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Same-sex couples should be given the same marriage/union rights as heterosexual couples, on both the state and Federal levels. With ten percent of the population in the United States being homosexuals, they should have the same rights at the other ninety percent of the population.

According to a 2000 national poll, three-quarters of the United States population say that it is inevitable that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry (Lambda/VP Candidates, October 2000). An NBC poll taken in 1999 showed that two-thirds of the population believed that same-sex couples would eventually win the freedom to marry (Lambda/National Overview, May 2000). Between the 1999 poll and the 2000 poll there was an 8.3 percent increase in those who thought same-sex couples would some day be allowed to marry.

There are currently no states that have legalized marriages between same-sex couples. Hawaii and Vermont allow domestic partnerships and San Francisco is one of the few cities that recognize domestic partnerships when there state does not. Domestic partnerships are misinterpreted and misrepresented as a marriage. Domestic partner-ships are mainly for an economic and workplace issue. If employed in a city that recognizes domestic partnerships, it is possible to get health care coverage for your live in lover if it is needed or wanted, however only about one percent of those who are eligible (GFN/Investigation Domestic Partner Benefits, April 2000) take advantage of it. Once an employee signs up for domestic partner benefits they pay higher city, state and federal taxes on their benefits, unlike heterosexual couples that get the same benefits tax-free. The Internal Revenue Service requires employers to report domestic partner benefits as part of an employee s taxable income, causing same-sex couples to pay taxes on $4000 to $5000 more than heterosexual couples do. It does not seem right that because a couple is of the same-sex that they are unable to get health care that heterosexual couples are able to, and when they are they are taxed on them unjustly. It seems that our great country, known to foreigners at the land of freedom has, at various, times prevented other minorities from the institution of marriage. Up until 1967 it was illegal in various states for interracial couples to marry, yet that was found un-constitutional. Marriage, for many people, is more than just a legal union for economic and employee benefits. Marriage is also a celebration of love and commit between two people, no matter what there genders are.

Even though our constitution says the church and state are separate, religion plays a major role in the acceptance, or lack there of, for same-sex marriages. It is thought that if more religions accepted and endorsed same-sex marriages, then the government would be more likely too. In April 2000 the nations Reform Jewish rabbis became the first group of mainstream American clergy to endorse same-sex marriages. Rabbi Paul Meritaff, who is vice president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said, This kind of resolution being passed by a major religious group will send a signal that will be important to Jewish gays and lesbians and beyond, a signal that they are not viewed as sinful, but as normal, healthy people, (GFN/Reform Rabbis, March 2000) about the endorsement of same-sex marriages by Reform Jewish rabbis. The Unitarian Universalist Association endorsed same-sex couple in 1996 (GFN/Reform Rabbis, March 2000). Reconstructionist Judaism and the United Church of Christ endorse same-sex marriages on a case-by-case basis.

The United States, usually in the for front with ground breaking laws, is behind on the issue of same-sex marriages and unions. There are only a few areas in the United Sates wear same-sex couples can get a civil union or domestic partnership, yet it is not a national thing, as of yet. Countries such as Denmark, including Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden all recognize domestic partnerships and allow for the immigration of a citizens foreign partner. Some other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, recognize the value of a same-sex partnership and allow for the immigration of a partner. There are about twelve countries (Argentina, Brazil, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa and the United States) that do show some encouraging developments towards the recognition of same-sex partnerships. (GFN/International Same-sex Marriage, July 1999)

The most devastating action against same-sex marriages or partnerships came in September of 1996 when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The DOMA basically denies protection, benefits and recognition for all federal purposes to lawfully married gay couples, however it doesn t bar states from allowing same-sex couples to marry or have partnerships within that state s laws. (Lambda/Baehr V Anderson Case History, December 1999) Section 2 of the DOMA is one of the most controversial and widely protested section. Section 2 of the DOMA is in direct violation of the Full Faint and Credit Clause (Article IV, Section 1) of the United States Constitution. Article IV, Section 1 states, Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the pubic acts, record, And judicial proceedings of every other state Yet Section 2 of the DOMA states:

No state, territory, of possession of the United States, or Indian tribe

shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial

proceeding of any state, territory, possession, or tribe respecting

a relationship between persons of the same-sex that is treated as a marriage

under the laws of such other state, territory, possession of tribe on a right

or claim arising from such relationships.

