Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is a term for a relationship in which two people of the same sex live together as a family in a governmentally, socially, or religiously recognized marriage. It is sometimes called marriage equality, especially by supporters.
Current status[change | change source]
Marriage by the civil law is presently available to same-sex couples at any place in some countries. The countries that have them are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom which covers only England and Wales and Uruguay. The Netherlands was the first country to allow marriages of two people of the same sex in 2001.
Same-sex marriage is also legal in various states of the United States of America, which include Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In Mexico, same-sex marriages are practised in Mexico City and Quintana Roo. There are various faiths that practise same-sex marriages, including Eckankar, Wicca, Unitarian Universalism, Raelism, and Native American religions with a two-spirit tradition.
Netherlands[change | change source]
In the Netherlands, a same-sex marriage law does not actually exist. Back in 2001, the existing (normal) marriage law was 'only' changed, so that it now includes marriage of same-sex partners. This means that same-sex marriage in the Netherlands is not different from a normal marriage; it's exactly the same. The Dutch law says the following:
|“||A marriage is possible between two persons of different or same sex||”|
—Dutch civil law, book 1, article 30
That is consistent with the first article of the Dutch civil law, and with the Dutch constitution:
|“||All who are in the Netherlands, are free to benefit from civil rights||”|
Dutch civil law, book 1, article 1
|“||All who are in the Netherlands, are to be treated equal in equal circumstances. Discrimination by religion, philosophy, political preference, race, gender, or by any means possible is forbidden.||”|
Dutch constitution, article 1
Civil unions[change | change source]
Civil unions, civil partnership, domestic partnership, unregistered partnership/unregistered co-habitation or registered partnerships offer some of the benefits of marriage and are available in: Andorra, Australia (except Commonwealth law), Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary (unregisterd co-habitation since 1996; registered partnership from 2009), Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway (no longer separate civil union as of June 2008 same-sex marriages are under same law as male-female-marriages), Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. They are also available in some parts of Argentina, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Mexico, the U.S. states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).
In the United Kingdom, civil partnerships have identical legal status to a marriage, and partners have all the same benefits and legal rights; ranging from tax exemptions and joint property rights, to next-of-kin status and shared parenting responsibilities. Partnership ceremonies are performed by a marriage registrar in exactly the same manner as a secular civil marriage.
Controversy[change | change source]
The controversy over recognition of same-sex unions as marriages is a very important part of a larger debate about the definition of a family. Same-sex marriage is not considered as valid by many religions. Many others, however, see same-sex marriage as important for all people to be equal. They sometimes say that religions and law (Defense of Marriage Act, for example) who do not support same-sex marriage are intolerant (they do not show respect to other peoples' beliefs).
Organizations involved in same sex marriage[change | change source]
Various organizations exist in part to support the rights of homosexual or gay men and women to marry people of the same sex. One organization is the Human Rights Campaign or HRC.
Notes[change | change source]
- "gay marriage". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
- 2010, Tracy Baim, Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage, page 139: said that he would vote for a federal marriage amendment if laws already banning marriage equality were to be struck down by federal courts
- Australian gay politician travels to Spain in order to marry partner retrieved 6 January 2012
- Norwegian Matrimony law
- Burgerlijk wetboek Artikel 30 (Dutch)
- Burgerlijk wetboek Artikel 1(Dutch)
- Nederlandse grondwet, artikel 1 (Dutch)
References[change | change source]
- Robert P. George, Jean Bethke Elshtain (Eds.), ed. (2006). The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, And Morals. Dallas: Spence Publishing Company. ISBN 1-890626-64-3.