Gay marriage is currently legal in a small percentage of countries worldwide. For many, marriage is seen as unique relationship between a man and a woman, with the purpose of having children and raising a family. In the past, inter racial couples faced scrutiny when they attempted to marry. In addition, couples that were interfaith, faced opposition.
However, both interracial and interfaith couples are now able to marry in most places. Nowadays, same sex couples are on the same path to legal and social acceptance of gay marriage, that interracial and interfaith couples now enjoy. However, gay marriages need to be recognized by the government in order for couples to enjoy all of the rights and responsibilities generally afforded to marriages of opposite sex couples.
Until fairly recently, only opposite sex, white couples were permitted to marry in the United States. It was also common practice that people would only marry a partner with a common religion. For example, a Jewish woman was unlikely to marry a Catholic man. In fact, the couple would likely face opposition from both families, as well as the churches they belonged to. In the early 19Th century, African American couples were not able to be legally married.
Later, African American couples attained the right to marry. Even later, in 1967, Inter-racial couples were able to marry in every state. The Supreme court ruled that interracial couples had the right to marry in every state, regardless of state law. At one point, polygamy was legally allowed in some parts of the United States. In that case, a man would be allowed to have multiple wives. However, marriage has most recently been defined as a union between an opposite sex couple.
In fact, there are no defining restrictions of marriage that include race or religion. Gender is currently the only defining characteristic required for couples to be legally married in most places. In fact, couples must be opposite sex in most cases. However, many countries are beginning to offer gay marriage the same legal recognition that interracial and interfaith couples now enjoy.
The Netherlands was the first to recognize gay marriage. Eventually other countries, or portions of countries, would begin to legally recognize gay marriages. In fact, there are currently approximately 12 countries that recognize gay marriage. While many more countries legally recognize some type of same sex relationships, fewer actually recognize gay marriage. In addition, gay marriages tend to enjoy more rights and benefits than domestic partnerships or civil unions.
Traditionally, marriage was seen as a means to raise a family but that definition is now expanding to include simple recognition of a couples relationship. Gay marriages are currently recognized in many places worldwide. However, gay marriages are not as recognized, as civil unions or domestic partnerships. In fact couples are afforded different rights depending on the legally designated label of their relationship.