same sex couples. This bill also allowed for states to reject recognition of
married same sex couples marriage license, if they wanted too. The endless battle for the
LGBTQ community is not only affecting United States but also globally. This inconsistency
amongst the states establishes a sense of difficultly in regards to developing a single problem
solution, considering that every state has their own belief systems about same sex marriage.
Thus, Illinois will serve at the primary state of examination in regards implementation of
alternative policies, same-sex couples are allowed to enter in civil unions under the Senate Bill
1716. Considering that many of the other states are unable to benefit from a bill of this kind,
there leaves room for a policy alternative, National Civil Union Statute. Thus, this problem
statement will be broken down into three areas: the history surrounding the legalization of gay
marriage, where this issue currently stands and why a family centered policy solution is
necessary in ensuring basic citizenship rights. In order to comprehend why this issue is so
important, it first takes understanding the history behind gay marriage.
Statement of the Issue
Demographics
The issue of Gay Rights has been a consistent topic of discussion for years. Reflecting on
the changes that our society constantly undertakes, many people argue that the definition of
“marriage” should also be examined. Living in a society so diverse in culture and life, gay
marriage rights have seemed to hit a wall. The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered,
queer and questioning) community is struggling with their marginalization in which people from

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different Ethnic background, gender and age are fighting over the same-sex marriage legalization
and the definition of the term marriage. According to an online survey that was conducted on
April 11-29, 2013, it finds that the median age in which lesbian, gay and bisexual adults first felt
they might be something other than heterosexual or straight is 12 years old. The realization for
those that know for sure that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or transgender came at a
median age of 17. Currently 31 out of the 50 states in the United States have constitutional
provisions that define marriage as only between a woman and a man. Allowing states to ban
same-sex marriage or refuse recognition of a same-sex marriage will cause an overwhelming
disturbance of happiness in the LGBTQ community.
The rise of this issue occurred in 1996 through the signing of the DOMA (Defense of
Marriage Act) by President Bill Clinton. The DOMA allowed states to ban same-sex marriage or
refuse recognition of a same-sex marriage, if it was conducted in another state. The endless battle
for the LGBTQ community is not only affecting United States but also globally. There are 81
countries where homosexuality is illegal with anti-homosexuality laws. Nigeria being one,
recently Nigerian President Good luck Jonathan has signed into law a ban on same-sex marriage.
The Senate passed the at the end of 2013, which states that people who enter into a same-sex
marriage or civil union will be sentence in prison for 14 years. Not only do they get sentenced
for entering a same-sex marriage but also those who run gay clubs, societies, processions or
meetings in Nigeria which will be sentenced in prison for 10 years (NIGERIA BANS SAMESEX MARRIAGE, 2014). Worldwide, a growing number of the LGBTQ community are fighting
for their rights and want to be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment in the same way as
heterosexual couples without being punished for. The LGBTQ community might seem different
then heterosexual couples, but share similar values such as importance of family and wanting to

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get married to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love. Banning same-sex marriage
stigmatizes gay and lesbian families as inferior and sends the message that it is acceptable to
discriminate against them.
Does marriage not reflect gender biases but rather whether two individuals love one
another? Or does true marriage only exist between heterosexual couples? While some agree with
gay marriage and others do not, it is essential that concrete decisions concerning this issue be
made in relation to all the states in U.S., rather than leaving the decision in the hands of
legislatures. This decision should be made in a national law, which allows same sex couples in
every state to be in a civil union with their partner. It remains essential that the fight for gay
marriage remain moving forward. The negative stigmas must be put to end so the minority can
finally feel a part of a nation that is supposedly known for an over flowing abundance of love,
respect and diversity.
The Nature of the Issue
The rise of this issue occurred in 1996 where President Bill Clinton passed a bill that
enables states to choose whether or not they would ban marriage between same sex couples. This
bill also allowed for states to reject recognition of married same sex couples marriage license, if
they wanted too. This inconsistency amongst the states establishes a sense of difficultly in
regards to developing a single problem solution, considering that every state has their own belief
systems about same sex marriage
Many people argue that marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a
woman, which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the
unity and wellbeing of the spouses. The issue of children being raised by a mother and a father is
also a consistent topic of discussion among countless media sources. With the procreation

