NOTE: This is a post from a previous blog-venture — FromOurPerspective.com — It was posted August 10, 2010 a lot has changed in the world of same-sex/similar-sex marriage since then!
Same-sex marriage has been a subject of political, social, and legal debate for a number of years and recently has been gaining ground in the United States and around the world. A total of ten countries now recognize full marriage equality for same-sex couples (list below). The first country to legalize marriage was the Netherlands in 2001, and since that time one or two countries have followed suit every couple of years. The interesting thing to me is that the countries per year seem to be picking up steam. In 2009 two countries made the move to legalize (Sweden and Norway). While these places are relatively similar geographically and culturally,the most interesting series of events took place within the first seven months of 2010.
So far this year Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina have all moved to legalize same-sex marriage nationally. Additionally, Mexico has ordered that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City be recognized nationwide. At a time when the United States has a pat work of differing laws from state to state, an increasing number of our neighbors (geographically as well as culturally) are making national level changes.
In addition to the three countries mentioned above, California’s controversial Proposition 8, which took away the momentary right same-sex marriage, has been overruled. This ruling by a federal judge is popularly considered to be the case that will move up to the United States Supreme Court and give a national ruling.
So during this summer we have seen an unprecedented number a nations legalize same-sex marriage and movement in that direction for the United States. The reason I am writing about this topic now is that I feel this year is an important moment in the fast-paced history of the debate around marriage equality. I also think that by the end of 2010 even more countries will be added to the list of those with full legal equality for same-sex couples.
As a millennial moving into my mid-twenties, the subjects of marriage and starting a family are culturally being moved from the back of my mind to the front. I see those of similar ages having children and getting married. It is exciting to speculate that my generation may be one of the first where this is happening for both my LGBT friends and straight allies. I am the product of a generation that came out at eighteen or even earlier (and the average age is only getting lower and lower), is dating and figuring out relationships at similar ages to my straight peers, and has the ability to start a family with at least some legal protections. Less than ten years ago this wasn’t the case for most people; individuals tended to come out later in life or remain in relationships in order to hide their true selves.
While I may or may not be married by the time i am thirty, I believe that by the time I am thirty I will have the full legal right to do so anywhere in the United States and in many more countries throughout the world. Additionally, i believe that I will be able to adopt a child (either with a legally married same-sex partner or on my own) with out having to lie about my sexuality to the adoption agency. Lastly, I believe that more and more religious communities will welcome these individuals and their new families. Already many religious traditions have or are in the process of opening their doors to the opening LGBT individual and their family.
It is a new world for this twenty-something gay man. I have a partner of three years whose little sister was recently married and they have a small child. My partner’s mother keeps wondering about our plans for the future, especially in the baby department. Our friends are asking us about wedding plans and other friends keep on showing me engagement rings (for him to buy for me). While it is exciting to be part of this aspect of the larger culture, which I never really considered I would be when growing up, it also adds new pressures and things to think about.
What are other LGBT people thinking about in regards to families, adoption, the marriage debate, etc?
Current Countries Where Same-Sex Marriage is Legal:
- Mexico (Mexico City) – August 10, 2010 *
- Argentina (July 22, 2010)
- Iceland (June 27, 2010)
- Portugal (June 5, 2010)
- Sweden (2009)
- Norway (2009)
- South Africa (2006)
- Canada (2005)
- Spain (2005)
- Belgium (2003)
- the Netherlands (2001)