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The institution of marriage is a social and political creation that has come to dominate the structure of society For some this institution symbolizes romantic love and helps to maintain societys fundamental family values Others are more cynical and believe that marriage is simply a meaningless piece of paper that also helps to perpetuate the oppression of women For thousands of gay and lesbian couples however the institution of marriage symbolizes inequality The right to marry the person you love is denied to you if that person is not of the opposite sex William Eskridge begins his dissection of the arguments against same-sex marriage with the story of two women Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel who are fighting for this equal right Appealing to our core values Eskridge proclaims Americans are romantics We fantasize about finding our one true loveNinia Baehr shares that American dream p1 The title of Eskridges book is highly appropriate for what it contains This is the case for same-sex marriage - Eskridge shatters the opposing arguments leaving only the remains of thinly disguised homophobia As he develops his arguments Eskridge makes it clear that denying people the right to marry whom they wish is discrimination that creates second-class citizens During Dancel and Baehrs case before the Hawaii Supreme Court it was admitted that the policy is discrimination yet it was defended as permissible p5 Eskridge strongly opposes this marked inequality and stresses that the state need only recognize a couples citizenship not stamp a seal of approval on their lifestyle The gay community he elaborates should also embrace the institution of marriage for its potentially civilizing effects p10 Gay men and lesbians are almost the only Americans denied this right and this Eskridge explains is intolerable p12 Eskridge counteracts the argument that marriage is traditionally between a man and woman and shows that same-sex relationships are not a modern novelty Although Eskridge does a thorough job of this
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