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Why Expanding Marriage Rights Benefits Everyone

Recently Greece legalized same-sex marriage. Estonia also approved legislation for same-sex marriages, waiting for final parliamentary approval. Cuba, Andorra, Chile, Mexico, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Austria have legalized same-sex marriages in the past two years. 

In fact, in South Asia, where no country had legalized same-sex marriage, Nepal has recently become the first nation to recognize it.

So, while all the nations embrace same-sex marriages with open arms, why this is not a more widely accepted right when people from LGBTQ+ communities are also humans like us? 

Recent Developments:

Same-sex marriages are marriages between two people of the same legal sex. This means that two men, two women, or individuals who don't identify within the traditional binary gender system can get married. As of February 16, 2024, 37 countries offer legal same-sex marriage, representing 17% of the world's population.  

Same-sex marriages are more accepted than ever:

Acceptance of same-sex marriages are increasing globally. The acceptance is more widely witnessed among the young generation. Poll results from Pew Research Centre show that more than 70% of the Americans support same-sex marriages, which is the highest rate ever. Another research by Gallup shows similar results, with 94% of Gen Z and 87% of Millennials in favor of same-sex marriages.

Challenges:

While western nations are increasingly embracing the idea of same-sex marriages, they remain substantial in other parts of the world. 
32 out of 54 African nations have criminalized same-sex marriages, and no Eastern nation, and no Muslim nation has legalized same-sex marriage to date due to religious and cultural beliefs. 

LGBTQ+ individuals usually face discrimination and persecution in these regions. 

Reasons for Opposition to Same-Sex Marriages:

  • Deeply rooted religious beliefs:

Religious interpretations are the main reason for opposing same-sex marriages. Many religious preachers believe that marriage is a divine relationship between man and a woman, which is linked to the idea of procreation and child-rearing. Same-sex marriages defy both of these purposes. 

In the United States, 63% of Christians, with a staggering 81% of white evangelicals, oppose same-sex marriage according to Pew Research Center data.

  • Traditional values and conventional family structure:

Conventionally families comprise of a heterosexual couple and children. The concerns around the erosion of this tradition family concept fuels this perception. Research conducted by the American Psychological Association debunks the negative impact of same-sex marriage on children or society.

  • Navigating Unfamiliar Cultural Waters:

A stark reality emerges in Africa, where 32 out of 54 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships entirely, according to data from ILGA World. No Eastern nation, and no Muslim-majority nation currently legalize same-sex marriage. 

The Role of LGBTQ+ Communities in Boosting the Economy:

LGBTQ+ communities play a significant role in boosting the economy across various sectors. The research data paints a clear picture.
A study by the World Bank found that LGBTQ+ inclusion can boost the economy by 4%, accounting for more than $23 trillion by the end of the decade. 

The same findings were reverberated by the report of World Travel and Tourism Council, which that LGBTQ+ tourism contributes over $330 billion annually to the global economy.

But this not only helps in retaining tourists and building economy, but also helps in retaining and attracting talent and helping businesses grow. A 2020 study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with inclusive LGBTQ+ policies were 13% more likely to outperform their competitors on financial metrics. Another study by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce found that LGBTQ+ businesses contribute over $1.7 trillion to the US economy annually and employ over 13 million people.

The Role of Media in Normalizing Same-Sex Marriages:

Media holds the power to control the narrative and people’s perception around same-sex marriages. Depending upon the portrayal by the media, it can make both positive and negative impact on society. 
While conventionally, the media portrayed harmful stereotypes around LGBTQ communities, sensualizing and exploiting them. But in recent times, the tide is changing.

The media's power to normalize and humanize LGBTQ+ experiences shines brightly in positive examples. While some traditional portrayals in cinema have been problematic, shows like "RuPaul's Drag Race" offer positive representation of LGBTQ+ individuals. Sitcoms like "Modern Family" brought casual normalcy to queer relationships, while documentaries like "God Love Uganda" offered intimate glimpses of different communities. 

The Netflix original show, 'The Orange is the new black' boosted the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and has amassed more than 65 million views. 

Conclusion:

We have a long road ahead but the progress is shining through. The acceptance for same-sex marriage is hurdled by religious beliefs and the conventional idea of families and child-rearing notion. 

While the economic benefits of LGBTQ+ inclusion are evident, we are still waiting for the time when people from LGBTQ+ communities would not be viewed as different communities and would be treated with the same respect and dignity they deserve.

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