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Legal recognition of
same-sex couples
Same-sex marriage

Belgium
Canada
Netherlands
Norway

South Africa
Spain
Sweden

Performed in some jurisdictions

Mexico: DF
United States: CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, VT, Coquille

Recognized, not performed

Aruba (Dutch only)
Israel
Netherlands Antilles (Dutch only)
United States: CA (conditional), MD, NY, RI

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Andorra
Austria
Colombia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Finland
France
Germany
Greenland

Hungary
Iceland
Luxembourg
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Slovenia
Switzerland
Wallis and Futuna
United Kingdom
Uruguay

Performed in some jurisdictions

Argentina: BA, RC, RN, VCP
Australia: ACT, TAS, VIC
Mexico: COA
United States: CA, CO, HI, ME, NJ, NV, OR, WA, WI
Venezuela: ME

Recognized, not performed

Isle of Man (UK only)

Unregistered co-habitation

Argentina
Australia
Brazil

Croatia
Israel
Portugal

In some regions

United States: MD, RI

Jurisdictions with current or recent debates on SSUs

Albania
Bolivia
Bulgaria
Burundi
Cambodia
Chile
China (PRC)
ROC (Taiwan)
Congo (DRC)
Costa Rica
Cuba
Cyprus
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Estonia
Europe
Faroe Islands
Greece
Honduras
India
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jersey

Kosovo
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Malta
Moldova
Montenegro
Nepal
Netherlands Antilles
Nigeria
Panama
Paraguay
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Singapore
South Korea
Uganda
Ukraine
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia

United States: AL, AS, AZ, DE, FL, GU, IL, LA, MI, MN, MT, NM, NC, OH, PA, PR, SC, UT, WV, WY, Native Americans

See also

Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage legislation
Timeline of same-sex marriage
Civil union
Domestic partnership
Registered partnership
Civil partnership
Listings by country

LGBT portal

Same-sex marriage (also called gay marriage)[1] is a legally or socially recognized marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender.

Same-sex marriage is a civil rights, political, social, moral, and religious issue in many nations. The conflict arises over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into marriage, be required to use a different status (such as a civil union, which usually grants fewer rights), or not have any such rights. A related issue is whether the term "marriage" should be applied.[2][3]

Support for same-sex marriage is often based upon what is regarded as a universal human rights issue, mental and physical health concerns, equality before the law,[4] and the goal of normalizing LGBT relationships.[5][6][7]

Opposition to same-sex marriage arises from a rejection of the use of the word "marriage" as applied to same-sex couples or objections about the legal and social status of marriage itself being applied under any terminology. Other stated reasons include direct and indirect social consequences of same-sex marriages, parenting concerns, religious grounds,[8] and tradition. Supporters of same-sex marriage often attribute opposition to it as coming from homophobia[9][10][11][12] or heterosexism and liken prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past prohibitions on interracial marriage.[13]

Contents

Etymology and terminological usage

The word "marriage" comes from Old French mariage, from marier (“‘to marry’”), from Latin maritare (“‘to marry", literally “give in marriage’”), from maritus (“‘lover", "nuptial’”), from mas (“‘male", "masculine", "of the male sex’”).[14]

Anthropologists have struggled to come up with a definition of marriage that absorbs commonalities of the social construct across cultures.[15][16] Edvard Westermarck defined marriage in the 1922 edition of The History of Human Marriage as "a relation of one or more men to one or more women which is recognized as custom or law and involves certain rights and duties" to the individuals who enter into it, and any children born from it.[17] Such definitions failed to recognize same-sex marriages that have been documented around the world, including in more than 30 African cultures, such as the Kikuyu and Nuer.[16][18][19]

In lexicography, words have changed and expanded in accordance to the status quo. In the last 10 years, in the English-speaking world, all major dictionaries have either dropped gender specifications, or supplemented them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or same-sex unions.[20][21] The Oxford English Dictionary has recognized same-sex marriage since 2000.[22]

Many proponents of same-sex marriages use the term marriage equality[23][24] to stress that they seek equality as opposed to special rights. Some opponents argue that equating same-sex and opposite-sex marriages changes the meaning of marriage and its traditions,[25] and some use the term traditional marriage to mean marriages between one man and one woman.[26]

