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SOC FPX 2000 Assessment 4 Framing an Issue From the Sociological Perspective

Framing Same-Sex Marriages from the Sociological Perspective 

Slide 01: Hi everyone, my name is Tomeka and today I am going to present on the topic of framing same-sex marriages from the sociological perspective.

Slide 02: This is an outline we are going to discuss in our presentations

  • Firstly, I will give you a brief introduction to this presentation and what are the points we will discuss.
  • Secondly, I will be telling you the evolution of social movements for same-sex marriages. 
  • After that conflict theory will be discussed. 
  • Moving further, the evolution of antidiscrimination law and tactics employed by activists to promote same-sex marriages will be discussed in detail. 
  • In the end, tactics by the opposers, as well as the activists, will be discussed in detail. We will end this presentation by a brief conclusion.

SOC FPX 2000 Assessment 4 Framing an Issue From the Sociological Perspective

Slide 03: Framing an issue from the sociological perspective involves examining the various social factors that influence the way people think, feel, and behave. Sociologists look at how social institutions, such as family, education, religion, and the media, shape our beliefs and values, and how these beliefs and values, in turn, affect our actions and interactions with others (Olson, 2019). By examining social phenomena through a sociological lens, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex interplay between social structures, culture, and individual agency.

We will explore how the sociological perspective can be applied to same-sex marriages, and how this perspective can provide new insights and solutions to this social problem. The central issue of same-sex marriage involves the legal recognition of marriages between two individuals of the same sex (Tryfonidou, 2019). This issue has gained significant attention and controversy in recent decades, with some countries and states legalizing same-sex marriage, while others have maintained its illegality. 

From a sociological perspective, same-sex marriage raises important questions about social norms, culture, and social structures. Sociologists examine how social factors, such as beliefs, values, institutions, and socialization, influence our attitudes and behaviors towards same-sex marriage (Kelly & Lobao, 2019). This issue is also intertwined with other social problems, such as discrimination, prejudice, and inequality, which have deep-rooted cultural and historical contexts.

Sociological Theory of Conflict in Political Power

Slide 04: Political power disparities are a pervasive issue in society, affecting the distribution of resources, opportunities, and decision-making. To comprehend why some actors, hold more influence than others in political debates, sociological theories can be valuable. In this context, we will explore how the sociological conflict theory can aid in comprehending the power dynamics in the ongoing debate on same-sex marriage in the United States.

Conflict theory posits that society is composed of different groups with competing interests and resources, and that conflicts arise when these groups compete for limited resources. (Ferrare & Phillippo, 2021). Specifically, those who hold more resources, such as money, political connections, or social influence, are more likely to have a greater say in the debate and to shape the outcome of the political process.

Slide 05: The LGBTQ+ community has been fighting for equal rights and recognition under the law for decades, including the right to marry (Krumbein, 2020). However, they face significant barriers in the form of discrimination, prejudice, and social stigma, which can limit their political power and influence. On the other hand, opponents of same-sex marriage, such as religious groups or conservative politicians, often have more resources and power, including access to media, political influence, and funding. They may also draw on deeply-held cultural and religious beliefs to argue against same-sex marriage, further reinforcing their political power (Perkins & Ortiz Soto, 2022).

Slide 06: Stakeholders who aim to enhance their rights or contest current policies are impacted by the persistent unpredictability in the political and legal landscapes. For example, the lack of consistent legal recognition of same-sex marriage has led to a patchwork of laws and policies across different states and countries, creating confusion and inconsistency for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families (Hiegert, 2020). This can make it more difficult for LGBTQ+ activists to advocate for their rights and challenge existing policies.

Slide 07: LGBTQ+ activists have organized protests, rallies, and public campaigns to raise awareness about the issue and build public support for same-sex marriage. They have also worked to influence the media and political discourse to promote their cause. Opponents of same-sex marriage have used tactics such as lobbying, funding political campaigns, and using religious arguments to sway public opinion and influence policy (Jung, 2021).

Evolution of Social Movements for Same-Sex Marriages

Slide 08: The evolution of social movements for same-sex marriages has been a long and tumultuous journey, marked by significant milestones and setbacks. The social movement for same-sex marriage has its roots in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, which began to gain momentum in the 1960s and 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the issue of same-sex marriage began to gain widespread attention and support. 

In 1993, Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional, which sparked a national debate and the formation of several key social movements (Spade, 2022). The year 1996 saw the introduction of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a legislation that defined marriage as a union between an individual of the male and one of the female genders. It also empowered states to decline recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. This legislation marked a significant setback for the same-sex marriage movement, but it also galvanized activists to continue their fight for equal rights.

Slide 09: Over the next decade, several states began to legalize same-sex marriage, while others passed constitutional amendments banning it. In 2010, a federal judge struck down California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state, leading to a wave of legal challenges and victories in other states. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of DOMA, which paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage in several states. This decision was considered a crucial achievement for the LGBTQ+ rights movement and a significant milestone in the struggle for same-sex marriage equality. In the years following the Obergefell decision, the focus of the movement has shifted towards issues such as employment discrimination and transgender rights. However, there are still ongoing debates and challenges related to same-sex marriage, particularly around issues of religious freedom and discrimination.

Slide 10: In terms of federal legislation, there have been several key developments over the past 10 years. In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend DOMA in court, which paved the way for its eventual repeal in 2013 (Knauer, 2020). Despite these legal victories, the current political landscape remains complex and contested. Some states have continued to pass laws that restrict same-sex marriage, while others have sought to expand LGBTQ+ rights in other areas. There are ongoing debates around issues such as adoption, healthcare, and religious freedom that continue to shape the political landscape related to same-sex marriage.

