Love Wins: The Faces of Marriage Equality

Advocate: Are Queer People Making Marriage Better?

Finally Marrying My Partner of 28 Years


Gay Marriage

"I take a position similar to a position that Martin Luther King, Jr. took many, many years ago, that races don't fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. So if two men or two women fall in love and want to get married, they should be able to do just that. No government, state or federal, should tell people who they can fall in love with and get married or not."
-John Lewis / Congressman

"We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity."
-David Brooks / New York Times

"It's insane that civil rights are being denied people in this day and age. It's embarrassing and it's heartbreaking. It goes without saying that I am completely in support of gay marriage. In ten years we'll be ashamed that was ever an issue."
-Chris Evans / Captain America



Marriage Equality


On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court announced its landmark decision, in the case of Obergefell vs Hodges, ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality. In so doing, it officially declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. This historic Supreme Court ruling, which brought great joy to the LGBTQ community, holds that same-sex couples can no longer be denied the freedom to marry guaranteed by the US Constitution, assuring that all loving and committed couples will be able to marry throughout the United States.

President Obama issued these remarks: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. The Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they have reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law; that all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether they’re marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move or even visit another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land. If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision."


"This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free. We are people who believe every child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American. But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect. That’s the consequence of a decision from the Supreme Court, but more importantly, it is a consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who stood up, who came out, talked to parents, parents who loved their children no matter what, folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were. And slowly made an entire country realize that love is love."



Take Pride in Your Love

Wikipedia: Same-Sex Marriage in the United States

Lesbian Couple Marries Atop Empire State Building

World Chart: Where is Same Sex Marriage Legal?

Enchanted Disney Wedding for Two Princesses

Timeline: Same-Sex Marriage

Love Wins: The Faces of Marriage Equality

Same-Sex Union/Marriage Legislation Worldwide

Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings

Pew Research Center: Global Snapshot of Same-Sex Marriage

YouTube: Top Ten Same-Sex Celebrity Weddings


Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court's majority opinion. Here are some of his comments: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."


Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center, released this statement: "What a great day for our country! With today’s historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling, marriage equality for the LGBTQ community is now enshrined in our Constitution. It’s good news for not only people like our client Paul Hard but also for everyone in our country who cherishes equality. Earlier lower-court decisions reaching the same result propelled a positive change in public attitudes. We hope this ruling will do the same – because we still have a lot of work to do, particularly in the Deep South, where old attitudes are most slow to change. Members of the LGBTQ community, like our client Tristan Broussard, are still being fired from their jobs because of who they are. People like our client Ashley Diamond are still fighting to receive medical care for the same reason. And LGBTQ people everywhere are still at risk of being the victims of violent hate crimes by those with hate in their hearts. We’ll have to continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community for years to come. But, today, we pause to celebrate. A tremendous battle has been won."


Talking About Marriage

Good: Gay Marriage

Better: Same Sex Marriage

Best: Marriage Equality


As gay and lesbian couples begin getting married, some may struggle with the appropriate words to use to refer to the wedding ceremony that is taking place or the marriage relationship that is beginning.  You may hear confusion from someone who is sincerely trying to understand this new concept.  They may even ask, “So, which one’s the groom and which one’s the bride?”


It is appropriate, of course, to refer to the ceremony or the occasion as simply a “wedding” or a “marriage” like any other wedding or marriage.  There is no need to differentiate. 


However, the term “Gay Marriage” is respectful.  Using the term “Same Sex Marriage” shows greater knowledge of the subject.  Using the term “Marriage Equality” shows a deeper understanding of what it means and why it is important.


Marriage Equality in 37 States

Prior to the US Supreme Court decision to grant marriage equality nationwide, states legalized same-sex marriage one by one. By February 2015, all but 13 states had individually permitted same-sex marriage.

26 by Court Decision:

Alaska (Oct 17, 2014), Arizona (Oct 17, 2014), California (June 28, 2013), Colorado (Oct 7, 2014), Connecticut (Nov 12, 2008), Idaho (Oct 13, 2014), Indiana (Oct 6, 2014), Iowa (April 24, 2009), Kansas (Nov 12, 2014), Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Montana (Nov 19, 2014), Nevada (Oct 9, 2014), New Jersey (Oct 21, 2013), New Mexico (Dec 19, 2013), North Carolina (Oct 10, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct 6, 2014), Oregon (May 19, 2014), Pennsylvania (May 20, 2014), South Carolina (Nov 20, 2014), Utah (Oct 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct 9, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct 6, 2014), Wyoming (Oct 21, 2014), Florida (Jan 2015), Alabama (Feb 9, 2015)

8 by State Legislature:

Delaware (July 1, 2013), Hawaii (Dec 2, 2013), Illinois (June 1, 2014), Minnesota (Aug 1, 2013), New Hampshire (Jan 1, 2010), New York (July 24, 2011), Rhode Island (Aug 1, 2013), Vermont (Sept 1, 2009)

3 by Popular Vote:

Maine (Dec 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan 1, 2013), Washington (Dec 9, 2012)

Plus: Washington DC (March 3, 2010)


Time Mag: In What Countries is Same Sex Marriage Legal?

