On May18, 1970 two students, named Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell,applied to county clerk, Gerald Nelson, for a marriage license. Nelsondenied the application because both applicants were men. Nelson didn’t agreewith same-sex marriage. Baker and McConnell sued Nelson. They claimed that Minnesota law made no mention of gender in theirmarriage laws.
The court was not impressed with the argument and agreed withNelson, the county clerk. When Baker and McConnell took the case to theSupreme Court, they got rejected again. Baker v. Nelson had been used in otherstates as a way to block efforts of marriage equality and same-sex marriage.The Hawaii Supreme Court rules a legislation that states that they cannot denysame-sex couples the right to marriage, unless they have a reasonable andcompelling reason to do so. The legislation later gets denied and an amendmentis passed that bans same-sex marriages. OnSeptember 21, 1996 President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.
TheDefense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defined marriage as a heterosexual couple,meaning between one man and one woman. It also allowed states to not allowhomosexual couples to be married in their state, although they were married inanother state. The Utah governor was the first state to sign the Defense ofMarriage Statute into their law. On May 30,2000 United States rabbis approved gay partnership.
The President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, RabbiCharles Kroloff, said that “gay and lesbian people deserved the recognition andrespect due to people created in the image of God.” Belgiumwas the second country, before the United States, to legalize same-sex marriageacross their country. NewYork, one of United States most populated cities, ruled in favor of same-sexmarriage. They claimed that it was unconstitutional todeny equal rights to those asking for union in marriage.
Same-sex marriage was legally allowed in the United States ofAmerica on June 26, 2015. Somecountries, like Italy and Mexico, still deny same-sex couples to get legallymarried. Because of this large controversy, it is apopular topic up for debate. InMartha Nussbaum’s article, “A Right to Marry? Same-sex Marriage andConstitutional Law,” Nussbaum thoroughly explains gay marriage and theconstitutional view to it.
Nussbaum starts by defining marriage. Shedefines marriage as “no single thing,” almost as if it was a concept. Then she states that the statute of marriage supports severalaspects of human life: sexual relations, friendship and companionship, love,conversation, procreation and childrearing, mutual responsibility. Marriages can not exist without each of these.” Nussbaum then informs that states have granted marriage licensesto those couples who are sterile, do not love each other, or do not plan on havingkids.
If a marriage does not have all the componentsit should have, then why do they get their marriage license? Nussbaum introducesthree aspects of marriage: civil rights, expressive and religious. The civil rights aspect deals with government and its effect onmarriage. Government “confers and administers benefits.”She argues that just about anyone can get married: rapists, murders, convictedfelons, as long as they are the opposite sex. Theexpressive aspect relates to the statement of love and commitment the couplemakes with witnesses present.
Lastly,the religious aspect deals with being accepted by relevant authorities in theirreligion. According to Nussbaum, the debate is mostlyabout the expressive aspect. Sheasks some questions to think about: “Who has this liberty/equality right tomarry? And what reasons are strong enough to override it?” James W. Skillen’s article, “Same-sex “Marriage” Is Not a Civil Right,”denies same-sex marriage. BecauseSkillen only says “same-sex marriage” twice throughout the article, it makesthe readers know that his thoughts on this are very dissenting.
Both times, he puts the word, “marriage,” in quotation marks whichshows the readers that the marriage aspect of a same-sex relationship is a hoax. It is a concept. Heclaims that the Constitution says nothing about what constitutes marriage. Skillen’s argument is based on the fact that a homosexualrelationship can not procreate children. Havingsex will not lead to pregnancy.
Becausethey can not get pregnant or make a child, their marriage is invalid. A homosexual relationship can not get granted their marriagelicense because of their inability to reproduce. Heexpresses his view on same-sex marriage by claiming that the government will”mistakenly use the word ‘marriage’ to refer to two different kinds of sexuallyintimate human relationships.” Inother words, any two people being intimate with each other can be married. Skillen mocks the social effects if same-sex marriage waslegalized by explicitly stating that if a mother and son decided to go to thecourt and get married, they would the license granted because there aren’t anylegal grounds to say against it. Hecompares a homosexual relationship to that of a father and daughter. Incontrast, both authors have different ways to communicate with the reader.
While Nussbaum is pro-same-sex marriage, Skillen is not. Skillen believes that a homosexual relationship can never beconsidered “married.”Because of his use of quotation marks and statements, the reader understandsSkillen’s thoughts. On the other hand, Nussbaum takes her timeexplaining everything there is to know about marriage. She first goes into the three aspects of marriage. Then, she covers the difference between a “normal” couple and ahomosexual couple.
Nussbaum takes her time evaluating everyaspect and consideration into the topic. Skillengoes straight into the debate and does not give the reader the informationneeded to have an even viewpoint on the topic. Same-sexmarriage will always be the hot topic that everyone talks about. It is a controversial subject. Many people have differing opinions on thesubject. Although the law tomake it legal was already passed, there are still debates on whether or not itis constitutionally right or wrong or whether the current marriage laws are tobe considered for homosexual relationships too.