Same-sex marriage is a proposed expansion of the traditional concept of marriage to include same-sex couples, granting them the same legal status as heterosexual marriage. Opponents contest that it runs contrary to thousands of years of a one-man/one-woman marriage system and is in direct violation of the Christian Bible and several other religious teachings, especially those associated with the Abrahamic religious faiths.
In Norway and Sweden, the adoption of same-sex marriage has led to a loss in respect for the marriage institution itself even for traditional couples. In Massachusetts, the imposition of same-sex marriage led to a decline in property values and an exodus from the state by many[Citation Needed]. Also in response to the introduction of same-sex marriage the State Department of Public Health changed marriage certificates to read "Party A" and "Party B" instead of husband and wife.
In May 2012, voters in North Carolina banned both same-sex marriage and gay unions. North Carolina thereby became the 29th state to pass an amendment against gay marriage, by a huge 61-39% margin. Barack Obama -- heavily dependent on gay donations for his reelection -- made a stronger effort to support the homosexual agenda by endorsing same-sex marriage after its stunning defeat in this swing state.
Various detailed polls and studies about same-sex marriage conducted in several countries generally show that support for same-sex marriage increases with higher levels of education, and that younger people are more likely to support the legalization of it than older generations. Polls show that most right-wing religious people are more likely to oppose it. Prior to 2012, in each U.S. state to hold a voter referendum on the issue, the public rejected same-sex marriage laws by a small majority. However, In 2012, Maine, Washington, and Maryland voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Addditionally, recent polls indicate that more than half of Americans support same-sex marriage, approximately 53%.
Campaigns advocating same-sex marriage are at the forefront of the gay rights movement's attempt to elevate homosexuality to the same moral plane as heterosexuality, overturning centuries of established tradition of homosexual repression. Some opponents of marriage claim its purpose is to destroy the family as an institution, merely to secure a legal basis for sexual freedom[Citation Needed]. According to some opponents of marriage, the primary purpose of marriage is to bring joy to society as much as to safeguard the development of happy families, and it is not for individual glory[Citation Needed]. Among the many reasons homosexuals might advocate same-sex marriage are the ability to make emergent healthcare decisions for a loved one in the absence of a durable power of attorney or living will, the alteration of the laws of intestate succession to include gay partners, and equal tax treatment as heterosexual married couples.
Current United States law defines "marriage" as "one man, one woman" for purposes of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if permitted under state law, and permits a state to disregard a same-sex marriage entered into in another state. An interesting consequence of the federal definition of "marriage" is that it specifically rules out polygamy.
Many social conservatives regard same-sex marriage as immoral, and argue that use of the word "marriage" is a misnomer, because the marriage services of Christian denominations define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Some social liberals try to use this debate as a excuse to take the socially-conservative view of marriage out of the law. In some Christian marriage ceremonies, the wedding will begin with a statement along the lines of: "Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony," a definition which was also written into United States federal law in 1996.
Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family organization prefers the phrase same-sex "marriage," with quotation marks around the word "marriage," to call attention to his belief that marriage—civil as well as religious—is intrinsically a union between a man and a woman, and that that same-sex unions are "counterfeits."
Use of the term "same-sex marriage" was unheard of a few decades ago; however, these unions are now among a number of issues advocated by liberal activists. They argue that heterosexual people are allowed to marry and so the homosexual population should be given that right too.
Some advocates of same-sex marriage view marriage as a purely civil matter, which in the history of the United States is a position taken particularly strongly by Puritan colonists, who viewed the interjection of religion into the franchise of marriage as scandalous to Christ's Church.
In the United States, marriage is primarily governed by each individual state and marriage laws differ from state to state. Several states allow civil unions between two people of the same sex, and nine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Maine, Washington and Iowa, plus the District of Columbia, currently issue same-sex marriage licenses. These marriage licenses are not recognized by the Federal government.
