Resources Menu Links

The Power of Legal Marriage (by David Brooks)

Anybody who has several sexual partners in a year is committing spiritual suicide. He or she is ripping the veil from all that is private and delicate in oneself, and pulverizing it in an assembly line of selfish sensations.

But marriage is the opposite. Marriage joins two people in a sacred bond. It demands that they make an exclusive commitment to each other and thereby takes two discrete individuals and turns them into kin.

Few of us work as hard at the vocation of marriage as we should. But marriage makes us better than we deserve to be. Even in the chores of daily life, married couples find themselves, over the years, coming closer together, fusing into one flesh. Married people who remain committed to each other find that they reorganize and deepen each other's lives. They may eventually come to the point when they can say to each other: "Love you? I am you."

Read more

Marriage – History or Mystery? by Sally M. Masters

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Northampton Pride and the 2nd anniversary of the legal recognition of same sex marriage in Massachusetts this year, history has been at the forefront of my mind. Several thousand same sex couples have married in Massachusetts over the past two years, and life is only better for the people of the Commonwealth as a result - better for ALL people!  Yet, a new fight began this past year to place the issue of same sex marriage on the ballot. 

Read more

Countries With Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

2001The NetherlandsOn April 1, 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages. The legislation gave same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce, and adopt children.
2003BelgiumBeginning in 1998, the Belgian parliament offered limited rights to same-sex couples through registered partnerships. In 2003, the parliament legally recognized same-sex marriages.
2005CanadaIn 1999, some provincial governments extended common law marriages to gay and lesbian couples, providing them with most of the legal benefits of marriage but laws varied across the country. The Ontario Court ruled on June 10, 2003 that gay marriage would be legal, and in the same ruling accepted that two marriages done by banns on January 14, 2001 at MCC Toronto would be recognized as the first legal same-gender marriage in Canada, retroactively making Canada the first country in the world to have a government-legitimized same-sex marriage. In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
2005SpainAlso in 2005, a closely divided Spanish parliament agreed to do the same. The law guaranteed identical rights to all married couples regardless of sexual orientation.
2006South AfricaAfter South Africa's highest court ruled the country's marriage laws violated the constitution’s guarantee of equal rights, parliament legalized same-sex marriage in 2006.
2008NorwayIn 1993 Norway allowed gay couples to enter civil unions, but it took until 2008 for a Norway to pass a gender-neutral marriage law. In January 2009, the bill was enacted into law, and gay couples were legally granted the right to marry, adopt children and receive artificial insemination.
2009SwedenIn 2009, Sweden voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill passed with 261 votes in favor, 22 votes against and had 16 abstentions.
2010IcelandIceland's parliament voted unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Iceland's then-Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir married her longtime partner Jonina Leosdottir as the law came into effect.
2010PortugalPortugal has also allowed same-sex marriage since 2010, after legislation was originally challenged by the country's president. Portugal had passed a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in February of 2010, but Portugal's former president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, asked the Constitutional Court to review the measure. In April 2010, the Constitutional Court declared the law to be constitutionally valid.
2010ArgentinaIn 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage. Prior to the same-sex marriage law, a number of local jurisdictions, including the nation's capital, Buenos Aires, had enacted laws allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions.
2012DenmarkDenmark's legalization came in 2012 after Queen Margrethe II gave her royal assent to the proposed legislation. Denmark was the first country to allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners in 1989.
2013UruguayUruguay passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage in 2013. Civil unions have been permitted in Uruguay since 2008, and in 2009 gay and lesbian couples were given adoption rights.
2013New ZealandIn 2013, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific to legislate for same-sex marriage. The law won approval by a 77-44 margin in the country's legislature, which included support from former Prime Minister John Key.
2013FrancePresident Francois Hollande signed a measure legalizing marriage equality in France in 2013. Hollande's signature had to wait until a court challenge brought by the conservative opposition party, the UMP, was resolved. France's highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled that the bill was constitutional.
2013BrazilBrazil’s National Council of Justice ruled that same-sex couples should not be denied marriage licenses in 2013, allowing same-sex marriages to begin across the country. Prior to the law, only some of Brazil's 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage.
2014England & WalesEngland and Wales became the first countries in the UK to pass marriage equality in 2014. Northern Ireland and Scotland are semi-autonomous and have separate legislative bodies to decide many domestic issues. In 2017, a judge dismissed two cases on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
2014ScotlandScotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of of legalizing same-sex marriage later in 2014. In addition to allowing same-sex couples to wed, the measure gave churches and other religious groups the option to decide whether or not they want to service same-sex marriages.
2015LuxembourgLuxembourg overwhelmingly approved legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed and to adopt children that went into effect in 2015. The bill was spearheaded by the country's Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. Bettel married his long-time partner Gauthier Destenay a few months after the legislation passed.
2015FinlandFinland approved a marriage equality bill in 2014, but it only went into effect in 2015. The bill started out as a public petition and was passed with 101-90 votes.
2015IrelandIreland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote in 2015. 62% of the referendum's respondents voted "yes" to amend the Constitution of Ireland to recognize same-sex marriage. Thousands of Irish emigrants had traveled home to participate in the popular vote.
2015GreenlandGreenland, the world's biggest island, passed same-sex legislation in 2015. Although Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, it was not subject to Denmark's 2012 ruling on legalizing same-sex marriage.
2015United StatesThe United States Supreme Court made marriage equality federal law in 2015. Same-sex marriage had been legal in 37 out of the 50 US states, plus the District of Columbia, prior to the 2015 ruling.
2016ColumbiaColombia became the fourth Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2016. Same-sex couples were already allowed to form civil partnerships before the ruling.
2017Germany In 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to allow same-sex couples to wed. Germany gave full marital rights to homosexual couples in a vote that Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against.
2017MaltaNearly all of Malta's parliament voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island, marriage equality was passed by a landslide 66-1 vote.
2018AustraliaAustralian lawmakers in December enacted the will of the majority of citizens who overwhelmingly voted in favour of same-sex marriage during a postal survey held weeks earlier. Same-sex couples were officially allowed to marry beginning January 9, more than a month after it was legalized in the country.

