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Legal recognition of same-sex couples Same-sex marriage Belgium Canada Netherlands Norway South Africa Spain Sweden Unregistered co-habitation Argentina Australia Austria Brazil Colombia Croatia Israel Portugal
Same-sex marriage debated Australia (TAS) European Union Estonia France Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Mexico (DF) Nepal New Zealand Philippines Portugal Switzerland United Kingdom Taiwan
Recognized in some regions United States (CT, IA, ME1, MA, VT2)
September 14 2009 September 1, 2009
Formerly performed United States (CA)3
15—November 5, 2008
United States (CA, CO, DC, MD, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI) Civil unions and registered partnerships debated Argentina Australia Austria Brazil Bulgaria Chile Costa Rica Cuba Ecuador European Union Estonia Faroe Islands Italy Ireland Jersey Liechtenstein Slovakia Venezuela
Recognized, not performed Aruba (Dutch only) Israel Netherlands Antilles (Dutch only) United States (DC,4 NY)
Unless Congress intervenes.
Civil unions and registered partnerships Andorra Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greenland Hungary5
Iceland Luxembourg New Zealand Slovenia Switzerland United Kingdom Uruguay
Mexico (CL, GR, JA, MI, PB, VE) United States (AZ, FL, GU, HI, IL, NM, NV, SC, UT, WI) See also Same-sex marriage Status of same-sex marriage Timeline of same-sex marriage Civil union Domestic partnership Registered partnership Listings by country LGBT portal
July 1, 2009
Recognized in some regions Argentina (C, RN, VCP) Australia (ACT, TAS, VIC) Mexico (COA, DF) United States (CA, CO6, DC, HI, MD, NH, NJ, OR, WA)
eff. July 1, 2009
Recognized, not performed
Isle of Man
Same-sex marriage and gay marriage are terms for a legally or socially recognized marriage between two people of the same gender. The first country to allow same-sex couples to enter into legally recognized
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marriage was the Netherlands, effective in 2001. Since then, six other countries and six U.S. states have followed suit, though California later revoked the right and has it under judicial review. Proponents of same-sex marriage regard it as a human right to be able to enter into marriage regardless of sexual orientation. Those who oppose samesex marriage often base their opposition on the perceived societal impact of same-sex marriage, concerns about indirect consequences of same-sex marriage, parenting concerns, tradition, or religious grounds. Same-sex couples can be civilly united, but not married, in 16 countries and specific jurisdictions within 5 others. Additionally, Israel, the U.S. state of New York and Washington, D.C. recognize legal same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions but do not perform their own. Political and legal debate continues in over two dozen other countries and multiple U.S. states.
Although state-recognized same-sex marriage is a relatively new phenomenon in Western society, there is a long history of same-sex unions around the world. Various types of same-sex unions have existed, ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions. In the southern Chinese province of Fujian, through the Ming dynasty period, females would bind themselves in contracts to younger females in elaborate ceremonies. Males also entered similar arrangements. In Japan, Shudo (?? shudō), the Japanese tradition of age-structured homosexuality was prevalent in samurai society from the medieval period until the end of the 19th century. Shudo is analogous to the ancient Greek tradition of pederasty (paiderastia). A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) issued in 342 CE prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome, but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear, as only a few examples of same-sex marriage in that culture exist. Suetonius mentioned (in the context of Nero’s vices) that Nero married a slave boy, and also a male friend; Martial also mentions same sex marriages taking place.
Status of same-sex partnerships in Europe. Same-sex marriage Other type of partnership Unregistered cohabitation Issue under political consideration Unrecognized or unknown Same-sex marriage banned
Status of same-sex partnerships in the United States Same-sex marriage1 Foreign same-sex marriages recognized Unions granting rights similar to marriage1 Unions granting limited/enumerated rights1 No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions Statute bans same-sex marriage Constitution bans same-sex marriage Constitution bans same-sex marriage and other kinds of same-sex unions 1May include recent
laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
The Netherlands was the first modern nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. Samesex marriages are also legal in Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), and
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Sweden (2009). In Nepal, their authorization has been judicially mandated but not yet legislated. In the United States, although same-sex marriages are not recognized federally, same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa. Same-sex couples will be able to marry in Vermont starting September 1, 2009, and in Maine starting September 14, 2009, if citizens do not present a petition to put the question on the fall ballot. Vermont was the first U. S. state to enact same-sex marriage by legislation after the overriding of Governor Douglas’s veto. Maine was the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage through legislation with their Governor’s signature after Governor Baldacci signed the bill a few hours after final passage.. From June 2008 until November 2008, California also authorized same-sex marriages, until voters enacted Proposition 8, which banned samesex marriage. In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman amongst other stipulations. As of November 2008, twenty-nine states had passed constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, nineteen of which prohibit the legal recognition of any same-sex union. Eighteen additional states, and the territory of Puerto Rico have legal statutes that define "marriage" as a union of two persons of the opposite-sex. President Barack Obama’s political platform includes full repeal of the DOMA. The U.S. states of New Jersey and New Hampshire offer civil unions with all state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. Also, Oregon, the District of Columbia, and Washington have domestic partnership laws that grant most of the state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. Colorado and Maryland grant certain limited state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage through domestic partnerships, and Hawaii has reciprocal beneficiary laws, which also has a few certain, limited, state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. At the federal level, Australia bans recognition of same-sex marriage, but the current Australian Labor Party government favors synchronized state and territory registered partnership legislation (as in Tasmania and
Victoria). The Australian Capital Territory has civil unions with no official ceremonies. The Canadian Parliament approved samesex marriage by defining marriage as “between two people” in June, 2005. The Conservative Government introduced a bill proposing to repeal same-sex marriage in Canada in 2006, but it failed at its first reading in 2006, hence same sex marriage continues to be recognized throughout the nation.
Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates stated on 21 January 2009 that, if re-elected in the September 2009 elections, he plans to introduce a bill to allow same-sex couples the right to marry. While the bill does not contemplate adoption, most LGBT organizations in Portugal support the measure as an important step towards equality. On recent polls, his party is ahead of the major opposition one.  New Zealand’s Parliament rejected a bill that would have prohibited same-sex marriage in New Zealand in December 2005. However, New Zealand’s Marriage Act 1955 still only recognizes marriage rights for opposite-sex couples; New Zealand’s marriage laws consider transsexuals who have undergone reassignment surgery as having changed sex for these purposes, following Family Court and High Court of New Zealand decisions in 1995).
No information Homosexuality legal Homosexuality Same-sex marriage1 illegal MinOther type of partnerimal penalty ship (or unregistered coLarge penhabitation)2 Foreign alty Life in same-sex marriages recog- prison Death nized No recognition of penalty same-sex couples 1Vermont (USA) effective 1 September 2009, Maine (USA) effective 14 September 2009 2Hungary effective 1 July 2009, Colorado (USA) effective 1 July 2009
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Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other countries, although it is still illegal to perform them within the country. A bill was raised in Knesset to rescind the Israeli High Court’s ruling, but the Knesset has not advanced the bill since December 2006. In 2006, a 30 member parliamentary commission of the French National Assembly published a 453 page Report on the Family and the rights of Children, which rejected same-sex marriage. In the report, the commission says that “the child represents the future of society.” The commission asks legislators to make sure that “children, confronted with mutations in family models, be fully taken into account and not suffer from situations imposed upon them by adults.” It adds: “The interest of the child must take precedence over adults’ exercise of their freedom (…) including with regards to parents’ lifestyle choices.”  The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Norway, and Sweden are the only countries where the legal status of same-sex marriage is exactly the same as that of opposite-sex marriage, though South Africa is due to fully harmonize its marriage laws. Nepal’s highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights. Based on the court recommendation the government announced its intention to introduce a same-sex marriage bill by 2010.
New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
The notion of civil unions is rejected by some, such as this protester at a large demonstration in New York City against California Proposition 8. U.S. Same-sex marriage movement founder Evan Wolfson does not feel civil unions are a replacement for full marriage equality. In the United Kingdom, civil partnerships were introduced in 2006. The law gives civil partners identical legal status to a marriage, and partners gain all the same benefits and associated legal rights; ranging from tax exemptions and joint property rights, to next-ofkin status and shared parenting responsibilities. Partnership ceremonies are performed by a marriage registrar in exactly the same manner as a secular civil marriage. In the first year 16,100 ceremonies took place. Civil unions in New Zealand are identical to British civil partnerships in their association with equivalent spousal rights and responsibilities to full-fledged opposite-sex marriage. In Australia, Commonwealth law prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriage. However, all states and territories provide a range of rights to same-sex cohabiting couples, equal to those afforded to oppositesex de facto couples. These rights are gained without registration. Furthermore, formal
Civil unions and partnerships
The first same-sex union in modern history with government recognition was obtained in Denmark in 1989. Civil unions, civil partnership, domestic partnership, unregistered partnership/ unregistered co-habitation or registered partnerships offer varying amounts of the benefits of marriage and are available in: Andorra, Australia, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. They are also available in some parts of Argentina (Villa Carlos Paz, Río Cuarto, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Río Negro), Mexico (Federal District and Coahuila), the U.S. states of California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire,
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domestic partnership registries exist in Tasmania, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. Since November 2008, same-sex couples are recognized as de facto partners in a wide range of Commonwealth legislation, including superannuation, social security, health care and taxation. In 2007, Grace Abrams and Fiona Power became Australia’s first legally recognized same sex married couple after Grace Abrams had gender modification surgery and was later officially granted a passport with female status. Norway and Sweden did have registered partnerships - but got rid of them, then turned them into full civil marriage. Registered partnerships in Iceland, Denmark and Finland is "nearly" equal to marriage, including legal joint adoption rights in Iceland and Denmark (from 2009). Finland and Greenland have biological adoption only (no joint adoption). These partnership laws are short laws that state that wherever the word "marriage" appears in the country’s law will now also be construed to mean "registered partnership" and wherever the word "spouse" appears will now also be construed to mean "registered partner" - thereby transferring the body of marriage laws onto same-sex couples in registered partnerships. In some countries with legal recognition the actual benefits are minimal. Many people consider civil unions, even those which grant equal rights, inadequate, as they create a separate status, and think they should be replaced by gender-neutral marriage.
employment in Belgium may not become an employee of the NATO civilian secretariat in Brussels unless he or she is a citizen of a NATO member state. The World Health Organization has recently banned the recruitment of cigarette smokers. Agencies of the United Nations coordinate some human resource policies amongst themselves. Despite their relative independence, few organizations currently recognize same-sex partnerships without condition. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the agencies of the United Nations voluntarily discriminate between opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages, as well as discriminating between employees on the basis of nationality. These organizations recognize same-sex marriages only if the country of citizenship of the employees in question recognizes the marriage. In some cases, these organizations do offer a limited selection of the benefits normally provided to opposite-sex married couples to de facto partners or domestic partners of their staff, but even individuals who have entered into an opposite-sex civil union in their home country are not guaranteed full recognition of this union in all organizations. However, the World Bank does recognize domestic partners.
