<h3><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-2387" title="gaycouple" src="http://www.prisonbreakfreak.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/gaycouple2-pd.jpg" alt="" width="392" height="154" />D.C. Joins Five States in Legalizing Gay Marriage</h3>
Gay marriage continues to be a hot-button issue for many Americans. Whenever it’s legalized (or banned) anywhere in the world, searches immediately soar. In Washington, D.C., gay marriage was recently legalized, sparking tremendous Web interest.
A lesbian couple who had been together for 12 years became the first same-sex couple to be married in the nation’s capital. With the couple’s union, Washington, D.C. joined New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, as the only places in the United States that allow people of the same sex to legally marry.
Of course, gay marriage is a specific definition. When things are broadened to include domestic partnerships or civil unions, the list of states grows substantially. According to About.com, California, Hawaii, Maine, Washington state, Nevada, Oregon, and New Jersey allow same-sex couples to “obtain some legal recognition for their relationships.”
Interestingly, according to NJ.com, the upcoming United States census will allow same-sex couples in New Jersey to “identify themselves as married.” This is significant in that the census is an official government document. The census will allow “same-sex couples [to] label themselves as husband or wife even if their relationships are not recognized by law.”
While laws regarding gay marriage vary by state in the United States, other countries have clearer definitions. For example, in Europe, several countries have clear legal-marriage laws. According to an article from the BBC, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, and Sweden all have legalized gay marriage. Additionally, Portugal, a primarily Catholic country, is expected to legalize gay marriage in the near future. Other countries that have done the same include Canada and South Africa.
As for where gay marriage is banned, the list is a bit longer, at least in the United States. The laws are complicated and can vary between statute bans and constitutional bans. States that have constitutional bans include, but are not limited to, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia. User-edited site Wikipedia offers up a complete list.
After Washington, D.C., legalized same-sex marriage, Web searches on “gay marriage states” and “where is gay marriage legal” both soared. Also gaining traction in the Search box: “differences between gay marriage and civil unions.”