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Hot Button: Same-Sex Marriage

It's February and we're looking at the role of politics in love — starting with a peek at same-sex marriage. Traditionally, marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman. As gay people gain acceptance in society, voices calling for same-sex marriage have grown louder. At the same time, those who want to prohibit legalization are strongly voicing their opinions.

Arguments made by the conflicting sides include:

For Same-Sex Marriage:

  • Denying marriage is minority discrimination.
  • Homosexuality has a proven biological causation.
  • Same-sex marriage does not hurt anyone in particular.
  • Same-sex marriage encourages family values and stability.
  • Against Same-Sex Marriage:

  • Most religions consider homosexuality a sin.
  • Same-sex marriage will weaken respect for marriage, family values.
  • Same-sex marriage would lead to a slippery slope (e.g. multiple wives).
  • Same-sex marriage would encourage a gay lifestyle.
  • Should we allow gay couples to marry? For a brief recap of where the laws stand now


    Despite growing mainstream acceptance of gay people, they still cannot legally marry in almost every state. But they are gaining rights, as some states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

    In 1996 Congress passed The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. DOMA means that same-sex couples joined in civil unions still do not get all the same benefits as married couples. About 40 other states have passed laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Back in 2004, San Francisco issued marriage licenses in defiance of the California law.

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