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For the various rulers of the kingdoms within England prior to its formal unification, during the so-called Heptarchy, see Bretwalda. For British monarchs since the Union of England and Scotland, see List of British monarchs. For monarchs that have reigned over the various kingdoms and other states that have existed in the British Isles throughout recorded history, see List of monarchs in the British Isles.

This list of English monarchs begins with Offa of Mercia, who was dominant in the late eighth century, although his power did not extend to Northumbria and did not survive him. In the 9th century Wessex became dominant over the other English kingdoms under Egbert, who conquered Kent and Sussex from Mercia in 825. Alfred the Great and his son Edward the Elder used the title “King of the Anglo-Saxons”. After Athelstan conquered Northumbria in 927, he adopted the title Rex Anglorum. Starting with Henry II in 1154, the title became Rex Angliae (King of England).

The Principality of Wales was incorporated into the Kingdom of England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, and in 1301 Edward I invested his eldest son, the future Edward II, as Prince of Wales. Since that time, with the exception of Edward III, the eldest sons of all English monarchs have borne this title. After the death of Elizabeth I without issue, in 1603, the crowns of England and Scotland were joined in personal union under James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. By royal proclamation James titled himself “King of Great Britain”, but no such kingdom was created until 1707, when England underwent legislative union with Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, during the reign of Queen Anne.

House of Mercia

According to some sources the first ruler to assume the title Rex Anglorum is said to have been Offa in 774, who had been King of Mercia since 757, but this claim is based on charters apparently forged in the 10th century. However, on some of his coins Offa describes himself as Of Rx A, believed to stand for Offa Rex Anglorum. This probably had a different meaning at the time from what it acquired later, i.e. king of the Angles, and not necessarily the Saxons. Several earlier kings are called rex anglorum or some variant in surviving sources: Aldfrith of Northumbria by Aldhelm; Æthelred of Mercia in Felix’s Vita sancti Guthlaci (Life of Saint Guthlac); and Æthelbald of Mercia by Saint Boniface.[5] Regardless, Mercia’s dominance did not survive Offa’s death, and he has been considered by historians as being driven for personal power rather than nationhood.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Offa
+OFFA•REX+
774 – 796
Offa c. 736
Son of Thingfrith
Cynethryth
five children
29 July 796
Aged about 60

After the death of Offa, his son and heir, Ecgfrith, came to the throne. He died within four months of his father, and as Offa had killed his leading dynastic rivals in order to ensure that his son succeeded, the next king of Mercia was only distantly related to Offa, and power passed to the House of Wessex.

House of Wessex

The continuous list traditionally starts with Egbert, King of Wessex from 802, who established Wessex as the dominant power in southern England. Alfred the Great and his son Edward the Elder used the title “king of the Anglo-Saxons.” After Æthelstan conquered Northumbria in 927, he adopted the title rex Anglorum (King of the English).

