Same-sex marriage

From ArticleWorld

Same-sex marriage occurs between two people of the same biological – or legal – sex.

Other terms

Same-sex marriage is also called:

  • Gender-neutral marriage
  • Equal marriage
  • Gay marriage
  • Homosexual marriage

These terms may have different implications and different audiences may favor different terms for a variety of reasons.

Legalities of same-sex unions

In the 1990s and 2000s the debate about whether to ban same-sex marriages was heard world wide. In fact, same-sex marriages are only legal in a handful of countries, specifically the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and most recently South Africa.

In some countries as well as in some states within the United States, civil unions are a way to formally recognize same-sex marriages and to offer same-sex couples benefits similar to marriage. Domestic or registered partnerships also provide varying degrees of privileges to a couple (and these are recognized by many employers for both homosexual and heterosexual couples.

Even where their union may not be legally recognized, some same-sex couples still opt to have a commitment ceremony, similar to a wedding, to which they invite friends and family members.


Same-gender love and desire has been evident since ancient times in the East. Often between men, the desire took the form of same-sex unions. Frequently there was a significant difference in age. Most of the recorded same-sex unions are between men and this could be for a number of reasons: Women may not have been deemed important enough to write about; same sex attraction between women may not have been as valued as that between men or women were not given the same freedom to pursue desires as men were. In the province Fujian in China, male love was cultivated and men would marry youths in very elaborate events.

In the Western world there has also been a long history of same-sex unions. Many early societies both tolerated and celebrated same-sex relationships. In ancient Greece and Rome there is evidence of same-sex marriage. The popularity died down as influential Christianity promoted marriage as a means of procreation. In North America, same-sex marriage has been documented in societies that were not influenced by Christians, namely Native American societies.