1.two people of the same sex who live together as a family"the legal status of same-sex marriages has been hotly debated"
definition of Wikipedia
couple, duet, duo, twosome[Hyper.]
same-sex marriage (n.)
|Legal recognition of
Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or gender identity. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality.
Since 2001, eleven countries have begun allowing same-sex couples to marry nationwide: Argentina, Belgium, Denamrk, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden. Same-sex marriages are also performed and recognized in Mexico City, Quintana Roo, and parts of the United States. Some jurisdictions that do not perform same-sex marriages recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere: Israel, the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, parts of the United States, and all states of Mexico. Australia recognizes same-sex marriages only if one partner changes their sex after marriage. The introduction of same-sex marriage has varied by jurisdiction, resulting from legislative changes to marriage laws, court challenges based on constitutional guarantees of equality, or a combination of the two. In some countries, allowing same-sex couples to marry replaced a previous system of civil unions or registered partnerships.
Studies conducted in several countries indicate that more-educated people are more likely to support same-sex marriage than the less-educated, and younger people are more likely to support same-sex marriage than older generations. Additionally, polls show that people who personally know a gay person are more likely to support it than people who don't know any gay people.
The recognition of such marriages is a civil rights, political, social, moral, and religious issue in many nations. Conflicts arise 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 either grant equal rights as marriage or limited rights in comparison to marriage), or not have any such rights. A related issue is whether the term marriage should be applied.
One argument in support of same-sex marriage is that denying same-sex couples legal access to marriage and all of its attendant benefits represents discrimination based on sexual orientation; several American scientific bodies agree with this assertion. Another argument in support of same-sex marriage is the assertion that financial, psychological and physical well-being are enhanced by marriage, and that children of same-sex couples benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally recognized union supported by society's institutions. Court documents filed by American scientific associations also state that singling out gay men and women as ineligible for marriage both stigmatizes and invites public discrimination against them. The American Anthropological Association avers that social science research does not support the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon not recognizing same-sex marriage. Other arguments for same-sex marriage are based upon what is regarded as a universal human rights issue, mental and physical health concerns, equality before the law, and the goal of normalizing LGBT relationships. Al Sharpton and several other authors attribute opposition to same-sex marriage as coming from homophobia or heterosexism and liken prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past prohibitions on interracial marriage. In an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News on May 9, 2012, United States President Barack Obama announced his support for same sex marriage, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
One argument against same-sex marriage arises from a rejection of the use of the word marriage as applied to same-sex couples, as well as objections about the legal and social status of marriage itself being applied to same-sex partners under any terminology. Other stated arguments include direct and indirect social consequences of same-sex marriages, parenting concerns, religious grounds, and tradition.
Anthropologists have struggled to determine a definition of marriage that absorbs commonalities of the social construct across cultures around the world. Many proposed definitions have been criticized for failing to recognize the existence of same-sex marriage in some cultures, including in more than 30 African cultures, such as the Kikuyu and Nuer.
With several countries revising their marriage laws to recognize same-sex couples in the 21st century, all major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the word marriage to either drop gender specifications or supplement them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or explicit recognition of same-sex unions. The Oxford English Dictionary has recognized same-sex marriage since 2000.
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. Jennifer Roback Morse, the president of the anti-same-sex marriage group National Organization for Marriage's Ruth Institute project, claims that the conflation of marriage with contractual agreements is a threat to marriage.
Some proponents of legal recognition of same-sex marriage, such as Freedom to Marry and Canadians for Equal Marriage, use the terms marriage equality and equal marriage to indicate that they seek equal benefit of marriage laws as opposed to special rights.
Opponents of same-sex marriage such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Southern Baptist Convention use the term traditional marriage to mean marriages between one man and one woman. Anti-same-sex-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher argues that equating same-sex and opposite-sex marriages changes the meaning of marriage and its traditions.
Some publications that oppose same-sex marriage, such as WorldNetDaily and Baptist Press, have an editorial style policy of placing the word marriage in scare quotes ("marriage") when it is used in reference to same-sex couples. In the United States, the mainstream press has generally abandoned this practice. Cliff Kincaid of the conservative 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. Same-sex marriage supporters argue that the use of scare quotes is an editorialization that implies illegitimacy.
