Debating Same-Sex Marriage

Debating Same-Sex Marriage

Debating Same-Sex Marriage

Debating Same-Sex Marriage

Synopsis

Polls and election results show Americans sharply divided on same-sex marriage, and the controversy is unlikely to subside anytime soon.Debating Same-Sex Marriageprovides an indispensable roadmap to the ongoing debate. Taking a "point/counterpoint" approach, John Corvino (a philosopher and prominent gay advocate) and Maggie Gallagher (a nationally syndicated columnist and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage) explore fundamental questions: What is marriage for? Is sexual difference essential to it? Why does the government sanction it? What are the implications of same-sex marriage for children's welfare, for religious freedom, and for our understanding of marriage itself? While the authors disagree on many points, they share the following conviction: Because marriage is a vital public institution, this issue deserves a comprehensive, rigorous, thoughtful debate.

Excerpt

In May 2011, for the first time in Gallup’s polling on the issue, a slim majority of Americans favored legal recognition of samesex marriage: 53 percent of those polled were in favor, with 45 percent opposed—almost an exact flip of the previous year’s results (44 percent in favor and 53 percent opposed). Compare these numbers to those from 1996, when Gallup first tracked the issue: 27 percent in favor of same-sex marriage and 68 percent opposed. Clearly, attitudes have shifted—dramatically—in the last fifteen years.

Nevertheless, at a time when Americans appear roughly evenly split on the issue, only a handful of states allow same-sex couples to marry, and none of these marriages are recognized by the federal government. Several other states permit same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships, with many of the legal rights and duties of marriage. Two states—California and Maine—extended legal marriage to same-sex couples but then reversed course when citizens voted to amend their state constitutions to prohibit such marriages. Over two dozen other states have passed similar amendments, and in every state where the issue has been put to a popular vote thus far, same-sex marriage has been rejected. . .

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