Marriage laws are constantly being tested by gay rights activists and gay couples wishing to be married. Couples travel overseas to countries that allow gay marriage and on their return petition their local courts for recognition of their marriage. As overseas opposite-sex marriages are usually recognized in a home country, gay couples argue that to deny recognition of their overseas gay marriage is discrimination.
Many of these cases fail, but successful cases establish precedents that give all gay couples an avenue to marriage.
Legislation to allow gay marriage has been introduced in various countries, including Estonia, Australia, several states in the US, China and many others. These proposed legislatures have so far all been defeated, but a study of votes shows that each law came very close to being passed, with most being defeated by a small percentage.
In the US, tests of laws concerning gay marriage in New York have so far failed, as have Hawaii gay marriage challenges. California gay marriage law was tested by a San Francisco gay marriage attempt in 2005, where marriage licences were issued to over 4,000 couples. Although the marriages were voided, it showed the support gay marriage has in California.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|