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Egbert
(Ecgberht)
802 – 839
Egbert Son of Ealhmund of Kent Unknown
one son
839
Æthelwulf
(Æþelwulf)
839 – 858
Æthelwulf Son of Egbert Osburh
six children
858
Judith of Flanders
1 October 856
no children
Æthelbald
(Æþelbald)
858 – 860
Aethelbald.jpg c. 834
Son of Æthelwulf and Osburh
Judith of Flanders
no children
20 December 860
Aged 26 or 27
Æthelberht
(Æþelberht)
21 December
860 – 865
c. 835
Son of Æthelwulf and Osburh
Unmarried
no children
865
Aged about 30
Æthelred
(Æþelræd)
865 – 871
Coin of Æthelred c. 837
Son of Æthelwulf and Osburh
Wulfthryth?
868
three children
23 April 871
Aged about 34
Alfred the Great
(Ælfræd)
24 April
871 – 899
Statue of Alfred the Great in Wantage c. 849
Wantage
Son of Æthelwulf and Osburh
Ealhswith Winchester
868
six children
26 October 899
Aged about 50
Edward the Elder
(Eadweard)
27 October
899 – 924
Edward the Elder c. 871–877
Son of Alfred the Great and Ealhswith
(1) Ecgwynn
893
two children
(2) Aelffaed
c.902
eight children
(3) Eadgifu of Kent
905
three children
17 July 924
Farndon, Cheshire
Aged about 50
Ælfweard
July-August
92
c. 90
Son of Edward the Elder and Ælfflæd
Unmarried?
No children
3 August 924
Aged about 23
Buried at Winchester
Æthelstan
(Æþelstan)
924 /
925 – 939
Rex Anglorum from 927
King Athelstan from All Souls College Chapel 895
Son of Edward the Elder and Ecgwynn
Unmarrie 27 October 939
Aged about 4
Edmund the Magnificent
(Eadmund)
28 October
939 – 946
Edmund I.jpg c. 921
Son of Edward the Elder and Eadgifu of Kent
(1) Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
two children
(2) Æthelflæd of Damerham
944
no children
26 May 946
Pucklechurch
Aged about 25
(Murdered)
Eadred
(Eadred)
27 May
946 – 955
Imaginary line engraving of Edred made by un unknown engraver after an unknown artist c. 923
Son of Edward the Elder and Eadgifu of Kent
Unmarried 23 November 955
Frome
Aged about 3
Eadwig
(Eadwig)
24 November
955 – 959
Line engraving of Edwy made by an unknown engraver after an unknown artist c. 940
Son of Edmund the Magnificent and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
Ælfgifu 1 October 959
Aged about 19
Edgar the Peaceful
(Eadgar)
2 October
959 – 975
King Edgar of England c. 943
Wessex
Son of Edmund the Magnificent and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
(1) Æthelflæd
c.960
1 son
(2) Ælfthryth
c.964
2 sons
8 July 975
Winchester
Aged about 3
Edward the Martyr
(Eadweard)
9 July
975 – 978
St. Edward the Martyr c. 962
Son of Edgar the Peaceful and Æthelflæd
Unmarried 18 March 978
Corfe Castle
Aged about 16
(Assassinated)
Æthelred the Unready
(Æþelræd Unræd)
19 March
978 – 1013 (first reign)
Image of Æthelred II with an oversize sword from the illuminated manuscript "The Chronicle of Abingdon" c. 968
Son of Edgar the Peaceful and Ælfthryth
(1) Ælfgifu of York
991
nine children
(2) Emma of Normandy
1002
three children
23 April 1016
London
Aged about 48

House of Denmark

England came under the rule of Danish kings during and following the reign of Æthelred the Unready.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Sweyn Forkbeard
(Svend Tveskæg)
25 Decembe
1013 – 101
Sweyn Forkbeard, from an architectural element in the Swansea Guildhall, Swansea, Wales c. 960
Denmark
Son of Harald Bluetooth and Gyrid Olafsdottir
(1) Gunhild of Wenden
c. 990
seven children
(2) Sigrid the Haughty
c. 1000
1 daughter
3 February 1014
Gainsborough
Aged about 54

House of Wessex (restored, first time)

Following the death of Sweyn Forkbeard, Æthelred the Unready returned from exile and was again proclaimed king on 3 February 1014. His son succeeded him after being chosen king by the citizens of London and a part of the Witan, despite ongoing Danish efforts in wresting the crown from the West Saxons.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Æthelred the Unready
(Æþelræd Unræd)
3 February
1014 – 1016 (second reign
Image of Æthelred II with an oversize sword from the illuminated manuscript "The Chronicle of Abingdon" c. 968
Son of Edgar the Peaceful and Ælfthryth
(1) Aelgifu
991
nine children
(2) Emma of Normandy
1002
three childre
23 April 1016
London
Aged about 48
Edmund Ironside
(Eadmund)
24 April –
30 November 101
Edmund Ironside c. 993
Son of Æthelred the Unready and Ælfgifu of York
Edith of East Anglia
two children
30 November 1016
Glastonbury
Aged about 23

House of Denmark (restored)

