Same Sex Unions´╗┐By Avery Gordon and Katelynn Sanders

Overview

For decades now, lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, and transgendered peoples and issues have been more talked about in American society. Currently American society is debating, on a national and state level, gay marriage, or: same sex unions.

This is a topic that divides Americans politically, socially, culturally, etc. Some states have passed laws allowing same sex unions, others have altered their constitution to ban the practice.

Currently, there are six states that allow and recognize same sex unions/marriages: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and finally the sixth place in the nation to become legal, Washington D.C. Before 2008 California would have been included in this list, but in 2008, Proposition 8 was enacted into California's state constitution, effectively banning gay marriages.
  • Proposition 8: The California Marriage Protection Act states that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."

Most people who are opposed to gay marriage are influenced by their religion. Christians and Jewish people are two prominent religions opposed to same sex unions. Their religious leaders argue that same sex unions are sinful, and go against what the Bible and Torah teach them. Again same same sex marriages are dividing people because of their religious beliefs. People who believe strongly in their religion feel that same sex marraiges are wrong and that the devil is possessing the people who are gay or lesbian. Because of these strong religious beliefs have created sayings such as, "God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" (Robinson, B. A. "Gay/Homosexual/Same-sex Marriages - All Sides to the Issue."). There are many other hurtful sayings that follow these lines that people have created because they feel that being homosexual is such a great sin. To see more of them visit
http://www.religioustolerance.org/homquote.htm
.

In Washington D.C the Supreme Court ruled that states can enforce laws that ban homosexual acts. This was a reversal from the last 10 years because they've been expanding the guarantee of privacy. This surprised and angered gay rights activists and civil liberties groups. On the other side, social conservatives think that it is good because they think that that kind of homosexual behavior is abnormal. Virginia is a very socially conservative state. Their court prohibits homosexual activities between two consenting adults, even in the privacy of their own home.

People opposed to same sex marriages feel that homosexual people should not get the same rights and be treated as fairly as everyone else. In the Clinton-era the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy was created. It was made as a compromise for the homosexual people in the military. This policy means that they still can not be openly homosexual, but as long as you don't declare it or pursue it in any way the military can't ask. If you show any intent or propensity to engage in homosexual activities it is forbidden. Although only "credible acts can cause for dismissal, reading homosexual magazines or going to homosexual bars is not credible enough to get you dismissed," (Clifton, 402). This was a slightly good beginning because now they can not be dismissed from the military because of your sexual orientation. In a speech recently given by President Barack Obama (shown below) Obama declares that he will end this policy because it is not fair. Obama agrees that discrimination upon sexual orientation should not be an issue.

Source Annotation


D'Angelo, Diane. "Same Sex Marriage." Suffolk Law School. Suffolk University Law School, June 2009. Web. 10 May 2011.
<http://www.law.suffolk.edu/library/research/a-z/news/samesex.cfm>.
Summary: This webpage offers information on same sex marriage from a legal standpoint.
Assess: The information is valid and thorough, because this website is for a prestigious law school.
Reflect: I will use this website to find the exact wording on what constitutes a marriage according to the constitutions of each state.

"Developments in Same-Sex Marriage Law - Divorce & Family Law Center." Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Marriage, Adoption - Find Law Family Law Center. Divorce & Family Law Center. Web. 11 May 2011. <http://family.findlaw.com/marriage/same-sex-marriage-developments.html>.
Summary: This web page offers information about the battle to legalize gay marriage (i.e. info on the states that have already legalized same sex marriage as well as the problems going on in other states.)
Assess: The information is valid and thorough, because the website is for a Divorce & Family law firm. Rights of same sex couples in the event of a divorce or death are outlined on this website.
Reflect: I will use this website for detailed information on how and why certain states have decided to legalize same sex marriage.

Rauch, Jonathan. Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. New York: Times /Henry Holt and, 2004. Print.
Summary: This book offers an opinion on gay marriage, and why it is good for our country as a whole. The author offers a conservative case for gay marriage and addresses religious concerns about same sex unions
Assess: The author is homosexual, so he has heard all arguments for and against gay marriage. He offers his opinion, of course, but addresses the opinions of others calmly and with an understanding of where those opposed to same sex unions are coming from.
Reflect: I might use this book to see the different opinions of gay marriage, and why people are opposed to same sex unions.

c ReligiousTolerance.org by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 11 May 2011. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marr.htm>.
Summary: This web page states the issues and controversial topics that occur because of LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders). It attempts to explain the standpoint from both sides, the for and against LGBT. More opinionated information because it's giving the facts of what others opinions are.
Assess: The information is different from other sources because it holds a wide range of opinions from both sides. Which is important to get the full idea. I think the information is valuable because it's not just one sided and opinionated from the author. It's each sides perspective on the issues.
Reflect: I might use this information to complete the overview because it will help me to better explain the background of LGBT. It will also help to better my information from both sides, not just my belief.

