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Proposition 8

By now, we should all be well aware of the fact that Proposition 8 from California is being challenged and now is at the Supreme Court level. Proposition 8 was signed into law in 2008 defining that a marriage is only recognizable, or valid, if it is between a man and a woman. Thus, denying gay or lesbian partners the right to wed. This posses the question, should gay and lesbian couples be allowed to marry each other? In order to answer this question, we need to know what marriage is, how it is viewed by society, what affects will it have on society. I would like to disregard the religious aspect of the argument, as I myself am an atheist and do not believe laws should be made to deny a person their rights given to them by the United States of America based upon a religion. So, what is marriage? It depends on how you look at it. According to dictionary.reference.com : 1.a.

the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.

b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender… So, its appears to be a societal institution that is essential for the well-being and advancement of society. But why does the United States only recognize the first part of the definition? Is it because we fear that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry will have a negative affect on not only those involved, but society as a whole? This may have been the case when so much of society had a negative connotation of gay/lesbian marriage. However, society, along with it’s views change. So why can’t the institutions used to keep this society up and running allowed to change alongside it? According to http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/politics/btn-same-sex-marriage , in the past 17 years, opposition to same sex marriage has dropped from 68% down to 48%, with that number decreasing annually. Just like how the idea of what a “family” (another societal institution) is has changed dramatically in the nuclear age, I believe the societal institution of marriage can change as well.

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