Alan Dershowitz and others have suggested reserving the word "marriage" for religious contexts as part of privatizing marriage, and in civil and legal contexts using a uniform concept of civil unions, in part to strengthen the separation between church and state.[27] Jennifer Roback Morse, the president of the anti-same-sex marriage group National Organization for Marriage's Ruth Institute project,[28] claims that the conflation of marriage with contractual agreements is itself a threat to marriage.[29]

Use in print and online media

Some publications that oppose same-sex marriages adopt an editorial style policy of placing the word marriage in quotation marks ("marriage") when it is used in reference to same-sex couples. In the United States, the mainstream press has generally abandoned this practice.[30] Some socially conservative online publications, such as WorldNetDaily and Baptist Press, still follow the practice. Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media argues for use of quotation marks on the grounds that marriage is a legal status denied same-sex couples by most state governments.[31] Same-sex marriage supporters argue that the use of scare quotes is an editorialization that implies illegitimacy.[32]

Associated Press style recommends the usages marriage for gays and lesbians or in space-limited headlines gay marriage with no hyphen and no scare quotes. AP warns that the construct gay marriage can imply that marriage licenses offered to gay and lesbian couples are somehow legally different.

History

Ancient

Various types of same-sex marriages have existed,[33] ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions.[34]

In the southern Chinese province of Fujian, through the Ming dynasty period, females would bind themselves in contracts to younger females in elaborate ceremonies.[citation needed] Males also entered similar arrangements. This type of arrangement was also similar in ancient European history.[35]

An example of egalitarian male domestic partnership from the early Zhou Dynasty period of China is recorded in the story of Pan Zhang & Wang Zhongxian. While the relationship was clearly approved by the wider community, and was compared to heterosexual marriage, it did not involve a religious ceremony binding the couple.[36]

The first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire.[37] For instance, Emperor Nero is said to have married one of his males slaves. Emperor Elagabalus married a Carian slave named Hierocles.[38] While there is a consensus among modern historians that same-sex relationships were fairly commonplace in ancient Rome, the exact frequency and nature of same-sex unions during that period has been obscured.[39] In 342 AD, when Christianity swept through the Roman Empire, bringing Biblical sanctions against homosexuality with it, Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans issued a law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) prohibiting same-sex marriage in Rome and ordering execution for those so married.[40]

Modern

In October 1989, Denmark became the first country to recognize same-sex unions in the form of "registered partnerships". In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation to grant same-sex marriages.[41] Same-sex marriages are granted and mutually recognized by Belgium (2003),[42] Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009) and Sweden (2009). In Nepal, their recognition has been judicially mandated but not yet legislated.[43] On January 8, 2010, the Parliament of Portugal passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill is expected to be ratified by Conservative President Aníbal Cavaco Silva.[44]

The Canadian Parliament approved the granting and recognition of same-sex marriages by defining marriage as “the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others” in July 2005. A Conservative Government motion inviting MPs to request repeal of same-sex marriage in Canada failed in December 2006, so same-sex marriages continue to be honored throughout the nation.[45]

Current status

     No information
Homosexuality legal      Same-sex marriage      Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)      Foreign same-sex marriages recognized      No recognition of same-sex couples
Homosexuality illegal      Minimal penalty      Large penalty      Life in prison      Death penalty

  

The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Norway, Sweden and South Africa are the only countries in which the legal status of same-sex marriages is exactly the same as that of opposite-sex marriages. Nepal's highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights. Based on the court recommendation the government announced its intention to introduce a same-sex marriage bill by 2010.[46][47][48][49][50] Same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities will be included in the new Nepalese constitution currently being drafted.[51][52]