Transgender and intersex persons
When sex is defined legally, it may be defined by any one of several criteria: the XY sex-determination system, the type of gonads, or the type of external sexual features. Consequently, both transsexuals and intersexed individuals may be legally categorized into confusing gray areas, and could be prohibited from marrying partners of the "opposite" sex or permitted to marry partners of the "same" sex due to arbitrary legal distinctions. This could result in long-term marriages, as well as recent same-sex marriages, being overturned. The problems of defining gender by the existence/non-existence of gonads or certain sexual features is complicated by the existence of surgical methods to alter these features. These complications are probably more likely than one would think at first glance; according to the highest estimates (FaustoSterling et al., 2000) perhaps 1 percent of live births exhibit some degree of sexual
The terms of employment of the staff of international organizations (not businesses) are not, in most cases, governed by the laws of the country in which their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard these organizations’ impartiality with regard to the host and member countries. Hiring and firing practices, working hours and environment, holiday time, pension plans, health insurance and life insurance, salaries, expatriation benefits and general conditions of employment are managed according to rules and regulations proper to each organization. The independence of these organizations gives them the freedom to implement human resource policies which are even contrary to the laws of their host and member countries. A person who is otherwise eligible for
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ambiguity, and between 0.1% and 0.2% of live births are ambiguous enough to become the subject of specialist medical attention, including sometimes involuntary surgery to address their sexual ambiguity. In any legal jurisdiction where marriages are defined without distinction of a requirement of a male and female, these complications do not occur. In addition, some legal jurisdictions may recognize a legal and official change of gender, which would allow a transsexual to be legally married in accordance his or her adopted gender identity. In the United Kingdom, recent legislation (Gender Recognition Act 2004) allows a person who has lived in their chosen gender for at least two years to receive a gender recognition certificate officially recognizing their new gender. Because in the UK marriage is for mixed-sex couples and civil partnership is for same-sex couples, a person must dissolve his/her marriage or civil partnership before obtaining a gender recognition certificate. Such persons are then free to enter or reenter civil partnerships or marriages in accordance with their newly recognized gender identity. In the United States, transsexual and intersexual marriages typically run into the complications detailed above. As definitions and enforcement of marriage are defined by the states, these complications vary from state to state.
Use of scare quotes in print and online media
Some publications that oppose same-sex marriage adopt an editorial style policy of placing the word marriage in scare quotes ("marriage") when it is used in reference to samesex couples. In the United States, the mainstream press has generally abandoned this practice. Some online publications, such as WorldNetDaily and Baptist Press, still follow the practice. Cliff Kincaid argues for use of scare quotes on the grounds that marriage is a legal status denied same-sex couples by most state governments. Same-sex marriage supporters argue that the use of scare quotes is an editorialization that implies illegitimacy. Associated Press style recommends the usages marriage for gays and lesbians or in space-limited headlines gay marriage with no hyphen and no scare quotes. AP warns that the construct gay marriage can imply that marriage licenses offered to gay and lesbian couples are somehow legally different, as such it should be avoided as much as possible in favor of marriage for gays and lesbians.
While few societies have recognized samesex unions as marriage, the historical and anthropological record reveals a large range of attitudes towards same-sex unions ranging from sympathetic toleration to indifference to prohibition. Organizations opposed to samesex marriage have argued that same-sex marriages are not marriages, that legalization of same-sex marriage will open the door for the legalization of polygamy, that legalization of same-sex marriage would erode religious freedoms, and that same-sex marriage deprives children of either a mother or a father. Other advocates of traditional marriage hold that same-sex marriage is unnatural and that it encourages unhealthy behavior. Some opponents of same-sex marriage also argue that the alleged historical precedence of the definition of marriage - the traditional understanding - justifies the need to protect it from the changes sought by advocates of same-sex marriage. Other opponents contend that the legalization of same-sex marriage, by altering the traditional
Debates over terminology
Some proponents of same-sex marriage use the term "equal marriage" to stress that they seek equality as opposed to special rights. Some opponents argue that equating samesex and opposite-sex marriage changes the meaning of marriage and its traditions. Alan Dershowitz and others have suggested reserving the word "marriage" for religious contexts as part of privatizing marriage, and in civil and legal contexts using a uniform concept of civil unions, in part to strengthen the separation between church and state. In the United States, conservative critics claim that the conflation of marriage with contractual agreements is itself a threat to marriage.
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definition of marriage, would harm families and society as a whole. Some supporters of same-sex marriage take the view that the government should have no role in regulating personal relationships, while others argue that same-sex marriage would provide social benefits to same-sex couples. A 2004 Statement by the American Anthropological Association states that there is no evidence that society needs to maintain "marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution", and, further, that same-sex unions can "contribute to stable and humane societies." Gay activist 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. After reviewing current psychological and other social science studies on same-sex marriage in comparison to opposite-sex marriage, Gregory M. Herek claims that the data  indicate that samesex and opposite-sex relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent’s sexual orientation is unrelated to their ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment; and that marriage bestows substantial psychological, social, and health benefits. Herek concludes that same-sex couples 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 debate regarding same-sex marriage includes debate based upon social viewpoints as well as debate based on majority rules (or will of the people), religious convictions, economic arguments, health-related concerns, and a variety of other issues.
placed "beyond the reach" of popular votes and elected officials. The court’s decision was later overturned in part by the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008; however, the proposition’s constitutionality is under judicial review, as of December 2008. California’s Attorney General, Jerry Brown, has urged the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 as unconstitutional due to the "fundamental liberty interest" cited in the California Constitution.