Following the decisive Battle of Ashingdon on 18 October 1016, King Edmund signed a treaty with Canute in which all of England except for Wessex would be controlled by Canute. Upon Edmund’s death on 30 November, Canute ruled the whole kingdom as its sole king.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Cnut
(Knútr)
30 November 1016 –
12 November 1035
Cnut.jpg c. 995
Son of Sweyn Forkbeard and Gunhilda of Polan
(1) Aelfgifu of Northampton
two children
(2) Emma of Normandy
1017
two children
12 November 1035
Shaftesbury
Aged about 40
Harold Harefoot
(Harald)
13 November 1035 –
17 March 104
HAROLD I HAREFOOT.jpg c. 1016/7
Son of Cnut and Ælfgifu of Northampton
Ælfgifu?
1 son?
17 March 1040
Oxford
Aged about 23 or 24
Harthacnut
(Hardeknud)
17 March 1040 –
8 June 1042
Hardeknut.jpg 1018
Son of Cnut and Emma of Normandy
Unmarried 8 June 1042
Lambeth
Aged about 24

House of Wessex (restored, second time)

After Harthacanute, there was a brief Saxon Restoration between 1042 and 1066. After the Battle of Hastings, a decisive point in British history, William I of Normandy became king of England.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Children Death
Edward the Confessor
(Eadweard)
9 June
1042 – 1066
Edward Confessor.jpg c. 1003
Islip, Oxfordshire
Son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy
Edith of Wessex
23 January 1045
None 5 January 1066
Westminster Palace
Aged about 60
Harold Godwinson
(Harold Godwinesson)
6 January – 14 October 1066
Harold2.jpg c. 1020
Son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir
Edith Swannesha Godwine, Edmund, Magnus, Gunhild, Gytha 14 October 1066
Hastings
Aged about 46
(Died in battle)
Ealdgyth
c. 1064
Harold, Ulf
Edgar the Ætheling
(Eadgar Æþeling)
15 October – 17 December 1066
Proclaimed, but never crowned
Edgar the Ætheling.jpg c. 1053
Hungary
Son of Edward the Exile and Agatha
Unmarried None c. 1125
Aged about 72

House of Normandy

Main article: Normans

In 1066 the Duke of Normandy, William I, a vassal to the King of France and cousin once-removed of Edward the Confessor, invaded and conquered England in the Norman Conquest of England, and made permanent the recent removal of the capital from Winchester to London. Following the death of King Harold II in the decisive Battle of Hastings on 14 October, the Anglo-Saxon witan elected Edgar the Ætheling king in Harold’s place, but Edgar was unable to resist the invaders and was never crowned. William was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066, and is today known as William the Conqueror, William the Bastard or William I.

It was only from the reign of William and his descendents that monarchs took regnal numbers in the French fashion, though the earlier custom of distinguishing monarchs by nicknames did not die out by consequence.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
William I
William the Bastard
William the Conqueror
(Guillaume le Bâtard)
(Guillaume le Conquérant)

25 December
1066–1087
William the Conqueror depicted at the Battle of Hastings, on the Bayeux Tapestry c.1028
Falaise Castle
son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and Herleva
Matilda of Flanders
Chapel Notre Dame of the castle in Eu, Normandy
1053
ten children
9 September 1087
Rouen
aged about 59 after wounding himself on the saddle when his horse stumbled. Buried at Saint Etienne Abbey (Abbaye aux Hommes) of Caen
Supposedly named heir by Edward the Confessor in 1052
(de facto right of conquest)
William II
William Rufus
(Guillaume le Roux)

26 September
1087–1100
William Rufus depicted in the Stowe Manuscript c.1060
Normandy
son of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders
unmarried 2 August 1100
New Forest
aged about 40 when shot by an arrow, events still unclear.
son of William I
(appointment)
Henry I
Henry Beauclerc
(Henri Beauclerc)

5 August
1100–1135
Henry I September 1068
Selby
son of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders
(1) Edith otherwise Matilda of Scotland
Westminster Abbey
11 November 1100
four children
(2) Adeliza of Louvain
Windsor Castle
29 January 1121
no children
1 December 1135
Castle of Lyons-la-Forêt (Saint-Denis-en-Lyons)
aged 67 apparently from eating a surfeit of lampreys. Buried at Reading Abbey
son of William I;
(seizure of the crown)
Stephen
Stephen of Blois
(Étienne de Blois)

22 December
1135–1154
Stephen c.1096
Blois
son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of Normandy
Matilda of Boulogne
Westminster
1125
five children
25 October 1154
Dover Castle
aged about 58 from dysentery
grandson of William I
(appointment/usurpation)

