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Anthropologists have struggled to determine a definition of marriage that absorbs commonalities of the social construct across cultures around the world. With several countries revising their marriage laws to recognize same-sex couples in the 21st century, all major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the word marriage to either drop gender specifications or supplement them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or explicit recognition of same-sex unions.
Opponents of same-sex marriage who want marriage to be restricted to pairings of a man and a woman, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , the Catholic Church , and the Southern Baptist Convention , use the term traditional marriage to mean opposite-sex marriage. The Australian Psychological Society supports same-sex marriage  and the British Psychological Society has acknowledged that there is no empirical basis for beliefs used to argue for the exclusion of same-sex attracted individuals from marriage.
Prominent figures in the civil rights movement have expressed their support for same-sex marriage. Virginia in , in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down all state bans on inter-racial marriage , issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in which she expressed her support for same-sex marriage and described it as a civil right akin to inter-racial marriage, stating that "I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry".
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Hodges in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, stating that "races don't fall in love, genders don't fall in love—people fall in love". The NAACP , the leading African-American civil rights organization, has pledged its support for gay rights and same-sex marriage, stating that they "support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution", and has declared that same-sex marriage is a civil right.
The Human Rights Campaign , the largest LGBT rights organization in the United States, states that "many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love—many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person—and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings.
Journalist Gail Mathabane likens prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past prohibitions on interracial marriage in the United States. Opposition to same-sex marriage is based on claims such as that homosexuality is unnatural and abnormal, that the recognition of same-sex unions will promote homosexuality in society, and that children are better off when raised by opposite-sex couples.
Same Sex Marriage argumentative essay
Some of the opponents of same-sex marriage are religious groups such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , the Catholic Church , and the Southern Baptist Convention , all of which desire for marriage to remain restricted to opposite-sex couples. The American Anthropological Association stated on 26 February The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution.
Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies. The establishment of same-sex marriage is associated with a significant reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children, with the effect being concentrated among children of a minority sexual orientation.
The researchers took advantage of the gradual manner in which same-sex marriage was established in the United States expanding from one state in to all fifty states in to compare the rate of attempted suicide among children in each state over the time period studied. Once same-sex marriage was established in a particular state, the reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children in that state became permanent.
No reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children occurred in a particular state until that state recognized same-sex marriage. The lead researcher of the study observed that "laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel more hopeful for the future". Professional organizations of psychologists have concluded that children stand to benefit from the well-being that results when their parents' relationship is recognized and supported by society's institutions, e.
For example, the Canadian Psychological Association stated in that "parents' financial, psychological and physical well-being is enhanced by marriage and that children benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally-recognized union. The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded in , in an analysis published in the journal Pediatrics :. There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents.
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More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families. In , a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study examining the effects of institutional discrimination on the psychiatric health of lesbian, gay and bisexual LGB individuals found an increase in psychiatric disorders, including a more than doubling of anxiety disorders , among the LGB population living in states that instituted bans on same-sex marriage.
According to the author, the study highlighted the importance of abolishing institutional forms of discrimination, including those leading to disparities in the mental health and well-being of LGB individuals. Institutional discrimination is characterized by societal-level conditions that limit the opportunities and access to resources by socially disadvantaged groups.
Author and journalist Jonathan Rauch has argued that marriage is good for all men, whether homosexual or heterosexual, because engaging in its social roles reduces men's aggression and promiscuity. Same-sex parents and carers and their children are likely to benefit in numerous ways from legal recognition of their families, and providing such recognition through marriage will bestow greater benefit than civil unions or domestic partnerships. The American Psychological Association stated in "Denial of access to marriage to same-sex couples may especially harm people who also experience discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status and so on.
In , a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-sex marriage in the United States to an increase in the rates of HIV infection. Numerous polls and studies on the issue have been conducted, including those that were completed throughout the first decade of the 21st century.
A consistent trend of increasing support for same-sex marriage has been revealed across the world, often driven in large part by a significant generational gap in support. Polling that was conducted in developed democracies in the first decade of the 21st century shows a majority of people in support of same-sex marriage. Support for legal same-sex marriage has increased across every age group, political ideology, religion, gender, race and region of various developed countries in the world. In the United States , continual polling by Gallup over the course of more than two decades has shown that support for same-sex marriage has grown rapidly, while opposition has simultaneously collapsed.
Various detailed polls and studies on same-sex marriage that were conducted in several countries show that support for same-sex marriage significantly increases with higher levels of education and is also significantly stronger among younger generations, with a clear trend of continually increasing support. A reference to same-sex marriage appears in the Sifra , which was written in the 3rd century CE. The Book of Leviticus prohibited homosexual relations, and the Hebrews were warned not to "follow the acts of the land of Egypt or the acts of the land of Canaan" Lev.
The Sifra clarifies what these ambiguous "acts" were, and that they included same-sex marriage: "A man would marry a man and a woman a woman, a man would marry a woman and her daughter, and a woman would be married to two men.
What is arguably the first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire according to controversial  historian John Boswell. Child emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles , as his husband. The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero , who is reported to have married two other males on different occasions. The first was with one of Nero's own freedmen , Pythagoras , with whom Nero took the role of the bride.
The marriage was celebrated in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies. It should be noted, however, that conubium existed only between a civis Romanus and a civis Romana that is, between a male Roman citizen and a female Roman citizen , so that a marriage between two Roman males or with a slave would have no legal standing in Roman law apart, presumably, from the arbitrary will of the emperor in the two aforementioned cases. The idea implicit in the word is that a man took a woman in marriage, in matrimonium ducere , so that he might have children by her.
Historians variously trace the beginning of the modern movement in support of same-sex marriage to anywhere from around the s to the s. In , Denmark became the first country to recognize a legal relationship for same-sex couples, establishing registered partnerships , which gave those in same-sex relationships "most rights of married heterosexuals, but not the right to adopt or obtain joint custody of a child".
In Mexico , same-sex marriage is performed in several states and recognized in all thirty-one states. In August , the Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica ruled that the right of same-sex couples to marry is guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights , in line with a January ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights , and that the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica has a grace period of eighteen months to amend the marriage law to align with the Convention after which same-sex marriage will automatically become established by law in Costa Rica.
Note: Countries and territories in which same-sex marriage laws have been repealed are not included on the table. British Judge Sir Nicolas Bratza , then head of the European Court of Human Rights, delivered a speech in that signaled the court was ready to declare same-sex marriage a "human right", as soon as enough countries fell into line. Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that: "Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right",  not limiting marriage to those in a heterosexual relationship.
However, the ECHR stated in Schalk and Kopf v Austria that this provision was intended to limit marriage to heterosexual relationships, as it used the term "men and women" instead of "everyone". On 12 March , the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution encouraging EU institutions and member states to "[reflect] on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union as a political, social and human and civil rights issue".
On 5 June , the European Court of Justice ruled, in a case from Romania , that, under the specific conditions of the couple in question, married same-sex couples have the same residency rights as other married couples in an EU country, even if that country does not permit or recognize same-sex marriage. After a motion lodged by Costa Rica, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a landmark advisory ruling in favour of same-sex marriage on 9 January , which is expected to facilitate legalisation in several countries in the Americas.
The Court said that governments "must recognise and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex". They also said that it was inadmissible and discriminatory for a separate legal provision to be established such as civil unions instead of same-sex marriage. The Court demanded that governments "guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination".