Same-sex marriage has been the most highly debated issue that homosexual communities have been dealing with in recent years. Gay marriage and gay marriage rights have been major issues that the LGBT community has been pushing for in order for them to be truly integrated in society on an equal level with heterosexuals.
Their push for reformation of marriage laws that currently define marriage as only between a man and a woman is a way to normalize and recognize same-sex relationships and their equal value (hence same-sex marriage is also billed as “equality marriage”) within a society.
The first countries to openly allow same-sex marriage have been Western European countries. One can have the same legal benefits and recognition though a same-sex marriage as though a traditional marriage in countries like Spain, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands as well as Canada and South Africa. More European nations such as Slovenia, Luxembourg and Portugal have made clear steps towards adopting legislation that would make marriage a gender-neutral term and allow same-sex couples to enjoy the same benefits as traditional couples.
The complexity of the United States and its social diversity allows for more heated debate on this matter. So far most legislative efforts towards recognizing same-sex marriages have been targeted at a state level. There have been a few states — New York, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut — as well as the District of Columbia, that have embraced a gender-neutral definition of marriage and allow couples to have the same benefits as partners within a traditional marriage. However, anti same-sex marriage initiatives like Proposition 8 (also known as the California Marriage Protection Act) that specifically restrain the meaning of marriage to a union between a man and a woman, have added more support to movements against same-sex marriages.
The American Psychology Association testified in the California Supreme Court that legislative efforts to ban same-sex marriages will only result in reinforcing more hate and discrimination against homosexual individuals. The complete testimony can be found here.