Same-sex marriage is lawfully accepted in a number of states in the United States. There are also jurisdictions that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, there are some states that are pushing to amend the Constitution of the United States, for the purpose of banning same-sex marriages. Marriage in the United States is a religious experience as well as a legal contract. In recent times, there are churches in the country that blessed and brought together same-sex unions. Some couples have had nonreligious commitment ceremonies, and the couples pledge to love, honor, and care for each other just the same way couples make vows in church (Andryszewski 5). However, such cases about marriage, test the marriage and how equivalent marriage is. The supreme court ruled that a couple that is all-loving and committed is entitled to equal legal rights. This ruling marked the beginning of the end of DOMA. The act did not support equal treatment of legally married same-sex couples. Such couples had no immigration rights, family or health leave, as well as survivor benefits. Although in recent years, some states in the US, legalized this practice, but with no benefits as well. The court ruled DOMA unconstitutional because there were a number of legal same-sex marriages that had taken place in the past, and it is important that legal same-sex marriages enjoy the same benefits as cross-sex marriages. This denial of same-sex rights as a couple would be considered denying humans their rights.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) describes marriage as the bringing together of only a male and a female. The 1996 DOMA also identified gay marriages since it is appalling that homosexual widowers could not get social security advantages available to heterosexuals. However, after President Obama took office, the Act faced several problems, and the President during his first tenure, ordered the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA, since it discriminates against gays (Eby 176). The President goes ahead and states that DOMA is unconstitutional, and later on different states legalize same-sex marriage. The supreme court after hearing the Windsor case came up with the same decisions the president had expressed by seconding the president’s stand on same-sex marriages. Previously, there were legal same-sex marriages, though they were not entitled to benefits for married couples under federal programs, for instance, the social security, and no state was obligated to grant full faith and credit to same-sex unions as much they are legal in some states (Shilling 10). However, it is believed that same-sex marriages get married in a jurisdiction that supports same-sex marriage with the purpose of filing joint income tax returns and inheritance, just like in the case of Windsor, where a woman was married to another woman as the surviving spouse for estate tax purposes.
Many people found it absurd as marriage is meant to be between two heterosexuals, especially according to religious beliefs. However, there are churches that have endorsed and encouraged polygamous marriages of their members for a long time. They believe that encouraging men to marry more wives is meant to enable the husband to secure entry into heaven. Religious beliefs and church policies are unsettled on this issue and this has caused a division in religious organizations. This is because some congregations are performing same-sex marriages and others are fully opposed to such activities in the same religious organizations. The controversy among different religious organizations comes in when opposing religious same-sex marriage ceremonies, but they support same-sex civil marriage or civil union (Andryszewski 33). The diversity of American religious organizations has created diverse attitudes towards homosexuality. For churches to ensure that there is less diversity within their organization, it is important that the churches come up with procedures for the congregation to be members. This will barely affect the relations of the churches with the state since according to the Constitution, churches enjoy substantial freedom to govern themselves without the fear of legal consequences. Society, in general, has a major task of education and providing civic education to its citizens on the disadvantages of same-sex marriages, as well as offering great counseling sessions for those who happen to be homosexuals. Society is responsible also spiritually for the moral values of its people and everyone in the society has a responsibility to create a high level of morality.
However, churches that do not support same-sex marriages will tend to face some challenges, since the law would have legalized the practice and therefore churches should obey the laws or else they may face court charges if a couple takes them to court. Some church leaders and congregations could argue that the Act legalizing same-sex marriages should be amended, and assign the process of uniting them to the civil registrar and not to churches. Churches believe that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed as it is written in the Bible due to such practices of which they do not want to be a part of destroying their country through accepting ungodly acts. The church has a great role in ensuring the society is living in a peaceful way and in leading a life of morality, and the government should not include the church in endorsing same-sex marriage practices. Government Christian representatives should confront the process of gay marriages in churches, by petitioning the supreme court and lay their beliefs as Christians that are related to homosexuality, supporting them with Bible quotes. The court has to rule in a just way where it shows respect to the beliefs of the religious organizations that are unwilling to practice same-sex marriages in their churches, as well as give the same-sex couples the freedom to enjoy the rights of any other crossed-sex couple, as well as where they can be able to be unionized.
The church, however, may find this challenging and they need to know and understand more about homosexuality, and how people tend to engage in such acts. With this, religious organizations will be able to help the members of their organization who are homosexual by counseling them and offering education on what God expects of them on earth in order to reform them. This could be a challenge since, if homosexuality is legalized by the Constitution, they also have the right to worship and enjoy any rights a believer has. The government should make amendments to this Act to avoid controversies that the people of the United States face as well as organizations.
Andryszewski, Tricia. Same-sex marriage: Granting equal rights or damaging the status of marriage?. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.
Andryszewski, Tricia. Same-sex Marriage: Moral Wrong or Civil Right? Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2008. Print.
Eby, Clare. Until choice do us part: Marriage reform in the Progressive era, 2014. Print.
Shilling, Dana. Lawyer’s Desk Book, 2014 Edition. Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, 2013. Print.