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Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity Ross L. Pike November 10, 2010 Professor Christopher Babbitt PS 110: Survey of American Government Grand Rapids Community College

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

This text will argue that the issue of same-sex marriage is not only a Constitutional right, but also necessary for the continuation and support of the American economy and for the health of the nations people. Marriage is an integral part of American Society, and denying this right to any person is illegal and unethical. The denial of marriage to any person wishing to marry by any government or person for religious reasons is obscene, corrupt, and licentious. Denying ones rights is also a crime against the peace of humanity, and history shows that such indecent crimes are not judged lightly by future generations. This is not an issue to be made for future discussion, but instead a modern necessity for both Constitutional rights and American welfare. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia all issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (NCSL, 2010) Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland recognize same-sex marriages from other states. (NCSL, 2010) The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states, No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment XIV) This can be translated to mean that if something is legal in one state, it must be legal in every state. Based on this Constitutional Amendment, if same-sex marriage is legal in one state, then not only must same-sex marriage be recognized in every state, but also be legally sanctioned in every state. According to this Amendment, for a state to deny ones right to marry, the state is guilty of depriving ones liberty, due process, and equal protection of the laws. Liberty is defined as freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc.; according to

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

choice. (Dictionary.com, 2010) This being said, for a government to deny ones right to marry is placing unwarranted restriction, interference, and control upon ones personal life. This is both unethical and illegal. Due process is best defined in one word fairness. (Lectric Law Library, 2010) From this definition, to deny ones right to marry while allowing another person to marry is a deprival of ones Constitutional right of due process. A right also enumerated to American citizens within the Fifth Amendment. (Lectric Law Library, 2010) Equal protection of the laws is defined as the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts and to be treated equally by the law and courts. (Legal-Explanations.com, 2007) With this definition, when a government denies ones right to marry whomever they choose, they are not given equal protection of the laws. It remains shocking that Americans are not being treated equally when the Declaration of Independence clearly proclaimed that all men are created equal. (Jefferson, 1776) Same-sex couples are being treated as second-rate citizens due to the governments allowing of opposite-sex couples to marry, which can be interpreted as blatant discrimination. (Dictionary.com, 2010) By definition, the American government is standing by and allowing forty-five state governments to deny Constitutional rights to an entire segment of the American population, which comprises at least 7.1% of the country. (GLAAD, 2002) To not legalize same-sex marriage in every state is also a direct violation of the United States Constitution. Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution states, Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. (Madison, 1789) This is interpreted as meaning as the Supreme Court of Iowa declared same-sex marriage legal, all states must recognize and sanction this ruling. The Full Faith and Credit Clause also can be interpreted as meaning as due to the state legislature of Massachusetts made same-sex marriage legal, it must be recognized and sanctioned in every state. For a state to

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

not recognize these judicial proceedings and public acts, the state is acting unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. The tenants of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism all declare that homosexuality is a sin. (Religionfacts.com, 2010) This fact provides reason enough for many to stand against the belief of the country-wide legalization of same-sex marriage. However, this issue has been addressed by the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. President Thomas Jefferson is quoted with saying, Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions. (Mapp, pg 8) President Jefferson recognized that this type of issues would arise in this country, and spoke of his view that the government should take a secular approach towards civil rights, meaning that our legislators, executives, and judicial officers must not cast their votes or make their decisions based on religious beliefs. To act otherwise of what Jefferson believed in and spoke of, is to stand against the author of the first legal document of this country, the document which declared our independence from a tyrannical monarch. Studies show that people who marry are more likely to be better off financially, emotionally, psychologically, and medically. (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2007) With healthcare expenditures surpassing $2.3 trillion in 2008, and the number of uninsured Americans being 50.7 million, something must be done immediately. (Kaise Edu, 2009) (USA Today, 2010) According to some studies, marriage leads to a higher number of insured persons. The study showed that through offering insurance through a spouse, marriage increases the likelihood of having insurance and reduces the likelihood of becoming uninsured after a job loss or major life event. Recent research even shows that marriage is associated with shorter average hospital stays, fewer doctor visits, and reduced risk of nursing home admissions.

