For centuries, marriage was considered a ceremony taking place between a man and a woman. Once married, the couples gained a wide variety of benefits. What about legal gay marriages? Although couples were together, the actual idea of tying the knot was not accepted by the law. Over time, countries adapted based on pressure from the LGBTQ community, and the USA, although slow to adapt, has finally won the struggle and passed the legislation required.
Same-Sex Marriage Around the Globe
Gay and lesbian marriage struggles have been happening around the globe. While some countries simply did not recognize a union, others outright forbid it via Supreme Court decisions. However, as the LGBT community has grown and gained a louder voice to be heard and fight for their rights, many countries have started to evolve and reconsider all pros and cons.
Dated back to 2015 there have been quite a few countries around the world where homosexual couples weds were legal:
- Ireland (referendum)
The Netherlands made history when it became the first country to make gay marriage legal. For the country the date, April 1, 2001, has become a symbol of a new millenium. A variety of other European nations have since legalized the unions. Outside of Europe, even more countries have decided to change their laws in order to allow gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot. It’s legal in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, and even parts of Mexico.
Most of Asia has been slow to come around to the idea of allowing same-sex wedlocks. However, Taiwan made history in 2019 (following Constitutional Court ruling in 2017) by becoming the first Asian nation to allow gays and lesbians to wed legally.
Legalizing Gay Marriages in the US
Legalizing gay marriages in the United States of America was almost as divisive across the country as slavery was in the 1860s. While trying to make same-sex marriages legal didn’t result in a Civil War, it did result in quite a few states passing constitutional amendments to either allow or ban gay and lesbian couples to walk down the aisle. Just as Massachusetts made history to allow such a civil union, other states were quick in response to pass amendments to define a marriage as one to only happen between a man and a woman.
The States to Do it First
There were quite a few states decided toallow same-sex marriage, which is what led to many LGBTQ couples choosing to live in those states. By these means they could follow their heart and be true to a single companion.
Quite a few states made history by passing bills allowing gay and lesbian weds before the rest of the USA decided to partake:
- District of Columbia
May 17, 2004 has become a starting point for legalization in the USA. Massachusetts was the first state to make same-sex weds legal. It wasn’t until 2012 that Maine, Maryland and Washington did the same, though they are important to the cause because it was legalized by the public vote.
Even after a total of 35 states established a legal gay marriage date, there were still other spots at the US map where it was banned. The list of such states included Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan, and others.
There are so many milestones prior the Supreme Court decision that have shown how gay couples have been fighting for the right to marry for decades in the USA. However, there were some impressive milestones finally led to the Supreme Court making it legal for gay and lesbian couples to say, “I do.”
- 1987: A mass same-sex wedding took place on the National Mall in Washington DC where close to 2000 homosexual couples were married.
- 1997: Hawaii offers domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples.
- 2004: San Francisco challenges the California law and issues same-sex couples marriage licenses.
- 2005: A state judge in New York calls it illegal to ban same-sex weds.
- 2011: President Obama declares the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional.
- 2014: The Presbyterian Church votes to allow ceremonies for homosexual couples
- 2015: Gay marriages become legal across the USA in Obergefell v. Hodges case.
The Final Supreme Court Ruling
What date gay marriage become legal in the USA? This is a date many will remember as it changed everything. June 26, 2015 is when the USA Supreme Court struck down state bans, preventing homosexual couples walking down the aisle. The gay marriage decision happened under President Barack Obama’s administration under the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. It has become one of the most important dates in US history. The 5-4 ruling changed the way the Fourteenth Amendment is read, requiring states to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
The ruling allowed same-sex marriages to be legalized in all 50 states. It also required states to honor any of the out-of-state wedding licenses that had been issued, such as if a a gay or lesbian couple decided to move from Massachusetts (where same-sex marriage was legal) to South Dakota (where it had previously been illegal).
The Supreme Court decision was celebrated in the streets. The date of a decision has been forever marked in LGBTQ calendar. People across the country were either celebrating or outraged. To this day, the US legalized gay marriage date is celebrated because of the monumental impact it had throughout the LGBT community.