Questions On Public Perception

Slide 11: The issue of same-sex marriage has long been a topic of controversy and debate, with public perception playing a critical role in shaping the political and legal landscape. The claim that 75 percent of people are against gay marriage is a commonly cited statistic, but it is not entirely accurate (Eagly et al., 2020). While there are certainly segments of the population that oppose same-sex marriage, the level of opposition has been steadily declining over the past decade. 

SOC FPX 2000 Assessment 4 Framing an Issue From the Sociological Perspective

According to a 2020 Gallup poll, 67 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage, compared to just 27 percent in 1996. This represents a significant shift in public opinion and suggests that support for same-sex marriage is becoming increasingly mainstream. Furthermore, it is important to consider the demographics of those who oppose same-sex marriage. 

However, younger generations, democrats, and those who are unaffiliated with a religious group are much more likely to support same-sex marriage. This suggests that opposition to same-sex marriage is largely tied to traditional values and conservative ideologies, rather than being a widely held belief across all segments of society.

Slide 12: There is a common fear that legalizing same-sex marriage would harm our social fabric, but this idea lacks evidence to support it. On the contrary, research indicates that legalizing same-sex marriage can have beneficial impacts on individuals and society at large. For example, a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with improved mental health outcomes for both same-sex couples and their children (Drabble et al., 2021). It expands the definition of marriage to be more inclusive and recognizes the value and importance of committed, loving relationships regardless of gender. The legalization of same-sex marriage does not force anyone to participate in same-sex relationships or alter their own personal beliefs about marriage.

Evolution of Antidiscrimination Law

Slide 13: The legal landscape regarding same-sex marriage has been significantly influenced by the evolution of antidiscrimination law. Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, couples in same-sex relationships encountered considerable legal obstacles in obtaining the same rights and protections as those in opposite-sex relationships. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 was a major milestone in the evolution of anti-discrimination law. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court declared DOMA unconstitutional in the United States v. Windsor case, thereby opening the door for the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 in the Obergefell v. Hodges case (Brodyn, 2019).

Slide 14: While the legalization of same-sex marriage represented a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to note that discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is still legal in many states. The year 2020 saw a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County which deemed that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes sex discrimination, and is therefore prohibited by federal law (Lund, 2020). 

However, this ruling only applies to employment discrimination, and there are currently no federal laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in areas such as housing, public accommodations, or healthcare. 

Despite the lack of federal protections, many states and cities have passed their own antidiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, as of 2021, 22 states have laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (Reinah, 2021). However, the scope and strength of these laws vary widely from state to state.

Tactics to Promote Same-Sex Marriages

Slide 15: The fight for same-sex marriage has been a long and contentious one, with activists on both sides employing various tactics to further their cause (Liu & Zhu, 2020). Grassroots organizing; Grassroots organizing has been a key strategy for promoting same-sex marriage. Activists have worked tirelessly to build coalitions, engage with the public, and promote awareness and understanding of the issue.

  1. Litigation; Litigation has played a significant role in the fight for same-sex marriage, with activists challenging discriminatory laws and policies in the courts. Many landmark cases, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, were won through strategic litigation.
  2. Media campaigns; Activists have used various media campaigns to raise awareness and build public support for same-sex marriage. These campaigns have included advertisements, social media campaigns, and high-profile endorsements from celebrities and public figures.
  3. Lobbying; Activists have also engaged in lobbying efforts to influence lawmakers and policymakers to support same-sex marriage. This has included direct lobbying, grassroots lobbying, and advocacy through political action committees (PACs).

Slide 16: Notwithstanding these attempts, stakeholders who aim to enhance their rights or contest current policies have encountered difficulties due to the persistent uncertainty in political and legal environments, as highlighted by Liu and Zhu (2020). Activists on both sides of the debate have employed various strategies to promote their objectives, such as:

  1. Fear-mongering; Opponents of same-sex marriage have used fear-mongering tactics to stoke fears about the impact of same-sex marriage on society. These tactics often focus on false claims about the supposed harm that same-sex marriage would cause to children or traditional marriage.
  2. Religious appeals; Opponents of same-sex marriage have also used religious appeals to argue against its legalization. These appeals often invoke religious values and beliefs to justify discrimination against same-sex couples.

Grassroots organizing; Advocates for the legalization of same-sex marriage have employed grassroots mobilization as a means to foster public backing and interact with local communities. This has encompassed activities like door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and other forms of outreach initiatives.

  1. Legal challenges; Supporters of same-sex marriage have also used legal challenges to challenge discriminatory laws and policies. These challenges have included lawsuits challenging bans on same-sex marriage and lawsuits challenging discrimination against same-sex couples in areas such as adoption and employment.

To summarize, the fight for same-sex marriage has involved a range of tactics and strategies, with both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage employing various methods to further their cause. Despite continued uncertainty in political and legal environments, the tireless efforts of activists have helped to bring about significant progress toward equality and justice for LGBTQ+ individuals. 


Slide 17: In conclusion, the issue of same-sex marriage has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Through the lens of sociology, we can understand the disparities in political power, the evolution of social movements, public perception, and the effectiveness of tactics employed by activists. The public perception of same-sex marriage has also evolved, with more and more individuals supporting the right for individuals to marry regardless of their gender. The persistent uncertainty in political and legal environments has resulted in ongoing difficulties for stakeholders who aim to extend their rights or contest current policies. As a whole, the topic of same-sex marriage is a multifaceted sociological matter with continuing legal, political, and social consequences.

SOC FPX 2000 Assessment 4 Framing an Issue From the Sociological Perspective


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