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. The Associated Press warns that the construct gay marriage can imply that marriages of gay and lesbian couples are somehow legally different from those of opposite-sex couples.
In the southern Chinese province of Fujian, through the Ming dynasty period, females would bind themselves in contracts to younger females in elaborate ceremonies. Males also entered similar arrangements. This type of arrangement was also similar in ancient European history.
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.
The first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire. For instance, Emperor Nero is reported to have engaged in a marriage ceremony with one of his male slaves. Emperor Elagabalus "married" a Carian slave named Hierocles. It should be noted, however, that conubium existed only between a civis Romanus and a civis Romana (that is, between a male Roman citizen and a female Roman citizen), so that a so-called marriage between two Roman males (or with a slave) would have no legal standing in Roman law (apart, presumably, from the arbitrary will of the emperor in the two aforementioned cases). Furthermore, "matrimonium is an institution involving a mother, mater. The idea implicit in the word is that a man takes a woman in marriage, in matrimonium ducere, so that he may have children by her." Still, the lack of legal validity notwithstanding, there is a consensus among modern historians that same-sex relationships existed in ancient Rome, but the exact frequency and nature of "same-sex unions" during that period is obscure. In 342 AD 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.
A same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061. They were married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova.
In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to grant same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages are also granted and mutually recognized by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010) and Denmark (2012). In Mexico, same-sex marriage is recognized in all 31 states but only performed in Mexico City. In Nepal, their recognition has been judicially mandated but not yet legislated. 250 million people (or 4% of the world population) live in areas that recognize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage is legally recognized nationwide in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. In the United States, same-sex marriages are not recognized federally, though same-sex couples can marry in six of the fifty states and one district. In all 28 states where the issue was put to the voters, marriage was restricted to one man and one woman. In Mexico, same-sex marriages are only performed in Mexico City and Quintana Roo, but these marriages are recognized by all Mexican states and by the Mexican federal government. Israel does not recognize same-sex marriages performed on its territory, but recognizes same-sex marriages performed in foreign jurisdictions. Same-sex couples had their civil unions converted into marriage in several Brazil states with the approval of a state judge. If approved, that marriage is recognized in all the national territory.
On 15 July 2010, the Argentine Senate approved a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. It was supported by the Government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and opposed by the Catholic Church. Polls showed that nearly 70% of Argentines supported giving gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals.
Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages on 1 June 2003, with the coming into force of a bill passed by the Belgian Federal Parliament. Originally, Belgium allowed the marriages of foreign same-sex couples only if their country of origin also allowed these unions, however legislation enacted in October 2004 permits any couple to marry if at least one of the spouses has lived in the country for a minimum of three months. A 2006 law enabled legal adoption by same-sex spouses.
Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in May 2011 that same-sex couples are legally entitled to civil unions, stopping short of same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples had their civil unions converted into marriage in several Brazil states with the approval of a state judge. If approved, that marriage is recognized in all the national territory.
Legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada followed a series of constitutional challenges based on the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the first such case, Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General), same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario on 14 January 2001 were subsequently validated when the common law, opposite-sex definition of marriage was held to be unconstitutional. Similar rulings had legalized same-sex marriage in eight provinces and one territory when the 2005 Civil Marriage Act defined marriage throughout Canada as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."
On 7 June 2012 the Folketing (Danish parliament) approved new laws regarding same-sex civil and religious marriage. These laws permit gay and lesbians couples to get married in the Church of Denmark. The bills received Royal Assent on 12 June and took effect on 15 June 2012.
Same-sex marriage was introduced in Iceland through legislation establishing a gender-neutral definition of marriage introduced by the coalition government of the Social Democratic Alliance and Left-Green Movement. The legislation was passed unanimously by the Icelandic Althing on 11 June 2010, and took effect on 27 June 2010, replacing an earlier system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her partner were among first married same-sex couples in the country.
Israel's High Court of Justice ruled to honor same-sex marriages granted in other countries even though Israel does not recognize such marriages performed under its own jurisdiction. 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. A bill to legalize same-sex and interfaith civil marriages was defeated in the Knesset 39-11, on May 16, 2012. 
