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    >> Gay Marriage in the United States of America.
 

Last February 12, in Boston, Massachusetts, debates about an amendment on the constitution that will lift the ban on gay marriages and will allow for civil unions heated up, thus resulting to postponing votes for amendment (Belluck, 2004). At the same day, however, San Francisco, California have issued marriage certificates to more than 50 gay couples a week after Gavin Newsom, the newly elected mayor of San Francisco decided to recognize same-sex marriages (Marshall, 2004). Newsom said he has a moral duty to open the doors to same-sex marriages and defend the Constitution, which has no provision for allowing for discrimination (Murphy, 2004).

Discussions about the rights of gay people to marry are long overdue – therefore, recent events in Massachusetts and California make them laboratories for reform in this important area (NYT Editorial, 2004). Even if America has come a long way when it comes to gay rights within a short span of time, many people still do not recognize same-sex unions (NYT Editorial, 2004). For many more, the hesitation is directed towards the use of the term “marriage” for same-sex unions (NYT Editorial, 2004). For instance, in March 7, 2000 61.4% of California voters voted in favor of Proposition 22, or the “Defense of Marriage Act” (Elias, 2000). This initiative will prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages, even if other states eventually legalize them (Elias, 2000). However, 6 out of the 58 counties in California, all of which are in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area, did not approve Proposition 22. These counties include: Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Yolo (Marriage Watch.org, 2001).

This, perhaps, is the reason Vermont officially recognized same-sex partnerships only after creating the “civil union” category (Mazur, 2002). Vermont became the first state in the United States that recognized same-sex unions, and it came after Vermont Supreme Court’s declaration that denial of marriage rights and privileges to the same-sex couples violates the Vermont state constitution (Mazur, 2002). Although not called “marriage”, civil unions will still enjoy all the privileges and responsibilities as that in marriages (Mazur, 2002).

Some of the arguments thrown against recognizing same-sex marriages are that they will only serve as “deathblow to marriage” and it will have adverse effects on children’s welfare (Kurtz, 2004). As Kurtz (2004) discussed...

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