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Marriage Equality and Its Constitutionality

Introduction

The efforts to constitutionally allow same-sex marriage started popping up in the United States as early as the 1999’s, resulting in national and state challenges. Civil unions were advocating for same-sex marriage in several states. The federal government denied same-sex couples from accessing close to 1100 federal rights, duties associated with the institution (Human Rights Campaign), and also denied access to the responsibilities that were dismissed by the specific states.

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The DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was made a law in 1996, and it was defined as marriage by the federal government as if between a man and woman: this allowed many states to stand against marriage equality (Human Rights Campaign). The new century of same-sex marriage was celebrated when a court in Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage through a court ruling. This paper addresses the constitutionality of marriage fairness in the United States by first tracing the evolution of same-gender marriage as a fundamental human right. The report will review some of the federal laws related to marriage equality while looking into particular cases about marriage equality

Evolution of The Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage as A Fundamental Right in The United States

The United States supreme court ruled that marriage between same-sex couples had a fundamental legal right to marry. The decision resulted in legal rights towards same-sex marriage, and they were to be recognized fully by the state. The idea of same-sex couples having similar matrimonial benefits to heterosexual couples is a civil right question. Constitutional ideas hold that same-gender couples should be treated similarly, just like heterosexual couples.

The Supreme Court of the United States accepted the dispute following the Obergefell v. Hodges case decision held in June 2015 (FindLaw). The presiding was that same-sex duos have the legal right towards marriage, and their union is fully recognized in the country based on equal protection and the due processes stipulated by the constitution. The discussion on same-sex marriage extended beyond the right to get married alone. The duos sought the same taxation, rights to surviving kids, estate advantages, and healthcare benefits as heterosexual couples.

The Supreme Court ruling of 2015 on Obergefell fully resolved the legal paybacks of same-sex marriage supporting the rights to marry, recognize same couple marriage, and obtain the same reimbursements as heterosexual couples.

The Obergefell ruling by the supreme court in 2015 made it clear that: denying people the freedom of right to marry, and the catastrophe to recognize same-sex marriage, and suppressing some benefits that come in handy with marriage is a violation of equal protection (FindLaw). The due processes as stipulated by the fourteenth amendment by the supreme court in the United States enforced all states to recognize same-sex marital and be extend it to all same-sex couples (FindLaw). The top court decision eliminated all the legal differences amongst same-sex and heterosexual couples at federal and state levels.

State Ballot Initiatives and Federal and State Laws on Marriage Equality

Several ballot initiatives focus on the definition of what exactly pertains to legal marriage. The discussions that resulted in the ballot rotated around whether marriage should be well-defined legally as the union between one male and one female or just the union of two people regardless of their sex (Porterfield). In many of the states in the United States, voters voted to define marriage as the union between one male and a female partner.

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Maine’s referendum on same-sex couples was the first time the advocates of gay rights placed the issue to a popular vote. In Maryland and Washington, lawmakers approved same-sex marriages (Porterfield), opponents opposed the laws after collecting enough signatures challenging the rules. In Minnesota, the challenge was whether the state would join the rest of the conditions to ban gay marriages in its constitution (Porterfield). A defeat of the ban would not imply Minnesota would still oppose same-sex marriage. Gay marriage became legal in all six states after the court order and legislation, not people’s vote.

State And Federal Lawsuits and Court Decisions for Marriage Equality

In 1970 Minneapolis, Mr. Baker and Mr. McConnell turn out to be the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license although it was declined. Later on, Mr. Jack Baker and Michael McConn moved to Supreme Court ruling on marriage case declined to license them (Raphael). Hennepin County bowed the request down. They moved to the United States Supreme Court, where they vanished their case, becoming the first supreme court case based on same-sex. By then, same-sex was referred to as a disorder, and sodomy was illegal.

Hawaii May 5, 1993, Supreme Court Case

The ruling was the first to rule that neglecting the freedom towards marriage is discernment and presumptively unconstitutional. The freedom to marry in Hawaii started in 1990 when three same-gender couples went to apply for the marriage permit (Prince). In 1991 activist lawyer Dan Foley went ahead to file a legal case on behalf of similar-gender couples trying to pursue freedom for them. In 1933, history in Hawaii was made as the Hawaii Supreme court ruled that by rejecting to offer freedom to same gender couple as it violated their equal safety clause of the Hawaii constitution (Prince).

Later on, in 1996, Hawaii magistrate Kevin Chang well-ordered the first ever trial on same-gender freedom. The Hawaii series of court battles led to American national wide engagement on matters of marriage especially the same-sex marriage from 1999 onwards (Prince). By Feb 23,2011, the Hawaii governor signed into law of bill that same-sex couples to allowed into civil onions and they should be protected. Later on, by December 2, 2013, the same Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie had signed the freedom for same-sex couples (Prince). The signing of the law resulted to openly same-sex marriage being in done in Hawaii.

Lawrence v. Texas Case

In the Lawrence v Texas case on June 26, 2003, the supreme court ruled that same-sex conduct was unconstitutional for the right to privacy protest consensual, adult sexual intimacy at home (Human Rights Campaign). The ruling led to human rights joining hands to support the petitioners.

The United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry Cases

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court’s verdicts in two cases –the United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry said they had invalidated two of the important anti-LGBT initiatives in the country. In the Windsor case, the court crashed with section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred same-sex marriages at the state level (Prince). In the Perry case, the court concluded a petition led by the advocates of Proposition 8 which was challenging a state-run referendum outcome that was done and passed in 2008 that annulled the right and freedom to marry same-gender duos in California.

The court was considering permitting same gender to get married in the United States. Writing for the 5 to 4 majority, Anthony Kennedy said that marriage was a fundamental right that all couples should be permitted to under the Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution, which as long as equal safety to all citizens under the law (Human Rights Campaign). The June 26, 2015, Supreme Court Ruling: The Supreme Court’s decision was a victory for same-sex couples in the U.S.

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Conclusion

The new century of same-sex marriage was celebrated when a court in Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage through a court ruling. Constitutional concepts hold that same-sex couples should be treated equally, just like heterosexual couples. The Supreme Court of the United States adopted the argument following the Obergefell v. Hodges case decision held in June 2015. The debates that resulted in the ballot revolved around whether marriage should be defined legally as the union between one male and one female or just the union of two people regardless of their sex. However, the 2015 United States Supreme Court overturned same-sex marriage bans in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Works Cited

FindLaw. “History of Same-Sex Marriage Law in the United States.Findlaw. 2018. Web.

Human Rights Campaign. “The Journey to Marriage Equality in the United States.HRC, 2019. Web.

Jaeger-Fine, Toni. “Marriage Equality in the United States: A Look at Obergefell and Beyond.” Revista de Investigações Constitucionais, vol. 3, no. 1. 2016, p. 7. Web.

Porterfield, Jason. Marriage Equality: Obergefell v. Hodges. New York, Ny, Enslow Publishing, 2017.

Prince, Gregory A. Gay Rights and the Mormon Church: Intended Actions, Unintended Consequences. Salt Lake City, The University of Utah Press, 2019.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, December 21). Marriage Equality and Its Constitutionality. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/marriage-equality-and-its-constitutionality/

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