In a sense the DOMA even violates a same-sex couples right to travel or relocate to another state because it makes the couples marriage or partnership dependent upon the state they are in at any given moment. The DOMA also deprives same-sex couples of, at least, the following:

Pension and Social Security of a deceased or disabled partner

The ability to keep jointly owned home if a partner is on Medicaid,

Dies or becomes ill

Joint tax returns

Veteran s benefits

Immigration by legal marriage to a citizen

All of these are benefits that heterosexual couples benefit from through marriage of a partnership.

In conclusion it seems that the United States as a whole sexually discriminates against same-sex couples. There is no legal reason for the denial of benefits, both federal and state, to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples receive. I believe the Vice Presidential Candidate Richard Cheney said it best when he said, I think that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It s really no one else s business 9(Lambda/ VP Candidates, October 2000) I hope that some time in the near future that people will open there eyes and see that sexual discrimination is just as untolerable as racial discrimination. It would also be nice for our nation and states to recognize the marriages of two people in love no matter what there genders may be.

Works Cited

National Overview: The Fight to Win the Freedom To Marry. Marriage Project Fact Sheet May 2000. http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/pages/documents/record?record=50 (25 Oct. 2000).

VP Candidates Engage in Freedom-to-Marry Debate. October 2000. http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/pages/documents/record?record=729 (25 Oct. 2000)

Baehr v. Anderson Case History. Marriage Project Fact Sheet. December 1999. http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/pages/documents/record?record=48 (25 Oct. 2000)

Pro and con: Should gay marriage be legal? June 1996. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/3proco.htm (29 Oct. 2000)

Paulson, Michael. Reform Rabbis Seen Backing Same-Sex Ceremonies. May 2000. http://www.gfn.com/content/print_story.cfm?story_id=5443 (8 Nov. 2000)

Bapst, Don. International Same-Sex Marriage. July 1999 http://www.gfn.com/content/print_story.cfm?story-id=1412 (8 Nov. 2000)

Adams, Joseph S. and Solomon, Todd A. Investigation Domestic-Partner Benefits. April 2000. http://www.gfn.com/content/print_story.cfm?story_id=5511 (8 Nov. 2000)

Purpose: To show how same-sex couples do not have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Thesis: Same-sex couples should be given the same marriage/union rights as heterosexual couples, on both the state and Federal levels.

Same-Sex Marriages

I. Introduction to same-sex marriages.

A. Percentage of population who are homosexuals.

II. National polls conducted in 1999 and 2000.

A. National poll conducted in 2000.

1. Three-quarters of population believe same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

B. NBC 199 national poll.

2. Two-thirds of population believes same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

C. Percentage of increases between 1999 and 200 on belief that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

III. Marriage and domestic partnerships in the United States.

A. The legalization of marriages between same-sex couples.

1. Hawaii, Vermont, and San Francisco recognize same-sex partnerships.

B. Domestic partnerships misinterpreted and misrepresented as marriage.

C. Employer benefits in cities that recognize domestic partnerships.

IV. Religious influences in same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships.

A. If more religious groups accepted same-sex couples the government would be more likely too.

B. Reform Jewish first religious group to endorse same-sex marriages.

C. Other groups that recognize or are planning to recognize same-sex marriages.

V. Foreign Countries who recognize same-sex marriages or partnerships.

A. Foreign countries that recognize same-sex partnerships also allow for the immigration of their partner.

B. Twelve countries that show developments towards recognizing same-sex partnerships.

V. The Defense of Marriage Act is most devastating action taken against same-sex couples.

A. DOMA denies many federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive to same-sex couples.

B. DOMA is in violation of Article IV, Section 1 of US Constitution.

C. DOMA violates a couples right to travel.

1. Couples status is based on state they are in.

VI. Conclusion of paper.

A. No legal reason for denial of same benefits to same-sex couples.

B. Vice Presidential Candidate Richard Cheney s quote.

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