Arguments both in opposition to and in favor of same-sex marriage are often made on religious grounds and/or formulated in terms of religious doctrine. Many objections to same-sex marriage are based upon religious grounds. Religious opponents of same-sex marriage sometimes claim that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples could undercut the conventional purpose of marriage, or would be contrary to God’s will. Some religious advocates of "traditional marriage" contend that to call same-sex relationships "marriages" is a misnomer, because marriage necessarily involves the uniting of two members of the opposite sex. Other religious opponents argue that same-sex marriage would encourage individuals to act upon homosexual urges, rather than seeking help to overcome same-sex attraction. Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, religious objections to same-sex marriage are often based upon biblical passages at Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, and Leviticus 20:13. Within the Christian tradition, such objections are often based on Romans 1, I Corinthians 6:8-10, and Jude 1:7. Religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage include the Assemblies of God, Church of God in Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, the Conservative Mennonite Conference, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Hutterite Brethren, the Orthodox Church in America, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU). Some liberal Christians such as the Metropolitan Community Church, the United
A "majority rules" position is that same-sex marriage should only be deemed a right if it is accepted by a majority of voters through a general election ballot. A civil-rights view, in contrast, holds that the judiciary should decide on the legality of same-sex marriage. In May 2008 the California Supreme Court found the state’s opposite-sex definition of marriage to be unconstitutional, reasoning that certain fundamental rights should be
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Church of Christ and progressive congregations within the mainline denominations believe that biblical texts refer only to specific sex acts and idolatrous worship lacking relevance to contemporary same-sex relationships. Some Christians support religious and legal recognition of same-sex marriage based on a moral commitment to equality, or a belief that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God." Several Christian denominations support same-sex marriage and perform same-sex weddings. The three largest are Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ (UCC). Judaism, like Christianity, reflects differing views between conservative and liberal adherents. Orthodox Judaism maintains the traditional Jewish bans on both sexual acts and marriage amongst members of the same sex. Orthodox Judaism also refuses to marry even opposite-sex interfaith couples, as in its view a Jew cannot marry a non-Jew. Some Conservative Jews reject recognition of samesex unions as marriage, but permit celebration of commitment ceremonies, while others recognize same-sex marriage. Members of Reform Judaism support the inclusion of same-sex unions within the definition of marriage. The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation leaves the choice to individual rabbis. Due to the ambivalent language about homosexuality in Buddhist teachings, there has been no official stance put forth regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Some same-sex married couples have challenged religious organizations that exclude them from access to public facilities maintained by those organizations, such as schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, and athletic programs. Opponents of same-sex marriage have expressed concerns that this limits their religious freedoms. For example, conservatives worry that a Christian college would risk its tax-exempt status by refusing to admit a legally married gay couple to married-student housing. Some legal analysts suggest that religious groups that do not follow current law on religious grounds might lose their tax exemptions.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State argue that by defining marriage as an opposite-sex institution, the state infringes upon the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
Arguments concerning children and the family
Some opponents of same-sex marriage argue that a child should be raised by only a father and a mother. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints argues for traditional gender roles in parenting, claiming they are foundational to parenting. Based on research showing that, on average, children do best when raised by their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage, some argue that legal marriage is a way of encouraging monogamy and commitment by those who may create children through their sexual coupling. One prominent supporter of this viewpoint, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher, argues that "babies are most likely to grow to functioning adulthood when they have the care and attention of both their mother and their father." Focus on the Family points to academic studies which state that children raised with both parents, as opposed to children raised by single mothers, increase children’s cognitive and verbal skills, academic performance, involvement in or avoidance of high-risk behaviors and crime, and emotional and psychological health. However, another study has held that being without a resident father from infancy does not seem to have negative consequences for children. Research has found no major differences in parenting or child development between families headed by two mothers and other fatherless families. However, research has also shown children raised by single mothers or children raised by two mothers perceived themselves to be less cognitively and physically competent than their peers from father-present families. Children without fathers had more interactions, severe disputes and depended more on their mothers. Sons showed more feminine but no less masculine characteristics of gender role behavior. Compared with young adults who had single mothers, men and women raised by two mothers were slightly more likely to consider the possibility of having a same-sex partner, and more of them had
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been involved in at least a brief same-sex relationship, but there was no statistical difference in sexual identity of children compared to children of opposite-sex parents.  A number of health and child-welfare organizations "support the parenting of children by lesbians and gay men, and condemn attempts to restrict competent, caring adults from serving as foster and/or adoptive parents." Such organizations include the Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers. On July 28, 2004, the American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives adopted a resolution that supports legalization of same-sex civil marriages and opposes discrimination against lesbian and gay parents. Noted Harvard political philosopher and legal scholar John Rawls supports same-sex marriage and does not believe that it would undermine the welfare of children. Same-sex marriage opponents argue that mainstream health and mental health organizations have, in many cases, taken public positions on homosexuality and samesex marriage that are based on their own social and political views rather than the available science.