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argument, opponents of equality argue that the institution of marriage is in place to assist with
procreation and the raising of children. Religion is another reason to ban same sex marriage for
those who strongly believe that same sex marriage is violating the natural moral order
established by God. Sexual relationships between members of the same sex are at extreme risks
of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), physical injuries, mental disorders and even a
shortened life span. There are high rates of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, drug
abuse, and suicide attempts, among gays and lesbians.
Nigeria argues that Religion is one of their reasons to ban same sex marriage due to is
high religious society. Nigeria has 170 million people roughly divided in half between Christians
and Muslims, though a significant number are also believed to follow regional religions. A risk
factor is that a bill to outlaw gay marriage in Nigeria could jeopardize millions of dollars of
western aid given to help stop the spread of HIV and Aids in Africa's most populous nation
(NIGERIA'S BILL TO OUTLAW GAY MARRIAGE, 2014). Nigeria has the continent's second
highest number of people living with the disease, and more 3 million people are infected and
many do not know their status.
Analysis of the Issue: Human Rights
All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to
enjoy their human rights. The right of adults to enter into consensual marriage is enshrined in
international human rights standards. There are many risk factors on discriminating the LGBTQ
community and banning their right to commit to the person they love in the United States. One of
them is having a greater risk of dying prematurely for those who live in a high-prejudice, antigay community than those living in more accepting communities. There was a study based on
surveys and demographic data compiled over 14 years that the life spans of sexual minorities

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were shorter by about 12 years, when they lived in high-prejudice communities. A number of
studies have shown that LGBTQ individuals are at greater risk for mental and physical health
problems than heterosexuals.
Banning same-sex marriage stigmatizes gay and lesbian families as inferior and sends the
message that it is acceptable to discriminate against them, which will lead to oppression. Many
of the LGBTQ youth are forced into the streets when their families are unable to accept their
sexuality and are at far risk of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and violence. According to a
article Rescuing Chicago's homeless LGBT youth, homeless LGBT youth were marginalized by
the mainstream fight for gay rights. They make up a large proportion of the homeless youth that
end up in the street because of lack of support of their parents and discrimination. In Chicago,
the government has helped with providing with services for the LGBTQ community. One of
them is Center on Halsted's building opened in 2007, which is the Midwest's largest LGBTQ
social service agency. Center on Halsted is proud of their legacy of advocacy, support and
educational services.
Analysis of Issue: Family-Centered Perspective
Family-centered policies and practices should fit unique regional, national, state and
provincial, and local contexts. A growing number of adoption agencies and professionals have
been proactive in welcoming LGBTQ adoptive families, and they have yielded a larger pool of
highly motivated and qualified prospective foster and adoptive parents and expanded the options
for permanency for children. Among the challenges of working with LGBTQ adoptive families
there will be the laws and policies that govern the practice. There is no Federal law or regulation
that addresses LGBTQ adoption and it is determined at the State level by laws and statutes.

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Enhancing the wellbeing of the LGBTQ community through access to the highest quality
health care, education, research and advocacy is important. Offering support groups, family
events will help families with LGBTQ parents build strong, vibrant communities. It is important
to create a more welcoming, safe and inclusive environment that contributes to improved health
care quality LGBTQ communities and their families. Simply educating people about all the
possibilities that are attached with this bill, people will begin to readjust their mentality on samesex couples being provided with the opportunity to enter in a civil union. We know how harmful
it is for gay kids not to be accepted, not to be loved, and to be victimized. The more we talk
about it, and the more people embrace their gay children the families will be accepted and be
loved. The more programs they offer globally it will teach families how to help and protect their
gay or transgender children.
Legislative And Policy History
It seems as though the arguments centering on gay marriage have really hit their peak
within the last 21 years. The issue of same-sex marriage has been a consistent topic of discussion
among the public since the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that laws denying same-sex marriage
violated state constitutional equal protection rights unless the state give a reason for such
injustice in 1993. In 1996 through the signing of the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) by
President Bill Clinton it allowed states to ban same-sex marriage or refuse recognition of a samesex marriage, if it was conducted in another state. In 1999 the legislatures in California ratified a
law concerning domestic partnership. Ever since, many states have taken actions to allow samesex marriage where as others have define marriage clearly as a relationship between couples of
the opposite sex.

