I have heard many religious leaders indicating that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be the downfall of civilizations. People have even gone as far as blaming environment catastrophe’s due to states grating same-sex marriage. Okay….let’s look at some statistics and facts surrounding the implementation and recognition of same-sex marriages around the world, here are some timelines:
- Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples. A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on 1 April, 2001.
- Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages.
- The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia in Canada legally recognized same-sex marriages in 2003 – Ontario (June) and British Columbia (July).
- In 2004 – The Canadian provinces of Quebec (March), Yukon (July), Manitoba (September), Nova Scotia (September), Saskatchewan (November) and Newfoundland (December) legally recognized same-sex marriages. Nationally, Canada (July) legally recognized same-sex marriage as of July 20, 2005 – becoming the 4th country to do so. Sandoval County, New Mexico, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in December), New Paltz, New York, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in July, 2011), Massachusetts, USA (May)
- On July 3, 2005 – Spain became the 3rd country to officially recognize same-sex marriage legally.
- 2006 – South Africa (November) recognizes same-sex marriage.
- 2008 – California, USA (June, discontinued November and reinstated June (2013) and Connecticut, USA (November) recognize same-sex marriage.
- 2009 – Norway (January) and Sweden (May) and in the USA, Iowa (January) and Vermont (September).
- 2010 – The US States of New Hampshire (January) and District of Columbia (March) along with Portugal (June), Iceland (June) and Argentina (July) begin recognizing same-sex marriage.
- 2011 – New York, statewide (July).
- 2012 – Denmark (June) and the US states of Washington (December) and Maine (December).
- 2013 – The US states of Maryland (January), Delaware (July), Minnesota (August), Rhode Island (August), New Jersey (October), Hawaii (December), New Mexico (statewide) (December) and Utah (December, discontinued in January and reinstated in October, 2014) along with the countries; Brazil (May), France (May), Uruguay (August) and New Zealand (August).
- 2014 – In the USA; Oregon (May), Pennsylvania (May), Illinois (statewide) (June), Wisconsin (June, discontinued 13 June and reinstated October), Indiana (June, discontinued 27 June and reinstated in October), Oklahoma (October), Virginia (October), Colorado (October), West Virginia (October), Nevada (October), North Carolina (October), Alaska (October), Idaho (October), Arizona (October), Wyoming (October), Montana (November), South Carolina (November) along with England of Wales (March) and Scotland (December).
- 2015 – Luxembourg (January) and the US States; Florida (January) and Alabama (February).
So what has happened since the all these countries and many states have legalizes same-sex marriages? Have economies collapsed? Did civil war break out in these countries and states? For those who are religious and God-fearing – has God caused biblical floods of epic proportions or burned cities to the ground for granting same-sex marriages? I can confidently say – that, with the introduction of same-sex marriages, unions, partnerships (whatever you want to call them), nothing drastic has changed for any heterosexuals couple that have opposed this in the past. The only thing that has changed is for those individuals in same-sex unions. Same-sex couples have the same benefits and rights that are afforded to heterosexual married couples and are treated equally under the law.
Let’s look at Canada – Canada has been grating same-sex marriages since 2003 (in 2 provinces – Ontario and British Columbia). Ontario is my home province and nothing significant has happened in the province since allowing same-sex marriages. As a matter-of-fact, nothing has happened anywhere in which same-sex marriages have been granted. Same-sex unions/marriages are not to blame for the huge spikes in the divorce rates between heterosexual couples. Instead of focusing their dissent on couples who are in loving and committed relationships, why don’t those who are so opposed to same-sex marriages focus their rage and dissention on the increasing divorce rates, homelessness, poverty, violence towards women, and other more pressing social issues?
My spouse and I have been together for over 20 years and married for 7….our relationship or marriage hasn’t infringed on the rights and responsibilities of anyone we know. We made the decision to marry to ensure we were treated equally in the eyes of the law (not to mention the fact that we love one another). My marriage is as equally meaningful as my parents, my sisters or my brother’s marriage. That is all.
As I mentioned above, if people would just focus their energies on the real social issues that need our attention, this world would be a much brighter and positive one! Let’s make that happen.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!