Newly wedded same-sex couples in a public wedding at Taiwan Pride 2006. "non- involvement in joint parenthood," "lower exposure to normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions," and differing motivations for getting married. Another study regarding Swedish same-sex couples found that same-sex unions -- even when legally recognized -- tended to be of shorter duration than opposite-sex unions. A multi-method, multi-informant comparison of community samples of committed gay male and lesbian (30 participants each) couples with both committed (50 young engaged and 40 older married participants) and non-committed (109 exclusively dating) opposite-sex pairs was conducted in 2008. Specifically, in this study the quality of same- and opposite-sex relationships was examined at multiple levels of analysis via self-reports and partner reports, laboratory observations, and measures of physiological reactivity during dyadic interactions. Additionally, individuals in same-sex,
Arguments concerning divorce rates
Internationally, the most comprehensive study to date on the effect of same-sex marriage / partnership on opposite-sex marriage and divorce rates was conducted looking at over 15 years of data from the Scandinavian countries. The study by researcher Darren Spedale found that 15 years after Denmark had granted same-sex couples the rights of marriage, rates of opposite-sex marriage in those countries had gone up, and rates of opposite-sex divorce had gone down -- contradicting the concept that same-sex marriage would have a negative effect on traditional marriage. However, a study on short-term same-sex marriages/partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that divorce risks are higher in same-sex marriages than in opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more dynamic, than unions of gay men. The authors cited that this may be due to same-sex couples’
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engaged, and marital relationships were compared with one another on adult attachment security as assessed through the coherence of participants’ narratives about their childhood experiences. Results indicated that individuals in committed same-sex relationships were generally not distinguishable from their committed opposite-sex counterparts.
marriage to be unconstitutionally overinclusive, as gay and lesbian couples can have children either through natural or artificial means. The California Supreme Court ruled on May 15, 2008 that under California’s constitution, gays and lesbians cannot be deprived of marriage rights due on grounds that marriage is solely for procreation; this decision was overturned in part by the passage of Proposition 8 on November 5, 2008, which, in turn, has been questioned in court.
See also: Same-sex marriage and procreation Those who advocate that marriage should be defined exclusively as the union of one man and one woman argue that opposite-sex couples provide the procreative foundation that is the chief building block of civilization. Social conservatives and others may see marriage not as a legal construct of the state, but as a naturally occurring "pre-political institution" that the state must recognize just as the government recognizes employment relationships; one such conservative voice reasons that "government does not create marriage any more than government creates jobs." They argue that the definition proposed by same-sex marriage advocates changes the social importance of marriage from its natural function of reproduction into a mere legality or freedom to have sex. In the United States, a common argument in various states’ courts against allowing same-sex marriage has been the use of legal marriage to foster the state’s interest in human reproduction. In Anderson et al. v. King County, a case that challenged Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the law was constitutional. The majority concluded that the legislature was entitled to believe that only allowing opposite-sex marriage "furthers procreation." In response, a group of marriage advocates filed what became Initiative 957 which, if passed, would have made procreation a legal requirement for marriage in Washington State. The Maryland Supreme Court similarly ruled that it was permissible to confer the benefits of marriage only on opposite-sex couples because of their possibility of procreation." Some proponents of same-sex marriage argue that because the law does not prohibit marriage between sterile opposite-sex couples or to women past menopause, the procreation argument cannot reasonably be used against same-sex marriage. Proponents also consider these laws restricting
A libertarian argument for marriage privatization holds that the state has no role in defining the terms whereby individuals contract to arrange their personal relationships, regardless of whether those people are homosexual or heterosexual. People holding this viewpoint argue that the state should have a limited role or no role in defining marriage, only in enforcing those contracts people construct themselves and willfully enter. Those following this line of reasoning believe that efforts to "legitimize" same-sex marriage as a state institution are backwards-looking, and will have the effect of expanding state influence into personal affairs where state influence already does not belong. People opposing same-sex marriage on these grounds, also support scaling back the definition by the state of contractual obligations between opposite sex partners to a same or similar degree.
Arguments about tradition
Stanley Kurtz from the Hoover Institution said that same-sex marriage separates the ideas of marriage and parenthood, thereby accelerating marital decline. He cites studies showing a substantial rise in the out-of-wedlock birthrates, for both firstborn and subsequent children in areas where same-sex unions are legal. In Conaway v. Deane, the Maryland Supreme Court ruled that the State has a legitimate interest in encouraging the traditional family structure in which children are born.
Arguments concerning equality
Some opponents of same-sex marriage (including some ex-gay organizations) argue that the opposite-sex definition of marriage is
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2004 San Francisco march in support of same-sex marriage
Newlywed male same-sex couple at Gaypride 2006 in Reykjavik.