Disputed claimants

Empress Matilda was declared heir presumptive by her father, Henry I, after the death of her brother on the White Ship,and acknowledged as such by the barons. However, upon Henry I’s death, the throne was seized by Matilda’s cousin, Stephen of Blois. The Anarchy followed, with Matilda’s being a de facto ruler for a few months in 1141, but she was never crowned and is rarely listed as a monarch of England.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Matilda
Empress Matilda
(Mathilde l’emperesse)

7 April 1141–1 November 1141
Title disputed
Matilda 7 February 1102
Sutton Courtenay
daughter of Henry I and Edith of Scotland
(1) Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Mainz
6 January 1114
no children
(2) Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
Le Mans Cathedral
22 May 1128
three children
10 September 1167
Notre Dame du Pré in Rouen
aged 65
daughter of Henry I
(seizure of the crown)

Prince Eustace (c. 1130 – 17 August 1153) was appointed co-king of England by his father, King Stephen, on 6 April 1152, in order to guarantee his succession to the throne (as was the custom in France, but not in England). However, the Church would not agree to this, and Eustace was not crowned. Eustace died the next year aged 22, during his father’s lifetime, and so never became king in his own right.

House of Plantagenet

Main article: House of Plantagenet

Stephen came to an agreement with Matilda in November 1153 with the signing of the Treaty of Wallingford, where Stephen recognised Henry, son of Matilda, as the heir-apparent to the throne in lieu of his own son.

Rather than ruling among the Normans, the Plantagenets ruled from Aquitaine — lands which were acquired through Henry II’s marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, but did not regard England as their primary home until after most of their French possessions were lost by King John. This long-lived dynasty is usually divided into three houses: the Angevins, the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The Plantagenets formulated England’s royal coat of arms, which usually showed other kingdoms held or claimed by them or their successors, although without representation of Ireland for quite some time.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Henry II
Henry Curtmantle
(Henri Court-manteau)

19 December
1154–1189
Henry II 5 March 1133
Le Mans
son of Geoffrey V of Anjou and Matilda
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Bordeaux Cathedral
18 May 1152
eight children
6 July 1189
Chinon
aged 56. Buried at Fontevraud Abbey
grandson of Henry I
(Treaty of Wallingford)
Henry the Young King
(Henri le Jeune Roy)
(co-ruler with his father)
14 June
1170–1183
Henry 28 February 1155son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine Margaret of France
Winchester Cathedral
27 August 1172
one child
11 June 1183
Martel, Limoges
aged 28. Buried at Rouen Cathedral (Notre-Dame)
son of Henry II
(coronation as junior king)
Richard I
Richard the Lionheart
(Richard Cœur de Lion)

3 September
1189–1199
Richard the Lionheart, an illustration from a 12th century codex 8 September 1157
Beaumont Palace
son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Berengaria of Navarre
Limassol
12 May 1191
no children
6 April 1199
Chalus
aged 41 from an arrow wound in the shoulder that became infected. Buried: Heart at Rouen Cathedral. Body at Fontevraud Abbey
son of Henry II
(primogeniture)
John
Lackland
(Jean sans Terre)

27 May
1199–1216
King John 24 December 1166
Beaumont Palace
son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
(1) Isabel of Gloucester
Marlborough Castle
29 August 1189
no children(2) Isabella of Angoulême
Bordeaux Cathedral
24 August 1200
five children
19 October 1216
Newark-on-Trent
aged 49, probably from dysentery brought on by eating peaches and drinking wine. Buried at Worcester Cathedral
brother of Richard I
(appointment)

Disputed claimant

Louis VIII of France briefly ruled about half of England from 1216 to 1217 at the conclusion of the First Barons’ War against King John. On marching into London he was openly received by the rebel barons and citizens of London and proclaimed (though not crowned) king at St Paul’s cathedral. Many nobles, including Alexander II of Scotland for his English possessions, gathered to give homage to him. However in signing the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217 Louis conceded that he had never been the legitimate king of England.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Louis
The Lion
1216–
22 September 1217
Title disputed
Louis8lelion.jpg 5 September 1187
Paris
son of Philip II of France, and Isabella of Hainault
Blanche of Castile
Portmont
23 May 1200
13 children
8 November 1226
Montpensier
aged 39
Right of conquest

