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Over the years, marriage has been thought to be a private affair between two partners who express love and commitment to each other. However, this has grown to be referred to as a public institution. Marriage originates from time immemorial where the Christians profess that God created man and woman and put them in the Garden of Eden to reproduce and take care of the garden.
Therefore, the marriage institution has existed for a long time now. However, different scholars have emerged with various definitions of the term marriage. The marriage bill in the United State has had various amendments as different leaders considered it a sensitive issue in the country. The issue of gay marriage has always been brought about by lawmakers in the country since the 1970s where they advocate for legalization of the same sex marriage.
This paper brings into light several amendments to the Marriage Act where it guarantees the constitutional right of all citizens in the country. The Defense of Marriage Act is abbreviated as DOMA was enacted on September 1996 by the United States Congress. This legislation was enacted under President Bill Clinton, and it recognizes the marriage institution. According to DOMA, marriage refers to a union between a man and a woman that is legal under law that give the right of each partner in the marriage.
However, the law does not acknowledge the existence of the same sex marriage, and this has brought about legal cases to the government by aggrieved parties. The act signed into law by President Clinton raised a lot of questions about the Marriage Act where different lawmakers failed to acknowledge homosexual marriages under the law. The failure to recognize same sex marriage brought a lot of legal action to the government by aggrieved parties (Perkins, 2).
Definition of key terms
Federal law refers to a state regulation of Acts that each citizen is supposed to follow without fail. The Federal bills are passed by the Congress and signed by the President before being gazetted into law.
The laws provide guidelines of how citizens should carry themselves under the legal framework of the given country. The law protects the citizen from arbitration or any breach of their right and freedom either by the state or any citizen (Cott, 73). Marriage can be defined as a legal union between two individuals who express love and commitment to each other.
The union is recognized under the country’s legal framework as a binding agreement where benefits to both individuals are paramount. Under a common law, marriage is a legal union between a man and woman who come together to express love, sacrifice and commitment to each other under the law. This union is guarded by a legal document signed by the couple in front of a witness. There are different kinds of marriage that exist. This includes the Christian marriage that permits only one man and woman to have a marriage union.
The other kinds of marriage include civil union, which is officiated by the Attorney General. Over the years, debate about legalizing the same sex marriage had challenges following what is seen as a breach of the public view on the moral standards and especially in the church and family setting. In the past, most churches could not ordain gay priests as they were considered to have gone against the Biblical teachings.
Criteria for value judgement
Under the DOMA agreement enacted on September 1996, no state or even political subdivision can recognize same sex marriage for federal reasons including benefits to government employees or even social security for survivors’ benefits (Perkins, 2). Under the Clinton government, the law was put in the letter, and this raised a lot of questions and cases castigated towards the government.
As the government tried to criminalize homosexuality in the country, the homosexuality conduct law brought a case of Lawrence and Texas in 2003. The case was a follow up of the country in a move to overturn any same sex marriage where the parties to the marriage had no right under the law to conduct such an act.
The case was decided that brought power to the gay rights community in the state of Texas. The sodomy laws had criminalized many gay and lesbian couples before the Lawrence v Texas case in June 2003, which overturned the implications that the same sex marriage couple suffered under the sodomy laws. Before this case was brought out into the public domain, the homosexuals had been criminalized for their acts.
The same sex marriage law had extended to the military where the soldiers were not supposed to indulge in these acts. The law also sought to remove the children from their lesbian mothers’ home as a justification of these harsh laws against gay marriage. The Texas case impacted on the Marriage Bill in that the exclusion of gays from the military was now seen as a breach of their right to join the army and serve in the country’s military as they deemed fit (Duncan, 623-663).
Application of the criteria
In declaring the sodomy law unconstitutional in the country, the court that ruled the Lawrence v Texas case the court sought clarification of the Georgia sodomy statute that banned the same sex marriage in the country (Chauncey, 509-538).
Sodomy laws were thought to be the ideological, but they never considered the rights of the rising outcry by the gay community that sought the court orders to deem their marriage fit under the law. The anti-gay legislations that were eminent before had to be criticized to enable the observation of the rights of the different people who wanted to indulge in same sex marriages and relationships.
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Following the election of President Obama into power, the Congress was mandated to look into the matter regarding same sex marriage and whether to legalize the union of the same sex partners. The DOMA act that was signed by President Clinton had to be investigated to allow for more public opinion about the same sex marriage in the country. The Massachusetts court granted several follow up with the same sex marriage bills seeking to allow for civil union of the same sex couple in the country.
The Supreme Court held meetings to discuss the implication of legalizing the same sex marriage, and various issues were raised that necessitated the need to legalize the bill into law. By the year 2009, most states had legalized the same sex marriage and started to issue certificates to the couples. States like California legalized the same sex marriage, and it was seen as a win for the gay community as their constitutional rights were finally recognized and considered (Condit and Lucaites, 56).
The anti same sex marriage laws has over the years seen as abusing the constitutional right of many citizens in the United States. The law criminalizes against gay and lesbian marriages. However, the trend seems to be changing with many people coming out to declare their sexuality. This has led to the public outcry to amend some of these laws. The sodomy law in the State of Texas was criminalizing gay couples and made it difficult for the gay community to serve in the military.
Chauncey, George. “What Gay Studies Taught the Court: The Historians’ Amicus Brief in Lawrence v. Texas.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 10.3 (2004): 509-538. Print.
Condit, Celeste and John Louis Lucaites. Crafting Equality: America’s Anglo-African Word. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. Print.
Cott, Nancy. Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University, Press, 2000. Print.
Duncan, William. “The Litigation to Redefine Marriage: Equality and Social Meaning.” BYU, Journal of Public Law, 18 (2004): 623-663. Print.
Perkins, James. Defense of Marriage: Does It Need Defending? New York: Novinka Books, 2004. Print.