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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)


The pros and cons of SSM.
All viewpoints included:

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Accommodating past changes in the institution of marriage:

Marriage has taken many forms, throughout history:


The Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) describe seven different marriage/family forms that were practiced in ancient Israel, in addition to the standard "one man-one woman" format.

bullet Marriage in North America has been redefined five times during the past 16 decades:

bullet Polygamous marriages were introduced in Utah during the 1840s and partly phased out in 1890. Many tens of thousands of couples still practice polygyny. They are mainly couples in small fundamentalist Mormon faith groups in the state of Utah and the Canadian province of British Columbia. They are almost never prosecuted.

bullet Marriages by African-American slaves were banned in some U.S. states, and only permitted after the conclusion of the civil war in the 19th century.

bullet Marriages by deaf couples were banned in some U.S. states in the late 19th and early 20th century. All such laws were repealed many decades ago.

bullet Inter-racial marriages were considered a criminal act in some states until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Loving v. Virginia legalized them across the U.S.

bullet Same-sex marriages were unavailable throughout North America until 2003 when they became legal in Ontario, and British Columbia, Canada. The Massachusetts Supreme Court granted same sex couples the right to marry a year later, starting 2004-MAY-20. The federal government in Canada authorized SSMs across the country in mid-2005. The only exception was Prince Edward Island whose government was initially unable to figure out how to marry same-sex couples. They were heavily motivated to find a way after being faced with a lawsuit by a lesbian couple. They quickly fell into line with the rest of the country.

Almost exactly a decade later, on 2015-JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four out of the five territories. (American Samoa is the exception. Most people in that territory are American residents, not American citizens. Thus the rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court do not necessary apply there.)

Almost immediately after the high court ruling, religious and social conservatives in the U.S. switched most of their effort from opposing equal rights for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. They switched much of their attention to opposing equal rights for transgender persons and transsexuals.

These five changes were painful experiences for many North Americans at the time. However, people were able to adapt to the changes. If the letters-to-the-editor columns of major Canadian newspapers are any indication, Canadians seem to have reacted to same-sex marriages with a collective yawn.

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Sponsored link:

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"The ultimate anti-gay marriage ad:" on You Tube:

It is intended to be humorous; you may not appreciate the humor:

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Same-sex marriage (SSM) topics covered in this section:

bulletFour major historic changes to marriage in North America
bullet Twenty-seven reasons why SSM is a bad idea, with rebuttals :
bullet Overview of SSM. Reasons 1 to 3

bullet Reasons 4 to 7

bulletReasons 8 to 14

bulletReasons 15 to 21

bullet Reasons 22  to 27
bulletEight reasons why SSM is a good idea, with rebuttals:
bullet Reasons 1 to 8

Reasons why SSM is bad, as explained on a Muslim web site: Part 1  Part 2

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Related sections in our web site:

bulletReferences to same-sex sexual behavior in the Bible.
bulletWhat different faith groups and religions believe about homosexuality

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Books about same-sex marriages:

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Site navigation:

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > Menu > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > here

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Copyright © 2003 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-JUL-10
Latest update: 2016-SEP-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

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