Long distance relationships are difficult for any couple, but even more so for many same-sex couples and those within the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only do people in this group have to face the challenges of being separated by distance, but they are also up against discrimination in many parts of the world.
Advice and Tips on LGBT Long Distance Relationships and Same-Sex Marriage
Unfortunately there are still countries that not only ban same sex marriage, but also criminalize such relationships. Currently more than 70 countries, most located in Africa and Asia, have laws criminalizing homosexuality, where same-sex sexual activity is banned and there is no recognition of same-sex unions.
These countries sadly offer little if any freedoms to the LGBTQIA+ community, offering no protection by way of anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation. Many countries don’t allow members of the LGBT community the opportunity to serve in the military nor do they allow them to adopt children or express the gender they wish to identify themselves as. Although the UN Human Rights Commission has urged all member nations to pass and enforce basic rights for the LGBT community, many are still opposed to the idea.
Couples caught engaging in same-sex sexual activity can face harsh punishment including life imprisonment and even death in countries where it is deemed illegal. It is interesting to note, however, that the harshest cruel punishments are often restricted to male same-sex relationships. Females in same-sex relationships, while not being allowed to marry and without many other basic rights, are sometimes allowed to engage in sexual activity with one another without facing consequences.
Same-sex couples in long distance relationships need to be aware of the laws that are in place in their own country, and around the world if their relationship is intercontinental. You and your same sex partner could face discrimination or prosecution should you decide to settle in or travel through a nation where such relationships are deemed illegal.
Throughout history, many cultures were accepting of same-sex relationships. Many Roman emperors were homosexual and some were even in official same-sex unions. History also shows us that same-sex unions were allowed in Mesopotamia which was a historical region that today corresponds to many nations which are now most opposed to such unions. It goes to show you that the attitudes towards same-sex relationships have continually changed throughout history. Often it comes down to things like religion which play a key role in determining whether same-sex relationships are deemed acceptable or not.
In the United States, the issue of same-sex marriage started to become a large issue in the 1970’s. Maryland was the first state in the U.S. to statutorily ban same-sex marriage in 1973 and most other states would follow suit. There were, however, some states that supported same-sex marriage by attempting to issue marriage licenses and extend basic rights to same-sex couples.
Meanwhile Denmark would be the first country in the world to legalize same-sex unions by way of a registered partnership bill in 1989. Other European countries would jump onboard as they passed similar registered partnership or civil union bills for same-sex couples. A civil union or registered partnership is similar to marriage but often doesn’t provide the same benefits or protections as marriage. It’s basically a watered-down version of marriage.
The Netherlands would become the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage when they did so in 2000. This gave same-sex couples the right to marry along with allowing them to divorce and adopt children. The world’s first same-sex marriage took place in Amsterdam a few months later.
As the 2000s rolled on, the United States would finally realize the importance of accepting same-sex marriage and states began passing registered partnership bills. Massachusetts would become the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. Other states would continue the trend until same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states as a result of the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States. Even after this ruling, however, many states and counties tried to fight against same-sex marriage, refusing to issue marriage licenses and give equal rights. Slowly these issues have been dealt with by the Supreme Court, but same-sex couples should be aware that although the Supreme Court has continued to side with them, many regions throughout the U.S. may still display negative views or attitudes toward such relationships.
Same-sex marriage has come a long way in the past few decades but it still has a very long road ahead to becoming accepted worldwide. Just as a long distance relationship’s success may look bleak at times, so too can the acceptance of same-sex marriage. However, with enough determination and fight, both can hopefully be achieved.
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