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So which are the states in the U.S. that recognize same-sex marriages? Since 2004, Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriage. In addition, California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont recognize legal unions. They are not called marriages, although these unions do afford partners all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under their individual state laws. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, and Washington have also created legal unions for same-sex couples. These offer different subsets of the rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples under their state laws.
If same-sex marriages were legal in the United States, here are just a few of the 1,138 rights, privileges, and benefits that would be afforded to each member of the couple:
Despite the controversy surrounding gay marriage in the United States, a few politicians and political parties have come out in support of legalizing same-sex unions. In 2006, for example, the mayors of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle came forward and publicly supported same-sex marriage.
There are also several political parties in the U.S. that support gay marriage, including the Libertarian Party, U.S. Green party, the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Party USA, and a number of state Democratic Parties.
Gay marriage was a hot topic during the last general election, and it continues to rally protesters and supporters alike to this day. Amid all the debating and history-making, a few United States political leaders stood out and publicly announced their support of the legalization of same-sex marriage:
in 1996, the United States government passed the Defense of Marriage Act. This act explicitly defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman. As a result, no portion of the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage legally. However, existing marriage laws in certain states are separate from the federal laws. This means that the Defense of Marriage Act does not necessarily have to apply in certain states. They are able to define marriage as they deem fit. The result is that certain states in our union have passed states laws recognizing same-sex marriage, although these marriages are still not recognized by the federal government.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|