This week was a bittersweet moment for Minnesota. Whilst the state became one of twelve to legalise gay marriage and crowds of over 6,000 turned out downtown to celebrate hot water was thrown on the celebratory fire with comments from anti gay marriage campaigners Minnesota for Marriage (MM) stated it was a ‘historic and say day’ for the state (see here). They added that the change to the law ‘tramples religious liberty rights’ for Minnesotans. It could be argued that the argument about denying religious rights is an American one, but it echoes similar debates here in the UK and elsewhere. Here, there are promising signs that same-sex marriage will replace civil partnerships in the near future (even in spite of the fact that Tory backbenchers this week have called for a referendum on plans to legalise same-sex marriage (see article here). Public support is higher than ever for same sex marriage and a recent survey showed two-thirds are in favour of gay marriage.
But how does this compare on a global level? Have a look at the map below to find out:
see more maps here
Some countries have had had same-sex marriage for over a decade, like the Netherlands and Belgium; others are introducing it to varying degrees on a state-by-state level (Brazil and the US are recent examples) and some countries do not currently have any laws related to same-sex relationships. Of the latter some parts of the world (see article about experience being lesbian in Uganda) can be described as endemically homophobic where not being straight is not only seen as wrong but could each result in torture or death and the hope of gay marriage is merely a pipe dream.
Regardless of whether same-sex marriage is legal or not, one thing is for sure, the partnerships we have – whether one off Grindr hook-ups or monogamous relationships, or something else – have an impact on the nature of sex we are having. One element of this is whether sex is protected or unprotected. For example, some people would never dream of having unprotected sex outside monogomous marriage, often citing marriage as a marker of trust and commitment, whereas other people have unprotected sex with friends, friends of friends or f*ckbuddies they feel they ‘know well enough’. For others sex is always protected except when it is a one-off hook up in a sauna or with someone they have been chatting to online. This relationship between the nature of relationships we have (and differences with the relationships we would like, in particular) is one element that is explored in the GMI counselling and mentoring programmes. They offer a safe space to discuss the link between relationships/partnerships and sex (amongst other themes) with a non- judgemental trainers volunteer. For more info see here).
The views in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of GMI.