Marriage Equality USA is the name of an organization that was founded in 1996, also known by its acronym MEUSA. It is a registered non-profit organization run by volunteers with the purpose of promoting equality for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community. Their aim is to seek same-sex marriage to be legalized or have equal marriage rights offered to LGBTQ couples and families.
In 1998, the organization started as Equality Through Marriage, .and had its first workshop named Marriage Equality 101 to educate the importance of marriage.
History of same-sex marriage and gay marriage in the US
In 1924, the first Society for Human Rights was established in Chicago for the legalization of gay marriage. This Society by Henry Gerber also introduced the first gay newsletter for the interest of the LGBTQ community.
In 1928, Radclyffe Hall, the English poet, and author published ‘The Well of Loneliness’ that gave rise to a lot of controversies. During World War II as well, the Nazis symbolized such men with the Pink Triangle badge and gave them to sexual predators.
In 1950, Mattachine Foundation was founded by Harry Hay as the nation’s gay rights group in Los Angeles. The purpose was to improve the lives of the LGBTQ community.
In 1960, the gay rights gained momentum and people began coming out more than before to talk about the cause. The state of Illinois was the first to pass the law for decriminalizing homosexuality.
A few years later, in 1969, the Stonewall Riots took place. According to the sources, this Stonewall Uprising played a role in starting a vigorous gay rights movement in the USA and the rest of the world.
In 1970, some communities of the New York City marched in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots.
In 1977, the Supreme Court came out with the ruling that Renée Richards, a transgender woman, has the right to play the United States Open tennis tournament. Such power was a great way of providing human rights to the LGBTQ community. Sooner in 1978, Harvey Milk, an openly gay man, gained a seat in American public office.
In 1992, Bill Clinton came up with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy giving gay men and women the right to serve in the military without disclosing their identity. The policy was not supported by the community and was repealed in 2011.
In 1992, the District of Columbia became the first state to legalize gay marriage and register as domestic partners. However, when same-sex marriage legalized, some years later, in 1998, the High Court of Hawaii passed a ban on gay marriage.
In 2009, President Barrack Obama gave the go-ahead to the Matthew Shepard Act that meant all assaults based on sexual orientation a crime.
So, when was gay marriage legalized in the US?
Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first such marriage was carried out on May 17, 2004. On this day, 27 more couples got wedded after gaining the rights from the government.
In the USA and beyond
As of July 2015, all fifty states of the USA have equal marriage rights for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of marriage equality, according to the majority opinion, and gave consent to same-sex marriage law.
This resulted in not only equal rights but also equal protection within the marriage union.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
Besides the USA, there are numerous other countries in the world that allow same-sex couples to marry. These include, among others, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, Uruguay, New Zealand, and Canada.
Over time, the marriage equality act has gained acceptance. According to USA Today,
More than 500,000 same-sex couples in the United States are married, including about 300,000 who have wed since the 2015 ruling.
In one of the happiest videos below, look at the community’s reaction after the long fight was won:
In the USA, there are a considerable number of Federal benefits and responsibilities which are applicable only to married people. When it comes to things such as pension and social security, spouses can benefit financially. A married couple is treated as a unit in terms of joint tax returns, and joint insurance policies.
After the laws for marriage equality, married people tend to enjoy emotional benefits and live longer than those who are not married. It is believed that withholding the right to be married is detrimental to the mental health of same-sex couples. With marriage equality, they can enjoy the same kind of status, security, and recognition as their opposite-sex counterparts.
Benefits for children
In the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality, the apparent inability of same-sex couples to produce children was not deemed sufficient reason not to marry. The verdict included the aim of protecting children obtained by other means in a same-sex marriage.
It is generally beneficial for a child to have parents with a legally recognized relationship, including legal benefits and legal protection.
The legalization of gay marriage has been a long far-fetched fight. But there couldn’t be happier news that all the efforts, fights and difficulties were worth it. It’s a win!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.