The Federal Defense of Marriage Act is Unconstitutional
Debate Rounds (3)
I stand in affirmation of the resolution
The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states the following:
1.) No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state. (1)
2.) The federal government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states. (2)
The first part of this law is unconstitutional due to the 'full faith and credit' clause of the constitution, which states the following:
"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." (3)
DOMA allows states to disregards the "public Acts" and "judicial Proceedings" of other states. Therefore, it violates the full faith and credit clause and is unconstitutional.
The second part of DOMA is also unconstitutional.
Marriage is partly a religious institution, but it is also a civil institution (4). The religious aspect is mainly for personal recognition. The government obviously cannot regulate this aspect of marriage. However, marriage is also an important civil institution. There are hundreds of benefits that arise from having the government recognize your marriage with a marriage license. Some of these involve social programs, tax codes, and insurance benefits.
The second part of DOMA denies same-sex couples all the benefits of civil marriage. This is discrimination. This violates the due process clause and equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, which read:
"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." (5)
Now, I've heard the following response to the point I just made: "Well, homosexuals aren't denied equal rights. Both can get their marriage rights by marrying one person of the opposite sex. Therefore, things are equal."
The above statement is false. Things are not equal between hetero and homosexuals. While it is true that marriage law applies equally to all people, the law is clearly slanted to favor one class over another. The law is clearly designed to discourage homosexual relationships, which is discriminatory to homosexuals, even if the law applies equally to all people. It may be argued that there is no de jure discrimination, but there is undoubtedly de facto discrimination. In fact, there is de jure discrimination, because DOMA explicitly outlaws gay marriage. Parallels can be drawn between this and racial segregation. Racial segregation laws applied equally to all races, but were clearly slanted to favor whites over blacks, so these laws were still discriminatory.
I've also heard the argument that homosexuality is sexual perversion. I would like to point out that this doesn't really have anything to do with the constitutionality of DOMA. Even if it did, the perversion argument is negated by supreme court case "Lawrence v. Texas", which held that there is a constitutional right to sexual privacy, and that laws criminalizing sodomy between adults of the same sex are unconstitutional (6).
Many people say that they are opposed to homosexual marriage, but find no problem with civil unions. While civil unions do help homosexual couples attain more rights, civil unions are not acceptable in the need for equality. Civil Unions confer the exact same rights as Marriages, but they are a different institution. This is "separate-but-equal". Separate-but-equal was the standard used to oppress Blacks and other Minorities for nearly 100 years. Landmark supreme court case "Brown v. Board of Education" declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." (7). The ruling relied partly on pyscological studies that showed that segregating races and reserving certain schools for certain races was highly damaging to the mental states of the Blacks being segregated. The same concept can be tied to segregating homosexuals from marriage. After all, children are raised to believe that they will one day get married live happily. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are forced to repress their early childhood beliefs and settle for a 'civil union'. Evidence of psychological damage to homosexuals can be found in the fact that they have considerably higher rates of suicide than heterosexuals (8). Therefore, we can conclude that the standards used in "Brown" apply to issues of homosexual marriage today.
I would also like to point out that DOMA does not stand up to the standards of intermediate or strict scrutiny, which state that discrimination cannot be permitted unless it has a compelling government interest or important governmental interests (9). Because it does not stand up to these standards, it is unconstitutional.
Finally, I would like to quote Iowa Supreme Court justice Mark Cady, in the recent ruling by the Iowa Supreme court legalizing homosexual marriage in Iowa:
"We are firmly convinced that the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective," and "The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification." (10).
For all the above reasons, I affirm the resolution that DOMA is unconstitutional.
Thank you to whoever accepts this debate
(2) " "
(3)The U.S. Constitution, Article IV, section 1
(5)The U.S. Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment, section 1
I will take a more historical approach. Look at when the government and the constitution was formed. Homosexuality was completely unallowed and was a sign of disrespect and a abnormality. Since it was not socially acceptable at that time it would not be made for it to be acceptable in this time because it has not been changed.