Personalities Contributed to the Court Decision
Although it was for the Supreme Court to actually vote for an update the law and allow for the legalization of same-sex marriages in 2015, there have been a number of personalities pushing the agenda forward for several years before the approval.
- Ellen DeGeneres: A Hollywood A-lister and activist for the LGBT community for decades.
- RuPaul: The drag queen has highlighted issues within the LGBT community on and off the air.
- Madonna: The singer has offered outspoken support of the gay rights movement.
- Gavin Newsom: as mayor of San Francisco, directed his office to allow same-sex wedding licenses in 2004.
- Dan Savage: A columnist of Savage Love who has been talking about issues within the LGBTQ community for years.
There are thousands of celebrities who have been outspoken about gay marriages and equality. Each has done their part to educate the community, show politicians how it was okay to allow this kind of movement to happen, bring the equality date closer and to ensure the reaction to be one of acceptance instead of hatred when the decision finally came out to legalize gay marriages.
The Social Reaction to a Gay Marriage Decision
The social reaction around the USA for the Supreme Court decision was often split between Republican v. Democrat, with the Democrats being generally more accepting. Libertarian party applauded the ruling as it has been vocally pro-LGBTQ since foundation in 1971. However, with the legality being on the scene for quite a few years now and pride parades becoming more prevalent, the acceptance has increased dramatically.
Source: PEW Research Center
The Christian community, for the most part, was one of acceptance. They believe in the irrevocable right of LGBTQ community to practice faith as well. They believe in equality and justice and felt the same-sex marriage laws were bound to happen. While some Christian companies would inevitably make the press for refusing to help with a wedding, such as the baker refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding, acceptance was relatively broad.
As soon as the Supreme Court decision was released, a number of companies expressed an outpouring of love with hashtags on Twitter to include #Equality #AcceptanceMatters and #LoveisLove. Many companies, including Kelloggs and JELL-O also updated their logos with the rainbow and altered corporate policies to signify their support of gay pride and the legalization of marriages at the federal level.
Why Legalizing Same-Sex Marriages are Important to the LGBTQ Community
Gays in the USA were fighting for equality. They wanted to be able to have the same rights found within traditional marriages, ranging from Social Security benefits to the right to inherit a spouse’s property upon their death. However, there were a number of added benefits led to the movement within the LGTBQ community.
- A boost in self-esteem to feel accepted by society
- A reduction in discrimination
- The ability to establish a more effective balance
- Allows more people to be themselves
The Supreme Court decision was also important for the international communities nationwide especially for those on campuses. International undergrad and grad students from the countries where homosexual relationships have already been legalized or vice versa legally prosecuted expected to enjoy the freedom of dating a partner of their choice.
Statistics Behind Gay Marriages
Gay weddings have been happening for well over a decade. It simply meant that some couples had to move to where their wedding would be accepted by the state.
Since the Supreme Court ruled the ban of same-sex marriages to be illegal, a number of interesting statistics have flourished:
- Approximately 10% of LGBT Americans are married to a same-sex partner
- Same-sex marriages have nearly doubled since the ruling in 2015
- Love is listed as the top reason LGBT couples choose to get married
- The number of Americans who favor same-sex marriage has nearly doubled since 2017
There are some interesting divorce statistics behind LGBTQ weddings, too. Gay and straight divorces alike, can end in divorce. A CBS poll showed it didn’t matter on the sexual orientation of the couple. The statistics came in at 36.3 percent. However, a Statistics Netherland study showed lesbian wedlocks were twice as more likely to end in divorce than gay couples.
Although the USA has come a long way to come to make it easy for gay couples to get married and enjoy exactly the same benefits as heterosexual couples, the legal decision is in place. Homosexual couples around the USA can now get a wedding license and have the same rights without having to move to another state or worry about a state not accepting the license. It hasn’t been an easy process, but the date of legal gay marriage will be remembered by the LGBTQ community forever.