The granting and honoring of same-sex marriages is also currently being considered by several countries in Europe. On January 8, 2010, the Portuguese Parliament passed a bill backing same-sex marriage.[53] On 10 February, the Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament approved the bill. The final parliamentary vote took place on 11 February, with the bill being approved.[54] The bill now has to be promulgated by the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, who can also veto it or ask the Constitutional Court to verify whether the bill is constitutional. If he vetoes it, the Parliament can still override the veto and move forward with the bill. However, he is thought likely to sign the bill.[55] Same-sex marriage will not come into force in Portugal until the bill is published in the Diário da República, the official gazette. The new law, if signed by the President, would come into force in April 2010.[56]

The current governing party of Iceland has also recently hinted that it intends to reconstruct its marriage laws, thereby making them gender neutral.[57] In early July 2009, the minister of Slovenia announced that the country would likely legalize same-sex marriages in the near future after the government agreed that same-sex couples deserve to be entitled to all of the same benefits of opposite-sex couples.[58] In December 2009 the government approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage and adoption and sent it to parliament.[59] The new government of Luxembourg has also announced its intention to legalize same-sex marriage.[60]

Some Latin American nations have taken up such proposals, with the Justice Minister of Argentina working to submit a gender neutral law draft before the Congress.[61] On 21 December 2009, Mexico City's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples. The law was enacted eight days later and became effective in early March 2010.[62] Since then, same-sex marriage bills have been proposed in other Mexican states such as Morelos,[63] Puebla,[64] and Sonora.[65] Michoacán,[66] Tabasco,[67] and Tamaulipas[68] are expected to follow later in 2010.

Australia bans recognition of same-sex marriages at the federal level, but the current Australian Labor Party government favors synchronized state and territory registered partnership legislation (as in Tasmania and Victoria). The Australian Capital Territory offers civil partnerships. New Zealand's Parliament rejected a bill that would have prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriage in New Zealand in December 2005. However, New Zealand's Marriage Act 1955 still only recognizes marriage rights for opposite-sex couples. The marriage laws consider transsexuals who have undergone reassignment surgery as having changed sex for legal purposes, following Family Court and High Court of New Zealand decisions in 1995.

Israel's High Court of Justice ruled to honor same-sex marriages granted in other countries even though Israel itself does not issue such licenses. A bill was raised in the Knesset (parliament) to rescind the High Court's ruling, but the Knesset has not advanced the bill since December 2006.

In France in 2006, a 30-member non-quorum parliamentary commission of the French National Assembly published a 453-page Report on the Family and the Rights of Children, which rejected same-sex marriages.[69]

Same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa on 30 November 2006 when the Civil Unions Bill was enacted after having been passed by the South African Parliament earlier that month. A ruling by the Constitutional Court on 1 December 2005 had imposed a deadline of 1 December 2006 to make same-sex marriage legal. South Africa became the fifth country, the first in Africa, and the second outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2006, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced legislation that prohibits same-sex marriages and criminalizes anyone who "performs, witnesses, aids or abets" such ceremonies.[70] Among the Igbo people of Nigeria, there are circumstances where a marriage between two women is allowed, such as when a woman has no child and the husband dies.[71]

United States

In the United States, although same-sex marriages are not recognized federally, same-sex couples can currently marry in five states (New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut) and the District of Columbia and receive state level benefits.[72] Additionally, several states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships, granting all or part of the state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage.[73][74] Thirty-one states have put same-sex marriage on the ballot, but none have passed. In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage solely as a union between a couple of the opposite sex for all federal purposes and allowing for the non-recognition amongst the states.[75] President Barack Obama is opposed to same-sex marriage,[76] while he "supports full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples",[77] a full repeal of DOMA,[78] and called Proposition 8 "unnecessary".[79]

International organizations

The terms of employment of the staff of international organizations (not commercial) in most cases are not governed by the laws of the country in which their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard these organizations' impartiality.