In 1996 Congress recognized the likelihood that liberal activists would soon seek changes to the laws in some states that pertain to homosexuals. It considered the possibility of test cases reaching the Supreme Court, and of the court conceivably ruling that a state—even though it prohibits same-sex marriage itself—must honor same-sex marriages performed in another state pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. The Defense of Marriage act, which was passed and signed by President Clinton, prevents this possibility, and also prevents the Federal Government from recognizing marriage as anything other than a union between a man and a woman. Its Constitutionality has not yet been tested under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, or the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment.
In 1999 a Vermont court ruled that under its constitution, it was not required to allow same-sex marriage but was required to make provisions to grant same-sex couples legal rights identical to those provided by marriage. Vermont responded by creating "civil unions," which are legally distinct from marriages but convey the same rights. In 2009, the Vermont legislature overrode the governor's veto to pass a bill allowing same-sex marriage.
In 2003 the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that under Massachusetts' constitution, same-sex couples could not be denied Massachusetts marriage licenses, making Massachusetts the first state to issue same-sex marriage licenses. As of April 2009, same-sex marriage was legal in four states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa. 
Beginning in 2008, the states of Washington, and Oregon also provide for same-sex unions. Washington later legalized same-sex marriage. Hawaii provides certain benefits to same sex couples.  The State of New Hampshire issued civil unions until the summer of 2009, when it passed a bill approving same-sex marriage  The state will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses in January, 2010.
In the fall of 2009, a same-sex marriage bill was introduced to the Washington, D.C. city council by At-Large Council Member David Catania (who is openly gay.) After two days of testimony involving nearly 250 witnesses , the council voted to approve the bill, 11-2. Once signed by the Mayor, the bill went to Congress for a mandatory 30-day review period. While opponents of the bill vowed to fight it in Congress it passed and became law in 2010.
The New York legislature voted for same-sex marriage on June 24, 2011.
Same-sex marriages were legal for a brief period in the state of California, but the people of that state voted to repeal the law in the fall of 2008, through a ballot initiative known as Proposition 8. The legislature of Maine approved a same-sex marriage bill in May of 2009  but opponents lobbied to have the bill put up to a popular vote, and it was defeated by the voters in the fall of 2009.
Same-sex marriage is legal in eleven countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, and Denmark. Additionally, in Mexico, same-sex marriage is legal in the state of Quintana Roo and in Mexico City, a federal district similar to Washington, D.C. Other countries, such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships.
In Israel, all marriages must be performed by a religious organization - there is no "civil" marriage. Specific religions may determine the definition of marriages that they perform, and none currently recognize same-sex couples. However, a Supreme Court decision determined that Israel must recognize all marriages performed outside the country, same-sex or opposite-sex. In September of 2011, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi in Israel attempted to marry homosexual males to homosexual females so they could start a conventional family. However, the plan drew criticism both from liberals, who said the plan was meant to discourage homosexuality, and from conservatives, who argued the plan promoted loveless relationships. 
In the Netherlands overseas territories of Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, same-sex marriages are not performed, but all marriages performed in the mainland portion of the country (including same-sex) are recognized. In Brazil, same-sex civil unions can be converted to marriages by state judges on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the state of Rhode Island recognizes, but does not perform, same-sex marriages. Furthermore, California recognizes all same-sex marriages performed in or out of state before the passage of Proposition 8.
Some opponents of same-sex marriage believe that the religious ceremony of marriage is governed by each denomination and is unaffected by laws passed by civil authority. Same-sex marriage is forbidden in Orthodox Judaism, Catholicism, and most mainstream Protestant denominations. In Massachusetts, however, about 6% of all marriages are same-sex marriages, so this does not appear to be a problem.  In Conservative Judaism (no relation to the political philosophy known as "conservatism"), synagogues and rabbis are allowed, but not required, to recognize and perform same-sex marriages. Reform Judaism also allows rabbis to use "good faith" on this issue, but as the least-religious branch of Judaism, they take this stance on most issues. Additionally, homosexuality (and by extension same-sex marriage) is forbidden in Islam.
Many libertarians argue eliminating any legal definition of "marriage" and simply granting legal benefits to all couples under a neutral name would solve this problem and satisfy both sides. This is called "marriage privatization". Many religious conservatives still feel this is unacceptable - see that article for more details.
