Gay marriage has been all the hype in the news lately for people who are either strongly for it or strongly against it. It all started in 2001 when The Netherlands became the first nation to legalize and recognize it. Soon after many European and South American countries and eventually Canada and South Africa legalized it as well.
But it dates much farther than that. Same-sex marriages were well documented throughout the ancient world. The Sumerian civilization documented the marriages and many blessings and prayers written especially for same-sex couples. It was also practiced throughout the Roman Empire with little to no condemnation, but after Christianity became the official state religion of the Rome, a law in what is called the Theodosian Code was issued by Constantius II in 342 C.E. that prohibited gay marriage and decreed the execution of all same-sex couples.
Now in 2014, 18 countries have legalized gay marriages. In America 26 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 Native American tribal jurisdictions have legalized it with many more states that will very soon (as in this week) most likely legalize it as well. In the last few months there has been a huge domino effect in legalizing gay marriages. Just this year eight states have declared gay marriage bans unconstitutional, and this number is predicted to jump to 13 at least by the end of this year.
“The gay rights movement has a lot of steam,” said senior Mitch McElfresh, “because people are realizing it doesn’t really affect anyone but gay people, because it’s for their love, and less people are seeing being gay as a choice, and are seeing this as a civil liberty since people have the right to marry.”
Despite the gay rights movement having great strength in the Western world, 81 countries have illegalized homosexuality, some punishments includes a life-sentence in prison or even execution. This is most common in Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia.
Here in Missouri, the gay rights movement is moving very fast. Last fall Governor Jay Nixon via executive order made it legally possible for same-sex couples who have been married in other states where gay marriage is performed to file their taxes together like heterosexual married couples do. This began to pave the road for complete recognition of gay marriages in the state of Missouri. In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed three lawsuits against the state’s ban on gay marriage. On Oct. 3 2014, Judge J. Dale Youngs of Jackson County ruled that the state of Missouri must recognize the marriage of same-sex couples who were married in states where it is legally performed.
After Judge Youngs made his ruling, the Attorney General of Missouri, Chris Koster, had to decide if he would appeal (meaning he would rule that Judge Youngs’ ruling is wrong and reverse its effects) the ruling or not. He decided to go with Youngs ruling promising that “Missouri’s future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion.”