Despite their relative independence, few organizations currently recognize same-sex partnerships without condition. The agencies of the United Nations voluntarily discriminate between opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages, as well as discriminating between employees on the basis of nationality. These organizations recognize same-sex marriages only if the country of citizenship of the employees in question recognizes the marriage. In some cases, these organizations do offer a limited selection of the benefits normally provided to opposite-sex married couples to de facto partners or domestic partners of their staff, but even individuals who have entered into an opposite-sex civil union in their home country are not guaranteed full recognition of this union in all organizations. However, the World Bank does recognize domestic partners.[80]

Other legally recognized same-sex unions

Civil unions, civil partnerships, domestic partnerships, registered partnerships, or unregistered partnership/unregistered co-habitation legal status offer varying portions of the legal benefits of marriage and are available to same-sex couples in: Andorra, Australia, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. They are also available in parts of Argentina (Villa Carlos Paz, Río Cuarto, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Río Negro), Mexico (Coahuila and the Federal District) and the United States (California, Hawai'i, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Washington and the federal District of Columbia)[81]

Many advocates, such as this protester at a demonstration in New York City against California Proposition 8, reject the notion of civil unions.[82] U.S. Same-sex marriage movement activist Evan Wolfson does not feel civil unions are a replacement for full marriage equality.[83]

In some countries with legal recognition the actual benefits are minimal. Many people consider civil unions, even those that grant equal rights, inadequate, as they create a separate status, and think they should be replaced by gender-neutral marriage.[84]

Australia

In Australia, Commonwealth law prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriage under the Marriage Act 1961. However, in every Australian government jurisdiction a wide range of rights to de facto same-sex couples is exactly equal to those afforded to de facto opposite-sex couples is provided. These rights are gained without registration, under a status called "unregistered cohabitation". Furthermore, formal domestic partnership registries exist in Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Since 1 July 2009, same-sex couples are recognised as de facto partners in a wide range of legislation in every Australian government jurisdiction, including superannuation, social security, health care and taxation.[85] In 2007, Grace Abrams and Fiona Power became Australia's first legally recognized same-sex married couple after Grace Abrams had gender-modification surgery and was later officially granted a passport with female status.[86]

Europe

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe      Same-sex marriage      Other type of partnership      Unregistered cohabitation      Issue under political consideration      Unrecognized      Constitution limits marriage to man–woman
  

In Denmark, Finland, Hungary and Iceland, a registered partnership is "nearly" equal to marriage, including legal joint adoption rights in Denmark and Iceland. Finland and Greenland have biological adoption only (no joint adoption). These partnership laws are short laws that state that wherever the word "marriage" appears in the country's law, it will now also be construed to mean "registered partnership", and wherever the word "spouse" appears, it will now also be construed to mean "registered partner" — thereby transferring the body of marriage laws onto same-sex couples in registered partnerships.

In the United Kingdom, civil partnerships were introduced in 2005. The law gives civil partners the same benefits and associated legal rights of marriage; ranging from tax exemptions and joint property rights, to next-of-kin status and shared parenting responsibilities. The one notable exception is the use of courtesy titles by the partner of a male peer or knight. In the first year, 16,100 ceremonies took place.[87] Civil unions in New Zealand are identical to British civil partnerships in their association with equivalent spousal rights and responsibilities to marriage.

Transgender and intersex persons

When sex is defined legally, it may be defined by any one of several criteria: the XY sex-determination system, the type of gonads, or the type of external sexual features. Consequently, both transsexuals and intersexed individuals may be legally categorized into confusing gray areas, and could be prohibited from marrying partners of the "opposite" sex or permitted to marry partners of the "same" sex due to legal distinctions. This could result in long-term marriages, as well as recent same-sex marriages, being overturned.

The problems of defining gender by the existence/non-existence of gonads or certain sexual features is complicated by the existence of surgical methods to alter these features. Estimates[88] run as high as 1 percent of live births exhibiting some degree of sexual ambiguity, and between 0.1% and 0.2% of live births being ambiguous enough to become the subject of specialist medical attention, including sometimes involuntary surgery to address their sexual ambiguity.[89]

In any legal jurisdiction where marriages are defined without distinction of a requirement of a male and female, these complications do not occur. In addition, some legal jurisdictions recognize a legal and official change of gender, which would allow a transsexual to be legally married in accordance with an adopted gender identity.[90]

In the United Kingdom, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows a person who has lived in their chosen gender for at least two years to receive a gender recognition certificate officially recognizing their new gender. Because in the UK marriages are for mixed-sex couples and civil partnerships are for same-sex couples, a person must dissolve his/her marriage or civil partnership before obtaining a gender recognition certificate. Such persons are then free to enter or re-enter civil partnerships or marriages in accordance with their newly recognized gender identity.

