Facts About Same Sex Marriages

Though same sex marriages have been in the news in the past couple of years, many people do not know much about the subject. The issue is more than just about right and wrong or the name people say when they slip a ring around a person's finger. Instead, same sex marriage has a number of important ramifications.

There is a huge difference between civil unions and same sex marriages. Same sex marriages would give couples the same tax breaks and other benefits as other couples. This is no small thing: there are around 1,000 benefits afforded to legally married couples. Civil unions are only recognized in the state in which they are performed and allowed in. If you leave the state, another may not recognize the union. Marriages, however, are recognized in all states. Thus, when people talk about gay marriage, they are talking as much about the legal side of the union as the ring and ceremony.

Gay marriage is allowed in other countries. The Netherlands was the first to legalize same sex marriage in 2001 and countries like Belgium, Spain, and Canada have followed suit. These countries have different eligibility requirements. For example, if you want to a same sex marriage in the Netherlands, one of the people has to be a Dutch national. However, despite these laws legalizing same sex marriage, the union may not be recognized by countries that do not have the same laws.

Some states have passed laws that enable same sex marriage or redefine marriage to give same sex couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples; other states have passed laws that specifically allow for civil unions. However, though the California Supreme Court and other courts have ruled in favor of same sex marriages, these rulings have been contested. Conversely, some states have passed amendments that specifically define marriage as only being between a man and a woman-Utah and Arkansas are just two examples. 

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