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Current Issue in Federalism

Throughout the world’s history, conflicts have emerged on how to unite state and federal powers within one system of governance. To date, several controversies indicate how these conflicts continue. This paper will examine the current federal issue of the same-sex marriage, its pros and cons and my own opinion regarding the best power division. Same-sex marriage was once a concern for individual states but currently it has emerged as a federal issue. This has triggered its debate to shift from the state courts and legislatures to the federal ones with the interest groups looking for the best platform to present their case. Earlier, federal government was prohibited to legalize same-sex marriage by the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, the state governments were also included. However, as from 2004, states began legalizing it.
Relative to the advantages, federal involvement on same-sex marriage can promote individualism. This will helps in accommodation of interests of the bigger majority like culture, style or language (Bond, and Smith, p. 76). However, states government is better placed to enhance policy positions that are specific to its area and needs of its constituents. On the other hand, federal government formulates policies that cater for majority in order to create a balance between the states. Next, it will allow for experimentation of various laws and policies across different states.
In regards to the disadvantages, federal government involvement in the same-sex marriage has contributed to various challenges. First and foremost, more conflicts have erupted between states due different policies pertaining same-sex marriage particularly gay marriage ((Bond, and Smith, p.86). Different states develop their own individual customs and culture pertaining to same-sex marriage. Every time ones cross a state boundary he/she is bound by different laws and policies. This makes it difficult for the federal government to come up with a strong supported policy as the states are often pulling in different ways. Secondly, this has an adverse effect on the economy. The central government is responsible for handling the overall economy although each state has its unique economy. Same-sex marriage faces huge economic disparities as opposed to opposite sex marriages. Same-sex couples are not legitimately recognized as married couples; therefore they are not entitled to some of the states or federal government benefits such as exemption from taxes like the heterosexual couples. For instance, a heterosexual spouse is not subjected to taxation in inheritance cases from his/her deceased partner whereas same-sex couple is subjected. Furthermore, federalism has led to growth of inequality mostly among the minority groups. This results to mental problems such as stress due to stigmatization. Studies from various states prohibiting same-sex marriages have revealed that majority of same-sex couples exhibited mental heath problems. This was attributed to minority stress resulting from stigmatization of the minority groups and psychological distress as well. Moreover, the negative campaign associated with its ban is what increased the stress. Apart from the mental health problem, the ban on same-sex marriage leads to other physical health problems. For instance, its ban is attributed to have triggered increase in HIV infection in some states.
Finally, division of power between federal and state government based on confederation is the best. In this case, the federal government receives direct grant power from the states government but not from the citizens (Bond, and Smith, p. 73). This would allow for optimum resource utilization and formulation of policies. As mentioned above, state government is better placed to handle local needs thus federal government would be best suited for international issues and defense.

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