On May 9, 2012 President Barack Obama became the first U. S. President to support same sex marriage in a hard news story delivered by ABC News Special Report. (2012) President Obama is very clear on his position regarding the issue and why he has changed his mind on the topic. President Obama states he has had a change of heart based on his own experience with families, friends, staff members and soldiers who fight for this country, who are involved in committed relationships with same sex partners. President Obama now feels that these couples deserve the right to commit themselves to marriage and the legal rights this would allow.
The President states although he had previously believed gay couples deserved legal rights in certain situations, his wife and children have influenced his opinion regarding this issue. This declaration was a historical announcement that will help give momentum in the progress of the gay and lesbian community to move forward in making same sex marriage legal. This story interests me because there is a large group of people in this country who are denied the right to get married because they are not heterosexual.
I am not gay and belong to a church that opposes gay marriage, however I see it a little different. I know several people who are gay and are in committed relationships who feel they should have the same legal rights as I do. President Obama’s reason for changing his position on the topic is very similar to my view of the issue. Is denying the right of gay and lesbians couples the benefits of marriage being fair and equal? Is it right to try to control the people in this country that were born a little different by restricting them from certain rights?
Although many people believe that this statement by President Obama may have been political suicide, according to “ a Gallup poll published last week, half of Americans believe that same-sex marriages should be legally recognized as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. ” (Cootz, 2012) This is increased from a 1990 poll which stated that 70% of Americans opposed gay marriage. This is a huge shift in public opinion and shows how the nation’s views are changing. The idea of marriage and what is has changed over the years. According to Cootz, “For millennia, marriage was about property and power rather than mutual attraction. (2012) At this time many people from lower classes were forbidden from marrying. About 250 years ago the idea marriage changed when young people where given the right to choose their own partners based on love rather than having been arranged by parents (Coontz, 2012). Between the 1940’s and 1950’s many states repealed laws that made it illegal for certain classes of people including people with illness or mental issues from marrying. (Coontz 2012) “In 1967 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for states to prohibit interracial marriage. (Coontz 2012) Over the past 50 years roles of gender in marriage and what marriage is has changed drastically. We no longer view marriage as a requirement to maintain a social status or to have property handed down from previous generations. Marriage is now viewed more commonly as a mutual partnership between two people. In this evolution, the view of what marriage is and why it is acceptable with same sex partners has made it more conceivable than ever. We no longer discriminate against interracial couples, people who have disease or mental illness or even people who are in prison.
President Obama is for same sex marriage because he is for fairness and equality. If an inmate has the right to marry, shouldn’t a gay or lesbian person have the same rights? As the evolution on marriage has changed over time we can examine the case of Loving v. Virginia. This case was about the right for white people to marry someone of a different race. The results of the case defined what would later be a strong agreement for the rights of gay marriage. The decision of the case states, “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.
To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State. (Blackboard, 2012) The argument and ruling in this case are at the center of the argument for same sex marriage. Does the 14th Amendment support same sex marriage? Is it wrong to deny people these” basic civil rights of man? ” (Blackboard, 2012) In the article, “Voting to Ban Same-Sex Marriage: Interests, Values, and Communities” we get a good look at the opposing view. This article is relevant because it gives us insight on both sides of the argument. One of the reasons people are opposed to same sex marriage is because they are threatened by what they are not familiar with.
Religious beliefs, tradition and society values and norms are just some of the counter arguments. In this article we can see that is going to be a struggle to change the way people view same sex marriage. While a lot of American still opposes same sex marriage many of them have changed their view on the issue, mostly because a lot of people have come to have personal experience with gay and lesbian people. This group of people have come out in droves to support the issue and have literally come out to give a connection to people on the topic.
If we are completely absent from anyone who is gay or lesbian it would be hard to connect with them. Many Americans that oppose same sex marriage see it as a moral issue. (Brumbaugh, 2008). Their religious beliefs and traditional upbringings have shaped thoughts on the subject. In the article, “Attitudes Toward Gay Marriage in States Undergoing Marriage Law Transformation” we see that many people are threatened by the gay community and fear that this life style will alter the American way. Is same sex marriage immoral? Is being gay or lesbian immoral?
Will being raised in a same sex marriage be damaging to a young child? It is important to examine the other side of the argument in order to reach a relevant objective opinion. Is a family that is has same sex parents less nurturing than heterosexual parents? “ Evidence is strong that children raised in gay parent families enjoy high levels of psychological well-being and social adjustment . “(Biblarz and Savci 2012) There are many variable to consider when examining same sex families. The effects of this type of living may vary if a lesbian couple has children who are boy or girls.
Because this topic is relatively new there is little data to conclude the effects on a child. However, I believe it is most likely that a child that comes from a loving environment whether the parents are same sex or not, will be better adjusted than someone who does not. Question Will the statements made by President Obama have a significant impact on the rights gays and lesbians? Will these comments persuade people in the country to view same sex marriage differently? One reason this question comes to mind is because some people believe that by supporting same sex marriage may cause the President to lose the election.
Conclusion When I first started doing this research I wasn’t sure how strong the argument was for the rights of same sex marriage. Since completing this research I have discovered that the evolution of marriage has been continuous over time and the right to marry has been slowly given to different groups or individuals mostly through the legal process. President Obama’s support on same sex marriage is a historic event that will help the progress in making it legal for gay and lesbian men and women to marry. ABC News Special Report. 2012. President Obama – Gay Marriage: Gay Couples ‘Should Be Able to Get Married’ – ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE” You Tube Web site. Retrieved May 28, 2012 (http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=kQGMTPab9GQ) McVeigh, R. , ;amp; Diaz, M. D. (2009). Voting to ban same-sex marriage: Interests, values, and communities. American Sociological Review, 74(6), 891-915. http://search. proquest. com/docview/218833134? accountid=14584 Brumbaugh, Stacey M. , Laura A. Sanchez, Steven L. Nock and James D. Wright. 2008. “Attitudes Toward Gay Marriage in States Undergoing Marriage Law Transformation. Journal of Marriage and Family 70(2):345-359 (http://search. proquest. com/docview/219748394? accountid=14584). Biblarz, Timothy J. and Evren Savci. 2010. “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families. ” Journal of Marriage and Family 72(3):480-497 (http://search. proquest. com/docview/618698510? accountid=14584). Coontz Stephanie. 2012. ” How Straight Marriage’s Evolution Led to Obama’s Gay-Marriage Endorsement” The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 28, 2012 (http://www. stephaniecoontz. com/articles/article73. htm) Black Board Lesson 8. 2012. ” Who can marry” UM Flint Black Board. Retrieved May 28, 2012.