The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ignited a nationwide debate in late when it ruled that the state must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Almost overnight, same-sex marriage became a major national issue, pitting religious and social conservatives against gay-rights advocates and their allies. Over the next year, the ensuing battle over gay marriage could be heard in the halls of the U. Congress, in dozens of state legislatures and in the rhetoric of election campaigns at the national and state level. The debate over same-sex marriage shows no signs of abating. In addition, Florida will hold a referendum during the November election on a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage. Other states, such as Arizona and Indiana, are considering putting similar referenda on the November ballot.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized in twenty-eight countries, including the United States, and civil unions are recognized in many Western democracies. Civil Society. While same-sex marriage has made the most gains in Western democracies, antidiscrimination laws are gaining traction worldwide.
Unfortunately, there are many examples of circumstances where same-sex couples are not treated fairly. For example:. On February , a lesbian couple from Washington flew to Florida to go on a cruise together. One of the members of the couple, Lisa Mari Pond, collapsed before the cruise departed.