In the United States, transsexual and intersexual marriages typically run into the complications detailed above. As definitions and enforcement of marriage are defined by the states, these complications vary from state to state.[91]

Controversy

While few societies have recognized same-sex unions as marriages, the historical and anthropological record reveals a large range of attitudes towards same-sex unions ranging from praise, to sympathetic toleration, to indifference, to prohibition. Opponents of same-sex marriages have argued that recognition of same-sex marriages would erode religious freedoms,[92] and that same-sex marriage, while doing good for the couples that participate in them and the children they are raising, undermines a right of children to be raised by their biological mother and father.[93]

Some supporters of same-sex marriages take the view that the government should have no role in regulating personal relationships,[94] while others argue that same-sex marriages would provide social benefits to same-sex couples.[95] A 2004 Statement by the American Anthropological Association states that there is no evidence that society needs to maintain "marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution", and, further, that same-sex unions can "contribute to stable and humane societies."[96] The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Association of Social Workers state: "There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.... Empirical research has consistently shown that lesbian and gay parents do not differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills, and their children do not show any deficits compared to children raised by heterosexual parents.... [I]f their parents are allowed to marry, the children of same-sex couples will benefit not only from the legal stability and other familial benefits that marriage provides, but also from elimination of state-sponsored stigmatization of their families."[97]

The debate regarding same-sex marriages includes debate based upon social viewpoints as well as debate based on majority rules, religious convictions, economic arguments, health-related concerns, and a variety of other issues.

Judicial and legislative

A "majority rules" position regards same-sex marriage as void and illegal unless it has been accepted by a simple majority of voters or of their elected representatives.[98] In contrast, a civil-rights view holds that, after carefully studying both sides of the controversy, an impartial judiciary, in upholding its constitutional duties, should decide whether the right to marry regardless of the gender of the participants is constitutionally guaranteed.[99]

In general, the legal effect marriage has on same-sex couples when marriage licenses are issued to them and honored by the states in which they live is indistinguishable from any other legal effect marriage has on any other couple under state law. The United States has developed extensive case law and legislation addressing the nuance of American legal conceptions of equality before the law.

Religion

Arguments on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate are often made on religious grounds and/or formulated in terms of religious doctrine. One source of controversy is how same-sex marriage affects freedom of religion.[92][100][101][102][103][104][105] Many churches (citing their religious beliefs) refuse to provide employment, public accommodations, adoption services and other benefits to same-sex couples.[106][107] Some areas have made special provisions for religious protections.[108]

Many Christian groups have been vocal and politically active in opposing same-sex marriage laws in the United States. Christians opposed to same-sex marriage have claimed that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples could undercut the conventional purpose of marriage, or would be contrary to God's will.[109][110][111][112][113][114] Christian opposition to same-sex marriage also comes from the belief that same-sex marriage normalizes homosexual behavior and would encourage it, instead of encouraging resistance to same-sex attraction.[111]

Christian supporters of same-sex marriage have claimed that marriage rights for same-sex couples strengthens the institution of marriage and provides legal protection for children of gay and lesbian parents. Biblical apologetics for same-sex marriage rights include arguments that the word "homosexual", as found in many modern versions of the Bible, is an inaccurate translation of what is found in the original biblical texts.[115][116] Neither Vine's Expository Dictionary nor Strong's Concordance (two significant bible reference works) contains the word "homosexual". There also is no direct biblical prohibition of marriage rights for same-sex couples. Certain biblical texts used by non-affirming Christian organizations to condemn homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage, may refer only to specific sex acts and idolatrous worship lacking any relevance to contemporary same-sex relationships.[117] Supporting marriage rights for gays and lesbians is viewed by affirming Christians as a Christ-like commitment to the equality and dignity of all persons.[118][119][120] The United Church of Canada asserts that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, are a gift from God."[121]

Unitarian Universalism, a liberal faith tradition, supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. It has taken an active role advocating for LGBT rights and same-sex marriages are often performed in UU congregations.