Pew Research Center: Gay Marriage Around the World

Wikipedia: Same Sex Marriage

April and Tiffany: Wedding Highlights Video

Are You the Husband or the Wife?

Unforgettable Father's Toast at Gay Son's Wedding

Planning an LGBTQ Wedding

Love Wins: The Faces of Marriage Equality

YouTube: Top Ten Sweetest Lesbian Couples Married


Alabama Becomes 37th State to Legalize Same Sex Marriage


February 2015

Same-sex couples began marrying in parts of Alabama on Monday, February 9, acting on the strongest signal yet from the US Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage ahead of an expected ruling, but numerous state judges avoided granting marriage licenses to gay couples in apparent defiance of the high court.  The Supreme Court earlier in the day cleared the way for Alabama to become the 37th state where gay marriage is legal by refusing a request by the state's Republican attorney general to keep them on hold until it decides later this year whether laws banning gay matrimony violate the US Constitution.

But same-sex couples in 42 of Alabama's 67 counties encountered difficulties in getting marriage licenses, gay rights advocates said, with some counties refraining from issuing licenses to gay couples and others shutting down their marriage license operations altogether.  This followed an order by Roy Moore, the conservative chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, instructing probate judges to issue no marriage licenses to gay couples despite a federal court ruling in January throwing out the state's gay marriage ban, effective on Monday.  In Birmingham, dozens of same-sex couples married at the courthouse and an adjacent park, where they were greeted by supporters supplying cupcakes along with a handful of protesters bearing crosses and Bibles.  Wiping away tears, Eli Borges Wright, 28, said he was overjoyed to be marrying the man he has been in a relationship with for the past seven years. "After all of these years, I can finally say this is my husband," he said.


NPR News: Alabama Courts Issue First Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples

USA Today: Alabama Now 37th State to Allow Gay Marriage

AP/YouTube: Alabama Becomes 37th State with Same Sex Marriage

CNN: Same Sex Couples Wed in Alabama

ABC News: Same Sex Marriage Stand Off in Alabama

Yahoo News: Judge Roy Moore Refusing to Cooperate with Federal Ruling

Reuters: Same Sex Marriages Begin in Some Parts of Alabama

NY Times: Gay Marriage in Alabama Begins

APT Capitol Journal: Alabama Perspective on Marriage Equality



Marriage Equality Worldwide


As of 2018, same-sex marriage is performed and recognized by law (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. Additionally, Armenia, Estonia and Israel recognize the marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into in other countries. Same-sex marriage is also due to soon become performed and recognized by law in Austria, Costa Rica, and Taiwan. Furthermore, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling which is expected to facilitate recognition in several countries in the Americas.


Netherlands (2000)
Belgium (2003)
Canada (2005)
Spain (2005)
South Africa (2006)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Argentina (2010)

Iceland (2010)
Portugal (2010)
Denmark (2012)
Brazil (2013)
England (2013)

France (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
Uruguay (2013)

Luxembourg (2014)

Scotland (2014)

United States (2015)

Greenland (2015)
Ireland (2015)

Finland (2015)

Columbia (2016)

Taiwan (2017)

Germany (2017)

Australia (2017)


