1. 1st Gay Marriage
The first legal gay marriage took place in a ceremony held on 1st April, 2001 in the Netherlands. Four gay couples, three male and one female got married in a ceremony that was officiated by Amsterdam’s mayor and televised. In the U.S, the first gay marriage took place in Cambridge, MA on 17th May, 2004. The marriage was between an employment manager, Marcia Kadish and a massage therapist, Tanya McCloskey.
2.A Fundamental Issue
Gay rights are fundamental social, religious, civil rights, moral and political issues in many countries across the world.
3.Local Governments Power to decide on Gay Rights
In the U.S, gay marriages were not recognized by the federal government as institutions until 2013. Instead, the government placed administration or regulatory issues on local governments. Though not recognized federally gay couples, were allowed to marry in 1 district and 5 states. Gay marriages are considered legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa, Vermont and District of Columbia. In these places gay marriages are perceived just like unions among heterosexuals and receive similar state-level benefits and rights. By July, 2014, 19 states had legalized gay rights to marry.
The U.S. Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. The Act’s definition of marriage is a union between couples of opposite sex. This applies for all federal purposed and allows for non-recognition among states. 31 states hold constitutional restrictions that limit marriage to a single man and a single woman.
5.Supreme Court Rulings and Appeals
Since the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, there have been many appeals as well as Supreme Court rulings to elucidate the sentiments of federal government about gay marriage. Today, each court system at state level has the power to recognize gay marriage legally or decide that union of gay couples is not allowed.
6.Employment Benefits for Gay Couples
On 17th December, 2009, the Office of Congressional Budget estimated that to provide gay couples working for federal government with employment benefits the federal government would need to spend $302 million on discretionary spending and $596 million on mandatory spending from 2010 to 2019. A New York Times analysis conducted in 2009 should that gay couples that a denied marriage benefits are likely to incur up to $467,562 extra costs in expenses throughout their life as opposed to heterosexual couples.
7.Churches Opposed to Gay Marriages in the U.S.
Some of the churches that oppose gay marriages in the U.S. include the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the American Baptist Churches.
8.Changes in the Defense of Marriage Act
The Supreme Court made some changes to sections of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. The court declared that federal government would begin to legally recognize gay marriages. With these changes, the federal government started recognizing gay marriages as well as marriage benefits, programs and laws like health benefits and social security.
9.States that have Banned Gay Marriages
Some 31 states across the U.S. have banned same sex marriage through constitutional amendments, law or both. The State of Colorado allows civil unions but has not legalized marriages between gay persons.
10.Countries that uphold Gay Rights
To date, there are about 11 countries across the world that allows gay marriages. Most of them are European countries and they include the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland and some states in the United States.