Your assignment: Develop an argument on how the following passage reflects an enduring issue in American history
14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, made it possible for state governments to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage granted in other jurisdictions. Section 3 of the Act made it impossible for same-sex couples to receive spousal benefits and any other federal benefits, from health insurance to social security benefits. That section was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.
The second section of DOMA continues to exist. It exempts states, tribes, and possessions of the United States from the Constitutional requirements to recognize marriages formalized in another state. Any state can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages formalized elsewhere. The Constitution guarantees that marriages performed in any state are recognized in every other state, but the remnants of DOMA grant states an exemption on same-sex marriage.
For the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, this means that discrimination remains in effect in numerous states that have not made same-sex marriage legal. Discrimination of any kind is in theory inappropriate, and yet the continuation of the second section of the Defense of Marriage Act allows it. This, too, is in direct violation of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.
Further, there are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in any case, they generally would not apply to the private sector or religious organizations. More than half of the states have no prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
There has been obvious progress. The military has ended the policy of “Don't ask, don't tell” and ended discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some states now allow same-sex marriages and more have some degree of legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation is not permitted in federal health care programs, and there is some limited protection under federal hate crime laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2011 and again in 2012 that job discrimination based on sexual orientation also is a form of discrimination covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Despite all these changes, there is much left to do.
To be a nation truly committed to equal rights, there must be federal legislation that applies across the country, public, and private sector alike. The hodgepodge of state legislation is not adequate, and the statement by President Obama that the federal government would no longer enforce Section 2 of the 14th Amendment is not enough. There must be clear direction and leadership. Without such, there is no equality of rights.
MY EXTENDED RESPONSE:
The 14th Amendment states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States shall not be deprived of or limited to their rights, liberties, or property. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed and gave individual states power to refuse recognition in same sex marriage granted in other jurisdictions as well as deny them spousal or other federal benefits as stated in section 3, which was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.
In the issue at hand the Civil Rights Act recognizes human rights and pledges equality among all born and naturalized citizens within the United States. In section 1 of the 14th Amendment it discloses that the second section of DOMA continues to exist. It exempts states, tribes, and possessions of the United States from the Constitutional requirements to recognize marriages formalized in another state, including same sex marriages. Thus putting the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender community (LGBT) at risk of continuous discrimination and being stripped of their rights as United States citizens. In conclusion, this is in direct violation of section 1 of the 14th Amendment.
There should be no separation between the LGBT community and the rest of the US population. It is wrong to tell people they are free to love and do as they please when it comes to sexual preference but are limited to resources provided to others outside of that lifestyle. Who we love as a person and what we are passionate for in life does not exempt us from being equal to others around us. While progress is made to change discrimination against the LGBT community, there had been no federal laws that prohibited discrimination against sexual orientation until in 2011 and 2012 the Equal Employment Commission ruled that job discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of discrimination covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For our nation to let DOMA counteract with the 14th Amendment itself is unconstitutional and we as a country can not ground or practice our full rights in equality without repercussions based on the second part of DOMA alone.
Can you tell me if this is a functioning answer? What could I do to better fix this? I am studying for the 2015 GED and will be taking these tests next week. As I am confident in passing the tests themselves I want to make sure my extended responses are on point and I am hoping to pass with honors. Any help is more then appreciated. Thank you! - Felicia