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

(United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2007) Marriage can help alleviate this colossal expense for American taxpayers and in turn allow for the money to be spent on other more important causes such as job creation and tax relief for overburdened Americans. Approximately 9.5 percent of Americans ages 18 and older in a given year have a depressive disorder. (DepressionPerception.com, 2009) A recent study sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Bank found major depression to be the leading cause of disability in the United States. (DepressionPerception.com, 2009) Recent research also shows that marriage reduces depressive symptoms for both men and women. (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2007) Untreated depression is the leading cause for suicide in America. (Suicide.org, 2010) In a time when suicide is also the third leading cause of death for Americans ages 15 to 24, which means more than 5,000 teens will take their own lives every year, something must be done to end this discrimination and epidemic of young people dying prematurely. (AOL Health, 2010) To not stand for the ending of discrimination and the legalization of same-sex marriage is to condone and to promote the 34,000 lives lost every year to suicide, or in other words contribute to the death of a person every fifteen minutes due to suicide. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2010) In conclusion, same-sex marriage is in fact a Constitutional right denied to people in forty-five states in the United States, and is necessary to alleviate healthcare costs in America. From Constitutional Clauses, Amendments, and a Founding Father, it is clear that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed to American citizens. For government to deny Americans this right is unconstitutional, unethical, and illegal. America must recognize ones rights are being trampled upon, and it must end now. America is a land of opportunity, freedom, and liberty, but the current practices of forty-five states is nothing short of oppressive, conservatively tyrannical,

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

and abusive, which by proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, it is our duty that such forces must be overthrown and the practices abolished.

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

Works Cited: 1. National Conference of State Legislatures (September 2010) Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships. http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16430 2. James Madison (1789) Constitution of the United States of America. National Archives of the United States 3. Dictionary.com (2010) liberty. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/liberty 4. Lectric Law Library (2010) Due Process. http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d080.htm 5. Lectric Law Library (2010) FIFTH AMENDMENT [U.S. Constitution] http://www.lectlaw.com/def/f083.htm 6. Legal-Explanations.com (2007) Equal Protection of the Law. http://www.legalexplanations.com/definitions/equal-protection-of-the-law.htm 7. Thomas Jefferson (1776) Declaration of Independence. National Archives of the United States 8. Dictionary.com (2010) discrimination. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/discrimination 9. GLAAD (2002) How Many People are LGBT?. http://www.commercialcloset.org/common/news/reports/detail.cfm?Classification=report&QID= 5424&ClientID=11064&TopicID=384&subsection=resources&subnav=resources 10. James Madison (1789) Constitution of the United States of America. 11.Religionfacts.com (2010) Homosexuality and Religion. http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/index.htm 12. Alf J. Mapp, Jr (2003) The Faiths of Our Fathers 13. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Human Services Policy (2007) The Effects of Marriage on Health. http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/marriageonhealth/rb.htm 14. Kaiser Edu (2009) U.S. Health Care Costs. http://www.kaiseredu.org/Issue-Modules/USHealth-Care-Costs/Background-Brief.aspx 15. USA Today (2010) Number of Uninsured Americans rises to 50.7 million. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-17-uninsured17_ST_N.htm

Same-Sex Marriage: A Constitutional Right & American Welfare Necessity

16. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Human Services Policy (2007) The Effects of Marriage on Health. http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/marriageonhealth/rb.htm 17. DepressionPerception.com (2009) All Depressive Disorders. http://www.depressionperception.com/depression/depression_facts_and_statistics.asp 18. DepressionPerception.com (2009) All Depressive Disorders. http://www.depressionperception.com/depression/depression_facts_and_statistics.asp 19. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Human Services Policy (2007) The Effects of Marriage on Health. http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/marriageonhealth/rb.htm 20. Suicide.org (2010) Suicide Causes. http://www.suicide.org/suicide-causes.html 21. AOL Health (2010) The Surge in Gay Teen Suicide. http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/10/12/gay-teen-suicide-surge/ 22. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2010) Facts and Figures. http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewpage&page_id=050fea9f-b064-4092b1135c3a70de1fda