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Gay Marriage in America, Research Proposal Example

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Research Proposal

My reason for choosing this topic is due to the on-going debates over gay marriage or same-sex marriage in the United States. Almost every single day, the headlines of major U.S. newspapers proclaim that gay marriage has been either legalized or banned in many U.S. states, such as the recent decision in New Mexico which legalized same-sex marriage.

Another reason is that I feel that gay marriage should be legal in all U.S. states, due to sensing that gay people do not have a choice related to being either gay or straight, meaning that they are born as they are which in my estimation gives them the right to live a happy life with a person that they love, much like a traditional husband and wife union.

Overall, I hope that the proposed research paper will help to change the attitudes of many Americans (especially young college and university students) related to gay marriage. As noted on the Pew Charitable Trusts website, President Barack Obama recently gave his support for gay marriage rights and as of 2012, the American public’s view on gay marriage “has changed over the past several decades with growing support.” Statistically, 57% of Americans were opposed to gay marriage in 2001, but today, “the public is about evenly split with 47% in favor and 43% opposed” (Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage, 2012). One reason for this increase in support to due to generational changes in attitudes. According to the Pew Research Center, “Younger generations express higher levels of support for same-sex marriage” and as so-called “Millennials” are more than twice as likely as members of the Baby Boomer generation to support same-sex marriage (Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage, 2012).

Thus, the general audience for the proposed research paper is older Americans whose attitudes on same-sex marriage have not significantly altered over the past thirty years. But of course, because of the almost daily deluge of newspaper and magazine articles on gay marriage in America and the occasional TV news program on the pros and cons of same-sex marriage, many older Americans have altered their views on the subject. However, religious conservatives continue to cling to old ideas regarding traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, this rather large group of Americans is also part of the audience for the proposed paper.

Currently, the subject of gay marriage has split the American political scene nearly in half via Republicans holding out against gay marriage rights and a majority of Democrats showing their support for it. Although there have been initiatives proposed by the U.S. federal government, most of the political activity occurs at the state level. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, many state legislatures are now “deeply involved in the public debates about how to define marriage and whether the official recognition of marriage should be limited to relationships involving one man and one woman,” rather than same-sex marriage unions. As might be suspected, state legislatures “have gone both ways in this debate” related to defending traditional marriage or “adopting laws allowing same sex marriage” (Defining Marriage: Defense of Marriage Acts and Same-Sex Marriage Laws, 2013).

The main area of conflict appears to be whether marriage refers to a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” or the union of two adults of the same sex or gender. As of 2013, twenty-nine states have mandated in their constitutions that marriage is between a man and a woman; in contrast, thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex marriages. At the state courts level, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa have ruled that “same-sex couples be accorded the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples” (Defining Marriage: Defense of Marriage Acts and Same-Sex Marriage Laws, 2013).

Personally, I define marriage as a legal union between two consenting adults, whether a man and a woman as husband and wife or two gay individuals, either male or female. But traditionally, marriage is only allowed between a man and a woman which is based on religious beliefs that can be traced back to the Old Testament in the Holy Bible. However, because of the great changes that have occurred in the United States over the last thirty years or so related to civil rights, this old attitude is slowly falling by the wayside via an increasing majority of Americans who feel that same-sex marriage should be a legal right.

My own analysis of this issue is quite simple–that legal adults should be allowed to live their own lives as they see fit and that the moral and ethical attitudes and beliefs of others must not restrict them from living their own chosen lifestyles. However, because of the continuing influence of religion and conservatism in American society, making it nationally legal for two male or female adults to live as a legal couple may not occur anytime soon.

Therefore, the tentative thesis for the proposed research paper is that gay or same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 U.S. states and at the federal level, due to the fact that gay Americans are entitled to the same rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as straight or non-homosexual Americans regardless of the outdated attitudes and viewpoints of religious conservative Americans.

References

Changing attitudes on gay marriage. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_report_detail.aspx?id=85899386382

Defining marriage: Defense of marriage acts and same-sex marriage laws. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/human-services/same-sex-     marriage-overview.aspx

Gay Marriage and Homosexuality. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/gay-marriage-and-homosexuality

Sullivan, A. (2004). Same-sex marriage pro and con: A reader. New York: Random House Publishers.

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