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Gay Marriage, Speech Example

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Today I am honored to speak to you in regards to a very important and relevant issue in modern society. Gay marriage in America is complicated and very old. There are a few major issues that get in the way of making this a government problem, as the language of the Constitution is not always clear. The language is open for many different interpretations from one justice to another. More than anything, this issue is difficult on a national level because of the powers given to the individual states in the Constitution, making gay marriage a state-by-state issue. The different views in the equal protection clause in the 5th Amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act make it impossible to ignore the issue.

In Article One of the Constitution, states are given the power to govern themselves. Currently, some of the justices who sit on the Supreme Court are very conservative and take the Constitution and its words very seriously. They are also unable to interpret the laws set forth in the Constitution in any other way. To these Justices, making gay marriage a federal issue is impossible and even more difficult to prove wrong, especially using the Bill of Rights.

On the other hand, there is a conflict between the 5th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. Originally put into place to prevent poor treatment of citizens in America and to protect freed slaves after the Civil War, these amendments support equality of all citizens, regardless of race, creed, and sexual orientation. Old-fashioned justices would view these amendments in relation to slavery, which ended in the 19th Century.

When looking at gay marriage as a federal issue, two laws come to mind: the Equal Rights Act of 1964 and the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA). Much like the 5th and 14th Amendments, the intention of the Equal Right’s Act of 1964 would be called into question, and would be viewed as a nonissue. While these clear differences exist, especially in a law called the Equal Rights Act, they are not important to many of the Supreme Court Justices (Civil Right Act, 2013).

Fast-forwarding to the landmark decision handed down earlier this year in US v. Windsor (no current citation), DOMA was brought in front of the current justices of the Supreme Court, including Obama-appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor, with one major legal question to answer— considering the law that provides straight married couples with shared financial rewards, but does not provide same-sex couples the same benefits, even in cases where they have been married by the state, according to the ACLU. The case involved a homosexual woman who was forced to pay high estate taxes after her lover had passed away, simply because she was in a same-sex relationship and not a straight union. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court agreed that DOMA’s definition of marriage as “a union between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional, according to The Oyez Project, 2013. This ruling opens the door for homosexual married couples to receive federal benefits, reducing the financial burden for many same-sex couples all across the country. After US v. Windsor, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg showed her bravery by becoming the first federal judge to perform a same-sex marriage on the steps of a federal Courthouse.

Works Cited

“American Civil Liberties Union.” American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/windsor-v-united-states-thea-edie-doma>.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/history/CivilRightsAct.cfm>.

“Transcript of the Constitution of the United States – Official Text.” Transcript of the     Constitution of the United States – Official Text. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html>.

“UNITED STATES v. WINDSOR.” United States v. Windsor. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2012/2012_12_307>.

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