not unequal, unjust, or exclusionary because Some opponents of extending marriage to homosexuality is not genetic or unchangesame-sex couples claim that equality can be able. Same-sex marriage opachieved with civil unions or other forms of ponents support this position with research legal recognition that do not go as far as to as well as anecdotal evidence regarding efuse the word "marriage" that is used for forts to overcome unwanted same-sex attracopposite-sex couples. The Massachusetts Su However, several analyses of tions. preme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Departsuch studies have argued that they contain ment of Public Health held, in contrast, that statistical and methodological there is a fundamental dissimilitude between flaws. "civil marriage" and "civil union" indicated in Many courts, including the New York the very choice of language. Court of Appeals and the Maryland SuOf all of the state supreme courts that preme Court, have held an opposite-sex have considered cases alleging that an definition of marriage to be constitutional. opposite-sex definition of marriage is unconThe Maryland Supreme Court ruled that disstitutional and discriminatory, only the high crimination does not take place nor are concourts of California (later reversed by constistitutional rights denied in their laws that tutional amendment), Hawaii (later reprohibit same-gender marriage; the court versed by constitutional amendment), Conheld that these laws protect the state’s innecticut (28-Oct-2008), Iowa  and , terest to have and protect children (3-Apr-2009) Massachu, that "there is no fundamental right to marry setts(18-Nov-2003) New Jer, a person of your own sex". sey(25-Oct-2006) and Vermont Others argue that an opposite-sex defini(21-Dec-1999) -- have found such a defintion of marriage is inherently unequal. For inition to be unconstitutional and discriminatstance, a heterosexual U.S. citizen who marory (see Same-sex marriage in the United ries a foreign partner immediately qualifies States, Same-sex marriage status in the Unto bring that person to the United States, ited States by state, Proposition 8, and while long-term gay and lesbian binational Hawaii Constitutional Amendment 2 partners are denied the same rights, forcing (1998)). foreign gay partners to seek expensive temParallels to interracial marriage porary employer or school-sponsored visas or  In the court cases leadOpponents of same-sex marriage argue that face separation. men and women are fundamentally different ing up to the legalization of same-sex marfrom one another, whereas interracial riage in Canada, the restriction of legal marcouples still fit within the "one man and one riage to opposite-sex couples was overturned woman" definition of marriage. Louisiana because it was found to discriminate on the State University law professor Katherine basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the Spaht holds that there is an inherent differequality guarantees of section 15 of the Caence between interracial marriage and samenadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
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sex marriage because same-sex couples cannot procreate; Prof. Spaht characterizes the debate as follows: “The fundamental understanding of marriage has always been, by definition, a man and a woman. Never did Webster’s Dictionary define the term marriage in terms of the races." Proponents of same-sex marriage make a comparison between racial segregation and segregation of homosexual and heterosexual marriage classifications in civil law. They argue that dividing the concept of same-sex marriage and different-sex marriage is tantamount to "separate but equal" policies (like that overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education), or antimiscegenation laws that were also overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. In 1972, after the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling in Baker v. Nelson specifically distinguished Loving as not being applicable to the same-sex marriage debate, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the appeal "for want of a substantial federal question." This type of dismissal usually constitutes a decision on the merits of the case; as such, Baker appeared — at least for a time — to be binding precedent on all lower federal courts.
sex marriage and benefits through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) extends to federal government employee benefits. According to Badgett’s work, same-sex couples face other financial challenges against which legal marriage at least partially shields opposite-sex couples: • potential loss of couple’s home from medical expenses of one partner caring for another gravely ill one • costs of supporting two households, travel, or emigration out of the U.S. for an American citizen unable to legally marry a non-U.S. citizen • higher cost of purchasing private insurance for partner and children if company is not one of 18% that offer domestic partner benefits • higher taxes: unlike a company’s contribution to an employee’s spouse’s health insurance, domestic partner benefits are taxed as additional compensation • legal costs associated with obtaining domestic partner documents to gain some of the power of attorney, health care decision-making, and inheritance rights granted through legal marriage • higher health costs associated with lack of insurance and preventative care: 20% of same-sex couples have a member who is uninsured compared to 10% of married opposite-sex couples • current tax law allows a spouse to inherit an unlimited amount from the deceased without incurring an estate tax but an unmarried partner would have to pay the estate tax on the inheritance from her/his partner • same-sex couples are not eligible to file jointly or separately as a married couple and thus cannot take the advantages of lower tax rates when the individual income of the partners differs significantly While state laws grant full marriage rights (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont) or some or all of the benefits under another name (New Jersey, California, etc.), these state laws do not extend the benefits of marriage on the Federal level, and most states do not currently recognize samesex marriages or civil unions from other states. One often overlooked aspect of same-sex marriage are the potential negative effects on same-sex couples. While the legal benefits
Economic Effects on Same Sex Couples
Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, an economist and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has studied the impact of same-sex legal marriage on four groups. Impact on same-sex couples: Badgett finds that exclusion from legal marriage has an economic impact on same-sex couples. According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study requested by Rep. Henry Hyde (R), at least 1,049 U.S. Federal laws and regulations include reference to marital status. A later 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office finds 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving ’benefits, rights, and privileges.’" Many of these laws govern property rights, benefits, and taxation. Same-sex couples are ineligible for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits. Badgett’s research finds the resulting difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples is US$5,588 per year. The federal ban on same-
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of marriage are numerous, same-sex couples would face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples. Such potential effects include the marriage penalty in taxation. Similarly, while social service providers usually do not count one partner’s assets toward the income means test for welfare and disability assistance for the other partner, a legally married couple’s joint assets are normally used in calculating whether a married individual qualifies for assistance.
revenues for the states where such marriages are permitted. The Williams Institute of UCLA has conducted several studies which indicated allowing same sex marriage would increase business activity in relevant industries and also boost state income tax revenues.
Impacts on Mental Health
Recently, several psychological stud have shown that an increase ies in exposure to negative conversations and media messages about same-sex marriage creates a harmful environment for the LGBT population that may affect their health and well-being. One study surveyed more than 1,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults across the nation and found that respondents from the 25 states that have outlawed same-sex marriage had the highest reports of "minority stress" — the chronic social stress that results from minority-group stigmatization — as well as general psychological distress. According to the study, the negative campaigning that comes with a ban is directly responsible for the increased stress. Past research has shown that minority stress is linked to health risks such as risky sexual behavior and substance abuse. Two other studies examined personal reports from LGBT adults and their families living in Memphis, Tennessee, immediately after a successful 2006 ballot campaign banned same-sex marriage. Most respondents reported feeling alienated from their communities, afraid that they would lose custody of their children and that they might become victims of violence. The studies also found that families experienced a kind of secondary minority stress, says Jennifer Arm, a counseling graduate student at the  University of Memphis. In the wake of the recent passage of samesex marriage-banning legislation in Arizona, California, and Florida, Rotosky says she expects similar trends to emerge. In California, which overturned its same-sex marriage ban in June only to have that decision reversed in November, the LGBT community is reportedly experiencing minority stress.
