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Current Issue in Federalism Essay

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Updated: Apr 12th, 2019

Throughout the world’s history, conflicts have emerged on how to unite state and federal powers within one system of governance. To date, several controversies indicate how these conflicts continue. This paper examines the current federal issue of the same-sex marriage, its pros and cons, and my own opinion regarding the best power division.

Same-sex marriage was once a concern for individual states, but currently it is emerging as a federal issue. This has triggered the debate to shift from the state courts and legislatures to the federal courts with the interest groups looking for the best platform to present their case.

Earlier, the federal government was prohibited to legalize same-sex marriage by the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, state governments were also included. However, as from 2004, states began legalizing it.

Relative to the advantages, federal involvement on same-sex marriage can promote individualism. This will help with accommodation of interests of the bigger majority like culture, style, or language (Bond & Smith, p. 76).

However, state government is better placed to enhance policy positions that are specific to its area and needs of its constituents. On the other hand, federal government formulates policies that cater for the majority in order to create a balance between the states. Next, it will allow for experimentation of various laws and policies across different states.

In regard to the disadvantages, federal government involvement in the same-sex marriage has contributed to various challenges. First and foremost, conflicts have erupted between states due to different policies pertaining same-sex marriage (Bond & Smith, p. 86). Different states develop their own individual customs and culture pertaining to same-sex marriage.

Every time one crosses a state boundary he or she is bound by different laws and policies. Therefore, it is challenging for the federal government to come up with a strong policy as the states are often divided on the issue. Secondly, this has an adverse effect on the economy.

The central government is responsible for handling the overall economy although each state has its unique economy. Same-sex marriage faces huge economic disparities, as opposed to heterosexual marriages. Same-sex couples are not legitimately recognized as married couples. In this case, they are not entitled to some of the states’ or federal government benefits such as exemption from taxes like the heterosexual couples.

For instance, a heterosexual spouse is not subjected to taxation in inheritance cases from his or her deceased partner whereas a same-sex couple is subjected taxation. Furthermore, federalism has led to the growth of inequality mostly among the minority groups. This leads to mental problems such as stress due to stigmatization.

Studies from various states prohibiting same-sex marriages have revealed that the majority of same-sex couples exhibited mental heath problems. This was attributed to minority stress resulting from stigmatization of the minority groups and psychological distress.

Moreover, the negative campaign associated with its ban is what increased the stress. Apart from the mental health problem, the ban on same-sex marriage leads to other physical health problems. For instance, its ban is said to have triggered an increase in HIV infection in some states.

Finally, the division of power between federal and state government based on confederation is the best. In this case, the federal government receives direct grant power from the states government, but not from the citizens (Bond & Smith, p. 73).

This would allow for optimum resource utilization and formulation of policies. As mentioned, state government is better placed to handle local needs. Thus, the federal government would be best suited for international issues and defense.

Works Cited

Bond, Jon R. & K.B. Smith. The Promise and Performance of American Democracy. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education, 2008. Print.

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