Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages: the 14th Amendment

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A marriage is a genuine and legal union typically between a man and a woman. The difference between a civil union and a domestic partnership is that a civil union allows same-sex couples legal protections only at the state level. It is not a marriage. It does not provide federal protections, benefits, or responsibilities to same-sex couples, and all states do not recognize it. Meanwhile, a domestic partnership is couples that live together, but they are not married. However, a civil union has more rights than a registered domestic partnership.

On 1868, the 14th Amendment of the US constitution, which is also known as the Equal Protection Clause, got created to grant citizenship to the people born or accustomed in the US as well as slaves that were given freedom after the Civil War. It guarantees that all citizens will have equal protection of the law. This Amendment has changed history for many centuries. It also got involved in a lot of notable Supreme Court cases. From eliminating the usage of slavery and then to the legalizations of same-sex marriages throughout the states of America.

Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter have been in love with one another for many years that they have decided to get married. Even though Richard is a man and Mildred is a woman, and they can get married. There was a massive obstacle from their time that the state they were living in wouldn’t allow them to get married.

That obstacle was Richard being a white man and Mildred being an African-American woman. In their era, interracial marriages have been considered illegal, so the couple got arrested for being married to one another. They first decided to file a lawsuit against Virginia state court, which in turn got the Supreme Court involved. After the 14th Amendment became involved in the case, the Supreme Court decided that interracial marriages should become legal in the US.

In 1896, the Supreme Court decided that African-American children and white American children can have equal education as long as they use separate public facilities. By the early 1950s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in short NAACP worked hard to fight for equal rights in public schools. They filed a lawsuit against South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware state courts.

The most famous case was Oliver Brown against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, because they wouldn’t allow his daughter to attend an all-white elementary school. Brown declared that schools for African-American children weren’t getting the same rights as of schools for white American children. He even mentioned that it was violating the 14th Amendment.

On 1954, the governor of California, Earl Warren, helped with the decision to make schools equal for African-American and white American children. Even though a lot of stuff happened afterward, at least the Supreme Court accepted that the children weren’t getting the same rights when it comes to their education.

In 1996, the US Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA and President Clinton signed it so it can be illegal. The DOMA is a law that does not allow same-sex couples from getting federal benefits. The states refused to recognize same-sex marriages because of it. The DOMA did not ban same-sex marriages neither did it required the US to forbid them. The DOMA only sees marriages as a legalized union between a man and a woman. So, they decided to deny same-sex couples from getting their federal benefits.

The Hollingsworth vs. Perry (Proposition 8) was a Supreme Court case that used the 14th Amendment to help redefine that marriage isn’t only between a man and a woman and that same-sex couples should get married as well. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court approved that marriage should also apply to same-sex couples. Even though the representatives of Proposition 8 wanted a rehearing, the Supreme Court denied it since what they were doing is unconstitutional.

Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer are two women, and they are in love with one another. It has been 40 years since they got engaged, and in May 2007, they finally got married in Canada. Two years later, Thea passed away, and the federal government did not want to recognize their marriage as well as give Thea’s inheritance to Edie since the DOMA does not allow same-sex couples get federal benefits.

On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court decided to hear Edie’s case. Edie responded that the DOMA violates the 14th Amendment because it only recognizes married heterosexual couples and not married same-sex couples. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the DOMA was unconstitutional and now same-sex couples are permitted equal federal benefits and protections as that of heterosexual married couples.

Lastly, two-years later, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held a hearing for Obergefell vs. Hodge. The 14th Amendment helped to let the US legalized same-sex marriages as well as recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses. Even though legalizing same-sex marriages was a slow yet lengthy process, same-sex couples can finally get the federal benefits and protections that they deserved.


Cite this paper

Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages: the 14th Amendment. (2020, Sep 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/legalization-of-same-sex-marriages-the-14th-amendment/

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