Final essay assignment: gay marriages and politics in the united

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Background: Recently the topic of gay marriage has been in news headlines. Last week Vice-President Biden made comments some thought controversial. Today President Obama will answer questions about his thoughts on the issue. Yesterday voters in the state of North Carolina passed a ban on gay marriage, making it one of more than two-dozen states to have such a ban.

Our text book contains an essay by Ted Olsen (page 209) about gay marriage; below is an editorial from yesterday’s New York Times by conservative columnist Ross Douthat that discusses the issue and how he thinks it might affect the campaign and the election in the U.S. in November 2012.



Read the essays by Olsen and Douthat. In addition read several news articles that discuss this topic and events involving Biden, Obama and the North Carolina vote. Also find and read editorial reactions from various points of view about the issue; read from several different sources – you can do this online with Google searches. This is the research part of your final assignment – you should read at least 20 separate articles about it, preferably from various political and ethical perspectives.


Then, determine your own thoughts and position about the issue of gay marriage. Be sure you can explain and defend that position in writing, with evidence or examples. After you’ve done that, think about how the gay marriage issue might influence the outcome of voting in the November election. What position, or positions, do you think candidates should take about gay marriage – should their position be based only on moral or ethical considerations, or should they – as Ross Douthat believes Obama has done – stake out a position based on what they think might get them the most votes, or offend the fewest voters on this controversial issue?


Finally, keeping in mind the general considerations reviewed at the top of this sheet, write a persuasive essay in which you make clear to the audience your position about gay marriage, AND you explain how you think candidates (in particular Obama and Romney) should address the topic in their campaigns for president, so that each man can express his own ethical beliefs, as well as appeal to enough voters to get himself elected – or at least to not alienate too many voters and diminish his chances for election.


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