Judaism, like Christianity, contains varying views on the issue of marriage rights, both politically and religiously, for same-sex couples. Many Orthodox Jews maintain the traditional Jewish bans on both sexual acts and marriages amongst members of the same sex,[122] but other orthodox rabbis, such as Steven Greenberg, disagree. Some Conservative Jews reject recognition of same-sex unions as marriages, but permit celebration of commitment ceremonies, while others recognize same-sex marriage.[123] The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) supports the inclusion of same-sex unions within the definition of marriage.[124] The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation leaves the choice to individual rabbis.[125]

From the Islamic perspective, a majority of Muslim legal scholars cite the rulings of Muhammad and the story of Lot in Sodom as condemnation of homosexuality. Given that Islam views marriage as an exchange between two parties of protection and security for exclusive sexual and reproductive rights, same-sex marriages cannot be considered legal within the constrains of a Muslim marriage. However, this ruling does not prevent them from occurring.[126]

Buddhist scripture and teachings do not take a consistent stance against homosexuality, and do not specifically proscribe nor endorse same-sex marriage; thus, there is no unified stance for or against the practice.[127]

Pagan and Wiccan communities are often supportive of same-sex marriages.

Children and the family

There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents.[128] If gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents were inherently less capable than otherwise comparable heterosexual parents, their children would evidence problems regardless of the type of sample. This pattern clearly has not been observed. Given the consistent failures in this research literature to disprove the null hypothesis, the burden of empirical proof is on those who argue that the children of sexual minority parents fare worse than the children of heterosexual parents.[129] No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child well-being.[130]

Professor Judith Stacey, of New York University, stated: “Rarely is there as much consensus in any area of social science as in the case of gay parenting, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics and all of the major professional organizations with expertise in child welfare have issued reports and resolutions in support of gay and lesbian parental rights”.[131] These organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics,[128] the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,[132] the American Psychiatric Association,[133] the American Psychological Association [134], the American Psychoanalytic Association [135], the National Association of Social Workers,[97] the Child Welfare League of America,[136] the North American Council on Adoptable Children,[137] and Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). CPA is concerned that some persons and institutions are mis-interpreting the findings of psychological research to support their positions, when their positions are more accurately based on other systems of belief or values.[138]

The vast majority of families in the United States today are not the "middle class family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children" that has been viewed as the norm. Since the end of the 1980’s, it has been well established that children and adolescents can adjust just as well in nontraditional settings as in traditional settings.[139] The family studies literature indicates that it is family processes (such as the quality of parenting and relationships within the family) that contribute to determining children’s well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures, per se, such as the number, gender, sexuality and co-habitation status of parents.[140]

Opponents of same-sex marriage without any evidence[97][138] claim that children do best with both a mother and a father, and that therefore the state should encourage the traditional family structure by granting it a special status. They say that children should have a right to be raised by both a father and a mother and that the government should not support a marriage that cannot offer that.[141][142][143][144][145] Same-sex marriage opponent Maggie Gallagher claims that legal marriage is a way of encouraging monogamy and commitment by those who may create children through their sexual coupling.[146] Some groups believe that children raised by homosexual parents also develop homosexual or bisexual preferences[147] or are more likely to have a same-sex relationship.[148][149][150]

Proponents of same-sex marriage contend that by expanding marriage to LGBT individuals the state actually protects the rights of all married couples and, if they have any, of their children without discrimination while in no way affecting the rights of opposite sex married couples and their children, natural or adopted.[151]

A study on marriage statistics of opposite-sex married couples by researcher Darren Spedale found that 15 years after Denmark had granted same-sex couples marriage-like partnership status, rates of opposite-sex marriage in those countries had gone up, and rates of opposite-sex divorce had gone down. He found the same results in each of Sweden and Norway a decade after they had passed their own such laws. He says this is evidence that same-sex unions do not have a negative effect on traditional marriages, which he says would also apply to same-sex marriages.[152]

However, a study on same-sex partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that short-term divorce risks are higher in same-sex partnerships than in opposite-sex marriages.[153] The authors stated that this may be due to same-sex couples' "non-involvement in joint parenthood" and "lower exposure to normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions."[153]

A multi-method, multi-informant comparison of community samples of committed gay male and lesbian (30 participants each) couples with both committed (50 young engaged and 40 older married participants) and non-committed (109 exclusively dating) opposite-sex pairs was conducted in 2008.[154] Results indicated that individuals in committed same-sex relationships were generally not distinguishable from their committed opposite-sex counterparts.

