Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Jenny Graham
Last updated: September 18, 2019
InObergefell v. Hodges, the plaintiffs, including fourteen same-sex couples,argued for their marriages performed legally in another state to be recognizedin their state of residence. They were asking that the privileges andresponsibilities of marriage be granted to them as they would to anyopposite-sex couple. The plaintiffs gave examples of how unequal protectionnegatively affects them to convince the judges that they should have theirmarriage recognized. Obergefell was denied being included in his spouse’s deathrecord.
DeBoer was disallowed adoption with her spouse, which could causeissues should one of the children become sick or one of the parents die. Thestrongest argument for the plaintiffs was that the Fourteenth Amendmentprovides equal protection of all citizens. Along with this, they argued, statecannot make laws restricting the “life, liberty, or property” of any citizen.The argument was that this applies to the fundamental right of marriage,regardless of whether it is a same-sex or opposite-sex couple. Thisargument draws on the U.S. Constitution as a means of providing protection. Theplaintiffs use this as a form of validation for their argument, saying that theConstitution applies to all citizens and states cannot select citizens to denyequal protection.
Onthe other side, the states argued that marriage has a longstanding history ofbeing strictly between a man and a woman. They claim that marriage is thefoundation of society and changing the definition would demean that foundation.The states also argued that they already had laws against same-sex marriage. Theirstrongest argument was that the Fourteenth Amendment does not define marriage,so the definition of marriage should be left to the individual state.
Becausesome states already had laws regarding the definition of marriage, they arguedthat forcing them to recognize same-sex marriage would be overstepping theboundaries of the Constitution. Courtshad already ruled on similar cases, such as interracial marriage, on the basisthe marriage should be available to all. Using the argument that the FourteenthAmendment does not protect same-sex couples’ right to marry is invalid. Thecourts have already decided that the Fourteenth Amendment does protect equalmarriage.