On 21 December 2009, the Federal District'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. On 10 August 2010, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that while not every state must grant same-sex marriages, they must all recognize those performed where they are legal.
On 28 November 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after discovering that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage, but these marriages were later annulled by the governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012. In May 2012, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.
The Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples, following the recommendation of a special commission appointed to investigate the issue in 1995. A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on 1 April 2001.
In the Netherlands' Caribbean special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, marriage is presently restricted to heterosexual couples, however a law enabling same-sex couples to marry has been passed and is planned to come into effect by 10 October 2012. The Caribbean countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, forming the remainder of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, do not perform same-sex marriages, but must recognize those performed in the European territory of the Netherlands.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway on 1 January 2009 when a gender neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian legislature in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gender neutral marriage replaced Norway's previous system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Couples in registered partnerships are able to retain that status or convert their registered partnership to a marriage. No new registered partnerships may be created.
On 8 January 2010, the parliament approved, with 126 votes in favor, 97 against and 7 abstentions, same-sex marriage. The President promulgated the law on 8 April, same-sex marriage become legal since 5 June 2010, thus Portugal became the eighth country to conduct nationwide same-sex marriage.
Legal recognition of same-sex marriages in South Africa came about as a result of the Constitutional Court's decision in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie. The court ruled on 1 December 2005 that the existing marriage laws violated the equality clause of the Bill of Rights because they discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. The court gave Parliament one year to rectify the inequality. The Civil Union Act was passed by the National Assembly on 14 November 2006, by a vote of 230 to 41, and it came into force on 30 November 2006. South Africa is the fifth country, the first in Africa, and the second outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 3 July 2005. In 2004, the nation's newly elected Socialist government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, including the right of adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, a law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales (Spain's bicameral parliament, composed of the Senate and the Congress of Deputies) on 30 June 2005 and published on 2 July 2005. Same-sex marriage became legal in Spain on Sunday, 3 July 2005, making it the third country in the world to do so, after the Netherlands and Belgium.
Same-sex marriage in Sweden has been legal since 1 May 2009, following the adoption of a new, gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish parliament on 1 April 2009, making Sweden the seventh country in the world to open marriage to same sex couples nationwide. Marriage replaced Sweden's registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Existing registered partnerships between same-sex couples remained in force with an option to convert them into marriages.
In the United States, although same-sex marriages are not recognized federally, same-sex couples can legally marry in six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont) and the District of Columbia and receive state-level benefits. Same-sex marriage laws have also passed in Washington and Maryland, but they are not yet in effect. The states of New Jersey, Maryland, and Rhode Island do not facilitate same-sex marriages, but do recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, as does California in some cases, in particular those established when the state briefly allowed same-sex marriage in 2008. Additionally, several states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships, granting all or part of the state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. Thirty-one states have constitutional restrictions limiting marriage to one woman and one man.
In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman for all federal purposes and allowing for the non-recognition amongst the states.
A 2005 federal district court decision, Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, holding that prohibiting recognition of same-sex relationships violated the Constitution was overturned on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 2006, which ruled that "laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples ... do not violate the Constitution of the United States."
In 2006, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington concluded that encouraging procreation within the framework of marriage can be seen as a legitimate government interest furthered by limiting marriage to between opposite-sex couples.
In 2010, United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. 
In July 2010, a federal court held key provisions of DOMA unconstitutional; the Department of Justice entered an appeal on 12 October 2010. President Barack Obama announced on May 9, 2012 that he supports same-sex marriage. He also supports a full repeal of DOMA and called California's Proposition 8 outlawing same-sex marriage in 2008 "unnecessary". In February 2011, President Obama concluded that DOMA was unconstitutional and directed the US Justice Department to stop defending the law in court. Subsequently, Eric Cantor, Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives announced that the House would defend DOMA; however, the law firm hired to represent the House soon withdrew from the representation, requiring the House to retain replacement counsel.
Over the past two decades, public support of same-sex marriage in the United States has been steadily increasing. Polls conducted in 2011 and 2012 indicate that a slight majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April 2012 found that 47% of white Americans support legalized same-sex marriage, compared with 39% of African-Americans.
Australia currently bans recognition of same-sex marriages, although as of 2011 the federal Labor Party government officially changed its position to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage. The Liberal Party is opposed to same-sex marriage, and its leader Tony Abbott said he will block a conscience vote on the issue.
In February 2010, the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's Marriage Equality Bill was rejected by the Senate. Senator Hanson-Young re-introduced the bill to the Senate in September 2010. The bill will sit on a notice paper until the major parties agree to a conscience vote on it. A Greens motion urging federal MPs to gauge community support for gay marriage was passed by the House of Representatives on 18 November 2010.
The Australian Capital Territory is the first jurisdiction in Australia to legalise civil partnerships ceremonies for gay couples. However, they are not recognised in Australian jurisdictions outside of that territory. Registered partnerships are available in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. From 1 July 2009 Centrelink recognised same-sex couples equally regarding social security – under the common-law marriage, de facto status or unregistered cohabitation. In September 2010 Tasmania became the first Australian state to recognise same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China explicitly defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. No other form of civil union is recognized. The attitude of the Chinese government towards homosexuality is believed to be "three nos": "No approval; no disapproval; no promotion." The Ministry of Health officially removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 2001.
Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist well known in the Chinese gay community, has tried to legalize same-sex marriage several times, including during the National People's Congress in 2000 and 2004 (Legalization for Same-Sex Marriage 《中国同性婚姻合法化》 in 2000 and the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 《中国同性婚姻提案》 in 2004). According to Chinese law, 35 delegates' signatures are needed to make an issue a bill to be discussed in the Congress. Her efforts failed due to lack of support from the delegates. A government spokesperson, when asked about Li Yinhe's gay marriage proposal, said that same-sex marriage was still too "ahead of time" for China. He argued that same-sex marriage was not recognized even in many Western countries, which are considered much more liberal in social issues than China. This statement is understood as an implication that the government may consider recognition of same-sex marriage in the long run, but not in the near future.
On Tuesday 26 July 2011, The Constitutional Court of Colombia ordered the Colombian Congress to legislate on the matter of same-sex marriage and that if they fail to, same-sex couples will be granted all marriage rights in two years (on 20 June 2013) automatically.
Finland may legalize same-sex marriage after the 2011 parliamentary elections; then-Minister of Justice Tuija Brax said her Ministry was preparing a reform to amend the Marriage Act towards gay marriage by 2012.
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. Also, the French National Assembly voted against same-sex marriage on 15 June 2011.
In November 2008, Nepal's highest court issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights, which included permitting gay couples to marry. Same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities were to be included in the new Nepalese constitution required to be completed by 31 May 2012. However, the legislature was unable to agree on the constitution before the deadline and was dissolved after the Supreme Court ruled that the term could not be extended.
New Zealand's Marriage Act 1955 recognizes marriage rights only for opposite-sex couples. New Zealand's Parliament rejected a bill that would have prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriage in New Zealand in December 2005. 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. However the 2005 Civil Union Act allows same-sex and opposite sex couples to have a 'civil union' which under the law is identical to a marriage, with the exception that same-sex couples cannot jointly apply to adopt.
In 2006, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced legislation that prohibits same-sex marriages and criminalizes anyone who "performs, witnesses, aids or abets" such ceremonies. 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.
In the process of rewriting the Turkish constitution, the opposition party BDP, called for the liberalization of the marriage policies, which would include same sex marriage. The biggest opposition party in the Turkish parliament,CHP, supported the idea. The largest party in the parliament, the AKP, is against same sex marriage, all tough Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the leader of the AKP, supported full equal rights for LGBT citizens in 2002. Same sex marriage will soon be discussed again by members of the parliament, since all political parties gather in committees to establish a new constitution.   
Same-sex marriage is currently prohibited although since 2005, same-sex couples are allowed to enter into civil partnerships, a separate union which provides the legal consequences of marriage. In 2006 the High Court rejected a legal bid by a British lesbian couple who had married in Canada to have their union recognised as a marriage in the UK and not as a civil partnership. In February 2011 the UK government expressed its intention to begin a consultation to allow both religious same-sex ceremonies and civil marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales. In September 2011, the Government announced its intention to introduce same-sex civil marriage by the next general election.
