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Democracy further guarantees protection of the interests of the minority. Refusing rights to same-sex couples is the same thing as denying women, African Americans, and any other race the right to vote, or marry, as once was the case. Slaves were allowed to live as “man and wife,” but were not allowed to marry legally. Slave owners, government, and the rest of society were not obligated to recognize these relationships, and similar to same sex couples, they too were denied any marriage benefits that were available at the time.
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Following the end of slavery, after African Americans received some rights; however, interracial relationships were shunned in the same way homosexual relationships are shunned today. Interracial marriage was illegal until 1968. Very similar to gay marriage, during the political fight for interracial marriage, common arguments stated that it disrupted social disorder, abandoned settled traditions, and violated natural law. The same individuals that mixed the races in the first place most likely made these protests. The only two things we can be sure of in this world are death and change; our world is constantly progressing with change. Having the freedom to marry whomever you choose is a fundamental right, and once again, as history repeats itself, it is not accessible to all of us.
Domestic Partnership, while an advance when introduced, is not the same as marriage; it is confusing and different from state to state, and no matter what the state law is, the IRS does not recognize it. For example, if two couples, one heterosexual, and one homosexual get married in Vermont, the same-sex couple receives a civil union certificate that is not recognized from state to state under DOMA, while the heterosexual coupl is given a civil marriage certificate that is recognized in all fifty states. President Clinton signed DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, into law in 1996; it gives states the right not to recognize same sex relationships. This Act is applicable despite the fact that other states may recognize the marriage. The second part of the DOMA describes marriage as a lawful union, which exists between a man and a woman; it blocks any marriage benefits and recognition from the federal government to same sex couples (Sullivan 205). We live in a system that is built around marriage, but because same-sex couples do not have that option, they are often face legal issues that threaten and challenge their personal and family security.
Brooke and Tess have been together ten years this August; they have a four-year-old little boy together and live in Los Angeles, California. Making her way as an audio engineer, Brooke is just out of school and not making much money yet. While Tess exercises horses part time, Brooke’s income is the main source of support so Tess can stay home with Maddox most days. Tess and Maddox are on California State insurance, which does not necessarily give access to the best doctors and medical care available. Nonetheless, if they had gotten married in the five months same-sex marriage was legal in California during 2008, Tess would no longer qualify for state insurance. Tess has recently been challenged with some serious medical problems, and needs better medical care. It will cost Brooke an extra five hundred dollars to have Tess and Maddox on her insurance, making her total bill over seven-hundred dollars a month, while her straight married co-workers only pay two hundred and seven dollars; not to mention she is unable to claim Maddox on her taxes. Brooke claims, “If we could be married our taxes out of pocket last year would have been $5K less. If we could be married, I would not be taxed on my company’s Contribution to Families Insurance, which is $7,260 a year. If we could be married, I wouldn’t want to break shit right now…probably.”
An average of three hundred state, and one thousand forty nine federal rights are given to couples through marriage. Reverend Troy Perry, representing the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles argues that marriage laws should be applied equally to all, regardless of sexual orientation (Kotulski 30). Yes, gay and lesbian couples can have a plethora of legal documents drawn up by a lawyer; however, it is costly and again limited under DOMA. If a gay couple has been together for a lifetime, one of them gets sick, visitation and the right to authorize medical care is denied; not to mention social security, retirement, and all the other benefits heterosexual couples can take for granted. ‘Bill and Robert considered themselves “soul mates.” However, their tribulations as a couple commenced when Robert fell sick and was admitted at Maryland Hospital. The Hospital denied bill any communication with Robert stating that only Robert’s family would be allowed to visit Robert. This is despite the fact that both Robert’s medical records and Bill’s statements revealed that the two were a family. Bill was highly discriminated at the hospital; other families arrived and were escorted to see their sick members; however, this was not the case with Bill. Later, Robert fell into a comma, and died in solitude; however, he was never given the opportunity to speak to his lover (Rauch 57). One is left to wonder whether this is the civilized country, we are so proud to be its citizens. Same-sex couples deserve the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.
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