Economic Effects on the Economy as a Whole
Impact on businesses: Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett’s research estimates the potential impact on businesses of same-sex marriage legalization to be $2 billion to the wedding industry alone. Badgett derives this estimate by calculating the amount spent on weddings if a) half of same-sex couples marry and b) each couple spends 1/4 the average amount spent on a opposite-sex wedding (US$27,600 average wedding cost / 4=US$6,900 per same-sex couple). Impact on employers: In terms of employers where marriage opponents fear higher benefit costs, Badgett and Mercer Human Resources Consulting separately find less than 1% of employees with a same-sex partner sign up for domestic partner benefits when a company offers them. Badgett finds less than 0.3% of Massachusetts firms’ employees signed up for spousal benefits when that state legalized same-sex marriage. Impact on governments: A 2004 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report examines the impact of allowing the 1.2 million Americans in same-sex domestic partnerships in the 2000 Census to marry and finds the impact to be comparatively small in terms of the huge Federal budget. While some spending on Federal programs would increase, these outlays would be offset by savings in other spending areas. The report predicts that if same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states and on the Federal level, the U.S. government would bring in a net surplus of US$1 billion per year over the next 10 years. Opposing Viewpoints research indicates that allowing marriage for same sex couples would stimulate the economy by increasing business activity, and thus increase sales tax
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Another school of thought regarding samesex marriage holds that same-sex marriage is a red herring designed to create legal principles under which sexual orientation will be treated as an immutable characteristic like race, and that, in the words of Maggie Gallagher of the National Review, same-sex marriage advocates seek to use the law to "stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation." Advocates for recognition of same-sex unions argue that there is no difference in the ability of same-sex and opposite-sex couples to make commitments and care for each other, and therefore the law of marriage should apply to both. Dissidents to the same-sex marriage movement within the gay community argue that the pursuit of social recognition and legal benefits by means of marriage reinforces marriage as an institution of exclusion, because it extends rights and benefits to people on the basis of their relationship status. Some same-sex marriage opponents take the view that legalization of same-sex marriage will open the door to the redefinition of marriage to include other legally recognized arrangements (such as polygamy) that would have unknown (and possibly detrimental) effects on children. The Weekly Standard commentator Stanley Kurtz argues allowing same-sex marriage blurs other common law precedents and will lead to the legalization of a variety of non-traditional relationships. One such non-traditional relationship is polyamory. Polyamory may be defined as a practice whereby a person has multiple simultaneous long-term loving relationships, in whatever form is chosen by those involved, with the knowledge and acceptance of their partners. This can include long-term stable group marriages, or stable couples who have external partners as well as their ’primary’ partners. Another example of a non-traditional relationship is a cohabitation contract; one such contract in the Netherlands sparked many comparisons with same-sex marriage on American conservative blogs in 2005.
• Adelphopoiesis ("brothermaking") • Adoption by samesex couples • Blessing of samesex unions in Christian churches • Defense of Marriage Act • Divorce of samesex couples • Heterosexism • Homophobia • LGBT rights in Europe • List of LGBT couples • Marriage gap • Marriage rights and obligations • Marriage, unions and partnerships by country • Mixed-orientation marriage • Religion and sexuality • Same-sex controversy in the U.S. Census 2000 • Same-sex marriage and procreation • Status of same-sex marriage • Timeline of samesex marriage • Traditional marriage movement • Uniting American Families Act • LGBT retirement issues
Documentaries and literature
• • • • • • A Union in Wait Freedom to Marry Pursuit of Equality Marriage Equality USA The Gay Marriage Thing MTV’s True Life: I’m Gay and I’m Getting Married
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Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy, (pp. 101-114). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  ttp://www2.law.columbia.edu/ h faculty_franke/Gender_Justice/ Hernandez_Robles.pdf  Md. Ban On Gay Marriage Is Upheld; ^ Law Does Not Deny Basic Rights, Is Not Biased, Court Rules;The Washington Post; By Lisa Rein and Mary Otto Washington Post Staff Writers; Wednesday, September 19, 2007; Page A01  ee Immigration Equality and Human S Rights Watch  ay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in G Connecticut - NYTimes.com  BC NEWS | World | Americas | Iowa B upholds gay marriage rights  assachusetts Court: State Wrong to M Ban Gay Marriage (washingtonpost.com)  ew Jersey Court Backs Rights for N Same-Sex Unions - New York Times  ermont High Court Backs Rights of V Same-Sex Couples - The New York Times  alifornia Court Legalizes Same-Sex C Marriage - US News and World Report  he Battle for Marriage in Minnesota T (MPEG-4; WM9) [Video]. Minnesota for Marriage. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.  aptist Press - Bans on interracial B marriage, same-sex ‘marriage’ parallels? - News with a Christian Perspective  eggy Pascoe (2004-04-19). "Why the P Ugly Rhetoric Against Gay Marriage Is Familiar to this Historian of Miscegenation". History News Network of George Mason University. http://hnn.us/articles/4708.html. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.  (.HTML; .PDF) The Potential ^ Budgetary Impact of Recognizing SameSex Marriages. Congressional Budget Office. 2004-06-21. http://www.cbo.gov/ doc.cfm?index=5559. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.  ame-Sex Marriage Would Boost S Economy Significantly  he Impact of Extending Marriage to T Same-Sex Couples on the California Budget  Price, M. "UPFRONT - Research ^ uncovers the stress created by same-sex marriage bans" in Monitor on Psychology, Volume 40, No. 1, page 10,
