Same Sex Redux: How Did Same Sex Marriage Re-Emerge as One of the Most Vexing Social Issues Facing Lawmakers?

By Nelson, Christine | State Legislatures, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Same Sex Redux: How Did Same Sex Marriage Re-Emerge as One of the Most Vexing Social Issues Facing Lawmakers?


Nelson, Christine, State Legislatures


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, it seemed inconceivable that same sex couples would ever be allowed to marry.

In the 12 years following the federal act, more than 40 state legislatures enacted similar statutes. Fearing judicial intervention, 30 of the states went a step further and placed "one man, one woman" marriage laws in their state constitutions. In addition, no constitutional amendment placed on a ballot and put before voters has ever failed.

So, how is it that same sex marriage is quickly becoming one of the most challenging states' rights issues of our time?

The tug of war between judicial decisions, which in some cases have forced states to legalize same sex marriage, and public opinion, which has routinely disapproved of same sex marriage, has left legislators squarely in the middle of a divisive political hot potato.

"I've been spending a lot of time on this issue for 20 years," says New York Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., "and of course, it will continue."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PLENTY OF ACTION

In the last seven years, both the judiciary and state legislatures have played key roles in the fight to recognize same sex marriage. Massachusetts and Connecticut began performing same sex marriages as the result of judicial decisions in 2003 and 2008, respectively. And just last year, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that ruled denying same sex couples the right to marry was a violation of the equal protection clause in the state constitution.

In addition to Iowa, three other states--Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire--enacted same sex marriage in 2009 as a result of legislative action without a judicial mandate.

The Vermont legislature was the first of the three to pass same sex marriage, overriding the veto of Governor Jim Douglas. The District of Columbia Council passed same sex marriage and the measure took effect in March.

And lawmakers in New York and New Jersey recently passed legislation in one chamber to allow it, but failed to do so in the other.

As a result of these developments, an important secondary question has emerged: Are states without same sex marriage obligated to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states?

In New York, Rhode Island and Maryland, the answer is yes. New York Governor David Patterson issued an executive order in 2008 directing all state agencies to recognize same sex marriages from other states. Attorneys general in Maryland and Rhode Island have issued opinions on the matter, drawing parallels between the recognition of common law marriage, which can only be established in a handful of states, but is recognized as a legal marriage in all states. And, just prior to legalizing same sex marriage, the District of Columbia Council also passed a resolution to recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere.

COORDINATED CAMPAIGNS

It's not a coincidence that Northeastern states are a hotbed of activity. Six by Twelve is a coordinated campaign led by same sex marriage advocates to change the laws in six Northeastern states by 2012.

The campaign was started because the Northeast was seen as fertile ground for reform. Three states in the region had previously allowed civil unions, viewed by many as an intermediate step toward same sex marriage. Public opinion polling showed that a majority of New England residents favored some form of relationship recognition for same sex couples. Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., reported Northeastern residents as the least religious in the country, which is significant given that opposition to same sex marriage is often based on religious beliefs. Higher education levels in the region also correlate well to surveys showing those with college educations tend to favor same sex marriage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Same Sex Redux: How Did Same Sex Marriage Re-Emerge as One of the Most Vexing Social Issues Facing Lawmakers?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.