The discourse on human rights have come to include all sectors – from women’s rights to those encompassing the LGBTQI community. Identity politics have taken center stage in much of the discussions on anti-discrimination that countries are now following suit in helping provide a safe and accepting environment for all, regardless of gender. After all, it is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that no one should be discriminated on the basis of their gender. In the respective constitution and national laws of different countries, phrases such as “all should be treated equally in the eyes of the law” are specific provisions that are enforceable, and this includes the right to marry whomever a person chooses.
Same sex marriage is a controversial topics and LGBTQI activists have struggle for several years to achieve substantial gains. 25 countries, with Germany and Malta being the new additions, already have declared gay marriage as legal. More recently in May 2017, a landmark ruling of Taiwan’s supreme court voted in favor of gay marriage, legalizing same sex unions. This makes Taiwan the first Asian country to nationalize gay marriage legislation. Legislation with regard to gay marriages are much more difficult and challenging in Asia because of a level of conservatism, apart from strong religious and traditional values which commonly contradict with accepting relationships that are not heterosexual.
Gay Marriage Legislation in the United States
Like many countries in the world, activists in the United States have struggled long and hard to pass a law legalizing same sex unions. Their efforts came into fruition on 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriages, bypassing the 14 States who instated a ban on such unions.
Discussions on the recognition of gay marriages started in 1980s, along with the rise of the civil society movement. The main essence of this demand centers on equality and non-discrimination – conditions that are not present for those non-confirming to the man-woman categorization of gender.
Gay marriage legislation in the US, much like in many parts of the world, were sidetracked and considered non-priority. It was only through the insistence of pressure groups composed of LGBTQI activists and their supporters that the issue eventually gained traction. In a landmark decision in Iowa on 2009, the state’s supreme court ruled that denying gay couples their right to marry is an ultimate violation of the country’s constitution, which stipulates equality before the law. This progressive decision became a precedent for many states in the US when they eventually legalized same sex unions in their respective states.
Much opposition have been made against such efforts, usually from religious and conservative sectors of society. Arguments such as sexual misconduct, lasciviousness, concepts of a ‘broken family‘, and promiscuity were often brought up to deny the LGBTQI community recognition. However, evidence are also mounting up showing the relationship of gay couples in a different perspective – that of monogamy, mutual respect and commitment to each other. Bearing the #LoveWins tag, gay marriage legislation has been gaining ground not just in the US, but all over the world.