January 2009. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.   otoczniak, Daniel J.; Aldea, Mirela A.; P DeBlaere, Cirleen"Ego identity, social anxiety, social support, and selfconcealment in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(4), Oct 2007, 447-457.  alsam, Kimberly F.; Mohr, Jonathan J. B "Adaptation to sexual orientation stigma: A comparison of bisexual and lesbian/gay adults." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(3), Jul 2007, 306-319.  Rostosky, Sharon Scales; Riggle, Ellen ^ D. B.; Gray, Barry E.; Hatton, Roxanna L. "Minority stress experiences in committed same-sex couple relationships." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol 38(4), Aug 2007, 392-400.  zymanski, Dawn M.; Carr, Erika R. "The S roles of gender role conflict and internalized heterosexism in gay and bisexual men’s psychological distress: Testing two mediation models." Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Vol 9(1), Jan 2008, 40-54.  evolution by Maggie Gallagher on R National Review Online  he Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, T and the Ethics of Queer Life, Michael Warner, Harvard University Press  eyond Gay Marriage B  tanley Kurtz (2003-08-04). "Beyond Gay S Marriage". Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/ Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/ 938xpsxy.asp. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.  tanley Kurtz (2005-12-26). "Here Come S the Brides". The Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/ Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/ 494pqobc.asp. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
• Mass. governor orders 26 gay marriages registered, Breaking Legal News, April 3, 2007
• Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons
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• LA Weekly feature, "California Supreme Court Set to Consider Gay Marriage," Feb. 2008 by Matthew Fleischer • Today is Freedom to Marry Day - Just Don’t Say "Gay Marriage"!, Evan Wolfson, Huffington Post, February 12, 2008. • Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco California Supreme Court Opinion overturning ban on same-sex unions, May 15, 2008 • American Courts on Marriage: Is Marriage Discriminatory? 1998-2008, Joshua Baker, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, May 2008. • Same-Sex Marriage: Developments in the Law", Emily Doskow, NOLO, 2008. • "The Debate: The Bible and Gay Marriage" in Newsweek Religion Newsweek Web Exclusive, December 16, 2008. • "A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage" by David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch • "Reactions to Raunch/Blankenhorn compromise" • Varnum Et. Al. v Brien Polk County Iowa Iowa Supreme Court Opinion Overturns Ban on Gay Marriage 3Apr2009. • * The Lame Case Against Gay Marriage Essay on public opinion, religion, & the law
• Boswell, John (1995). The Marriage of Likeness: Same-sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe. New York: Simon Harper and Collins. ISBN 0-00-255508-5. • Boswell, John (1994). Same-sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York: Villard Books. ISBN 0-679-43228-0. • Caramagno, Thomas C. (2002). Irreconcilable Differences? Intellectual Stalemate in the Gay Rights Debate. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-97721-8. • Cere, Daniel (2004). Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada’s New Social Experiment. Montreal: McGillQueen’s University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2895-4. • Chauncey, George (2004). Why Marriage?: The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00957-3. • Dobson, James C. (2004). Marriage Under Fire. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah. ISBN 1-59052-431-4.
• Larocque, Sylvain (2006). Gay Marriage: The Story of a Canadian Social Revolution. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. ISBN 1-55028-927-6. • Moats, David (2004). Civil Wars: A Battle For Gay Marriage. New York, NY: Harcourt, Inc.. ISBN 0-15-101017-X. • Rauch, Jonathan (2004). Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. ISBN 0-80507-815-0. • Spedale, Darren (2006). Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? What We’ve Learned From the Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-518751-2. • Truluck, Rembert S. (2000). Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse. Gaithersburg, MD: Chi Rho Press, Inc.. ISBN 1-888493-16-X. • Wolfson, Evan (2004). Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-6459-2. • Robert P. George, Jean Bethke Elshtain (Eds.), ed (2006). The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, And Morals. Dallas: Spence Publishing Company. ISBN 1-890626-64-3. • Robert E. Goss, Amy Adams Squire Strongheart (Eds.), ed (2008). Our Families, Our Values: Snapshots of Queer Kinship. New York, NY: The Harrington Park Press, An Imprint of the Haworth Press, Inc.. ISBN 1-56023-910-7. • Douglas Laycock, Anthony Picarello, Jr., Robin Fretwell Wilson (Eds.), ed (2008). Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 0-74256-326-X. • Andrew Sullivan (Editor), ed (2004). Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con - A Reader, Revised Updated Edition. New York, NY: Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.. ISBN 1-40007-866-0. • ((cite book|last=Oliver|first=Marylin Tower|authorlink=Marylin Tower Oliver|year=1998|title=Gay and Lesbian Rights, A Struggle|publisher=Enslow|location=Springfield, NJ)) • ((cite book|last=Wedgewood|first=Ralpbh|authorlink=Ralph
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Wedgewood|year=1999|title=Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints|publisher=Spence Publishing Company|location=Dallas))