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In November of 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed an Act that legalized same-sex marriage, which made Illinois the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage. As a child, I would never pay attention to what other people were doing or when they were with when I was in public. I didn’t worry about much, other than myself and what I was doing. When I was younger, I wasn’t aware of couples of the same sex. It never drew my attention, and I wasn’t taught about it, most likely because it wasn’t legal as I was growing up. The legalization of The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act is what made me realize that same-sex marriage should be accepted in our society the same way as opposite-sex marriage is accepted. This act ensures that same-sex marriage is legal, and all couples have the same benefits (Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts). The effects of this act being passed didn’t only catch my eye, but others also.
During my adolescence and teenage years, I was unaware of this “trend” that has became more socially acceptable. Once the law was passed, I became more aware of same-sex couples. When I was growing up it seemed as if everyone around me was only in a relationship or married to the opposite-sex, but this wasn’t the case. I was never being taught about same-sex couples, so I didn’t have much knowledge of it. For example, while being in a classroom, most of my teacher would give an example that involved couples, but only using opposite genders. I wasn’t able to realize this until later on when I became more aware of same-sex couples. Before I knew about this act being passed, I wasn’t aware of only being taught about opposite-sex couples and never same-sex couples.
Another huge factor as to why I only knew about opposite-sex couples is from going to weddings. When I was younger, I attended multiple weddings and was part of the wedding crew in some of them. When I think of a wedding, the typical married couple used to be a bride and groom. I have never been to a wedding for two brides or two grooms. This played a role in my childhood and was a reason for me being taught about only the “typical” wedding with a bride and groom.
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Once I became familiar with same-sex couples, I wondered why it mattered to the world who other people are in a relationship with. Around the same time the act was passed and I started noticing same-sex couples, there were some events held in the community for support in their view on same-sex couples. A parade that has stood out to me most over the past few years was one held in Chicago this year. This Chicago Pride parade is an annual parade for the celebration of gay pride. I remember seeing some of my friends at the parade and posting about it. People coming together to have parades like this and all of the people that support everyone is amazing. It has made me grown to realize our world is not the same from when I started growing up. People are starting to do whatever they want and not worry about who is going to judge them, and it’s great to recognize that after never seeing anything like that in my childhood.
I started to become more aware of couples of the same-sex as the years went by. After not being taught about only opposite-gender couples, I realized it was becoming acceptable and legal for same-sex couples to become married. Seeing people out in public, or posting something online about relationships with the same-sex is no different than couples of the opposite sex posting things or being out in public. I noticed that society was starting to become accepting of the new law that allowed this. More people were able to speak for who they are and what they believe in. The longer the act has been out, the more people have decided to express themselves and their relationships with others.
During high school, I noticed a few couples in the school that were not afraid to show off their girlfriend or boyfriend of the same-sex. One of my friends who I’ve known for awhile had been keeping it to herself that she had a girlfriend. Once she went to college and parted from the crazy high schoolers, she decided to announce something. Finally, she had the courage to put a post on Facebook allowing all of her friends to see.
There were many different factors from my childhood that proved I wasn’t being taught about same-sex marriage, but now that I have experienced different events in life it has helped me realize there aren’t only opposite-sex couples. Once The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act was put into place, I became more accepting of same-sex couples. There has been teachers and events that made me only be familiar with opposite-sex couples.