Preface to the First Edition xvii the District of Columbia, and one Indian nation (the Coquille tribe) currently recognize same-sex marriage. Three other states recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states, and nine states have adopted marriage-like arrangements called civil unions or domestic partnerships that provide same-sex couples with many rights available in an opposite-sex marriage. The purpose of this book is to review the current status of same-sex marriage and similar institutions in the United States and other parts of the world. Chapter 1 provides a general background on social attitudes about same-sex relationships in general, both in the United States and other nations of the world, going back as far as historical records are available. This review explains how same-sex marriage has grown to be an issue of significance in many parts of the world. Chapter 2 focuses on some of the most fundamental aspects of the same-sex mar- riage debate. An important feature of the chapters is a review of the arguments offered both in favor of and against such legal arrangements. Chapter 3 expands this discussion to the world- wide stage, explaining how the issue of same-sex marriage is similar to and different from that debate in the United States and how other nations have resolved the conflict. The remaining chapters of the book provide background information to assist readers in pursuing their research on this topic in greater detail. Chapter 4 provides a chronology of important events in the history of the debate over same- sex marriage. Chapter 5 includes brief biographical sketches of some important individuals in the history of this contro- versy. Chapter 6 contains a number of important documents and some useful data about same-sex unions in the United States and other parts of the world. Chapter 7 provides a list of organizations who support or oppose same-sex marriages and unions, while Chapter 8 contains a list of print and electronic resources on the topic. A brief glossary of important terms used in discussions of same-sex marriage is also provided. (The content and order of chapters has changed since the publication of the first edition.)
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