Some states and municipalities created pathways to legal marriage for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This has magnified the cultural division between those who view marriage only as a union between a man and a woman, and those who view marriage as an opportunity that should be afforded to all, regardless of who they love.
Supporters of Marriage Equality believe that gender and sexual orientation should not play a part in whether two people are entitled to be married before the eyes of the law. Marriage equality advocates argue that couples who do not fit the mold of a traditional marriage — a union between a man and a woman — should still have access to the same recognition, legal rights, and tax benefits as do traditional couples.
Opponents of Marriage Equality argue that only a marriage between a man and a woman should be sanctioned by the law and that allowing any other type of union to occur would be to undermine the very institution of marriage. Many opponents of marriage equality also take the faith-based view that nontraditional romantic relationships contradict the words of the Bible and are therefore inherently sinful. To some in this demographic, the government has a moral responsibility to protect traditional marriage by creating laws to prevent what opponents of marriage equality view as deviant or immoral.
The debate over marriage equality pits the ongoing movement for LGBTQ rights against groups who oppose the advancement of LGBTQ rights on the grounds of religious belief.