American Government - Research Paper Example

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Same sex marriages and marijuana are not legal on the federal level. Though some states have legalized their use, the federal government has each time overridden their decision through a federal legislation…
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Download file to see previous pages History of same sex marriages is young. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled in favor of same sex marriages, as their rights were denied to them on the basis of their sex and not sexual orientation (NYT 2012). Though Hawaii defined by law that marriage is to be between a man and a woman only, conservatives across the country lobbied (NYT 2012). In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to married people of the same sex and authorized states to neglect gay marriages sanctioned in other states (NYT 2012).
Same sex marriage is still illegal at the federal level, though practiced by several states. The Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2004 ruled that the same sex marriage is legal in the State of Massachusetts (NYT 2012). Since then, a few other states followed the suit: New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. (NYT 2012). It was not until 2012 when Vice President Biden publicly stated that he supported same sex marriages that President Obama decided to push for same sex marriages to be legalized in the USA (NYT 2012). In 2011, President Obama “directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act” (NYT 2012).  
Though some states legalized same sex marriages, the refusal to acknowledge these marriages is not a violation in other states. According to the Article IV of the US Constitution, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, states must respect each other’s laws (Sachs 1203). However, under the Defense of Marriage Act this is no longer true. This act excuses states from being in compliance with laws of other states with regard to same sex marriages. According to Sachs, states can do so as long as the laws of other states conflict with their own, important national interests (1205). Since Congress did not clearly state under what conditions states must comply with other’s states’ laws, the Full Faith and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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