Artcile from The New York Times
For over a decade, the issue of same-sex marriage has been a flashpoint political issue in the United States, setting off waves of competing legislation and ballot initiatives attempting either to legalize or ban the practice. Rifts have also opened among religious groups over the decision to recognize same-sex marriage or condemn it.
Proponents of same-sex marriage say that the institution is a unique expression of love and commitment and that calling the unions of same-sex couples anything else is a form of second-class citizenship; they also point out that many legal rights are tied to marriage. Those opposed to same-sex marriage agree that marriage is a fundamental bond with ancient roots. But they draw the opposite conclusion, saying that allowing same-sex couples to marry would undermine the institution of marriage itself.
Gay rights supporters felt the tide was turning in their favor for much of 2009. With President Barack Obama they felt they had an ally in the White House, and the movement was making remarkable progress in state legislatures, with lawmakers in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire approving bills allowing gay marriage in 2009.
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