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Henry III
Henry of Winchester
28 October
1216–1272
Henry III 1 October 1207
Winchester Castle
son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême
Eleanor of Provence
Canterbury Cathedral
14 January 1236
nine children
16 November 1272
Westminster Palace
aged 65
son of King John
(primogeniture)
Edward I
Longshanks
20 November
1272–1307
Eduard1 korunovace.jpg 17 June 1239
Westminster Palace
son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence
(1) Eleanor of Castile
Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de Huelgas
18 October 1254
17 children(2) Margaret of France
10 September 1299
three children
7 July 1307
Burgh by Sands
aged 68
son of Henry III
(primogeniture)
Edward II
Edward of Caernarfon
7 July 1307 –
25 January 1327
Modern depiction of Edward II 25 April 1284
Caernarfon Castle
son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile
Isabella of France
Boulogne Cathedral
25 January 1308
five children
21 September 1327
Berkeley Castle
aged 43 (murdered, probably ‘with a hoote brooche putte thro the secret place posterialle’ according to a Confessor of one of the Jailers)
son of Edward I
(primogeniture)
Edward III
25 January
1327–1377
Edward III 13 November 1312
Windsor Castle
son of Edward II and Isabella of France
Philippa of Hainault
York Minster
24 January 1328
14 children
21 June 1377
Sheen Palace
aged 64
son of Edward II
(primogeniture)
Richard II
21 June 1377 –
29 September 1399
Richard II, the so-called 'Westminster Portrait', painted by an unknown artist working in the International Gothic style, 1390s 6 January 1367
Bordeaux
son of Edward, the Black Prince and Joan of Kent
(1) Anne of Bohemia
14 January 1382
no children(2) Isabella of Valois
Calais
4 November 1396
no children
14 February 1400
Pontefract Castle
aged 33 probably from starvation
grandson of Edward III
(primogeniture)

House of Lancaster

Main article: House of Lancaster

This house descended from Edward III’s third surviving son, John of Gaunt. Henry IV seized power from Richard II (and also displaced the next in line to the throne, Edmund Mortimer, a descendant of Edward III’s second son, Lionel of Antwerp).

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Henry IV
Bolingbroke
30 September
1399–1413
Henry IV 3 April 1366/7
Bolingbroke Castle
son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster
(1) Mary de Bohun
Arundel Castle
27 July 1380
seven children(2) Joanna of Navarre
Winchester Cathedral
7 February 1403
no children
20 March 1413
Westminster Abbey
aged 45 or 46
grandson and heir male of Edward III
(usurpation/agnatic primogeniture)
Henry V
20 March
1413–1422
Henry V 16 September 1386 or
9 August 1387
Monmouth Castle
son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun
Catherine of Valois
Troyes Cathedral
2 June 1420
one son
31 August 1422
Château de Vincennes
aged 35
son of Henry IV
(agnatic primogeniture)
Henry VI
(first reign)
31 August 1422 – 4 March 1461
Henry VI 6 December 1421
Windsor Castle
son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
aged 49
son of Henry V
(agnatic primogeniture)

House of York

Main article: House of York

The House of York inherited its name from the fourth surviving son of Edward III, Edmund, 1st Duke of York, but claimed the right to the throne through Edward III’s second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp.

The Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) saw the throne pass back and forth between the rival houses of Lancaster and York.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Edward IV
(first reign)
4 March 1461 – 2 October 1470
Edward IV 28 April 1442
Rouen
son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
ten children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
aged 40 (probably died of a stroke after catching a chill during a fishing trip)
great-great-grandson and heir general of Edward III
(seizure of the crown/cognatic primogeniture)

House of Lancaster (restored)

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Henry VI
(second reign)
30 October 1470 – 11 April 1471
Henry VI 6 December 1421
Windsor Castle
son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
aged 49 (murdered) by being stabbed in the head.
son of Henry V
(seizure of the crown)

House of York (restored)