It cannot be possibly be made to accept homosexuality because while some may argue otherwise it was open to religion because of an oppression from England. America was not always an open country and in its beggings it was extremely biased. Racism and war riddled America. There was no clear perspective on homosexuality but most men were ashamed and hid themselves.
Amendments may be your response. No, it is still not socially acceptable to be a homosexual and thus according to the earlier argument is still not acceptable.
Contention 3 All of my opponents attacks are irrelevant, They offer no standard for why it is unconstitutional.
Look at all the contentions
convinced that the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective- Does not explain or mention the constitution
Many people say that they are opposed to homosexual marriage, but find no problem with civil unions. - again no constitution
homosexuality is sexual perversion- no constitution
This proves that my opponent cannot win this debate because he has provided no points to show how it is unconstitutional, just how it is immoral.
I'm not sure that he understands what we are arguing. I am arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional. DOMA makes gay marriage illegal. Therefore, I am more or less arguing that gay marriage should be legal. If he understands that, then he should continue to read the rest of the debate. If not, I'm sorry you didn't understand, just tell me and we can end this thing or start over.
Without meaning to be blunt or rude, I must point out that my opponent has not cited the constitution once in his argument. He misses the entire point of the debate, which is that we are arguing constitutionality, not social acceptability or history. He also seems to lack an in depth understanding of constitutional clauses and judicial procedures used by the court to interpret the constitution. He also seems not to have read my case.
That said, I would like to rebut his opening
He opens up by saying "I will take a more historical approach. Look at when the government and the constitution was formed. Homosexuality was completely unallowed and was a sign of disrespect and a abnormality. Since it was not socially acceptable at that time it would not be made for it to be acceptable in this time because it has not been changed." Firstly, his historical approach really doesn't pertain to the constitution at all. Therefore, it is irrelevant. However, I will go further by saying that his reasoning in this statement is flawed. At the time that the constitution was written, interracial marriages were not allowed and were 'abnormal' as well. However, ever since landmark supreme court case "Loving v. Virginia" (1967), denying interracial marriage has been unconstitutional (1). As you can see, things change, and the same rationale applies here. Also, at the time that the constitution was written, the fourteenth amendment did not exist. Today, the fourteenth amendment does exist, providing gays with equal protection of the laws.
My opponents first contention is difficult to understand, but he seems to say that there was no clear perspective on homosexuality when the constitution was written, therefore we cannot allow it. See my above paragraph for the refutation.
In his second contention, my opponent says "Amendments may be your response. No, it is still not socially acceptable to be a homosexual and thus according to the earlier argument is still not acceptable." Essentially, my opponent claims that social acceptability trumps constitutional amendment. Well, constitutional amendment are just as much part of the constitution as the rest of the constitution. Social acceptability never trumps the constitution. It may not be socially acceptable or nice to publicly burn the flag, but you can still do it, because the first amendment gives you that right (Texas v. Johnson) (2).
My opponents third contention is that my attacks are irrelevant, and they don't explain why DOMA is unconstitutional. My response: DUDE, DID YOU EVEN READ MY CASE !?!? I said that DOMA violates the "full faith and credit clause", the "due process clause" and "equal protection" clause, and does not stand up to intermediate or strict scrutiny (which is a test the Supreme Court uses to determine if discrimination is unconstitutional).
My opponent then picked on sentences I said that didn't include the word "constitution" and presumed that they weren't related to the constitution. Some of those sentences totally pertain to the constitution, such as the quote concerning strict scrutiny. My opponent just failed to grasp the connection. That's not my fault. Other quotes were simply me anticipating opponent's arguments. My opponent puts these out of context. If you include these anticipations with the refutations I provide it all makes sense.
Anyway, my opponent has failed to refute any of my arguments concerning constitutionality. Therefore, my case still stands. If my opponent wants to continue this debate, I look forward to his response.
Finally I just want to say that this debate wasn't the one I wanted to accept and I admit defeat. I thought your profile was Metz's not yours so, without looking I accepted. Sorry, if I wasted your time with my arguments.
TheCategorical forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
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