A Step Towards Justice

Posted on behalf of Tyler Mastin.

On February 5, 2014, Time Magazine published an article stating that the United States Department of Justice has stated that it is in the process of eliminating legal distinctions between straight and same-sex couples in the federal criminal justice system. This would ensure that gay Americans have the same rights as heterosexual couples when filing bankruptcy, testifying in court or visiting partners in prison.

Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages,”

This is one of the major steps for equality nation wide since the United States Supreme Court decision of Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013). Now after the the ruling, Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in some jurisdictions within the United States and by the federal government. As of January 2014, seventeen states, (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized same-sex marriage. But where does this lead the United States in future, on the issue of same-sex marriages on the national level?

I, like most pro-marriage equality people believe that same-sex marriage should be adopted to the United States Constitution in the fourteenth amendment in section one. Which states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It say it there right in the amendment that no citizen born or naturalized have the state in which they live in deprive said person of life, liberty, and equal protection of the law.

Even within the United States Declaration of Independence its even stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” So if all men (and women) are created equal, why is it that some American are denied the happiness? Has the basic fundamental and unalienable rights that every American, be it man or women, black or white, gay or straight, ceased to apply to every American, but now only apply to those seen to be “normal”? It is time we as American take a stand against what society pegs to be “normal” and redefine the way we look at equality in America. Do it not for us living today but do it for the future. We must not change the laws and peoples outlooks because it should be done, we must change because it has to be done.

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"What is to give light must endure burning." - Vikto E. Frankl
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3 Responses to A Step Towards Justice

  1. amkavana says:

    For exactly this reason, I have never understood why marriage is series of state-based laws at all. I remember once talking about it, and I explained that, to me, marriage is something that developed out of religion, and that the argument against same-sex marriage is, essentially, one of religion. Separation of Church and State is not a particularly difficult concept to grasp, but in practice there seems to be a lot of grey area.

    I myself grew up in a Christian household, and while I myself am a supporter of gay marriage, I am quite familiar with the rationale of those who are not. My question, then, is why is that the law’s business? Answer: Its not, or at least it shouldn’t be. Whether or not two men or two women wanting to share their lives together is right or wrong in the eyes of God is frankly none of our business, and least of all’s the courts’ business.

    That being said, it is not a perfect system, and for as long as the legal system is involved in the religious and personal happenings of marriage, I am glad the federal government is, as you stated, taking a step towards justice – a step in the right direction.

    • Harmon Gale says:

      The state gets involved in marriage for taxation purposes; you can declare a spouse as a dependent and receive a deduction, for example. But I see no reason why a similar system can’t be implemented for same-sex couples. As you say, marriage is between you and your God. The state has no right business marriage.

  2. darrian01 says:

    I agree to all individuals having the right to choose their spouse without the government getting involved. It is not up to man to judge whether or not marriage between a man and woman or woman and woman is right or not, it all depends on the people. Gay couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual couples and by not granting them the ability to live their life the way they see fit is wrong and unjust.

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