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Coming to Grips with Gay Marriage
Gay marriage has been hotly debated in the news lately. While several countries have some form of gay marriage on the books, the Netherlands recently became the first country to give same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights as heterosexual married couples. This break with convention is not surprising since the Netherlands has been a pioneer in dealing with controversial social issues like drug use and euthanasia．
Another country at the forefront of this movement is Denmark, where a form of gay marriage has been legal since 1989. Prior to the law's enactment, most of the Danish clergy opposed it. In 1995, after seeing the positive effects of gay marriage, most of the clergy shifted their opinions to support it. While many people still oppose gay marriage on religious grounds, others point out that the Bible also condoned slavery. They see gay marriage as a civil rights issue.
The emotional benefits of marriage may be obvious, but other rights gays are denied include medical and death benefits, and the right to make decisions on behalf of their partners in cases of emergency, illness, or death. With gay marriage becoming a reality in some places, more people are beginning to sit up and take notice. Only time will tell if it will remain a marginalized, heretical idea or become an established and accepted institution in societies around the world.