Public attitude toward same-sex marriage parallels attitude toward homosexuality. In general, it is opposed by social conservatives and outside of this group, support is split down the middle leaning to opposition.
Motivation for advocating it
James Dobson cites Stanley Kurtz to argue that the motivation of those advocating same-sex marriage is not to secure the benefits of marriage for gay couples, but to destroy the institution of marriage itself:
- ...most gays and lesbians do not want to marry each other. That would entangle them in all sorts of legal constraints. Who needs a lifetime commitment to one person? The intention here is to destroy marriage altogether. With marriage as we know it gone, everyone would enjoy all the legal benefits of marriage (custody rights, tax-free inheritance, joint ownership of property, health care and spousal citizenship, etc.,) without limiting the number of partners or their gender. Nor would "couples" be bound to each other in the eyes of the law. This is clearly where the movement is headed.
Homosexuals are beginning to admit they want what Mollenkott proposes, namely the destruction of the concept of monogamy and traditional marriage altogether. What they really are after is a society that recognizes every sexual arrangement as normal - even group sexual liaisons and polygamy.
Child-rearing and adoption
According to a March, 2007 report, there are 65,000 adopted children in the U.S. being raised by same-sex couples. The same report says 14,100 foster children were being raised by one or more gay or lesbian foster parents.
In Great Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has expressed its full support to the stand taken by the Catholic Church opposing regulations on gay adoption. The Catholic Church sought to be exempt from the new law. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams of the Church of England, supports the Catholic Church's efforts declaring that the rights of conscience cannot be subject to laws. Catholic leaders have already said that its teachings prevent its agencies placing children with homosexuals and they will have to close if bound by the rules. The MCB, the UK's leading Muslim umbrella group embracing over 400 affiliated organizations, said that while it supported anti-discrimination laws, homosexuality is forbidden in Islam. 
Several states, including New York, allow any two adults living together to adopt a child regardless of marital status or sex. This law provided a method for same-sex couples to adopt children even before New York legalized same-sex marriage.
See also: Homosexuality and promiscuity
Homosexual violence and abuse
In addition, studies report that homosexual couples have significantly higher incidences of violent behavior.[Citation Needed] These studies are not surprising given what pathologists have stated regarding the commonness and brutality of homosexual murders[Citation Needed] (see Homosexuality and Murders). The prevalence of violence and emotional abuse in gay domestic partnerships. One survey found 53% of gays felt if the high incidence of violence against partners in homosexual relationships was known and understood by the heterosexual population, it would hinder the drive for gay rights.
Domestic abuse is divided into two categories, emotional abuse and physical abuse. While gay domestic abuse has not been studied to the extent that heterosexual relationships have, preliminary studies indicate a much higher level of abuse.
Bishop Harry Jackson has shown how same-sex "marriage" is causally linked to the breakdown of the family in recent decades, particularly the black family. As noted in the 1965 Moynihan Report, the breakdown of the African-American family is a national concern. He has attributed support for same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia and Maryland to a demonic force called the Queen of Heaven.
Subsequent to same-sex marriage becoming law in Massachusetts, property values declined and many left the State, in contrast to those states that do not recognize it.
One study, however, claims that the children of same-sex couples or gay parents have equal or higher scores in psychological evaluations as well as cognitive. Researchers Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, and Henry Bos, a behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam, led a study focused on planned lesbian families in which a lesbian couple had chosen to adopt children or undergo artificial insemination to start a family. These children were shown to have higher self esteems and confidence which in turn enabled them to have higher test results academically than their straight-parent counterparts. 
Legalization of same-sex "marriage" is correlated with social dysfunctions that states and countries banning it have avoided. States and countries legalizing same-sex "marriage" have markedly different levels of quality of life from those that have banned it.
Collapse of civilizations
Some ancient civilizations that recognized same-sex "marriage" collapsed as a result, while some that refused to recognize it escaped that fate. However, Correlation is not causation, and there is not even a large enough data set to get a correlation.
Legal disadvantages for heterosexuals
According to Bill Borst, a regular substitute radio host for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on WSIV, rights are a zero-sum game.. If this is true, granting same-sex couples the right to "marry" will necessarily come at the expense of the rights of others.
