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Sample Research Paper on Gay Marriage: Legalize Gay Marriage

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Gay marriage has divided the American people over the past few years. Yet such a sharp divide is a very recent occurrence. Only a decade ago, gay marriage was nil but an afterthought on the plates of many U.S. leaders. Liberal Democrats like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton did not even support or condone the idea that gays should be able to marry. Yet the turn of the century brought new life and perspective into this issue, and at this moment, a substantial majority of the American public actually support gay marriage

The Supreme Court recently heard cases pertaining to the issue and will make its decision on the matter in the coming months. In the meantime, however, professors from across the country have been assigning students argumentative essays on gay marriage. Check out this sample research paper in support of gay marriage for information on this legally complex and important issue.

“Liberty and justice for all?”

Francis Bellamy certainly could not have possibly imagined the profound weight of the words he penned many years ago. Across the country, citizens of the United States pledge this verse with their hands over their hearts, facing the flag of the nation that represents and upholds these ideals. Yet discriminatory liberties and unequal freedoms are plentiful, often running amok throughout the United States. From the African-Americans to gays, minorities have struggled to find their voice (and their rights) in America; however, these groups have still found a way to progressively alter public conceptualization of their place in society. What is the question of same-sex marriage if not a direct request to have these uniquely American values defended? Allowing gays to marry is a critical step this country needs to take in order to progress culturally, economically, and globally as leaders in a more tolerant and peaceful world.

Man waves gay pride flag outside Supreme CourtSource: WC
As Supreme Court justices deliberate legalizing gay marriage, a man waves a gay pride flag in Stanton Park as shown in this 2015 photo.
Man waves gay pride flag outside Supreme Court.

The legal definition of marriage: Why rely on the Bible?

The most fundamental issue when addressing same-sex marriage is the definition of marriage itself. A universally accepted definition has yet to be established because marriage is a delicate entanglement of personal intimacy and public declaration. Above all, we as a society tend to value our freedom to choose the one we marry based on romance and compatibility—an instinctual desire to love and be loved. We have largely developed the concept of marriage to include a formal union that joins a man and a woman who desire to be considered one entity under the law (Poulter). This definition is precise and reflects the perception put forth by Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

Therefore, much of the opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in the Bible and its ethical code. Dr. James Dobson, an anti-gay marriage advocate and evangelical Christian psychologist and author, frequently references the Bible as the foundation for his argument. This reflects his biggest concern about the legalization of same-sex marriage: the demoralizing of marriage as an institution. He claims that “marriage [would be] reduced to something of a partnership that provides attractive benefits and sexual convenience, but [could not] offer the intimacy described in Genesis.” Dobson’s opinion represents that of many right-wing evangelicals. The moral implications of same-sex marriage are ethically perverse and would only pave the way for additional sexual promiscuity (Dobson). What they fail to distinguish, however, is the fundamental difference between Canon and Common law. The United States has always differentiated between church and state; therefore, the Constitution and the Bible are not, in this country, lawfully equivalent. Because of our first amendment rights to freedom of religion, not everyone has to believe in God and thereby abide by His rules.

Can gay marriage split the GOP?

An additional—and powerful—source of same-sex marriage support comes from the somewhat surprising field of business. As Supreme Court oral arguments commence, many businesses have begun to voice their advocacy. Because some states have legalized the unions of homosexual couples, the payroll systems and different tax treatments become a legal headache for employers. Section three of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) restricts gay couples from over one thousand federal benefits, including the right to file a joint tax return. What is even more perplexing is a 2007 study that found the average married gay worker paid over $1,000 more in taxes than his straight contemporary. The red tape surrounding these legal complexities have led more than fifty businesses and chambers of commerce nationwide to be signatories on an open letter to endorse the legalization of same sex marriage (“Stonewall”). And according to noted NPR commentator and proponent of gay rights Jonathon Rauch, it would have human asset significance as well: “By supporting and reinforcing the care-giving commitment, each marriage, gay no less than straight, creates social capital for the whole community.”

It is a known sociological and anthropological fact that societies are fluid and dynamic. Cultural shifts are inevitable—social norms evolve and conform accordingly. Our founding fathers recognized this and planned appropriately by constructing the framework of our government to aptly deal with changes in societal norms and ideologies. History tells us change is like eating your vegetables—met first by resistance and then swallowed with time. I believe that this is why the issue of same-sex marriage is not only significant in terms of tolerance and civil liberties, but also for future sociocultural questions that deal with the changing mentality regarding relationships and love. Traditional values do not need to be compromised, only progressively reinforced and altered if necessary. For that reason alone, gay Americans should have the constitutional ability to marry. 

7/5/2015 Update: The supreme court ruled in June of 2015 that denying same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This ruling established gay marriage as legal in all fifty states. However, the ruling did not stop states from trying to disobey the court order by denying marriage licenses. For example, a local county marriage clerk from Kansas, Kim Davis, was caught on video denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple. It stirred a nationwide debate regarding the supreme court's ruling. 

Works Cited

Dobson, James C., Dr. "The State of Our Unions." Introduction. Marriage under Fire: Why We Must Win This War. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah, 2004. 4-6. Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <www.mnmarriage.com>.

"From Stonewall to payroll; Business and gay rights." The Economist [US] 9 Mar. 2013: 66(US). General OneFile. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

Poulter, Sebastian. "The Definition of Marriage in English Law." Modern Law Review 42.4 (1979): 409-29. Wiley Online Library, 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.

Rauch, Jonathon. “Campaigns for and Against Same-Sex Marriage” Los Angeles Times 26 Oct. 2008, Opinion sec: n. pag. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.

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