APA Backs Same Sex Marriage

August 2011

American Psychological Association declares support for "full marriage equality."  The APA cites studies that show same-sex spouses have "sense of security, support and validation."  The American Psychological Association is calling on state and federal officials to stop anti-gay legal measures and to legalize same-sex marriage. The scientific and professional organization's guiding body voted unanimously at its annual meeting this week in Washington to declare its support for "full marriage equality for same-sex couples."  The resolution "clarifies the Association's support for same-sex marriage" in light of new research, the group said. A similar resolution in 2004 opposed discrimination against same-sex relationships, but refrained from a more formal policy recommendation.  Dr. Clinton Anderson, APA associate executive director, said that the timing of the resolution is an indirect result of several states' legalization of marriage.  "We knew that marriage benefits heterosexual people in very significant ways, but we didn't know if that would be true for same-sex couples," said Anderson, who is also director of the APA's Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.  Now that six U.S. states permit same-sex marriage, researchers have been able to conduct studies with those couples.  The research, Anderson said, indicates that marriage "does confer the same sense of security, support, and validation" to same-sex couples as to heterosexual ones. The resolution also points to evidence that ongoing political debate about marriage creates stress for gay men and lesbians and perpetuates stigmas and prejudice about their communities. This stress can make people physically and psychologically sick, the APA says, calling the link between stress and illness "well established."  Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, takes issue with the assertion that legalizing same-sex marriage would improve community acceptance of homosexuality.  "There is no evidence that gay teens are better off in Massachusetts, a state that has gay marriage, than they are in Wisconsin, a state which has passed a marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman," she said in an e-mail response to CNN.  Gallagher continued, "The release of this statement is unfortunately going to undermine confidence in APA statements generally, I would predict."  Both the National Organization for Marriage and the APA are skeptical of one solution to the gay-marriage debate: civil unions. Rhode Island NOM executive director Chris Plante is quoted in a press release on the NOM website calling the move "nothing more than a Trojan Horse that will usher in same-sex marriage sooner rather than later." Elsewhere on its website, NOM calls for dealing with legal and economic benefits separately from any discussion of marriage or unions.  The APA also feels that civil unions miss the mark.  "Anything other than marriage is, in essence, a stigmatization of same-sex couples. Stigma does have negative impacts on people," Anderson said.  "That's the analysis that we've come to and why we've decided to support full marriage equality -- because domestic partnership or civil union will still convey the message that same-sex couples are not as good."


(From Alden Mahler Levine / CNN)


Same Sex Wedding Announcement in Birmingham News


February 2011


Just in time for Valentine's Day, The Birmingham News posted its first wedding/union announcement for a same sex couple on Sunday, February 13, 2011.  The happy couple is Jeremy Cooper Erdreich and Larry Zuendel Slater, both of Birmingham. 



Mr. Erdreich is the son of former Congressman Ben Erdreich and Ellen Erdreich. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he is the President of the Erdreich Architecture firm.  Mr. Slater is the son of Frances Slater of Biloxi, MS and Robert Slater of Atlantic Beach, NC. An Auburn graduate, he is currently a PhD candidate at the UAB School of Nursing where he is an adjunct professor.  Ceremonies will take place in June at City Hall in Provincetown, Massachusetts and locally at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham (Rabbi Jonathan Miller officiating).



Same Sex Wedding Ceremony at ACA Conference on Montreal

April 2006


To enhance awareness within the counseling profession of the rights and benefits denied to same-sex couples in the United States, ALGBTIC hosted an official same-sex wedding event in Montreal, Canada on April 1, 2006 for counselors attending the joint meeting of the American Counseling Association and the Canadian Counseling Association. Eight couples, four male couples and four female couples, were married according to the laws of the Canadian Province of Quebec in a civil ceremony officiated by Brenda Langlois. The ceremony included opening words from the President of ACA, Patricia Arredondo, a recitation of vows, a unity candle ceremony, exchange of rings, and the official signature of the registry. The couples came to Montreal from as far away as Utah and have waited to get officially married as long as 23 years. Attending the ceremony were an estimated 300 family members, friends, ACA members, the President of ACA, five ACA past presidents, the ACA President-elect, and ACA divisional leaders who wanted to show their support for the couples and for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Following the ceremony, the couples were honored at a wedding reception with champagne and a four-tiered wedding cake. Newly married Dr. Joy Whitman, President of ALGBTIC, stated, “our purpose in sponsoring a public wedding for same-sex couples at this conference is to highlight the inequity same-sex couples experience and to raise awareness of this inequity for counseling professionals. Currently in the United States, same-sex couples are spending their lives together with love and commitment, but they are unable to access the more than 1,138 automatic federal and additional state protections afforded to legally married couples. One of our goals was to identify conditions that create barriers to the human growth and development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clients and communities. All counseling professionals are charged with the goal to advocate for clients and to change oppressive systems, systems that serve as barriers towards mental health. I see this event as joining our mission with that of ACA and in doing so, highlighting that same-sex couples continue to face discrimination when it comes to the option to marry in the United States. It is our hope that all counseling professionals, LGBT and heterosexual, will join together to fight for this right and therefore improve the mental health of LGBT clients.”  The ceremony was sponsored by ACA, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association and supported by Counselors for Social Justice and the International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors, all divisions of ACA. The organizations sponsored and supported the event to demonstrate support for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals and to bring to the forefront ACA’s commitment to social justice. ALGBTIC thanks our sponsors and supporters.









Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama