Same-sex marriage

marriage of persons of the same sex or gender identity

Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage)[1] 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. Access to same-sex marriage is sometimes called marriage equality, especially by supporters.[2][3]

Map showing the legal status of same-sex unions in the countries of the world.
  Same-sex marriage is recognized
  Marriage licenses for same-sex couples, that were issued in other states or countries, are recognized
  Same-sex unions are available that are similar to marriage
  The country/state affords some minimal recognition of same-sex couples
  Same-sex unions are not recognized

Current statusEdit

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, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Islands), Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. The Netherlands was the first country to allow marriages of two people of the same sex in 2001.[4]

Same-sex marriage became legal everywhere in the United States in 2015. The Supreme Court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry was unconstitutional.[5] In Mexico, same-sex marriages are practised in Mexico City and 15 states, but recognised throughout Mexico. There are various faiths that practise same-sex marriages, including Eckankar, Wicca, Unitarian Universalism, Raelism, and Native American religions with a two-spirit tradition.


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[6]

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[7]

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[8]

Civil unionsEdit

The first same-sex union in modern history was recognized by the government in Denmark in 1989.

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), Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark (replaced by same-sex marriage in 2012), Ecuador, Estonia, Finland (replaced by same-sex marriage in 2017), France, Germany (replaced by same-sex marriage in 2017), Greece, Hungary (unregistered co-habitation since 1996; registered partnership from 2009), Iceland, Ireland (replaced by same-sex marriage in 2015), Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands (including Aruba), New Zealand, Norway (no longer separate civil union as of June 2008 same-sex marriages are under same law as male-female-marriages), Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden (replaced by same-sex marriage in 2009), Switzerland, the United Kingdom (also available in some overseas territories) and Uruguay. They are also available in some parts of Argentina, Mexico, Taiwan and Japan.

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.


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). Additionally, people married in civil unions usually do not enjoy all the benefits (lower taxes, health insurance etc.).

Organizations involved in same sex marriageEdit

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.

Related pagesEdit


  1. "gay marriage". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. 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
  3. Australian gay politician travels to Spain in order to marry partner retrieved 6 January 2012
  4. Norwegian Matrimony law
  5. "US Supreme Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage nationwide in win for gay rights movement". ABC News. ABC. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  6. Burgerlijk wetboek Artikel 30 (in Dutch)
  7. Burgerlijk wetboek Artikel 1(in Dutch)
  8. Nederlandse grondwet, artikel 1 (in Dutch)


Other websitesEdit