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Word Count: 496
An issue that is of both national and international concern is the right of homosexuals to marry The issue of gay marriage is a highly controversial and important issue in the 2004 Presidential Election One could list a host of religious reasons why gay marriages should be banned but none would have any relevancy because the constitution establishes a separation of state and church Therefore any religious reason to ban gay marriages would not be a valid reason to take such an action Conversely gay marriage should be declared legal for a variety of reasons The most obvious of them all is that to take away homosexuals right to marry would be depriving them of their civil rights Thus an amendment to the Constitution to ban gay marriage or to allow certain states to ban gay marriage would ultimately prove to be unconstitutional There are those that say homosexuals should not be able to marry but should be allowed to have civil unions This idea has prompted some states to enact civil unions as a substitute for gay marriages However civil unions do not offer the same benefits as marriage does such as heath care benefits In addition only allowing homosexuals to have civil unions are reducing them to second-class citizens I find this to exhibit several parallels with how African-Americans and women were treated as second-class citizens by not sharing the same facilities or having the right to vote One of them being that homosexuals have no other choice but enter into the undoubtedly inferior civil unions just as African-Americans had to use inferior schools restrooms and had limited opportunities I do not see how we can allow virtually the same basic injustices to continue into the new millennium This issue is important to me because as an American citizen I have a duty to uphold and protect the Constitution as do all Americans and so this issue should be extremely important to all
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