Marriage privatization

A libertarian argument for marriage privatization holds that the state has no role in defining the terms whereby individuals contract to arrange their personal relationships, regardless of sexual orientation.[155][156][157] People holding this viewpoint argue that the state should have a limited role or no role in defining marriage, only in enforcing those contracts people construct themselves and willfully enter. The rights granted to a married couple exceed those that can be mutually granted by two people to each other contractually, and also involve rights granted by the state.[158][159][160]

Those following this line of reasoning believe that efforts to "legitimize" same-sex marriages as a state institution are backwards-looking, and will have the effect of expanding state influence into personal affairs where state influence already does not belong. People opposing same-sex marriages on these grounds, also support scaling back the definition by the state of contractual obligations between opposite sex partners to a same or similar degree.

Education controversy

The subject of how the legalization of same-sex marriage affects public education is a source of controversy.[161][162] An argument sometimes used by supporters is that teaching about same-sex marriage in schools will help children to be more open minded by exposing them to different types of families.[163] There is concern from opponents of same-sex marriage that it will undermine parental rights over their children's education.[164][165]

There is also concern that the information being presented might not be accurate,[166][167] omits medical, psychological and legal impacts of homosexuality,[168] and might not be appropriate for the age group.[169] There has also been controversy that educators who disagree may be punished.[168][170][171]

Effects of same-sex marriage

The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and National Association of Social Workers have stated in an Amicus curiae brief presented to the Supreme Court of the State of California[97]:

Homosexuality is neither a disorder nor a disease, but rather a normal variant of human sexual orientation. The vast majority of gay and lesbian individuals lead happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and productive lives. Many gay and lesbian people are in a committed same-sex relationship. In their essential psychological respects, these relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships. The institution of marriage affords individuals a variety of benefits that have a favorable impact on their physical and psychological well-being. A large number of children are currently being raised by lesbians and gay men, both in same-sex couples and as single parents. Empirical research has consistently shown that lesbian and gay parents do not differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills, and their children do not show any deficits compared to children raised by heterosexual parents. State policies that bar same-sex couples from marrying are based solely on sexual orientation. As such, they are both a consequence of the stigma historically attached to homosexuality, and a structural manifestation of that stigma. By allowing same-sex couples to marry, the Court would end the antigay stigma imposed by the State of California through its ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples. In addition, allowing same-sex couples to marry would give them access to the social support that already facilitates and strengthens heterosexual marriages, with all of the psychological and physical health benefits associated with that support. In addition, if their parents are allowed to marry, the children of same-sex couples will benefit not only from the legal stability and other familial benefits that marriage provides, but also from elimination of state-sponsored stigmatization of their families. There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.

The Canadian Psychological Association has stated in 2006[138]:

The literature (including the literature on which opponents to marriage of same-sex couples appear to rely) indicates that parents’ financial, psychological and physical well-being is enhanced by marriage and that children benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally-recognized union. As the CPA stated in 2003, the stressors encountered by gay and lesbian parents and their children are more likely the result of the way in which society treats them than because of any deficiencies in fitness to parent. The CPA recognizes and appreciates that persons and institutions are entitled to their opinions and positions on this issue. However, CPA is concerned that some are mis-interpreting the findings of psychological research to support their positions, when their positions are more accurately based on other systems of belief or values. CPA asserts that children stand to benefit from the well-being that results when their parents’ relationship is recognized and supported by society’s institutions.

Some past presidents of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality assert that some appointed members of the American Psychological Association committee involved in crafting their recommendations had conflicts of interest on LGBT matters, due to being either homosexual or involved in LGBT activism.[172][173]

Health issues

Recently, several psychological studies[174][175][176] have shown that an increase in exposure to negative conversations and media messages about same-sex marriage creates a harmful environment for the LGBT population that may affect their health and well-being.

