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Search GovSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | Did you know?  
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Same-Sex Marriage

In Brief

Same-sex marriage, also often referred to as gay marriage or equal marriage, is a term for a legally or socially recognized marriage between two people of the same sex. The issue is a highly debated topic, with proponents often arguing for the same responsibilities and rights for same-sex couples as those granted in a marriage between heterosexual individuals. Opponents argue that equating same-sex marriage changes the meaning of marriage and its traditions, while others object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

In the United States, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. are the only states to have legalized gay marriages, while the states of California, Hawaii, Maine, Washington, Nevada, New Jersey and Oregon offer civil unions. Internationally, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Spain, allow same-sex marriage.






For more resources on same-sex marriage in the United States, check out the Web sites below.



  • National Conference of State Legislatures
    Quick facts, topic overview and resources.

  • NCSL
    Timeline covering recent events beginning with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in November 2003.

  • The Pew Forum
    Interview transcripts, legal publications and candidate comparisons.

  • FindLaw
    Background, documents, legal analysis, commentary and message boards.

  • CBS News
    Special report on same-sex marriage, with a public poll and an interactive feature.

  • NPR
    Interactive state-by-state map.

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