It falls to the Scottish Government to handle marital legislation north of the Border. A 14 week Consultation ended on 9 December 2011 with an analysis to be published in the spring of 2012.  Unlike the Consultation due to be held in England and Wales, the Consultation in Scotland considered both civil and religious same sex marriage. Whilst the Scottish Government is in favor of same-sex marriage, it stated that no religious body would be forced to hold such ceremonies should legislation be enacted.
The terms of employment of the staff of international organizations (not commercial) in most cases are not governed by the laws of the country where their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard these organizations' impartiality.
Despite their relative independence, few organizations recognize same-sex partnerships without condition. The agencies of the United Nations recognize same-sex marriages if and 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.
Civil union, civil partnership, domestic partnership, registered partnership, unregistered partnership, and unregistered cohabitation statuses offer varying legal benefits of marriage and are available to same-sex couples in: Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
They are also available in parts of Mexico (Coahuila and Mexico City) and the United States (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Washington and federal District of Columbia). In some countries with these legal recognitions, the actual benefits are minimal. Many people consider civil unions, even those that grant equal rights, inadequate because they create a separate status, and believe they should be replaced by gender-neutral marriage.
When sex is defined legally, it may be defined by any one of several criteria: the XY sex-determination system, the type of gonads, the type of external sexual features, or the person's social identification. 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 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.
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.
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 Austria, a similar provision requiring transsexual persons to divorce before having their legal sex marker corrected was found to be unconstitutional in 2006.
In Quebec prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, only unmarried persons could apply for legal change of gender. With the advent of same-sex marriage, this restriction was dropped.
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.
The institution of civil marriage confers a social status and important legal benefits, rights, and privileges. ... Same-sex couples are denied equal access to civil marriage. ... Same-sex couples who enter into a civil union are denied equal access to all the benefits, rights, and privileges provided by federal law to married couples ... The benefits, rights, and privileges associated with domestic partnerships are not universally available, are not equal to those associated with marriage, and are rarely portable ... Denial of access to marriage to same-sex couples may especially harm people who also experience discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and gender identity, religion, and socioeconomic status ... the APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges.
... a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman intentionally discriminates against lesbians and gay men as well as their children and other dependents by denying access to the protections, benefits, and responsibilities extended automatically to married couples ... we believe that the official justification for the proposed constitutional amendment is based on prejudice rather than empirical research ... the American Sociological Association strongly opposes the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
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 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.
The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.
... lesbian, gay and bisexual people are and should be regarded as valued members of society who have exactly similar [sic] rights and responsibilities as all other citizens. This includes ... the rights and responsibilities involved in a civil partnership ...
Recently, several psychological studies 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, including a more than doubling of anxiety 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.
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. The data of current psychological and other social science studies on same-sex marriage in comparison to opposite-sex marriage 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. 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.
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. The study linked the passage of a 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.
Same-sex marriages and relationships have been a theme in several fictional story arcs, mythology, cult classics, and video games. Same-sex marriage is possible in the video games Fable II, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 2  and The Sims 3
While there is very little mention of homosexuality in the official works of the Star Trek franchise, the independent fan series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier featured a same-sex marriage ceremony in the series finale.
Caprica, a spin-off series within the Battlestar Galactica saga and primary setting of the series is fairly liberal in regards to homosexual relationships and polygamy. Sam Adama, a prominent character in the series is married to another man. Clarice Willow, another major character has several wives, as well as husbands, in her polygamous marriage.
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, 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. Some supporters of same-sex marriages take the view that the government should have no role in regulating personal relationships, while others argue that same-sex marriages would provide social benefits to same-sex couples. 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.
There are differing positions regarding the manner in which same-sex marriage has been introduced into democratic jurisdictions. A "majority rules" position holds that same-sex marriage is valid, or void and illegal, based upon whether it has been accepted by a simple majority of voters or of their elected representatives. In contrast, a "civil rights" view holds that the institution can be validly created through the ruling of an impartial judiciary carefully examining the questioning and finding that the right to marry regardless of the gender of the participants is guaranteed under the civil rights laws of the jurisdiction.
