On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 that individual states could not ban same sex marriage. Overnight, people in all fifty states could get married to those they loved who were of the same sex. While before this date same sex marriage was legal in some states, this law provided a legal basis for same sex couples in all states, no matter how conservative, to be able to be legally wed and to be able to enjoy the rights and privileges that previously only opposite-sex couples enjoyed. We asked Hiram Claybourne, noted documentarian of social change, about areas of same sex marriage which many people are unaware of and which might be of surprise to you.
1. Same sex marriage is not a new thing.
If you really think about it, the whole concept of marriage is a relatively new thing. Nobody knows when the first marriage actually took place. That momentous act predates history and is lost in the mists of time. Whether or not the first marriage was same-sex or opposite sex, nobody will ever know. So in fact, the first marriage may indeed have been between a same-sex couple.
2. The first recorded same-sex marriage took place in 2400 BCE.
Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, ancient Egyptian royal servants, became the first recorded same-sex couple in history. They were recognized as a couple during their lifetimes and were buried together. Their tomb was marked in a way that said that they were ‘royal confidantes’. Of special note: They were also manicurists! We hope they were buried with good nails.
3. The United States was not the first country to legalize same sex marriage.
While we Americans often think we are first in everything, we are not the first country to legalize same sex marriage. That distinction came about in 2000 when the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same sex unions. This was followed quickly by Germany in 2001. In many social matters, the Europeans are ahead of Americans and generally more liberal. Now, twenty-six countries allow same-sex marriage.
4. Retailers quickly got on the same sex bandwagon.
Americans know how to make a buck. Marketing, advertising and the retail world are artforms in this country. Even before same sex marriage was made legal, some far-sighted retailers went after this market as generally same sex couples are more affluent and have a much higher disposable income than do opposite sex couples. Even traditionally conservative retailers such as Walmart, based in the Bible Belt state of Arkansas, go after this demographic. This interesting article in Forbes details this relatively new market segment: Retailers Gay Rights Supreme Court. Read it and you will know where to get “His and His” or “Hers and Hers” towels! Same sex couples are encouraged to set up marriage registries at most major department stores.
5. There are some countries where you will never receive an engraved invitation–nor any invitation– to the same sex marriage…yet.
Same sex relationships or casual contact are still illegal in seventy-four countries including the Sudan, Russia, Pakistan and Morocco. Worse yet, in thirteen countries, being gay or lesbian is punishable by death. These countries are Yemen, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, parts of Nigeria, parts of Somalia, parts of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.
6. Nobody knows how much money same sex marriages have brought into the U.S. economy.
Estimates range all over the board. Some estimates are as high as 2.5 billion dollars a year. it is hard to get a real figure because what is included in the estimate differs for each organization reporting. If you think about it, the marriage industry, which is a 50 billion dollar industry a year, and employs over 800,000 people, has a whole new category to bring in revenue. Think about all of the wedding industry’s many components: department stores, wedding venues, florists, dress designers, wedding shops, milliners, bakeries, catering businesses, honeymoon travels, hotels, restaurants, airlines, tuxedo rentals, limousine services, religious organizations…the list goes on and on and on. Same sex marriages have brought in millions of dollars to local economies, state economies and foreign countries’ economies.
7. Most religions support same sex marriage.
The PRI, the Public Religion Research Institute, reported in May 2018, that most religious groups support same-sex marriage. Most Americans now support same sex marriage, so this should not come as a surprise. In fact, 61% of Americans support same sex marriage, a figure that has shot up in recent years. Religious groups that are politically liberal 10 to support same sex marriage more so than conservative religious groups. For example, 77% of the Jewish faith support same sex marriage and 97% of Unitarians support same sex marriage. In contrast, only 40% of Mormons support same-sex marriage, and 37% of evangelicals support it.
Same sex marriage has really become part of American life since Massachusetts first legalized it on November 18, 2003. No doubt its influence on many aspects of American life will grow even greater as its acceptance becomes stronger.
Also Read: How To Spice Up Your Marriage