Same-sex marriage: equality for all

Lindsey Klos ‘16

Guest Writer

Same-sex marriage has come a long way since 2004. In 2004, same-sex marriage was banned in all states except Massachusetts. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

This came after the 2003 case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health where the decision, the first by a U.S. state’s highest court, was that gay couples had the right to marry. The court ruled “the state could not deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry,” according to history.com. Although Massachusetts legalized same sex-marriage, “the couples do not have legal rights on a federal level or within states that do not recognize civil unions,” the ruling said.

But not all states had the same view as Massachusetts. In the 2004 presidential election, 11 states voted to ban same sex-marriage. Once George W. Bush won the election, he called for a constitutional amendment opposing same-sex marriage and defending traditional marriage as “a sacred institution between a man and a woman,” according to ontheissues.org.

Triggered by the actions of the Massachusetts high court, Bush’s “concern was that state court decisions would undermine the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, defining marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, and saying that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex.” Although, this amendment would allow states to establish civil unions for same-sex couples without the help of the federal court.

Although Bush opposed civil unions, he did make a statement in 2004 that can always relate back to empathy and how Americans treat others. Bush said, “I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It’s important that we do that. I also know in a free society people, consenting adults, can live the way they want to live. And that’s to be honored.”