Three years later, the District of Columbia similarly passed a new law that allowed same-sex couples to register as domestic partners. Same-sex marriage around the world The table provides a list of countries that have legalized same-sex marriage, as well as selected countries that offer some other legal status for same-sex couples. Should it ask a de-gendered question such as whether marriage should be between two persons? As noted above, many societies traditionally chose to ignore the issue of same-sex marriage by treating same-sex intimacy as a subject unsuitable for discussion. That is, Christians participate in an institution common to humanity as a whole. Are there ways in which this proposal could yet become acceptable?
A government lacking the courage to undertake a major reform may decide to do so when backed by the support of the people in a plebiscite. However, opponents of same-sex marriage have not always engaged with this proposal seriously enough, and have at times actively opposed it. And while we may as a society wish to change our minds about marriage, we should not do so blindly. Each national referendum since then has failed. Exemptions for ministers of religion in the four Bills The four Bills all have provisions clarifying that ministers of religion are not bound to solemnise same-sex marriages. Only eight have been approved. Marriage is more particular than that. At the beginning of the 21st century a clear majority of the U. In , Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state. In other countries, decisions on same-sex marriage were effectively turned over to individual states or districts. For libertarians, marriage legislation of any sort—either the legalization or the prohibition of same-sex marriage—fell outside of the role of government and was unacceptable. The clarification clauses in the Hanson-Young Bill and Leyonhjelm Bill are drafted so that they would remain in the amending Act. A variety of sexual or quasi-sexual acts, usually including same-sex intimacy, were criminalized in these countries, and the penalties for these acts could be as severe as execution. An expeditious way to get a handle on this older understanding is through the preface to the marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which until only a few decades ago was read at most weddings. In April the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a state law that barred gay marriage, and soon afterward the legislatures of Vermont , Maine , and New Hampshire legalized same-sex marriage—though in November Maine voters repealed the law. In contrast the clauses in the Shorten Bill and the Entsch Cross Party Bill are more explicit and drafted so that they would be inserted in the Marriage Act Cth at the end of section These prohibitions have been in place for significant periods of time. Among the more common forms so documented were common-law marriage ; morganatic marriage , in which titles and property do not pass to children; exchange marriage , in which a sister and a brother from one family marry a brother and a sister from another; and group marriages based on polygyny co-wives or polyandry co-husbands. In January the Supreme Court agreed to review a November decision of the Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit that had upheld state laws and constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage or the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. In other words, partnerships involving sexual intimacy should have at least a notional potential for procreation. The Leyonhjelm amendment has a different effect. Cultures that openly accepted homosexuality, of which there were many, generally had nonmarital categories of partnership through which such bonds could be expressed and socially regulated. British theologian John Milbank makes a similar point when he writes: And I was sick of it. The Defense of Marriage Act Opponents of gay marriage, however, did not sit on their haunches. For this reason, the preface continues, marriage is not to be entered into lightly, "but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
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