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After Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the possibility that states could recognize same-sex
marriage, Nebraska adopted a constitutional provision that limited marriage between a man and a
woman. Some states began to understand the importance of same sex couples in the beginning of
2000 and by the end of the year, 40 states had constitutional provisions limiting marriage to
opposite-sex couples. The Vermont General Assembly chose to preserve marriage between a
man and a woman but responded with signing a civil union, which provided any benefits,
protections and responsibilities that married couples have in year of 2000.
George W. Bush announced that he was in support of constitutionally banning same-sex
marriage in 2004. On May 17th, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to marry and legalize
same-sex marriage. While there has been a gradual increase in gay marriage rights, many agree
that this issue should be further in development than where it currently stands (STATE
POLICIES ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE). The second state to enact a state law providing civil
unions to same-sex couples Connecticut in 2005 and a year later New Jersey ordered the
legislature to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples and to give same-sex couples the
same rights as opposite-sex marriage couples. By 2007, New Jersey and New Hampshire chose
to create civil union, which gave same –sex couples the legal right to marry one another.
California was on a consent debate weather to legalize gay marriage or not and what
marriage really defines. California ruled that same-sex couples should have the right to marry
and even performed same-sex marriage for a short period of time in June. Proposition 8 proposed
a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a
woman and same-sex marriage was banned in November 2008. Since 2008 California Supreme
Court is are in constant debate weather same-sex marriage should be legalized (SAMESEX
MARRIAGE LAWS, 2014).

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In 2009 Iowa, Vermont and the District of Columbia Council allowed same-sex marriage
followed by New York in 2011. New York‟s law allowing same-sex marriage took effect 30
days after signing which same-sex couples were able to get married by late July. On January 31,
2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Senate Bill 1716. The bill became
effective on June 1, 2011 and has thus caused an overwhelming uproar of happiness in the
GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer and questioning) community. Having this bill has
ensured that every couple in Illinois, including same sex couples, would have complete access to
an estimated 650 rights, protections and benefits that are guaranteed to couples who are married.
On November 5th, the Illinois House passed the bill and same-sex marriage took effective on
June 1, 2014.
In 2012, Maine and Maryland passes the bill allowing same-sex marriage, followed by
Delaware, Minnesota and New Mexico in 2013. While only 19 states and D.C. allow same-sex
marriage the rest prohibit same-sex marriage, including twenty-nine states with prohibitions in
their state constitutions. As a result of court decisions, 8 states have passed legislation, 1 adopted
it by initiative and 3 allow same-sex marriage (SAMESEX MARRIAGE LAWS, 2014). This
inconsistency amongst the states establishes a sense of difficultly in regards to developing a
single problem solution, considering that every state has their own belief systems about same sex
marriage.
Examined from a Family Centered and Global
Looking at the policy of Gay Marriage in a family centered and global perspective giving
them the right to get married it will place the LGBTQ community at a level of fairness with the
rest of society. Relationships with friends, family and a spouse all affect how we interact and
react. Therefore it is important that our relationships are supported so that there can be a constant

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re-enforcement of beliefs and values that mold us into the humans we are. Also, same-sex
couples would find it much easier to adopt a child. With the possibility of adoption being easily
accessible, this could potentially mean that more children would be adopted, thus decreasing the
number of children who are in the foster care system. With fewer children in the system, this
opens up the option for high school graduation rates of children in foster care (54%), to increase.
Also, with less children in the foster care system, rates in children in foster care receiving a
bachelor‟s degree or higher, which is at a staggering 2%, could possibly increase (FOSTER
CARE ALUMNI, 2014).
By giving same sex couples the opportunity to take the next step in their relationship, as
heterosexuals are privileged to have, this suggests a lot. People fail to realize that LGBTQ
relationships tend to be scrutinized, devalued and shamed upon. By legalizing Gay Marriage in
every state and other countries, the entire LGBTQ community would be placed on an even
playing ground. They would be able to travel or relocate anywhere in the U.S. or other countries
and not have to worry about potentially losing the rights and benefits that are attached to the bill
because it would be enacted all over the nation. Social security and immigration benefits would
not probe any potential conflicts to the LGBTQ community and same sex couples would be able
to go about their everyday lives without the stress that was once placed on their backs when their
relationship to their partner were not respected.
Now that the data is collected the results do show cause and effect relationships between
the same-sex couples and society. This result does not apply to a family centered perspective in
any way. The negative aspects about this issue are simply stating how it would effect the
economy, how it is against religious views and so one. They are not taking into consideration
that family as whole is very important. Families are being affected by this issue due to lack of

