Gay marriage is a union that is characterized by the joining together between spouses of similar sex and which is acknowledged legally like the vows of a conventional marriage (Boswell, 1993, p. 215). Gay right’s advocates have been aggressively pursuing for years the entitlement to have their homosexual relationships legitimized in the court of law. This theme has been analysed from media units to the legislative branch, with an imminent decision from the Supreme Court in the probable future (Adam, 1992, 98). Liberal nations and metropolitans like San Francisco have brought about an excursion of homosexual couples making the most of the opportunity to have their relationships legitimized, consequently legitimizing the couples’ bond. Only rulings from diverse state laws have stopped different municipalities from pursuing their acknowledgment of these same sex marriages. Passionate debates are only aimed at turning into a much-heated debate as gay rights advocates swear to contend with and struggle to end their entitlement to have their relationships acknowledged like those of traditional marriages (Donoghue, 1993, p. 115). They consider acknowledgment in the court of law would be the foremost initial step in relieving unconstructive predisposition that gay relationships is accepted in society altogether. A lot of hardcore conservatives look at this as an effort at legitimizing the homosexual subculture to the public.
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Same Sex Marriage, Ethics and Law
In 1996, states approved the defense-of-marriage laws, and in 1998 voters in Hawaii and Alaska dully reversed pro-marriage judicial decisions (Drucker, 1998, p. 22). A law that is truly unparalleled, at least in this country: the civil unions law that gives same-sex couples “all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law…as are granted to spouses in a marriage. This achievement has led to howls of protest from religious leaders, politicians, and conservatives who favour “traditional” marriage. That was expected, but the lesbian and gay community have also criticized the civil unions law.
The law is admittedly a political compromise, but that does not necessarily mean that it is homophobic. Although it is often profitable to second-guess a legislature’s motives, all the evidence suggests that the civil unions law was passed by a legislature with the best of intentions (Drucker, 1998, p. 25). In creating a parallel system, the legislature was not trying to prejudge gays and lesbians; rather, it was building a valiant and significant effort to be aware of the reality and worth of lesbian and gay families.
Couples in a civil union have the same rights and responsibilities as couples in a marriage, though the lesbian and gay community can keep and nurture a little of what is uniquely its own with the new institution (Boswell, 1993, p. 216). Some might argue that only marriage is worth fighting for, since the term marriage carries with it so much status and tradition, but the newness of civil unions is one of their strengths. Why borrow every term and tradition from heterosexual culture? Why not create a new language of marriage?
Equality between marriage and civil union continues throughout the course of the respective relationships (Drucker, 1998, p. 26). The law mandates that parties to a civil union are to be included in “any definition or uses of the terms ‘spouse,’ ‘family,’ ‘immediate family,’ ‘dependent,’ that signify the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law.” The parties are “accountable for the support of each other to the same degree and in the same manner as prescribed under law for married persons.
Cases of Same Sex Marriage
The standard meaning of marriage in English law is by Lord Penzance in the lawsuit of Hyde v Hyde (1866) LR 1 P & D 130,133. It states that marriage is, “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” Given that this case was determined in 1866 positions and moral insights have turned out to be more liberal (Drucker, 1998, 28). Traditionally, the Church of England Book of Common Prayer of 1662 affirmed that the first reason for which matrimony was established was, ‘the procreation of children,’ something which had been announced at marriage ceremonies in the past years. Nonetheless the more contemporary approach now provides more stress on mutual society, help and comfort that one should have of each other.
This condition of the above stated case states that the marriage has to be one of a heterosexual character. Section 11(C) of the Nullity of Marriage Act 197 states that a marriage is invalid unless the parties are correspondingly, ‘male and female.’ In the milestone lawsuit of Corbett v Corbett (1970) 2 All ER 33, the petitioner wanted a statement that a ceremony of marriage involving himself and the respondent is not binding and of no consequence for the reason that the respondent, at the occasion of the ritual was an individual of male sexual category (Bauman, 1993, p. 46).
as little as 3 hours
The judge stated in the verdict that the question which is required to be asked is the connotation of ‘woman’ in marriage (Bauman, 1993, 48). The decisive factor has to be biological. This means that the law has to take on, in the first place, the initial three of the doctors condition, specifically the chromosomal, gonadal and genital experiments. If all three match, decide the sex for the point of marriage for that reason, and pay no attention to any operative intercession. He concluded that the respondent is not a female for the point of marriage but is a natural male and has been so ever since birth. Thus, he declared the marriage void.
This standard was complied within the recent case of Bellinger v Bellinger. The respondent is a post-operative trans-sexual who has undergone marriage with the other party. This had occurred months following an operation to get rid of her testicles and penis and she had a mock penis produced (Drucker, 1998, p. 32). She was unimpeded by the said party in asking a statement from the Court that the marriage was legitimate under English law. The House of Lords collectively rejected the applicant, as English law does not acknowledge any alteration of gender. The petitioner similarly demanded, in the alternative, for a statement, under s4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, that s11(c) of the MCA 1973 was unable to coexist with Articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.
