Notably, they found that most cultures expressed an ideal form of marriage and an ideal set of marriage partners, while also practicing flexibility in the application of those ideals. Still, a growing number of governments around the world are considering marriage equality. Cultural ideals of marriage and sexual partnership Perhaps the earliest systematic analyses of marriage and kinship were conducted by the Swiss legal historian Johann Jakob Bachofen and the American ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan ; by the midth century an enormous variety of marriage and sexual customs across cultures had been documented by such scholars. In their view, because male and female are both necessary for procreation, the privileges of marriage should be available only to opposite-sex couples.
The issue of same-sex marriage frequently sparked emotional and political clashes between supporters and opponents. The court also struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In addition, such societies often allow close kin a variety of automatic privileges such as sponsoring immigration visas or making medical decisions for one another; for those with whom one shares no close kin relationship, these privileges typically require legal interventions. As the electorate in Maine simultaneously reversed its previous decision, the three states became the first in the country to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box. In others, the broad spectrum of notions about sexuality and the purpose of marriage is compounded by national pluralism and a tendency for secularism and religiosity to intersect in complex and unexpected ways. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. At the beginning of the 21st century a clear majority of the U. Hide Caption 24 of 33 Photos: William Roletter, left, and Paul Rowe get close after having their photo taken with their marriage certificate May 21, , at Philadelphia City Hall. By Washington, D. Neil Abercrombie, left, and former state Sen. Plaintiffs Laurie Wood, left, and Kody Partridge, center, walk with attorney Peggy Tomsic on December 4, , after a judge heard arguments challenging Utah's same-sex marriage ban. New Zealand became the first country in Oceania to do so. From this perspective, the movement to legally recognize same-sex marriage is a misguided attempt to deny the social, moral , and biological distinctions that foster the continued existence of society and so should be discouraged. 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". Barack Obama , who during his initial years in office had endorsed only civil unions for same-sex couples, in May became the first sitting U. In a majority of Australians voted for same-sex marriage in a nonbinding referendum. A variety of sexual or quasi-sexual acts, usually including same-sex intimacy, were criminalized in these countries, and the penalties for these acts could be as severe as execution. Thus, prohibiting a specific group from the full rights of marriage was illegally discriminatory. By the following decade, polls indicated that roughly one-half of British citizens approved of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom ; such marriages were legalized in England and Wales in , and Scotland followed suit in Hide Caption 5 of 33 Photos: From this perspective, the devaluation of same-sex intimacy is immoral because it constitutes arbitrary and irrational discrimination , thereby damaging the community. For these reasons, they maintained that consensual intimacy between adults should not be regulated and that marriage should be disestablished as a cultural institution. In their view, because male and female are both necessary for procreation, the privileges of marriage should be available only to opposite-sex couples. In the European Union mandated that all of its members pass laws recognizing the same-sex marriages of fellow EU countries.
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