"I do." These two simple words have the power change lives in an instant. For most people, the phrase conjures up images of a man and a woman being joined in marriage. But for gays and lesbians, having the chance to legally say "I do" is a far-off dream, not a reality. In many European countries, marriages between same-sex couples are federally recognized, but unions of American homosexuals still go unrecognized by the United States government. Same-sex marriages deserve to be legalized in this country. Homosexual couples should be entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples.
To initially understand this issue, one must understand what a marriage is in the eyes of the law. A legal marriage is a "civil contract established through a license issued by state governments" ("About Marriage"). This type of marriage is often frequently called civil marriage, making it a contract recognized by society in a political, social, and legal fashion ("About Marriage"). Civil marriages are an entirely separate entity than typical religious weddings ("Quick Answers About Same-Sex Marriage").
In defense of same-sex marriages, the first aspect that should be examined is the pure legality of the subject. A legally recognized marriage enacts hundreds of state and literally thousands of federal laws and benefits. These benefits, including social security, inheritance rights, child custody, and health care, are available only to people who are legally married. By United States law, the only people able to receive a marriage license are two people of the opposite sex (Demian). These laws, in order to be fair, should be applicable to all citizens, not just opposite-sex spouses....
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Demian. "Legal Marriage Primer." 2001. Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples. 2 Dec. 2001 http://www.buddybuddy.com/mar-prim.html
Knight, Robert H. "How Domestic Partnerships and "Gay Marriage" Threaten the Family." Same-Sex Marriage: The Moral and Legal Debate. Ed. Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Roesnbaum. New York: Prometheus Books, 1997, 108-120.
Mason, Margie. "Census Figures on Same-Sex Couples." 8 Aug. 2001. SpeakOut.com. 3 Dec. 2001 http://speakout.com/activism/apstories/10044-1.html
"Quick Answers About Same Sex Marriages." Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington. 2 Dec. 2001 http://www.lmaw.org/quick_answers.htm
Wald, Michael S. "An Analysis of Proposition 22 - The "Knight" Initiative." Dec. 1999. Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples. 2 Dec. 2001 http://www.buddybuddy.com/wald-1.html
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