What is the history of opposition to same-sex marriage?
In many parts of the world, there is an established understanding that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. In the United States, that understanding has been challenged in a number of courts and by a wide range of people.
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Some of those opponents argue that same-sex marriage violates the core American values and that it would degrade and disenfranchise millions of gay and lesbian people, particularly those who already are married. Others, however, maintain that same-sex marriage is in keeping with the traditional understanding of the institution and is in fact a good thing for society as a whole.
As of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court will finally grant same-sex couples the right to marry in the United States, as it decided in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was filed in Ohio by a couple who had married in Maryland but had their wedding recognized only in the state of Ohio.
Supporters of same-sex marriage say that it is in keeping with the nation’s commitment to nondiscrimination and equal treatment. They also point out that homosexuals often find themselves without the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals who are married, such as health insurance coverage or pension benefits.
Religious groups also oppose same-sex marriage, citing a belief that homosexuality is incompatible with their faith. Several prominent Mormon leaders, for example, have expressed their views on same-sex marriage.
These statements, which are often made in the context of marriage equality, highlight the deep connection between religion and opposition to same-sex marriage. They suggest that a strong religious tradition can be used to counteract any attempt to change the definition of marriage.
There are a variety of reasons for this connection, but the most popular ones are rooted in the traditional understanding of what marriage is and the social value it carries. The primary function of marriage, they argue, is to ensure that children are born into a family with the best chance of living happy and productive lives.
As such, the institution of marriage is considered a fundamental American right and must be protected from any attempts to undermine it. The defenders of traditional marriage laws claim that the Constitution does not forbid states from taking steps to preserve marriage in its traditional form and argue that Baker’s force, a 1972 decision in which the Court ruled that a challenge to a traditional marriage law did not raise a substantial federal question, is the last word on this issue.
The defenders also argue that traditional opposite-sex marriage laws are rationally related to the government’s interest in responsible procreation and child-rearing, and that they are in keeping with what has been understood by people throughout American history. Their argument goes back to the definition of marriage itself and the foundations that were laid for it at the time the country was founded, and at the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868.