Same-sex marriage

marriage of persons of the same sex or gender

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 in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Islands), Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico (in a majority of states), Netherlands (Netherlands proper only), New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

The Netherlands was the first country in modern times 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 25 states of the 31 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. It provided many of the right of marriage, but not all.

Civil unions, civil partnership, domestic partnership, unregistered partnership/unregistered co-habitation or registered partnerships that offer some of the benefits of marriage are available in the following countries and territories that do not provide same-sex marriage: Andorra, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary (unregistered co-habitation since 1996; registered partnership from 2009), Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Veracruz in Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Aruba in the Netherlands, San Marino, Slovenia, and the UK possession of the Cayman Islands.


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