Marriage is also an institution individuals engage in interpersonal relationships which are in different ways acknowledged depending on the individuals’ cultures or subcultures according to Bell (237-240). Marriage often involves individuals engaging in sexual and intimate relationships. For a long time, marriage was defined as a religious or legal commitment between a woman and a man which usually involved the expression of love between the two. Marriage can generally been defined as the legal and social contract between people that creates kinship. Today however, gay or same sex marriage has become common practice. Gay marriage involves individuals of the same sex engaging in a union that may be considered a marriage. This practice has gradually been accepted in some parts f the world as being part of the norm. While the US federal government recognizes not marriages of couples of the same sex in accordance with the Defense of Marriage Act, a number of states have legalized the practice of gay marriage. Gay marriage currently is allowed in six states of the US including Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Iowa (Christine). The struggle to obtain marriage benefits and rights for gay couples in the US started in the early 70s but became more prominent in the mid 90s. This followed a public backlash toward the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Later in the 2000s, New England became a focal point as organized efforts were directed towards the legalization of gay marriages in the United States. As a result of this, four states granted gay couples the legal right to engage in marriage. The issue has however remained a point of division in the states across different geographical borders with most politicians maintaining their stand against same sex marriages.
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