This report focuses on one of the most heated public policy issues of this decade: gay marriage. It will explore why this issue is part of current American debate, look at both sides of the issue, highlight which apsects of American culture have influenced the debate surrounding this issue, observe, in reference to this issue, whether or not certain people are treated unfairly because they are different, examine American public opinion pertaining to this issue, and develop a strategic plan to assure equal treatment for all Americans in reference to marriage.
Chapter one will examine events in Hawaii leading up to the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act. It will explore the Hawaii court battle, including plaintiff and state arguments and court decisions. Including text from Congressional debate, chapter two will expose myths and clarify realities associated with the issue of gay marriage. It will also delve into the origins of these myths and show current strategies keeping the myths alive in today's society. Chapter three will explore current legal rights for gay Americans in the areas of job discrimination, the military, health benefits, and hate crime. Chapter four will examine how American public opinion changes and will highlight the seven stages of this evolution. Keeping in mind the myths associated with the issue of gay marriage and combining that knowledge with how public opinion shifts, chapter five outlines a strategic plan to change current American public opinion on the issue of gay marriage.