- Anti-Defamation League
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Gay bowel syndrome
- Homosexuality and the Bible
- Homosexuality and biblical interpretation
- "Same-sex marriage uses force of secular law to justify what the scripture of most modern religions has clearly labelled a sin: i.e., homosexual relations. At least one nation that has adopted same-sex marriage now requires the largest Christian church there to perform them also, despite its clear contradiction with the Christian Bible.
- [/research/2011/08/generations-at-odds/ Survey - Generations at Odds: The Millennial Generation and the Future of Gay and Lesbian Rights]. Public Religion Research Institute. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- [/PublicationPage.aspx?id=647 Pew Forum: Part 2: Gay Marriage]. Pew Research Center. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- Poirier, Justine. [/justice/same-sex-marriage-lets-make-a-change.html Same-Sex Marriage: Let's Make a Change]. Montréalités Justice. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- "[/article/Chart-Support-for-Legal/64683/ Data Points: Support for Legal Same-Sex Marriage]", 16 March 2010. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- [/lapop/insights/I0844.enrevised.pdf Support for Same‐Sex Marriage in Latin America]. Vanderbilt University. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- Waldman, Steven. "[/articles/life/faithbased/2003/11/a_common_missed_conception.html A Common Missed Conception]", 19 November 2003. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- "[/world/feedarticle/8789627 Maine voters reject gay-marriage law]", 4 November 2009. Retrieved on 20 September 2012.
- Newport, Frank. [/poll/147662/First-Time-Majority-Americans-Favor-Legal-Gay-Marriage.aspx For First Time, Majority of Americans Favor Legal Gay Marriage]. Gallup. Retrieved on 25 September 2012.
- [/uploads/1137a2GayMarriage.pdf ABC News/Washington Post poll: Strong Support for Gay Marriage Now Exceeds Strong Opposition – 23 May 2012] (PDF). Retrieved on 16 September 2012.
- [/cnn/2012/images/06/06/rel5e.pdf CNN Opinion Research – May 29-31, 2012] (PDF). Retrieved on 16 September 2012.
- The Book of Common Prayer, Episcopal Church, The Church Hymnal Corporation and the Seabury Press, 1979: "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage," p. 423
- US Code - Title 1, section 7
- Same-Sex 'Marriage' and Civil Unions, Focus on the Family's website
- Vermont Legislature Makes Same-Sex Marriage Legal 
- Conn. high court rules gay couples can marry
- "New Hampshire Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage" 
- D.C. Council hears from both sides in gay marriage debate 
- "DC Council Approves Same-Sex Marriage" 
- "California Votes for Prop 8"
- "Lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in N.H., Maine" 
- "Maine rejects same-sex marriage law" 
- Countries worldwide address gay marriage
- "Israeli rabbi pairs gays to lesbians" http://news.yahoo.com/israeli-rabbi-pairs-gays-lesbians-061904417.html
- Same Sex Marriage Poll from ABC News
- http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/85-570-XIE/2006001/findings/risk.htm Aforementioned Canadian Study.
- Stanley Kurtz, "Beyond Marriage," The Weekly Standard, August 4/August 11, 2003. - cited in Marriage on the Ropes, Dr. James Dobson, retrieved from Focus on the Family, 15 May 2007.
- Peter Jones, The God of Sex: How Spirituality Defines Your Sexuality, page 22
- Gay adoption: A new take on the American family
- UK Muslim group backs Christian opposition to gay adoption rules London, Islamic republic News Agency, Jan 26, 2007.
- Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples
- 2004 General Social Survey, Statistics Canada, Canada's National Statistical Agency, July 7, 2005
- The NAACP Abandons the Black Family
- The Negro Family: The Case for National Action
- Harry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs Rally Against Same-Sex Marriage
- ,Study: Children of Lesbians May Do Better Than Their Peers
- Same Sex Marriage Countries
- The Slippery Slope of Same Sex Marriage
- New Jersey Lawmakers Drop Same-Sex Marriage Bill, from CBN
- UF study: Education best predicted support for gay marriage ban
- The New Three R's, by Bill Borst