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human importance. The action will help communicate to millions of people across the country
that gay relationships are of equal value to straight relationships, thereby helping to reduce
intergroup prejudice and supporting cultural diversity.
Policy Options
Policy Solution
On January 31, 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Senate Bill 1716.
Having this bill has ensured that every couple in Illinois, including same sex couples, would
have complete access to an estimated 650 rights, protections and benefits that are guaranteed to
couples who are married. Some of these rights include: “Emergency medical decision-making
power and hospital visitation rights, equal access to state spousal benefits (including workers'
compensation, spousal pension coverage, etc.), equal access to domestic relations laws and
procedure (including divorce and division of property), equal access to civil actions dependent
upon spousal status (wrongful death actions), equal tax treatment at the state and local level,
spousal testimonial privilege, inheritance rights and equal estate tax treatment”.
On November 5th 2013, the Illinois House passed the bill and same-sex marriage took
effective on June 1, 2014. A potential alternative would be that it be made into a National Civil
Union Statue. This means that instead of only some states being able to benefit from the Senate
Bill 1716, all states would have this bill immediately effective. In regards to the equality (equity)
of this National Civil Union Statue, the entire LGBTQ community would be placed on an even
playing ground.
Three Courses of Action
The first action will be allowing the potential of gay marriage becoming recognized
under the federal law. The positive aspect of this action will be that it will promote equality and

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non-discrimination in society. It will affirm inherent worthiness of LGBT people as valued
American citizens deserving of equal rights under the law. This promotion of equality and nondiscrimination plays an extremely important role in reducing homophobia and in affirming a
minority group in society, which has for so long endured significant discrimination and
stigmatization.
The negative aspect of this action will be that not everyone wants equality; this bill will
be looked at from more of an equity perspective. If looked at from the an equity view, then this
bill shows a lack of fairness to the LGBTQ community as a whole (from a national level),
considering that not every state currently has this bill enacted. This means that only certain same
sex couples are benefiting from the rights that this bill provides. Recognition of same-sex
couple‟s rights and benefits are restrained solely within state level and the moment that couples
from Illinois consider moving to another state, they will treated as though they never entered into
a civil union and all will return to how it once existed.
The second option that will be provided is that same sex couples would be able to have
equal tax treatment. The positive aspect of this action will be that it will allow same-sex married
couples to claim marriage-related exemptions, credits and deductions even if they live in
jurisdictions that don‟t recognize gay unions. The negative aspect of this action will be that
people should not have their tax dollars used to support something they believe is wrong. This
can create a marriage penalty or reward depending on the couple‟s income and deductions. If
both spouses are highly paid individuals, it‟s likely that joint filing will produce a higher tax than
if they both filed as single. This is known as the „marriage penalty.
The third option that will be provided is that same sex couples would be able to adopt.
The positive aspect of this action will be that it will provide stable homes for children who would

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otherwise be left in foster care. We should see this as a great boon that gay marriage could bring
to kids who need nothing more than two loving parents. Children who are raised by single
parents have proven disadvantages such as lower educational achievements and poor behavior,
gay couples offer adopted children two full-time parents. The negative aspect of this option is
that many people believe that having a mom and a dad is better for children than having two
moms or two dads. Placing a child to young to have an opinion of their own in the care of gay
couple exposes them to prejudice. To grow up to be well-balanced adults, children need role
models of both sexes. Children raised by gay parents are offered only one partnership model and
are therefore more likely to be gay.
Family Centered Evaluation of Policy
The existing policy does not match up the family problem, need, opportunity or
aspiration that stimulates the development. I believe that this policy should be reinforced and
help the family as a whole. Few adolescents would come out to their families or told others they
were gay while others waited until they were adults to talk about their identity with others. Fear
of rejection and serious negative reactions kept many LGBTQ adults from openly sharing their
lives. The policy should include providing basic information to help families support their
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children. Give families and LGBTQ youth hope that
ethnically, religiously, and socially diverse families, parents, and caregivers can become more
supportive of their LGBT children.
The relationships between policy intentions and goals and actual impacts are really
strong, giving the LGBTQ community the same rights the whole society has. The policy is not
focusing on how the direct relationships affect the impact on families. Marriage should be
celebrated with their family while showing their commitment the same way as heterosexual

