Thursday, September 3, 2015

Via WGB: Gay Marriage is Legal. Are the Wedding Bells Ringing?

"In June, the Supreme Court of the United States laid down an historic ruling declaring the ban of same-sex marriages at the state level to be unconstitutional, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. The change had been a long time coming. The 1970s saw the first wave of legal efforts to recognize same-sex marriage, and yet only in 2004 were the first such marriages performed on US soil, in the state of Massachusetts. Over the next decade, the dominoes began to fall in states across the country, culminating in this year’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. But the United States was of course not close to being the first nation to take this step: all the way back in 2001, Netherlands became the first country to allow same-sex marriage, followed in the next several years by Belgium (‘03), Spain (‘05), Canada (‘05) and South Africa (‘06). As of today, 20 nations (and a few jurisdictions in Mexico) permit same-sex marriage.

But after the initial flurry of excitement has died down, and the queues for marriages licenses at city hall have subsided, what happens next? How often are same-sex marriages actually performed in these countries? We dug into the numbers, and discovered that in some nations, like Belgium, same-sex marriages have become remarkably commonplace and are warmly accepted by fellow citizens as part of the cultural fabric of the community. On the other hand, in countries like Portugal and Norway, same-sex marriages remain surprisingly uncommon; for Portugal, this is due in part to the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic church in everyday life, while Norway’s low rate is a result of its longstanding (and popular) civil union laws, as well as the still powerful influence of the country’s Lutheran clergy. As recent court cases in the United States involving Christian wedding bakers and florists suggest, just because same-sex marriage is legal, it doesn’t mean that there is an accepting environment for it." Full story here!