Justice = Civil Marriage Equality

by Christopher Hubble - July 7, 2004

"The union of a man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith ... Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society,"
~ President George W. Bush, February 24, 2004.

This president seems bent on revising history to suit his misguided political purposes. He would persuade us that heterosexual unions have been the monolithic norm for eons. This position could not be further from the truth. Since the president has so much difficulty conforming to truth, fact, or sound reason regarding the issue of civil marriage equality, let us conduct our own examination of certain pertinent facts.

Read more

Attorney and Plaintiff in the First Same Sex Marriage Lawsuit of the Modern Gay Rights Movement

by Craig Dean

Craig DeanPerhaps no topic stirs the imagination as the legalization of same-sex marriage. In this veritable minefield of tradition versus progress, twenty years ago attorney Craig Dean filed the first discrimination suit to legalize same-sex marriage in over forty years when his marriage license application to his partner was denied by the District of Columbia because both parties were men.

Since then he has been speaking out on issues affecting gay and lesbian couples and has become a powerful advocate for legalization of gay marriages. His presentation gives a historical background to same-sex marriage, places it in the context of society and the modern gay civil rights movement, and discusses what the future may hold.

Read more

The Benefits of Legal Marriage

by C. Ann Shepherd

The typical married couple in America receives over 160 benefits and rights by virtue of their union. It seems ironic that a heterosexual couple married for one hour, has more rights and benefits than a same-sex couple that has been together for 30 years. The following is only a sample of some of the rights and benefits provided by legal marriage.

Note: Marriage benefits are granted on a state by state basis, and may differ from one state to the next.

Common Benefits of Marriage:

Insurance benefits through a spouse's employer

Insurance discounts offered to married couples and related persons living in same household

Read more

The State’s Role in Marriage (Part 1)

A possible Conservative victory in the upcoming federal election could mean social policies favouring a traditional "family" ideology: Where men are men and women are housewives and sexual and reproductive freedom is set back half a century.

It's an outcome too depressing to be worth discussion.

Instead, I want to talk about one aspect of Canadian social policy. During a time when our would-be leaders seem incapable of imagining any real transformations in Canadian society, I'm going to suggest a policy change that I think is genuinely worth considering.

Ironically, although I have no preconceived notions about minimizing government involvement in social life, this is one case where I would advocate getting the state out of our personal lives.

I'm talking about marriage.

Read more

The State’s Role in Marriage (Part 2)

Read Part 1 of this article.

Today, as Canadians (or at least those of us who vote) are choosing our government for the next five years, I want to recall the words of a former national leader.

On Dec. 22, 1967, defending the decriminalization of homosexual behaviour, Pierre Elliott Trudeau opined that "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation."

To this dictum I would simply add, provided those in the bedrooms are consenting adults.

Read more

Marriage, Loving and the Law

In June 1958, Virginia residents Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter traveled to Washington, D.C., got married and returned home. An unexceptional story but for one fact: Richard was white and Mildred black. Their marriage therefore violated Virginia's Racial Integrity Act. The Lovings were convicted in Virginia court and sentenced to a year in jail, with the sentence suspended on the condition that they leave Virginia and not return together for 25 years.

They got back sooner. On June 12, 1967 -- 40 years ago next Tuesday -- the Supreme Court struck down Virginia's ban on interracial marriages. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that the restriction served no purpose but that of "invidious racial discrimination" and therefore violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Read more

Spanish Premier Zapatero’s Remarkable Gay Marriage Speech

When the Spanish parliament yesterday took its historic vote legalizing both gay marriage and adoption of children by gay couples, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who put the full prestige of his office and party behind passage of the gay human rights legislation -- made probably the most remarkable speech in favor of full equality for those with same-sex hearts ever delivered by a head of government anywhere, in which he quoted two of the most illustrious gay poets in history. Here are excerpts from Zapatero's speech:

Read more