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couples. Same sex couples want to marry because it is the ultimate expression of their love for
another. If the family is having trouble not accepting the identity of their sons or daughters then
the Marriage celebration will not be the same.
The implications for new policies and interventions should be offering support groups;
family events will help families with LGBTQ parents build strong, vibrant communities. The
more programs there is to support not only the LGBTQ individual but also the family as a whole
it will minimize negative aspects while maximizing the intended impact. It is important to create
a more welcoming, safe and inclusive environment that contributes to improved health care
quality LGBTQ communities and their families.
Policy Options- Assessment of Strengths
Reflecting on the social work profession, it is apparent that this bill shines a positive light
on the core value of “Importance of human relationships”. Individuals have basic needs in order
to develop in life and family relationships are a key component in the growth. Relationships with
friends, family and a spouse all affect how we interact and react. Therefore it is important that
our relationships are supported so that there can be a constant re-enforcement of beliefs and
values that mold us into the humans we are.
Having the Senate Bill 1716 as a National State Statue would display the respect that
society has for same-sex couples and potentially foster a stronger and connected society.
The action will help communicate to millions of people across the country that gay relationships
are of equal value to straight relationships, thereby helping to reduce intergroup prejudice and
supporting cultural diversity. Adoption rates would increase all over the nation, which could lead
to increases in high school and college rates amongst children who were once in the foster care

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system. Having higher graduation rates would lead to more doctors, lawyers and teachers joining
the work force.
Global Institutional and Economic Power
The endless battle for the LGBTQ community is not only affecting United States but also
globally. Reinforcing the policy in a family centered perspective will help the LGBTQ
community globally. Having anti-homosexuality laws does not help the society and the lack of
appreciation and respect for the diversity will never end. Being that family relationships are so
important to human development, this could possibly mentally and emotionally be detrimental
for the LGTBQ community. Aside from those affects, this repeal could cause the LGBTQ
community to fire back and begin to riot about their rights as citizens; also as human beings. All
in all, every relationship needs to be acknowledged and respect.
I strongly believe that by simply educating people about all the possibilities that are
attached with this bill, people will begin to readjust their mentality on same-sex couples being
provided with the opportunity to enter in a civil union. We know how harmful it is for gay kids
not to be accepted, not to be loved, and to be victimized. The more we talk about it, and the more
people embrace their gay children the families will be accepted and be loved. The more
programs they offer globally it will teach families how to help and protect their gay or
transgender children. The recommendation will be helping strengthen families with gay and
transgender children and adolescents globally while providing support to the families.
Conclusion
Suggest enforcing a National Civil Union Statute not only in the United States but also
globally. By having this bill, the entire LGBTQ community would be placed on an even playing
ground. They would be able to travel or relocate anywhere in the U.S. and not have to worry

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about potentially losing the rights and benefits that are attached to the bill because it would be
enacted all over the nation. This decision is not based on my personal biases; rather reflects the
positive outcomes that would occur if this bill were in every state and other countries. Familycentered policies and practices should fit unique regional, national, state and provincial, and local
contexts. As seen, by making this bill effective on a national level, there would be nothing but a
continual domino effect to the United States. This statue would not be limited to the LGBTQ
community but rather the nation, as a whole would benefit from changes that would occur. While
there would be changes within society, there will still be complete protection of religious
denominations rights all over.

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References

81 countries where homosexuality is illegal. (n.d.). 76 CRIMES. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from
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Foster Care Facts and Statistics. (n.d.). Foster Care Facts and Statistics. Retrieved July 20, 2014,
from http://www.fostercarealumni.org/resources/foster_care_facts_and_statistics.htm
Nigeria's bill to outlaw gay marriage threatens HIV/Aids cash. (2011, December 5). The
Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/dec/04/nigeria-gay-marriage-ban-aids-hiv
Rappard, A., Purefoy, C., Brocchetto, M., & Karimi, F. (2014, January 13). Nigeria bans samesex marriage. CNN. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/world/africa/nigeria-anti-gay-law/
Same Sex Marriage Laws. (n.d.). Same Sex Marriage Laws. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from
http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/same-sex-marriage-laws.aspx
State Policies on Same-Sex Marriage. (n.d.). Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project
RSS. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.pewforum.org/2009/07/09/state-policieson-same-sex-marriage/