The House of Lords did award the appealed statement of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act of 1998. This decision in Bellinger followed the verdict in Goodwin v UK (2002) 35 EHRR 447 on this concern (Drucker, 1998, 35). The European Court of Human Rights stated that, an examination of matching biological features can no longer be influential in refuting legal acknowledgment to the change of gender of a post-operative trans-sexual. It discovered that no good reason for excluding the trans-sexual from taking pleasure from the right to get married under any conditions. This verdict stated that s11(c) of the MCA 1973 is not compatible with Articles 8 and 12 of the HRA 1998.
Gay rights organizations are also united in a counteroffensive against the state-by-state extent of bans on same-sex marriages. In addition to the proposed constitutional amendment in Texas, voters in Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee are projected to decide on the issue in 2006. Proposed constitutional and legitimate bans are also moving through legislatures in at least seven states. (Montgomery, 2005) This research shall attempt to examine the rights of the homosexual in Texas politics. Specifically, this paper shall discuss the sodomy laws in the state of Texas.
Current political dealings in Texas have done a good job of showing the Christianity Meme in action. The Texas Republican party is mostly controlled by the Religious Right, who will stop at nothing to keep homosexuals under their thumb. Each religious war needs an enemy and homosexuals are among their favorites. At question is the Texas state Sodomy law (Section 21.06), making private consensual sex between members of the same sex illegal since 1974. The law does not reprimand heterosexual acts. In 1998, a couple penalized under the law challenged its legality under the Texas Equal Rights Amendment (Magers, 2005).
Same-sex marriage has long been a bone of contention between the American government and its people. Despite how liberated and open-minded law and society may be, there are still large bodies of conservative thinkers out there. Conservative thinking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But most of the time, conservative thinking becomes the knife that these people use to sever another person’s freedom of choice. There was an outcry from the opposition against same sex marriage. It is immoral and a threat to the family. Supporters of same sex marriage retaliate with a cry of their own: isn’t forcing to rule a man or woman’s choices on which they can or cannot be with, a violation of free will? Isn’t that the greater sin? Initially, the Government reacted to this furor by implementing a no same-sex marriage policy. Same sex marriage was banned from most states. When that didn’t work because gay and lesbian couples performed their own marriages, they decided not to grant legal recognition for gay marriages. Critics of same-sex marriage nodded their heads in approval. To them, marriage is defined as the union involving a man and a woman, not between women, or men. Any marriage that does not follow the traditional definition is a deviation. It should therefore be illegal. Having it stated as a public policy is the only way for people to get in line and follow it. But advocates of same sex marriage won’t give up, and they were willing to go to court for it, if need be. This seems to strengthen the policy against legal recognition of gay marriage. It doesn’t get any better when they asked for personal opinions. Less than half the nation’s population approved; the rest who didn’t disapprove didn’t give a solid standing. Again, we ask, what does it matter if gay people are allowed to get married, anyway? Who cares if people approve with legal recognition or not? But it does matter. It is not enough for gay people to be allowed to get married, their marriage should also be seen as legal, and as such, they should be entitled to the same rights as the more traditional married couple. This policy takes its substance from the fact that most of its supporters are ostensibly defending the family. Same sex marriages cannot be expected to produce children. The gay and lesbian couple can opt to adopt, but then, what kind of security and influence can they provide their children. A number of issues arise from this policy because there are about 1,049 laws in which marital status plays a key role. If a same sex marriage is denied legal recognition, then the couple will also be denied the benefits that are granted to any other marriage. Sexual preference must not be a reason for inequity; just like skin color cannot be used as an excuse to set a person apart from the rest. The government should be an advocate for personal freedom, provided, of course, that said freedom does not hinder the choices of others. To stop an individual from declaring his or her vows to his or her loved one simply because the loved one belongs to the same sex is equivalent to denying these people their free will.
- Adam, B.D. “Sex and Caring among Men”, in Plummer, K. (ed.) Modern Homosexualities: Fragments of Lesbian and Gay Experience, 1992. London: Routledge. p.98.
- Bauman, Z. Postmodern Ethics, Oxford: Blackwell. 1993. pp.45-70.
- Boswell J. “Same Sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe,” New York: Villard Books. 1994. pp.215-225.
- Donoghue, E. “Passions between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801,” London: Scarlett Press.1992. pp.115-120
- Drucker, J. “Families of Value: Gay and Lesbian Parents and their Children Speak Out,” New York: Insight Books/Plenum Press.1998. pp.20-45
- Magers, Phil. Analysis: Texas closer to ban on gay marriage. The Washington times, 2005
- Montgomery, Dave. Texas vote on gay marriage grabs national spotlight. Knight Ridder Newspapers. 2005