Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages

Essay by st_mikolUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

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Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages

Today one of the most advocated reforms discussed in law reviews and one of the most explosive political questions facing lawmakers is the issue of legalizing same-sex unions. If same-sex marriage is legalized, it could be one of the most revolutionary policy decisions in the history of American family law. The potential consequences, positive and negative, for children, parents, same-sex couples and families are enormous.

"Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus Deluxe Edition" defines marriage as, "the act of marrying or the ceremony entered into by a man and woman so as to live together as husband and wife." This definition has been the foundation of our culture and the cornerstone of the "traditional concept of family." Homosexual activists would like to modify the definition to include same-sex partners; making the act of marriage a simple civil contract between two individuals regardless of their sex. Marriage, however, is much more than merely a simple contract or a vow to love one another.

The act of marriage entails legally imposed financial responsibility and legally authorized financial benefits.

Registered partnerships recognize a same-sex partnership at a national level entailing most but not all of the benefits and hardships of a civil marriage and requires a preliminary affirmation of the relationship by a government authority. A domestic partnership is recognition by a local or provincial jurisdiction, including businesses and corporations. Obviously, a union to grant benefits to same-sex couples does not carry the same weight as recognition by the government of that relationship. There are currently 21 states without marriage recognition laws and 29 states that do have marriage recognition laws.

Married couples have certain benefits that are denied to single people or to people in non-marital situations. Some of these benefits or rights are:

1. Right to joint custody of...