Arguments on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate are still 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. Some religious organizations (citing their religious beliefs) refuse to provide employment, public accommodations, adoption services and other benefits to same-sex couples. Some governments have made special provisions for religious protections within the texts of same-sex marriage laws.
Pope John Paul II, then head of the Roman Catholic church, criticized same-sex marriage when it was introduced in the Netherlands in 2001. His successor Pope Benedict XVI has maintained opposition to the institution, considering it amongst "the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today". In Christian circles, the argument about same-sex marriage hinges upon whether homosexuality itself is a sinful act. Some Mosaic arguments against homosexuality are based upon Bible passages that discuss the fate of Sodom, command that one "not lie with mankind, as with womankind", while others are based upon New Testament passages on topics of people going against "natural use" in their lust, the "unrighteous", and the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some Christian groups have been vocal and politically active in opposing same-sex marriage legalization in the United States, claiming that marriage, by definition, necessarily involves the uniting of two members of the opposite sex, and that same-gender sexual activity is contrary to God's will, immoral, and subverts God's creative intent for human sexuality.
Christian supporters of same-sex marriage have stated that marriage rights for same-sex couples strengthens the institution of marriage by providing legal protection for children of gay and lesbian parents, and view their support as a Christ-like commitment to the equality and dignity of all persons. Supporters claim that the word "homosexual", as found in modern versions of the Bible, is an inaccurate translation of the original texts. Neither Vine's Expository Dictionary nor Strong's Concordance (two significant bible reference works) contain the word "homosexual," and there is no direct biblical prohibition of marriage rights for same-sex couples. Some churches, like the Metropolitan Community Church, believe that the biblical texts used to condemn homosexuality and same-sex marriage refer only to specific sex acts and idolatrous worship, and lack any relevance to contemporary same-sex relationships. In 2005, the United Church of Christ (UCC) voted to support full legal and religious marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, making it the first mainline Christian denomination in the United States to do so. The United Church of Canada states that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, are a gift from God". Unitarian Universalism, a liberal faith tradition, supports same-sex marriage, and has taken an active role advocating for LGBT rights. The Yearly Meeting of Quakers in the United Kingdom decided to offer same-sex marriages, though national law permits only civil partnerships. In addition to the churches already including gays and lesbians in their marriage tradition, others including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Church of Scotland are discussing the issue among their members.
Many Orthodox Jews, including the Rabbinical Council of America maintain the traditional Jewish bans on both sexual acts and marriages amongst members of the same sex, but other orthodox rabbis, such as Steven Greenberg, disagree. In the Australian Jewish journal Galus Australis, Rachel Sacks-Davis has criticised Orthodox rabbis who have come out against same-sex civil marriage, stating that these rabbis have failed to grasp the concept of separation between church and state. Some Conservative Jews reject recognition of same-sex unions as marriages, but permit celebration of commitment ceremonies, while others recognize same-sex marriage. 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. The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation leaves the choice to individual rabbis.
From the Islamic perspective, a majority of Muslim legal scholars cite the rulings of the prophet Muhammad and the story of Lot in Sodom as condemnation of homosexuality. Given that Islam views marriage as an exchange between two parties where the man offers protection and security in return for exclusive sexual and reproductive rights to the woman, same-sex marriages cannot be considered legal within the constraints of a Muslim marriage.
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. Many Wiccan communities are supportive of same-sex marriages, but as Wicca is a non-dogmatic and non-monolithic religious movement, there is no unity of opinion or official position on the subject.
Literature 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. Scientific research has been consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents. According to scientific literature reviews, there is no evidence to the contrary.
The subject of how the legalization of same-sex marriage affects public education is a source of controversy. 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. There is concern from opponents of same-sex marriage that it will undermine parental rights over their children's education.
Same-sex marriage opponents express concern that the information being presented in schools might not be accurate, might omit medical, psychological and legal impacts of homosexuality, and might be age-inappropriate. There has also been concern that educators who disagree with same-sex marriage curricula could be punished.
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