Proponents of gay marriage in a nutshell… • Same-sex couples should have access to the same marriage benefits and public acknowledgment enjoyed by heterosexual couples and prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional discrimination.
Opponents of gay marriage in a nutshell… • Altering the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman will further weaken a threatened institution and that legalizing gay marriage is a slippery slope that may lead to polygamous and interspecies marriages.
Countries that allow gay marriage • the Netherlands (2000) • Belgium (2003) • Canada (2005) • Spain (2005) • South Africa (2006) • Norway (2009) • Sweden (2009) • Argentina (2010) • Iceland (2010) • Portugal (2010) • Gay couples are allowed to wed in parts of Brazil and Mexico.
States that allow gay marriage • Massachusetts (May 17, 2004) • Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008) • Iowa (Apr. 24, 2009) • Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009) • New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010) • New York (June 24, 2011) • Washington (effective June 7, 2012) • Maryland (effective Jan. 1, 2013) • District of Columbia (Mar. 3, 2010)
Main Arguments… Socially liberal Socially Conservative It is no one else's business if two men or two women want to get married. Two people of the same sex who love each other should be allowed to publicly celebrate their commitment and receive the same benefits of marriage as opposite sex couples. The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as between a man and a woman. In the Oct. 15, 1971 decision Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court of Minnesota found that "The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”
Legally? Socially Liberal Socially Conservative Gay marriage is protected by the Constitution's commitments to liberty and equality. The US Supreme Court declared in 1974’s Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that the "freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause.” US District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote on Aug. 4, 2010 that Prop. 8 in California banning gay marriage was "unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.” Gay marriage could potentially lead down a "slippery slope” ending with giving people in polygamous, incestuous, bestial, and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry.  Glen Lavy, JD, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, argued in a May 21, 2008Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, "The movement for polygamy and polyamory is poised to use the successes of same-sex couples as a springboard for further de-institutionalizing marriage." 
Economically…. Socially Liberal Socially Conservative Gay marriages can bring financial gain to state and local governments. Revenue from gay marriage comes from marriage licenses, higher income taxes (the so-called "marriage penalty"), and decreases in costs for state benefit programs. The Comptroller for New York City found that legalizing gay marriage would bring $142 million to the City’s economy and $184 million to the State’s economy over three years. People should not have their tax dollars used to support something they find wrong. Gay marriage would entitle gay couples to typical marriage benefits including claiming a tax exemption for a spouse, receiving social security payments from a deceased spouse, and coverage by a spouse’s health insurance policy. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost to the federal government of extending employment benefits to same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees would be $596 million in mandatory spending and $302 million in discretionary spending between 2010 and 2019.
Effect on the Institution of Marriage… Socially Liberal Socially Conservative Legalizing gay marriage will not harm heterosexual marriages or "family values.” A study published on Apr. 13, 2009 in Social Science Quarterly found that "[l]aws permitting same-sex marriage or civil unions have no adverse effect on marriage, divorce, and abortion rates, [or] the percent of children born out of wedlock..." Marriage is already threatened with high divorce rates (between 40% and 50%) and with 40.6% of babies being born to unmarried mothersin 2008. Allowing same-sex couples to marry would further weaken the institution.
Socially Liberal Health Effects • Marriage provides both physical and psychological health benefits and recent research suggests that refusing to allow same-sex couples to marry has resulted in harmful psychological effects. The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and others wrote "...allowing same-sex couples to marry would give them access to the social support that already facilitates and strengthens heterosexual marriages, with all of the psychological and physical health benefits associated with that support.”
Gays against gay marriage… • The institution of marriage is sexist and oppressive; it should not be expanded but weakened. Paula Ettelbrick, JD, Professor of Law and Women's Studies, wrote in 1989, "Marriage runs contrary to two of the primary goals of the lesbian and gay movement: the affirmation of gay identity and culture and the validation of many forms of relationships." The leaders of the Gay Liberation Front in New York said in July 1969, "We expose the institution of marriage as one of the most insidious and basic sustainers of the system. The family is the microcosm of oppression.”
Religion Religions that do not endorse gay marriage Religions that do or non are committal American Baptist Churches USA Catholicism Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) Islam Orthodox Judaism Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod National Association of Evangelicals Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (Divided) Southern Baptist Convention United Methodist Church Buddhism Episcopal Church Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Hinduism Judaism Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (Divided) Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregation United Church of Christ
References • http://www.pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Religious-Groups-Official-Positions-on-Same-Sex-Marriage.aspx • http://gaymarriage.procon.org/