Life changed over the past decade. The phrase "gay marriage" brought indignation and confusion some years ago. Nowadays many people have democratic attitude towards gay marriages. The controversy around the concept of same-sex marriage is in the world since the late 1970s. The concept of "gay marriage" appeared in American dictionaries in 2000, moreover, in 2003 it was included in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Newton, 2010). Same-sex marriage is an expanded view about the marital union. It is a marriage between people of the same sex. People, who support this idea, consider that gay marriages should have the same rights and duties as traditional marriages between men and women. Struggle to change public morals and public recognition of same-sex marriages as a normal kind of family is an important part of the movement of homosexuals for equal rights. In this case, the purpose of such struggle is "legal gay marriage", which is different from the same-sex partnerships or other forms of non-traditional unions that legally do not have significant limitations, equated to normal.
Axel and Eygil Aksgil became the world's first officially registered same-sex couple that got married in October 1, 1989 in the Danish capital Copenhagen. This European country was the first to adopt a law allowing same-sex unions, which in Denmark are called civil partnerships. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to give equal rights to marry heterosexual and homosexual couples. The first same-sex marriage took place there on April 1, 2001. Legal gay marriages are recorded today in Canada, Portugal, the Netherlands, Iceland, Mexico, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Argentina, and some U.S. states. All big U.S. cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, and Chicago - since the mid-80s began to adopt local laws on "domestic partnerships". "Same-sex partnerships" (also known as civil partnerships), are somewhat limited, however, also legal in Andorra, France, Luxembourg, Croatia, Israel, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Greenland, Finland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Australia and Switzerland. Homosexuality is considered extremely shameful in Africa and the Middle East, where many countries have declared it illegal. Therefore, South Africa surprisingly became some kind of anomaly in the region, when granted same-sex couples the right to marry. The country recognized gay rights in its constitution, adopted in 1996 after the end of apartheid. Adoption of children by same-sex couples is also legitimate in South Africa (Newton, 2010).
There are many people both supporters and opponents of the concept of gay marriages. People who are for gay marriages often cite on studies that not only contradict any negative impact of non-traditional unions in public life, but also demonstrate a positive impact on the community empowerment and freedom of gays and lesbians. They consider that psychological climate in gay families is not much different from the atmosphere in traditional families. Discrimination of homosexual unions and prohibition to enter into a gay marriage negatively effects on the mental state of the representatives of sexual minorities. Scientists studied the behavior of lesbians and gays in 2001-2002 and in 2004-2005, when a number of countries had adopted a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. As a result, it was found that the policy of 2004-2005, led to the increase of alcoholism and anxiety syndrome in representatives of sexual minorities. It is believed that the legalization of same-sex marriages may have a positive impact on the economy. So, according to some researches, homosexuals and lesbians earn 20% more than their counterparts with the traditional orientation - and thus spend more. Same-sex unions spend to 10% more on a wedding than ordinary families. Therefore, marriage brings relations to the last stage, giving them the ultimate goal, the kind of completeness that has not been available to same-sex relationships. Homosexuals love and suffer as heterosexuals, and they also need to register their marriage. Some experts believe that usually homosexual marriages are not very strong. This is understandable since in a heterosexual union there are two different origins - male and female - that compensate and counterbalance each other. Same-sex unions are deprived of all of these. However, the registration of marriages and the marriage certificate give not only the right to property, but also to impose some psychological commitment on people. Therefore, the registration could hold many homosexual couples from rupture. On the growing prospects for same-sex marriage say the increase of cases of non-traditional unions of public figures, and that such unions are not blamed by the public. Some people predict that gay marriages will increase across the world and become a natural phenomenon among men due to a lack of women (Sather, 2012).
The problem of adoption and parenting by same-sex families is discussed as sharply, as the question of legalization of gay marriages does. Adoption of children by same-sex unions is allowed in states where gay marriages are legal. There is a possibility of adoption of children with certain restrictions in countries where same-sex partnerships are possible. For example, in Germany, one of the homosexual partners can adopt a biological child of the other partner. Despite protests of religious leaders, adoption of children by same-sex partners is allowed in the UK too. In addition, such adoption permitted in Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa, Spain, some provinces of Canada, and some U.S. states. Some psychologists say that children brought up in same-sex families adopt homosexual patterns of their parents’ behavior. Moreover, they will most probably have problems with the opposite sex in the future. However, all gays and lesbians were brought up in heterosexual families, nevertheless, for some reason, they became homosexuals too. By the logic of behaviorists, heterosexuals must educate heterosexuals. However, it turns out that this is just an illusion. The world experience shows the exact opposite: the sexual orientation of parents only indirectly affects children. Children from the same-sex families do not necessarily become homosexuals. There is no single reason of homosexuality. Consequently, there is no reason to admit that children simply adopt a lifestyle of their parents and follow their behavior in the future. If it were so, then children of neurotics would become neurotics themselves. In addition, the history shows that during and after the war, thousands of people were brought up without fathers. However, most of them grew up as heterosexuals. Therefore, psychology, of course, is wrong when it claims about instilling the "incorrect” patterns of behavior in homosexual families. If a child has no father image, it affects his/her life and relationship model. On the other hand, mother is quite able to convey the image of father to a child. For that reason, single-parent families and families of lesbians and gays can educate their children about a so-called "image of the father" (Sather, 2012).
Opponents of gay marriages say that allowing gay couples equal status with traditional marriage entails the destruction of the family institution as such. Thus, according to studies, unconventional marriages are less strong than classical ones. Some people believe that the "normalization of homosexuality" led to the increase of a number of people who identify themselves as representatives of homosexuals. There are many religious people for whom homosexuality and same-sex relations are sinful and prohibited by their religious belief. Marriage is a sacred cultural tradition, canonized and settled. Violation of this tradition is the desecration of the sacred cultural canon. Opponents of gay marriages consider that the state should set priorities to the community, as it sees right actions of its citizens. For example, a traditional family who gave birth to 3-4-children should receive all possible subsidies, grants and assistance from the state. Thus, the state shows that this family model is privileged. It is within the desired. This social behavior is encouraged. Many people think that same-sex marriage is nonsense. It is not only social, but, above all, natural nonsense. One of the main meanings of the family is procreation. Childless families by definition are flawed families. In our life, not to get lost, we focus on certain rules such as law, morals and customs. So, the family of all our laws, customs, and morals is the union of man and woman. All other unions are a deviation from the norm, the anomaly (Sather, 2012).
59% of Americans oppose gay marriages, and 32% support such unions. 49% of Americans made the possibility of homosexual civil unions with limited rights. Almost half of respondents (49%) stated that there is at least one representative of sexual minorities within their inner circle. According to Badgett (2009), majority of Americans (55%) would like to live in a state where same-sex marriages are forbidden.
No matter how people think about same-sex marriages, they objectively exist. Creation of a single-sex family, which is based on established principles, is quite similar to the traditional alliance. This family can hardly do any damage to society as a whole and its individual citizens. If a same-sex union is a mutual and very conscious decision of two adults who have the right of self-determination based on individual preferences in sex, it certainly has the right to exist.