In 2010, a Mailman School of Public Health study examining the effects of institutional discrimination on the psychiatric health of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals found an increase in psychiatric disorders among the LGB population living in states that instituted bans on same-sex marriage. According to the author the study highlighted the importance of abolishing institutional forms of discrimination, including those leading to disparities in the mental health and well-being of LGB individuals. Institutional discrimination is characterized by societal-level conditions that limit the opportunities and access to resources by socially-disadvantaged groups.[177]

Gay activist Jonathan Rauch has argued that marriage is good for all men, whether homosexual or heterosexual, because engaging in its social roles reduces men's aggression and promiscuity.[178][179] After reviewing current psychological and other social science studies on same-sex marriage in comparison to opposite-sex marriage, Gregory M. Herek claims that the data[180] indicate that same-sex and opposite-sex relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent's sexual orientation is unrelated to their ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment; and that marriage bestows substantial psychological, social, and health benefits. Herek concludes that same-sex couples and their children are likely to benefit in numerous ways from legal recognition of their families, and providing such recognition through marriage will bestow greater benefit than civil unions or domestic partnerships.[180]

In 2009, a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-sex marriage in the US to an increase in the rates of HIV infection.[181][182] The study linked the passage of same-sex marriage ban in a state to an increase in the annual HIV rate within that state of roughly 4 cases per 100,000 population.

See also

Documentaries and literature

Footnotes

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  6. ^ Azzolina, David (February 2003). "The End of Gay (and the Death of Heterosexuality).(Book Review)". Library Journal: 288. 
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  10. ^ Frank: Scalia's legal opinions reveal his homophobia, CNN, March 25, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  11. ^ Craig A. Rimmerman; Clyde Wilcox (2007). The politics of same-sex marriage. University of Chicago Press. pp. 234. ISBN 9780226720012. "Clearly homophobia is at the heart of blanket opposition to gay rights policies." 
  12. ^ Evan Gerstmann (2004). Same-sex marriage and the Constitution. Cambridge University Press. pp. 56. ISBN 9780521009522. "Keeping marriage heterosexual and dual gendered clearly has more widespread support than other homophobic policies." 
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  168. ^ a b SAME-SEX MARRIAGE HAS CHANGED CANADA
  169. ^ Gay literature in schools
  170. ^ Teacher who complained about training day 'promoting gay rights' is cleared
  171. ^ School counselor targeted for supporting Maine’s pro-marriage Question 1
  172. ^ Byrd, D. "When Activism Masquerades as Science: Potential Consequences of Recent APA Resolutions"
  173. ^ "On the APA Endorsement Of Gay Marriage". Narth.com. http://www.narth.com/docs/endorsement.html. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  174. ^ Price, M. "UPFRONT - Research uncovers the stress created by same-sex marriage bans" in Monitor on Psychology, Volume 40, No. 1, page 10, January 2009. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. [3]
  175. ^ Potoczniak, Daniel J.; Aldea, Mirela A.; DeBlaere, Cirleen"Ego identity, social anxiety, social support, and self​-​concealment in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(4), Oct 2007, 447-457.
  176. ^ Balsam, Kimberly F.; Mohr, Jonathan J. "Adaptation to sexual orientation stigma: A comparison of bisexual and lesbian/gay adults." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(3), Jul 2007, 306-319.
  177. ^ Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health: Lesbian, gay, bisexual individuals risk psychiatric disorders from discriminatory policies
  178. ^ Rauch, Jonathan. "For Better or Worse?" The case for gay (and straight) marriage. The New Republic, May 6, 1996. [4]
  179. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (2004). Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.[5]
  180. ^ a b Herek, Gregory M. "Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States: A social science perspective." American Psychologist, Vol 61(6), Sep 2006, 607-621.
  181. ^ Emory researchers: Gay marriage bans increase HIV infections
  182. ^ Study Links Gay Marriage Bans to Rise in HIV infections

Bibliography

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External links


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