Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage: An Obligation Not a Decision

Lindsay Gus


Regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, men and women across the world are guaranteed under international law the opportunity to enter into marriage with one another.  Throw sexual orientation into the mix, however, and the right to marriage is no longer universally applicable.  Marriage between couples of the same sex, a major source of contention in current United States politics, is prohibited by a majority of the world’s nations.  While states’ laws that deny same-sex couples the opportunity to legally marry are discriminatory, does international human rights law provide for the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry? International human rights law creates a universal right to marriage that includes gay and lesbian couples, and denying same-sex couples this right is a clear violation.  In accordance with both treaty law and international customary law, states are obliged to recognize all individuals’ fundamental right to marriage.  Refusing same-sex couples the right to marry violates the principle of nondiscrimination and the individual’s right to privacy, marriage, association, and dignity.


Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Comments on this article

View all comments

Reporting Copyright Infringement

If you believe that your copyright-protected work has been posted without authorization by any of our journals or to report copyright infringement on Tulane websites, please notify Tulane University's agent designated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, P.L. 105-304 at