Marriage has generally been defined by organised religions and by states as the union between two adults of the opposite sex. Its primary purpose has historically been to facilitate procreation. Traditional marriage has not always been rosy or consensual—many a woman or man has been forced into marriage with a stranger or against their wishes.
Likewise, other forms of marriage have also been historically practiced and continue to be so. These include polyandry in Tibet or poly
gamy in many cultures. However, the increasing trend of countries legalising marriage between consenting same sex adults is new and deserves a careful examination of its merits in the face of unprecedented opposition from certain quarters.
Since 2001, 11 countries on four continents have legalised full-fledged gay marriage. Another 21 countries have legalised civil unions that grant all the rights of marriage without calling it by that name. Nepal presents a mixed bag as a historic Supreme Court verdict in December 2007 ordered the government to study the possibility of legalising marriage. Despite the major political parties in the country supporting gay marriage in their official platforms, gay marriage is yet to be legalised.
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