Essay, Research Paper: Same Sex Marriages

Sexuality

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Imagine you have fallen in love with the person of your dreams, and the two of
you have discussed it and have decided to get married. Now imagine that the
person you wish to marry is of a different race. It wouldn't be a big deal,
right? Well, if this situation had occurred about 50 years ago, it would have
been a huge deal. Just a generation ago, many states banned mixed marriages.
Seems absurd, doesn't it? Discriminating against an individual like that because
of the color of their skin? This is a situation in America that I am sure all of
you are familiar with, and most all of us I am sure agree that just because a
person has different colored skin does not make them any different on the
inside. We don’t discriminate against minorities because of their color of
their skin, so why is it that we now discriminate against gays and lesbians
because of what is in their hearts? It is the same type of discrimination, and
it needs to be stopped. How do we go about doing that, you ask? Don't worry, I
am not going to be unrealistic and ask you to become a gay-rights activist and
make supporters of all of your friends and family. I am just going to ask you to
do your small part to help give homosexuals the ability to marry. It is unfair
to deny them this right, and together we need to act in order to give them this
right, this equality, that they deserve. As I have told you all in my last two
speeches, there are legal rights and benefits that come with marriage that
homosexuals are being denied. According to the American Civil Liberties Union,
many of the benefits of marriage that homosexuals are denied include: government
benefits like Social Security and Medicare; hospital visitation rights; special
rates and exemptions on tax returns; joint child custody; joint insurance
policies; automatic inheritance in the absence of a will; making medical
decisions on a partner's behalf; and choosing a final resting place for a
deceased partner. While none of these are reasons to get married, they are all
benefits and perks that homosexuals should not be denied simply because of their
choice of a partner. They are rights that homosexuals are entitled to and
deserve, and are rights that they would be able to benefit from if same-sex
marriages were legalized. When you put yourself in their shoes, as I have had
you do in my past speeches, it is clear to see that they deserve these rights as
much as heterosexual couples do, and that their choice of partner should not
affect these basic rights. I am sure you are all still asking yourselves just
how YOU can make a difference. Well, you could become active in a gay-rights
group, you could organize a rally in Red Square, you could even collect
signatures and attempt to gain enough support to put the issue on the ballot for
the next elections. But let’s be realistic here. We are all students, and are
busy with the stress of finals and even graduation for some. The minute that
school ends, all we are going to be thinking about is laying out in the sun,
taking advantage of three months (or even the rest of your lives) without
homework. So who has the time or energy to do any of the things I just
suggested? That is why I am just going to ask you to become a supporter by
signing a document called the "Marriage Resolution." This is a
resolution formed and monitored by a group called The Lambda Legal Defense and
Education Fund. The marriage resolution, according to the Partner’s Task Force
for Gay and Lesbian Couples, reads as follows: "Because marriage is a basic
human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the State should not
interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and
equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage."
According to Evan Wolfson, the Director of the Marriage Project of the Lambda
Legal Defense and Education Fund, the resolution is aimed to: help promote the
necessary discussion and awareness of our equal marriage rights among gay and
non-gay people; collect signatures and supporters as evidence of a growing
coalition; and give people a tool and a task in building that coalition and
approaching others. It is a tool to reach out and gather support from the
American population, support that they can later gather and use with the
government in order to legalize same-sex marriages. This is the most practical
solution in our situation because it is so easily done and it takes mere minutes
to complete the form. Once the form is signed, the work of putting it to use is
handed over to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. It will not take
time away from studying for your finals, celebrating your graduation, or
enjoying your summer break. You simply show your support and let the
professionals do what needs to be done with it. To partake in this resolution,
all you have to do is sign the piece of paper I will later hand out to you and
the end of my speech, and I will mail it out to the Lambda Legal Defense group.
Your commitment ends there. They are compiling all the names of those who sign
their resolution and will take the appropriate legal steps when the time comes.
I am sure there are those of you out there wondering why the heck you should
bother signing, because you probably feel as if it doesn’t affect you at all.
However, this is not the case. I am sure all of you either do or will know
someone who is gay, whether it be a friend, family member, co-worker, or even
fellow student. According to the survey that 15 of you filled out completely,
73% of you said you would be supportive of this individual and their choice of a
partner, while the remaining 27% were unsure as to how you would react. Not a
single individual said they would not be supportive. But in order to support
someone, doesn’t that mean supporting what it is that makes them happy? And if
marriage is what makes them happy, wouldn’t you want to support them in it?
The National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law put it quite well when they said
"as activists...you...have a critical role in preparing the groundwork NOW
for when this issue comes to your home state, as it will. This landmark civil
rights battle cannot be left just to lawyers...every state, every gay person,
every person who cares about equality will be called upon to defend [these]
rights." I know many of you have religious issues with the idea of
homosexuality that may make this difficult for you. In fact, according to my
survey, almost half of you do not religiously support it. That is why the
Marriage Resolution is the perfect thing for you to support. You are not
campaigning to have same-sex marriages legalized, nor are you being asked to
make a choice on a ballot. Not yet at least. All you are doing is signing a
piece of paper that says you do not believe the state should be interfere with
the wishes of same-gender couples who wish to marry. This is a way of showing
your support for your friend and loved one without having to actually go out and
make marriage legal for them. It does not necessarily mean that you want to
legalize same-sex marriages, only that you do not believe it is an issue that
the State should interfere with. This is the resolution I am asking you to sign.
If you return it to me by the end of our speech rounds, I will send it off to
the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. While this alone may not legalize
same-sex marriages, it shows the support and is a step in the right direction.
Not only will the Lambda group see your support, but so will those close to you
or those you will meet who are fighting for the right to marry the partner they
love so much. Hopefully one day we will realize the discrimination involved with
denying same-sex marriages, and will eventually view it the same way we view
mixed marriages. What I am asking you to do is simple, yet it will prove to be
invaluable to those fighting for it. So please, take the two minutes it takes to
fill it out, and show your support. Thank you.

Bibliography(1996). Legal Equality of Lesbian and Gay Individuals: The Right To Marry.
American Civil Liberties Union Online. 27 paragraphs. Available: http://www.aclu.org/congress/gaywed.html
[2000, May 22]. (no author given). (2000). The Marriage Resolution–sign-up
form. Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. 3 paragraphs. Available:
http://www.buddybuddy.com/lldef-4.html. [2000, May 22]. (no author given).
(2000). Fighting to Win and Keep the Freedom to Marry: The legal, Political, and
Cultural Challenges Ahead. National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law Online.
234 paragraphs. Available: http://metalab.unc.edu/gaylaw/issue2/wolfson.html.
[2000, May 22] Wolfson, Evan. (1999). Winning and Keeping the Freedom to Marry
for Same-Sex Couples. Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples. 26
paragraphs. Available: http://www.eskimo.com/~demian/wolfson1.html. [2000, May
22].
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