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Gays and Lesbians: Equals or Inferior

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Essay title: Gays and Lesbians: Equals or Inferior

The world we live in today only accepts what is called a traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, which leaves out the idea of same-sex marriage because of their heterosexist beliefs. These beliefs have led to laws prohibiting gays and lesbians to be wed. In Paula S. Rothenberg’s book, Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, she talks about how the US government passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that bans same-sex couples the right to marry. Mark Strasser also talks about DOMA and goes into more detail about homosexuality in his book, Legally Wed. In the book Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law by William B. Rubenstein, he talks about how these laws should be dropped and how gays and lesbians should be given the right to be wed. Even though there are laws against same-sex marriage and our world today discriminates it, homosexuals should be seen as equals and be given the right to a same-sex marriage.

Before this paper gets more in depth about the topic a person must know what the meaning of heterosexism is to truly understand the concept of this paper. Heterosexism is the discrimination or prejudice against lesbians or gay men by heterosexual people. Heterosexists (sometimes called homophobes) do not truly understand homosexual feelings and block them out because being gay or lesbian is thought to be abnormal. They also do not accept gays and lesbians not because they themselves aren’t really against homosexuals, but because everyone else is and they don’t want to be seen as abnormal.

The Defense of Marriage Act was made into a law on September 21, 1996. DOMA defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman only and was passed so that each state didn’t have to recognize same-sex marriage’s that took place in other states. “Nearly 75% of the states have passed laws officially barring the state from ever recognizing gay marriages” (Rothenberg 508). “The Act is unconstitutional because it is the antithesis of a full faith and credit measure which lacks sufficient generality and, without adequate justification, encroaches upon an area traditionally reserved for state regulation” (Strasser 127). Not one state allows gays or lesbians to marry.

Rothenberg first points out that two countries allow same-sex marriage (Holland and Belgium) and the number of other countries that recognize same-sex relationships is growing. “The supreme courts of South Africa and Canada have incorporated more contemporaneous perspectives on human rights in their decisions in gay-related cases than seems ever possible in the United States” (Rothenberg 508). So why does America have a problem with same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage? The world is ready to accept it, but the United States is not. In Latin Americans countries there are laws against discrimination of gays and lesbians. “In international and domestic human rights law, sexual freedom is increasingly viewed as a right as basic as other social and political rights” (Rothenberg 508).

Strasser gets more on the subject of homosexuality as being a “disability” (Strasser 36). It’s not that being gay or lesbian is a disability, but that if it was than there could be some kind of cure for it. “If homosexuality can be cured, then it is not a permanent affliction

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