Free Essay Sample «The Defense of Marriage Act and Same-Sex Marriages »

Over the past few decades, the problem of same-sex marriage has become quite acute in many countries including the United States. Gays and lesbians believe that they have the right to the legalization of their marriages and protection of their rights by the government. The issue of same-sex marriage is of interest to many people who demonstrate either negative or positive view concerning the possibility of its legalization and providing same-sex couples with all the rights enjoyed by traditional marriages. On June 26, 2013, in Washington, the Supreme Court ruled that "the Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional" (Reilly & Siddiqui, 2013). The emphasis was made on the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the right of all citizens to "the equal protection of the laws" ("US Constitution - 5th and 14th Amendments", n.d). Given the complexity of the issue and the ambiguity of its evaluation, it makes sense to conduct an independent investigation of the problem and suggest that the Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the US Constitution.

To begin with, according to the U.S. Constitution, every U.S. citizen has the right to the equal protection not only of the laws, but also personal freedom ("US Constitution - 5th and 14th Amendments", n.d). Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the US Constitution regarding the rights of gays and lesbians to have their marriages legalized since marriage is the result of human freedom to choose a mate. However, one should take into account the period of creation of the U.S. Constitution as its social and philosophical ideas greatly influenced the amendments to the Constitution. In particular, the U.S. Constitution reflects the traditional view of marriage considering it as a union between a man and a woman. The Constitution was adopted at a time when the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriages simply did not exist in the society. Marriage was originally considered to be a union between a man and a woman with the aim to give birth to children together. For this reason, to believe that the U.S. Constitution violates the rights of gays and lesbians seems to be unreasonable since the original Constitution reflected the prevailing conception of marriage as an opposite-sex marriage. The developers of the Constitution did not thought about the issue; therefore, at the time of its creation, the document looked quite deliberate. Currently, when researchers try to point out the fact that the Constitution violates the rights of homosexuals to create a legal family, they do not take into account the point that the Constitution did not consider this question and reflected the conventional idea of marriage. In this regard, the Defense of Marriage Act looks rather convincing since it appeals to the traditional concept of marriage, which is covertly presented in the U.S. Constitution. One also needs to indicate the fact that the U.S. Constitution does not demonstrate a clear and concise concept of marriage. The Constitution is a set of basic rules and safeguards for the rights of the U.S. citizens, but given the fact that it does not fix a specific concept of marriage, it causes doubt regarding the validity of the accusations against the Defense of Marriage Act.

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On the other hand, as noted by Reinheimer (2013), the concept of opposite-sex marriage cannot be seen as immutable since as well as the concepts of gender and male and female roles, it interacts with various social stereotypes and can change over time. Consequently, the situation doubts the absolute truth of an idea that only opposite-sex marriage should be considered as normal and does not violate social norms. As one can see, each of the opposing sides can bring its own quite logical arguments. In favor of the supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act, one may also indicate the fact that marriage itself is a particularly important basis of social organization, which means that attitude towards it should be determined by certain limits and rules. In addition, one needs to keep in mind that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to preservation of freedom and dignity for all citizens and not individuals. Given that the United States is a religious country in which every believer does not agree with the legalization of same-sex marriage, not the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court can be seen as an intruder of the foundations of the American Constitution. Indeed, if to ignore the opinions of the majority in favor of the minority, then would not that demonstrate the violation of the rights to freedom and dignity for the majority?

The solution to this problem is complex and requires further analysis and research. The question of whether the Defense of Marriage Act violates the U.S. Constitution regarding the rights of homosexuals to formalize their marriages should take into account the fact that during the writing of the Constitution, the problem of same-sex marriages did not exist in the open form. The developers of the document were guided by the traditional understanding of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The current Constitution does not contain the concept of marriage as a union between homosexuals; there is no such a notion of marriage, which would initially justify same-sex marriage. Furthermore, if to think that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the right of homosexuals to the preservation of freedom, dignity, and the protection of the laws, does that mean that the legalization of gay marriage will not violate similar rights of the majority of the U.S. population? One should not forget that the U.S. has a large number of believers who consider the legalization of same-sex marriages as an attack on their human dignity, which the US Constitution also should protect.


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