Essay about The LGBT Community and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

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As of 2015, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continues to struggle for equal rights held by their straight counterparts. Socially, LGBT persons are subject to discrimination, hate crimes, and stigma, while legally, LGBT persons encounter obstacles that preclude them from basic rights afforded to every other subculture in America. One of the most divisive issues related to LGBT rights has been same-sex marriage, which has been creating conflict both politically and socially dating back to the 1970’s (Finnis, 1997). Those in favor of same-sex marriage argue that regardless of gender or sexual preference, marriage is a basic right that the government has no legitimate interest in blocking. Opponents argue that …show more content…
From a legislative perspective, DOMA both set a federal standard for marriage while protecting the states’ rights to create their own definitions of marriage and laws without having to recognize states that choose to define marriage in a conflicting manner.
Description of the social problem being addressed
This act was passed to address the social problem of same-sex marriage, which as explained previously, can be viewed from two different angles. Based on the wording of DOMA, it may be inferred that the act’s intentions more closely align with opponents of same-sex marriage, and that the social problem it aimed to correct was the threat of same-sex marriage. In a webpage that presents its talking points, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) defines its beliefs as to why traditional marriage must be protected, targeted toward three of the U.S.’s major religious demographics (NOM, n.d). NOM’s reasoning is that same-sex marriage, by attempting to redefine marriage, puts the institution of marriage at risk which in turn will contribute to a number of other social problems. These problems include increased risk of poverty, higher crime rates, lower life expectancy rates and educational disadvantage (NOM, n.d.).
History of this policy or related policies
DOMA was the first federal law addressing same-sex marriage, but the issue had already been addressed in state courts by the time DOMA was introduced. This occurred with a succession of cases that took place in

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