Daniel, Clifton. America's Century. Darling Kindersley. New York. 2000. Print.
Summary: This source is an encyclopedia type source. It includes short news article type of stories on many different topics. The information is more fact based and wide ranged.
Assess: The information is different from many other sources because it isn't straight about the topic, it's stories that include information about the subject. I think the information can be valuable because there are five different articles that have to do with gay rights. They all include facts and history about the topic.
Reflect: I may use this source to complete the overview by including the historical detail from the stories. I also may include a story to add effect to the personal nature of the subject.

"Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships". Nytimes.com. March 4, 2011. Web. May 12, 2011. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/s/same_sex_marriage/index.html
Summary: This website includes an article about the legal improvements and adjustments of gay rights recently.
Asses: I think the information is good but could contain alot of filler unneccessary information.
Reflect: The source is a news article so is very formal and factual. It's just facts not getting deep into the actual subject behind the facts. I may use some facts from the article but I do not think it will need to be cited in my overview.

Reflections and Conclusions


I don't understand why same sex unions is such a big, controversial topic. To me, it's a simple solution: equal rights for everyone no matter who your spouse is. If it's two men married or two women married, all the same rights given to a "straight" marriage should be applied to a gay marriage. The United States is all about equality and equal rights for all its' citizens, so discrimination against gay couples in this country is just wrong. What angers me the most about those opposed to same sex marriages is that they believe homosexual people can change. They can't. They are born that way, and they shouldn't have to change. Same sex unions are a personal choice, so if it doesn't concern you, stay out of it.

I personally think America is beginning to treat same sex unions the way they treated racism in the early 1990's. How can a country truly promise equality if it has so many limitations on it? The right to equality is in the Constitution and is claimed to be such a big part of what America is. But what isn't written is that yes, America supports equality, but only to certain groups of people. I don't think the topic of same sex unions should even be a controvesial topic that is brought up. Especially not one that is beginning to split our country politically. I think what is going on is that too many people are too involved with what every one else in the world is doing and can't just be happy in their own lives. I'm sure a lot of people don't think it is a normal activity to participate in homosexual activities but what does it truly matter to them? If any one is uncomfortable with gay people than they can just ignore the facts. I don't think it's ethically correct for the government or any one for that matter to get to decided who you can and can not marry. I don't fully understand what gives the government the idea that they can have the right to control this issue. Some one that wants to participate in same sex unions should have every right to, it's their life! You only live this life once so I think as long as you aren't harming anyone else than you should do what makes you happy.

Multimedia

A student union rallies to support same sex unions
external image snow-and-demonstration-074.jpg
snow-and-demonstration-074.jpg

Vermont became the fifth state to allow same sex unions on September 1, 2009.



People in New York rally to legalize gay marriage in their state.
gay-marriage-7.jpg


A religious group protests same sex unions. Religions opposed to gay marriages believe it is sinful, and that homosexual people can and need to convert themselves in order to go to heaven and be blessed by God.
gay_marriage_opponents-1-731273.jpg

Australian people rallying for same sex marriage rights.
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President Barack Obama giving a speech about Gay rights. Obama speech


People protesting California's propostion 8.
art.gaymarriage.gi[1].jpg

Works Cited

D'Angelo, Diane. "Same Sex Marriage." Suffolk Law School. Suffolk University Law School, June 2009. Web. 10 May 2011.
http://www.law.suffolk.edu/library/research/a-z/news/samesex.cfm.
Daniel, Clifton. America's Century. Darling Kindersley. New York. 2000. Print.
"Developments in Same-Sex Marriage Law - Divorce & Family Law Center." Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Marriage, Adoption -
Find Law Family Law Center. Divorce & Family Law Center. Web. 11 May 2011. [[http://family.findlaw.com/marriage/same-sex-marriage- developments.html]].
Rauch, Jonathan. Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. New York: Times /Henry Holt and, 2004. Print.
Robinson, B. A. "Gay/Homosexual/Same-sex Marriages - All Sides to the Issue." ReligiousTolerance.org by the Ontario Consultants on
Religious Tolerance. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 11 May 2011. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marr.htm.
"Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships". Nytimes.com. March 4, 2011. Web. May 12, 2011. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/
reference/timestopics/subjects/s/same_sex_marriage/index.html