This essay gives background material about same-sex
in the USA and worldwide
Marriage equality is the law of the land!
On Friday morning, 2015-JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued their ruling in the case Obergefell v. Hodges,
Marriage equality won. The majority justices held that:
For some years, same-sex marriage (SSM) has been at or near the top of any list of leading religious/secular/political controversies in North America. It appears to have eclipsed even concerns over abortion access. Like abortion access, it is a complex topic, divisive, and not readily amenable to compromise. After all:
There really is no intermediate position that can be taken.
Any change, or threat of change, to the culture is distressing to many people. A change to the structure of the fundamental building block of society -- the family -- can be particularly upsetting. Also, any change related to human sexuality can be profoundly disorienting.
At the present time, SSM has split the U.S. by:
In 2009, the majority of American adults opposed SSM, except in about six states and the District of Columbia. However, the trend is towards increasing acceptance. By 2010, the national level of support and opposition were equal. By mid-2011, about 53% of American adults favor SSM while about 45% are opposed for a margin of about 8 percentage points. If current trends continue, those American adults who have an opinion on the topic will be increasingly supportive of SSM.
In early 2011, the Obama Administration recognized that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was clearly unconstitutional. Although they continued to enforce the law, they stopped defending its constitutionality in the courts. Some commentators suggested that this decision would create a "tipping point" that would speed up the trends towards marriage equality in the U.S. We have been monitoring such trends on an monthly basis. It would seem that a tipping point has actually occurred.
LivingVote.org followed the debate over Proposition 8 in California, which -- by a very narrow margin -- terminated SSM in that state during 2008-NOV. LivingVote's visitors posted three arguments for and three against SSM which seem to reflect Americans' main concerns nationally:
|Arguments for SSM||Arguments against SSM|
|Dignity & respect: "The institution of marriage
conveys dignity and respect towards a couple that make a lifetime commitment
to support each other.
"Same-sex couples deserve this dignity and respect."
Religious freedom: For most Americans, marriage is a religious sacrament or ceremony. If the definition of marriage is changed to allow SSM, some people fear that their faith group's clergy be forced to marry same-sex couples. Companies in the wedding industry (wedding cake bakers, wedding photographers, etc) will be forced by human rights laws to provide wedding goods and services to same-sex couples, or suffer fines and/or jail sentences.
|Equal rights: Denying marriage to same-sex couples removes from one group a fundamental, important human right -- the right to marry the person that one loves and to whom one has made a commitment. That is unfair and unjust in a democracy.||
Children benefit: Many religiously conservative researchers have found that children thrive best when reared in a home with a married mother and father. Boys and girls have needs that are uniquely met by parents of the opposite gender.
Financial & security: Denying one group the right to marry has many adverse emotional and financial consequences. Examples are Social Security, Medicare, medical leave, and other benefits; property inheritance. They have no permission to make medical decisions if they are incapacitated. There are other factors that negatively affect the security of the couple and of their children.
|Teaching about SSM: The role of marriage in society is a major topic taught in public schools. If SSM is legalized, schools would be required to teach that same-sex marriage is equivalent to opposite-sex marriage, starting as early as Kindergarten. That would violate the beliefs of many parents.|
The last time that marriage was redefined nationally was for interracial couples. This was decided in 1967 by the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court when they issued their ruling in Loving v. Virginia. This involved one couple launching one lawsuit and fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The attainment of marriage equality for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples across the entire U.S. turned out to be a complex task.
Some commentators predict that if and when:
that a lawsuit to legalize same-sex marriage that had started at a federal District Court will have resulted in a decision in favor of marriage equality. The case would be appealed to that state's U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and later be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court could legalize SSM across the entire country, perhaps about the year 2020.
In early 2013, the Center for American Progress posted a graphic titled: "Marriage equality is now a mainstream value." It shows that 83% of registered voters expect that marriage equality will be attained across the country during the next 5 to 10 years -- that is, by 2018 to 2013.
As 2015-FEB-09, same-sex marriage had been legalized in 37 states, the District of Columbia and parts of Missouri. Over 70% of the U.S. population lived in areas where same-sex couples could marry. In mid-2015-JAN, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted an appeal of four consolidated lawsuits, one each from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The high court will hold hearings in late 2015-APR and issue its ruling in late June or early July. This ruling might legalilze same-sex marriage throughout the U.S.
Elsewhere in the world, same-sex marriage has been legalilzed in over a dozen countries, including Canada and most of the other large English speaking countries except for Australia, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.
Originally, same-sex marriage was referred to as "gay marriage." This was confusing for three reasons:
To further confuse the situation, some religous and social conservatives placed quotation marks around "marriage" in order to emphasize their belief that same-sex marriage really isn't a legitimate form of marriage.
And so, the term "same-sex marriage," and its acronym "SSM" came into widespread use. These terms are much better because they include all same-sex couples whether they involve gays, lesbians and/or bisexuals. But even SSM is not that great as an acronym. That is because much of the LGBT community is seeking "marriage" not "same-sex marriage." That is, they are not seeking some new form of recognition of their relationships. They are seeking to be part of the community of married couples. Perhaps some term like "Marriage of same-sex couple" or "MSSC" will become widely used in the future. In the meantime, we will continue using "SSM."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
How you may have arrived here:
Home > here
or from same-sex-marriage.ca, same-sex-marriage.info, same-sex-marriage.international, same-sex-marriage.net, same-sex-marriage.org same-sex-marriage.today, same-sex-marriages.ca, same-sex-marriages.info or same-sex-marriages.org.
This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only
After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.