Debate Club

Should Same Sex Marriage Be Left to the States?

Should Same Sex Marriage Be Left to the States?

The Supreme Court recently announced that it would be hearing two cases involving same sex marriage, both of which have implications for states' rights to recognize same sex marriage. The high court will examine the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law which says that states that prohibit same sex marriages do not have to recognize the same sex marriages of the states (there are currently nine plus the District of Columbia) where it is legal. It also says the federal government does not recognize same sex marriages, blocking same sex spouses from receiving the numerous federal benefits their heterosexual counterparts are eligible for.

The court will also weigh in on Proposition 8, California's voter-passed state referendum that overturned the judicial ruling making same-sex legal in California.

How the court decides both cases could be watershed moments for gay rights activists; the decisions will almost certainly effect what role states can play in recognizing same sex marriage. Some, including President Obama, say states and states alone should decide whether same sex marriage is legal within their borders. Others, including many activists on both sides of the same sex marriage issue, say the federal government must have the final word on same sex marriage.

Should same sex marriage be left to the states? Here is the Debate Club's take:


The Arguments

#1
224 Pts
Marriage Equality Must Be Recognized by States and the Federal Government

No – Marriage Equality Must Be Recognized by States and the Federal Government

Ian Millhiser Policy Analyst with the Center for American Progress

#2
210 Pts
Married Couples Must Have Equal Rights in Every State

No – Married Couples Must Have Equal Rights in Every State

Evan Wolfson Founder and President of Freedom to Marry

#3
183 Pts
All Marriages Need to Be Treated Equally Under the Law

No – All Marriages Need to Be Treated Equally Under the Law

Stacey Long Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

#4
182 Pts
The Freedom to Marry Transcends State Lines

No – The Freedom to Marry Transcends State Lines

Casey Pick Programs Director for Log Cabin Republicans

#5
-128 Pts
Marriage Should Not Be Regulated by the Federal Government

Yes – Marriage Should Not Be Regulated by the Federal Government

Jason Kuznicki Research Fellow at the Cato Institute

#6
-345 Pts
The Federal Government Has the Right to Define Marriage

No – The Federal Government Has the Right to Define Marriage

Brian Brown President of the National Organization for Marriage


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