Marriage is the joining of two people, a bond that lasts until death. It is a socially recognized union between two people establishing obligations and rights between them. Same-sex marriage, is a marriage between partners of the same-sex. There is really no difference between the two, the purpose is the same. It was just not socially acceptable back then, just think about it… It was just two years ago when it became legal to get married with the same-sex. How did same-sex marriage become such a controversial topic? Two words, Stonewall Riots.
During the 1960’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgenders were not welcome in society. It was illegal in New York to solicit homosexual relations. Police were allowed to arrest individuals who were wearing less than three appropriate clothing pieces that costumed to your gender. The LGBT community fled to gay bars and clubs as refuge to express themselves without having to worry about being attacked by either police or a citizen. After a while, NY State Liquor Authority began penalizing establishments that served alcohol to known LGBT citizens. It was considered “disorderly” to have gatherings of homosexuals. Luckily after activists helped overturn the regulations in 1966. It was still illegal and police were allowed to harass gay bars.
The Stonewall Inn was a bar owned by the Genovese family, which took advantage of the situation and sold liquor without a license, did not have running water behind the bar, or a fire exit. They accomplished all of this by paying off the police and getting tips on when the bar was about to be raided by the cops. The Genovese family blackmailed the LGBT individuals with more money and charged crazy amounts for entrance. It was the only bar LGBT individuals were welcomed and allowed to dance which was why they served watered down alcohol and ran the bar with the cheapest mind ever. LGBT individuals still lowed this place, because it was the only place they could run away to. The NYPD stormed the Stonewall Inn just a few days before the riots began. During this time, the police arrested people and citizens that were agitated by this, began to throw objects at the police including bottles, stones, and pennies. A full riot began involving hundreds of people. As the police barricaded themselves in the bar, the mob attempted to sed on fire the bar. Protests that lasted for more than five days involving thousands of people began. The riots was a spark for the LGBT political activism that lead to create the Gay Liberation Front, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). In 2016 this was now considered a national monument to contribute gay and human rights.
Just one year after the riots, Richard Baker and James McConnell applied for a marriage license in Minnesota. After their application was rejected due to being a same-sex couple, they appealed and the State Supreme Court backed up the judge’s decision a year later. The couple appealed again and the U.S. Supreme Court declined in 1972. This ruling blocked any other federal courts for ruling on same-sex marriage for years. After Maryland in 1973 created a law that specifically defined marriage between a man and a woman other states like Virginia (1975), Florida, California, and Wyoming (1977) followed this law.
Right after San Francisco passed a clause that allowed LGBT community individuals to register as domestic partners it was a leap of hope to some of the LGBT community members. After that D.C. allowed same-sex couples to have perks such as hospital visitation rights, health care coverage and other important benefits. Not long after that Hawaii stated that the ban of same-sex marriage was a violation to the Equal Protection clause. This ruling led the Hawaii Supreme Court to send the case of three couples that were denied licenses in 1990. This led many couples to believing it was finally coming a reality but gay marriage opponents came along, like they always do. Bill Clinton (president at the time) signed the DOMA act, it did not ban any gay marriage rights but it did specify that federal only heterosexual couples could be granted marriage benefits. It stated that even though some states allowed same-sex marriage, these couples wouldn’t be allowed to file income taxes together, or immigrate their spouses, not even social security payments and many other important perks about marriage. This led to huge setback.
Although this was bad news for the LGBT community, same-sex marriage became legal in Vermont, then 2003 Massachusetts. Not long after that Oregon, Kansas, and Texas banned same-sex marriage in 2006. By 2009-2010 states like Connecticut, Iowa, and New Hampshire had legal same-sex marriage. Without the federal benefits. After a while DOMA was being taken down by sections by fighters of the law. The only section that was still intact of DOMA was section 2, which basically meant that states were allowed to refuse and recognize same-sex marriage from other states. Section 2 lost its power after Obergefell sued because he was denied to put his name on his husband’s death certificate. He argued that it violated the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case eventually was brought up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Full marriage equality was finally attained in 2015 when Anthony Kennedy sided with the other justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer making gay marriage legal across the nation during June of 2015.
There are many arguments of same-sex marriage like “Same-sex marriage is contrary to custom, tradition, or nature, it’s a distortion of the true meaning or essence of marriage, it’s wrong because homosexuality is wrong, and the consequences of allowing same-sex marriage would be dangerous or harmful.” There has still been a huge change into how people think and hopefully these people with vague arguments see a light of day through time.
A poll published that there was a huge change from 2001 to 2016. During 2001 57% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, 35% were in favor. But the outcome from 2016 when it was the opposite. 55% were in favor and 37% opposed it. This brings a point, as to how history is being made as we live. It is now considered moral to have rights as a LGBT member. When no longer than 20 years ago it was not even a question of morality. Anyone who was a member who believed in LGBT was deeply considered unmoral and disgusted many people in society.