My injustice paper for my music and society class....it's on the restriction of gay marriage :) Read it if you want.
Injustice: Restriction of Gay Marriage
Homosexuality has been scientifically proven to exist in multiple species among the Earth (Boeckman). Homophobia has been proven to exist in only one: humanity. For years, being gay has been thought of as a terrible thing, something that should be punished. Some governments within the Caribbean, Middle East, and Africa see being gay as deserving a death sentence. And although this injustice is improving, as evidenced in the almost nine states that have legalized gay marriage, American LGBT youth and adults are still fighting for equal rights. Many fights have been made, many trials have gone to court, many religious beliefs have been stated, and many people have died. Many people have died because they have committed suicide to get away from the turmoil, or they have been killed because of their sexual orientation. To end the suffering, same-sex marriage should be legalized at a federal level. By legalizing same-sex marriage, it would set the tone for the rest of our institutions. By saying on a federal level it is okay for gays to be married, that must mean it is not okay to persecute someone based on their sexual orientation. With this realization, bullying of gays would be outlawed, teen suicide would then be diminished, and hate crimes against gays would no longer receive a blind eye.
Same-sex marriage is currently only legal in New York, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and The District of Columbia. The state governments of Maryland and Washington have also moved to legalize it later in 2012. Although marriage is legal in these states, these people do not have equal rights and are still treated like second-class citizens under the federal government. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, is a federal law that states that marriage is the union between a man and a woman (Lectric Law). This means that although state governments can vote to legalize same-sex marriage, it is not recognized under the federal government. This leaves same-sex couples in an unequal situation when it comes to insurance benefits, social security, and tax returns. DOMA has effectively ensured that these inequalities remain in place; similar to the way Plessy v. Ferguson ensured segregation stayed in Louisiana. And like the laws of segregation, DOMA has been deemed unconstitutional because “DOMA violates constitutional protections that forbid the Government from discriminating by creating disfavored, second-class citizens – and disfavored, second-class marriages.” (Wider Church Ministries). It has been dealt with, however, the process is grueling. The proponents of DOMA and its adversaries are currently in a stalemate, leaving it hanging. In short, it is currently not being dealt with at all, being pushed to the sidelines. The abolition of this law will be a step in the right direction for equality and federal legalization, just like desegregation was a step in the right direction for equal rights (Wormser).
Specifically in California, marriage equality and LGBT rights are getting a lot of attention. For about five months in 2008, same-sex marriage was legal. As a result, approximately 15,000-20,000 same-sex marriages took place (Bidstrup). Yet five months later, Proposition 8 eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, and also made any marriage that took place during the five months of legalization illegitimate (Bidstrup). Individuals against Prop 8 were furious when this happened, and claimed it unconstitutional. These people who oppose Prop 8 often make the argument, “The freedom to marry is fundamental to our society, just like the freedoms of religion and speech” (Gay Marriage). Or “Our California Constitution- the law of our land- should guarantee the same freedoms and right to everyone. No one group should be singled out to be treated differently” (Gay Marriage). Also, “Equal protection under the law is the foundation of American society” (Gay Marriage). The biggest supporters of Prop 8 are members of the Roman Catholic Church, and certain organizations and individuals against gay marriage such as Protect Marriage, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and John McCain. Their main arguments regarding Prop 8 include, “It protects the free expression of religion” (Yes on 8). Or “Our main support of Prop 8 is not based on an attack on the gay lifestyle, but is rather an effort to preserve what we hold as core values surrounding a vision of traditional marriage” (Yes on 8). Also, “It protects our children from being taught in public schools that same-sex marriage is as legitimate as marriage between two people of opposite genders” (Yes on 8). In February of 2012, Proposition 8 was deemed unconstitutional and is now considered null while waiting to go to federal court. It is said to be unconstitutional because it doesn’t serve a purpose other than lessen the status and human dignity of people who recognize themselves as gay (Elias). Most recently, to celebrate and raise money for awareness and support, a star-studded cast including Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, and many others performed a one-time reading of the play “8” based on the actual trial between Perry and Schwarzenegger. It was a raging success and was broadcast on youtube, therefore spreading the message to a broader audience (American Equal Rights).
Homosexual individuals have much more support now than they have in the past. In 1996, only about twenty-five percent of the public was supporting same-sex marriage, and today polls show that there is an equal split or slight majority of supporters (Bidstrup). Although this is great news, it is still not enough. Most children and adults who acknowledge themselves as being gay get taunted daily for it, and it goes downhill from there. Regarding mental health, psychological studies have shown that an increase in exposure to negative conversations and media messages about same-sex marriage creates a harmful environment for the LGBT population that may affect their health and well being (Alden and Parker). These negative conversations and also “gay bashing” have been the cause of many suicides among LGBT people. LGBTQ children and teens are constantly getting bullied in schools and as a result are not going to school, are hurting themselves, or are committing suicide. According to a 1979 Jay and Young study, “Forty percent of gay men and thirty-nine percent of gay women in the US had attempted or seriously thought about suicide” (Rogers). Something that helps this whole ordeal is that bullying on the discrimination of sexual orientation is illegal in some states, but in the states where it is most common, it is not specified. If there were marriage equality in every state in the US, suicide rates would go down because being gay would not be something “wrong” anymore and gay people would not be treated as second-class citizens. As evidence, if you look at states where gay marriage is “legal”, yes is there is still discrimination and suicides, but there are far less than those of states where gay marriage is not “legal”.
Adding onto the support of LGBT individuals, many TV shows such as Glee, and Modern Family exemplify the gay lifestyle and the longing for marriage equality. Most recently in Glee’s episode, “On My Way” Darren Criss’ character, Blaine Anderson, stated that he was most looking forward to marriage equality in all fifty states. Later on that evening, fans of the show pointed out on social networking sites such as twitter and tumblr why this episode was difficult for Blain and his boyfriend Kurt. The main two characters, Finn and Rachel, are foolishly getting married at eighteen spontaneously, and it was pointed out that Kurt and Blaine probably have an issue with it because they cannot even come close to foolishly getting married; because it is not legal (20th Century Fox).
There are many arguments and efforts being made to make same-sex marriage legal throughout our country. During rallies supporting gay marriage there are many picketers with signs that stand out such as, “You know where gay people come from? Straight couples.” Also many different celebrities voice their opinion in favor of gay marriage, and people such as Lady Gaga have started organizations like the Born This Way foundation to help towards legalizing gay marriage and helping struggling gay youth. Other arguments involve the countries that have legalized gay marriage for some time now. Those countries include, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, and Iceland. Civil unions and domestic relationships are also recognized in many other countries. Other arguments include many saying that homosexual couples and marriages are essential to the world involving population because if there are more same-sex couples, then that means less people are extending families. Therefore it would potentially lower the already too large population and get it somewhat under control. It is necessary for the future (Wavey).
Every citizen of America deserves equal rights, and should have the right to love who they want to love. Making it federally legal to marry whom you choose will not be detrimental to anyone, it will only make things better. Just like giving women the right to vote and making it legal for interracial couples to marry only made things better for people in this country. For the sake of peace and world equality, same-sex marriage should be legalized at a federal level.