When Gay Marriage Was Legalized In US
The United States is almost the first country worldwide where same sex couples opened their relationship in full view of others and started began to appear unashamedly in front of the public. However, there was any court ruling act that could officially legalize same sex marriages at the beginning of the 2000-s.
Marriage equality is a global problem. There are still many strikes and protest acts against the same sex marriage bans all over the world. Nowadays, already 31 countries in the world have legalized same sex marriage, 22 of which approved same sex weddings by the decision of the High court. The US is the country that approved same sex marriage rights and canceled restrictive bans by the Supreme Court decision.
A brief history of recognizing same sex marriages in the US
In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state which legalizes same sex marriage rights by the Supreme Court’s decision. However, at that time, on the Federal level, there were some attempts to apply same sex marriage bans and interfere the marriage equality. President Bush initiated constitutional amendments to the State laws announcing the same sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Then, after a huge number of strikes against the ban same sex marriage policy over the whole territory of the States, there were some attempts to achieve marriage equality on the local government level in California. However, it did not bring desirable results as the introduction of ‘Proposition 8’ – an initiative to vote defined that a legal marriage can be only made between heterosexual couples.
A few years later, President Obama acknowledged DOMA was unconstitutional and sent an Order to the Justice Department, which stopped defining it in court. Therefore, the court ruling legislation was amended in 2013 and advanced the legitimacy of same sex married couples.
Finally, in 2015, legal lesbian couples and gay marriage legacy became a reality. The same sex marriage ban was totally canceled by the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, with which marriage equality became legalized, so gay and lesbian couples were granted the right of their full recognition on the Federal level in all 50 states.
Already in 2016, a Federal District Court canceled a law in Mississippi preventing gay men couples from adopting children. In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled against a legal act of Arkansas state which prohibited indicating same sex parents in adoption papers. This decision eliminated an obstacle for same sex couples to become legal parents.
Same sex marriage supporting organizations in the US
The most prominent organizations which support same-sex marriages are the communities for human rights and civil unions in the United States, as well as some religious groups supporting marriage equality.
At the beginning of the 21st-century same sex relationships were supported by prominent individuals in the civil rights movements, such as Mildred Loving, Coretta Scott, Julian Bond, and John Lewis. The leading African-American civil rights protection union NAACP declared its support for the marriage of same sex partners in May 2012 and stated that this is a civil right.
There are also some civil unions protecting people with untraditional sexual orientation and supporting the equal dignity of same sex couples:
- Equality NC
- The Campaign for Southern Equality
- The ACLU of North Carolina
- Freedom of Marry
All these organizations are trying to make the government at the Federal level legalize same sex marriage and make their contribution to amending the State law and more clearly define marriage equality in the Marriage Act, Supreme court’s ruling, and other regulatory acts.
The ACLU of North Carolina is a part of the American Civil Liberties Union, the goal of which is to protect all North Carolinians from inequality. The ACLU served as advocacy in two legal cases seeking for the same sex marriage freedom.
Equality NC is a law union that acts to secure marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples and transsexuals in North Carolinians.
The Campaign for Southern Equality is a union that intends to bring marriage equality to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders supported by the Federal government to change public opinion concerning same sex marriages and initiate protection of GBT rights. The Campaign for Southern Equality acted as a plaintiff in the legal case of General Synod.
Freedom to Marry was the campaign supporting the right for same sex marriage and making it legal nationwide, fighting for the same terms in regulatory laws for same sex partners as opposite sex couples had.
States that did not issue marriage licenses
There are still some regions in the US where the same sex marriage is not registered.
Thus, Texas authorities issued marriage licenses, but at the same time, same sex married couples. In 2020 the situation changed, and one woman, who worked in the Iron county office, stated that she would issue marriage licenses for lesbian and gay marriage acts and these permits became available on the state website.
Government authorities in some Alabama districts stopped issuing marriage licenses for all kinds of couples. By 2017, the number of regions that applied the same policy to prevent issuing licenses for same sex marriages became eight. It met the state law adopted in 1961, according to which racial segregation was preserved.
Thus, in May 2019, Alabama replaced marriage licenses with marriage certificates, and on August 29, 2019, the same sex marriage was legalized.
Several regions in Kentucky did not recognize the same sex marriage at first. It changed the form of a marriage license and removed the name of the state official from it. In June 2016, the director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, Chris Hartmann, said that he did not know counties that denied marriage licenses.
Parents’ rights of same sex couples
After Obergefell, six states have occasionally attempted to deny a full adoption of the rights of the same sex parents to various degrees. In Florida, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Indiana, same sex couples have been accepted with a refusal when they tried to put both parents’ names on the birth certificate. The Court in Alabama had an attempt to annul a decree of adoption by one same-sex couple in Georgia, but the US Supreme Court canceled it and, on March 7, 2016, restored the joint custody to the adoptive mother.
Mississippi had once prohibited adoption for same-sex couples, but the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi ruled this supporting law unconstitutional on March 31, 2016. As a result, adoption by same sex couples was legalized in all fifty states.
On June 26, 2017, the US Supreme Court ruled by 3 votes to 3 in Pavan’s case against Smith that according to their decision in Obergefell, the same sex couple must have equal marriage rights and get the same benefits as an opposite married couple in terms of issuance of birth certificates.
In December 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld amended state laws allowing only heterosexual couples to be listed as parents on the birth certificates of their children and prohibiting same sex couples to obtain these Federal benefits on an equal basis. The US Supreme Court fully canceled the Arkansas Supreme Court decision, establishing that the disparity in proceeding violated their Obergefell decision.
Gay marriage in US today
The US President Joe Biden is going to sign the Respect for Marriage Act at the end of 2022. It will be precepted by all same sex couples as a relief after continuous same sex marriage bans, which were not canceled in full by the local governments and court decisions.
As the Senate is going to adopt the same sex marriage protecting law on the Federal level, the majority of Americans still state that the legalization of same sex marriages can be useful for society.
About 61% of Americans participating in the US sociological survey expressed a positive attitude to the same sex marriage legality, including that 36% who expressed a very good attitude. 37% of respondents have a negative view, 19% of which said that the equal sex marital status is very bad.
Most Asian (70%), White people (61%), Hispanics (60%), and Black Americans (57%) very actively supported the legalization of same sex marriages. There is also a big difference in age groups. Three-quarters of American people from 18 to 29 years state same sex marriage legality is very good for society, about half of them (52%) especially support equal protection of opposite and same sex marriage rights. Regarding an attitude to the same sex marriage among religious organizations, when 71% of White evangelical Protestant believers state that marriage legalization between same sex couples is harmful to society, 62% of non-evangelical White Protestants support same sex marriage legality.