Same-Sex Marriage: Facts & Arguments

Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

In this lesson, learn interesting facts about same-sex marriage as well as arguments for and against the topic. After the lesson, complete the quiz to see if you have what it takes to argue both sides of this controversial issue.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage has been a controversial debate throughout the entire world and most recently over the past two decades. As of 2016, same-sex marriage has been made legal in 22 countries, including the United States of America.

Same-sex marriage is still a controversial topic in the United States

The State of Massachusetts was the first state in America to legalize same-sex marriage. In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage as legal throughout the country. Since then, same-sex marriage has become even more popular and controversial in both political affairs and social media, escalating a debate that has continued to change the minds of citizens. From the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in 2011 through to President Barack Obama's 2012 statement that he believes in gay marriage, America now allows its gay citizens to say 'I do' instead of 'I can't.'

The History of Same-Sex Marriage

The origins of same-sex marriage didn't just start in the 20th century. Gay individuals around the world have had the luxury to be recognized as partners and lovers starting more than 1,500 years ago. Believe it or not, same-sex unions were allowed in ancient Egypt, the southern Chinese province of Fujian in the Ming Dynasty and other ancient European times.

During these times, same-sex marriage was widely recognized until Christianity become the most dominant religion in the Roman Empire. It was the Theodosian Code of 312 A.D. that prohibited same-sex marriages in ancient Rome, ordering those who were previously married to a member of the same sex to be executed.


There are many interesting facts that depict the view of same-sex marriage, especially throughout the 20th century. Up until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defined homosexuality as a mental health disorder in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM). This was due to society's shift of their views of same-sex love and relationships, versus the fact that sodomy was still mostly illegal in the United States.

In today's terms, society's shifts have increased further, with researchers determining a quantitative analysis of these shifts. Between 1996 and 2014, support for gay marriage in the United States doubled from 27% to 55%. Today, only 33% of the population says that same-sex marriage should be banned.

As of November 2015, there have been approximately 100,000 same-sex marriages performed in the United States. Interestingly enough, it has been found that gay women are more likely to get married than gay men. For example, several studies in the U.S., including data gathered by the Pew Research Center, have indicated that lesbian marriages account for more than half of same-sex marriages.

The Great Debate

Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, it should be noted that there are individuals fighting at both sides of the table.

Pro Same-Sex Marriage

There are many social and legal benefits of getting married, all of which are extended into the gay community. It has been shown through studies that individuals who get married are more successful financially, emotionally, psychologically and medically. This is due to the fact that married couples tend to have a stronger support system, do not feel the effects of loneliness and lean on each other through difficult times, more so than their single counterparts.

Another important argument that was ruled in favor, was by the United States Supreme Court that stated that it is now a fact that it is a citizen's constitutional right to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation. Pro same-sex marriage supporters have always focused on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that prohibits States from depriving any person of liberty without 'due process of the law.' The 14th Amendment also requires that the States guarantee 'equal protection of the law.' It is the same amendment that was discussed in the late 1960s when interracial couples were denied the ability to get married.

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