Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states in through various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes, and federal court rulings. Same-sex marriage is also referred to as gay marriage , while the political status in which the marriages of same-sex couples and the marriages of opposite-sex couples are recognized as equal by the law is referred to as marriage equality. The fifty states each have separate marriage laws , which must adhere to rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States that recognize marriage as a fundamental right that is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution , as first established in the landmark civil rights case of Loving v. Civil rights campaigning in support of marriage without distinction as to sex or sexual orientation began in the s. Nelson saw the Supreme Court of the United States decline to become involved. Lewin that it was unconstitutional under the state constitution for the state to abridge marriage on the basis of sex. That ruling led to federal and state actions to explicitly abridge marriage on the basis of sex in order to prevent the marriages of same-sex couples from being recognized by law, the most prominent of which was the federal DOMA.
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Same-Sex Marriage Around the World
A new study of evolving attitudes toward gay marriage across the U. The findings, published in PNAS , provide evidence that public policy can shape social norms and alter individuals' attitudes, says senior author Eric Hehman, a professor in McGill University's Department of Psychology. In , Massachusetts became the first U.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized in in twenty-seven countries, including the United States, and civil unions are recognized in many Western democracies. Yet same-sex marriage remains banned in many countries, and the expansion of broader lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT rights has been uneven globally. International organizations, including the United Nations, have issued resolutions in support of LGBT rights, but human rights groups say these organizations have limited power to enforce these newly recognized rights. Civil Society. Javier Corrales, a professor at Amherst College who focuses on LGBT rights in Latin America, points to income levels and the influence of religion in politics, as well as the overall strength of democracy, to explain regional divergences [PDF].