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Edward IV
(second reign)
11 April 1471 – 9 April 1483
Edward IV 28 April 1442
Rouen
son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
ten children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
aged 40 (probably died of a stroke after catching a chill during a fishing trip)
great-great-grandson and heir general of Edward III
(seizure of the crown/cognatic primogeniture)
Edward V
9 April – 25 June 1483
Edward V 2 November 1470
Westminster
son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville
unmarried c. 1483
London
aged about 12 (reportedly smothered)
son of Edward IV
(cognatic primogeniture)
Richard III
26 June
1483–1485[52]
Richard III 2 October 1452
Fotheringhay Castle
son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
Anne Neville
Westminster Abbey
12 July 1472
1 son
22 August 1485
Bosworth Field
aged 32 (killed in battle)
great-great-grandson of Edward III
(Titulus Regius)

House of Tudor

Main article: Tudor dynasty

The Tudors descended matrilineally from John Beaufort, one of the illegitimate children of John of Gaunt (third surviving son of Edward III), by Gaunt’s long-term mistress Katherine Swynford. Those descended from English monarchs only through an illegitimate child would normally have no claim on the throne, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and Swynford eventually married in 1396 (25 years after John Beaufort’s birth). In view of the marriage, the church retroactively declared the Beauforts legitimate via a papal bull the same year (also enshrined in an Act of Parliament in 1397). A subsequent proclamation by John of Gaunt’s legitimate son, King Henry IV, also recognized the Beauforts’ legitimacy, but declared them ineligible ever to inherit the throne. Nevertheless, the Beauforts remained closely allied with Gaunt’s other descendants, the Royal House of Lancaster.

John Beaufort’s granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort was married to Edmund Tudor. Tudor was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tewdr (anglicised to “Owen Tudor”) and Catherine of Valois, the widowed queen consort of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. When the House of Lancaster fell from power, the Tudors followed. By the late 15th century, the Tudors were the last hope for the Lancaster supporters. Edmund Tudor’s son became king as Henry VII after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, ending the Wars of the Roses.

With Henry VIII‘s break from the Roman Catholic Church, the monarch became the Supreme Head of the Church of England and of the Church of Ireland. Elizabeth I’s title became the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Henry VII
22 August
1485–1509
Henry VII, by Michel Sittow, 1505 28 January 1457
Pembroke Castle
son of Edmund Tudor and Lady Margaret Beaufort
Elizabeth of York
Westminster Abbey
18 January 1486
eight children
21 April 1509
Richmond Palace
aged 52
great-great-great-grandson of Edward III
(right of conquest)
Henry VIII
21 April
1509–1547
Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein, c.1536 28 June 1491
Greenwich Palace
son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York
Catherine of Aragon
Greenwich
11 June 1509
one daughter
28 January 1547
Whitehall Palace
aged 55
son of Henry VII
(primogeniture)
Anne Boleyn
Westminster Palace
25 January 1533
one daughter
Jane Seymour
Whitehall Palace
30 May 1536
one son
Anne of Cleves
Greenwich Palace
6 January 1540
Catherine Howard
Hampton Court Palace
28 July 1540
Catherine Parr
Hampton Court Palace
12 July 1543
Edward VI
28 January
1547–1553
Edward VI, by Hans Eworth 12 October 1537
Hampton Court Palace
son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour
unmarried 6 July 1553
Greenwich Palace
aged 15
son of Henry VIII
(primogeniture)

Disputed claimant

Edward VI named Lady Jane Grey as his heir presumptive. Four days after his death on 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed queen. Nine days after the proclamation, on 19 July, the Privy Council switched allegiance and proclaimed Edward VI’s Catholic half-sister Mary. Jane was executed in 1554, aged 16. Many historians do not consider her to have been a legitimate monarch.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Jane

10–19 July 1553
Title disputed

Streathamladyjayne.jpg October 1537
Bradgate Park
daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and Lady Frances Brandon
Lord Guildford Dudley
The Strand
21 May 1553
no children
12 February 1554
Tower of London
aged 16 (beheaded)
great-granddaughter of Henry VII
(Devise for the succession)

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Mary I
19 July
1553–1558
Mary I, by Antonius Mor, 1554 18 February 1516
Greenwich Palace
daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Philip II of Spain
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
no children
17 November 1558
St. James’s Palace
aged 42
daughter of Henry VIII
(Third Succession Act)
Philip
25 July 1554 –
17 November 1558
(jure uxoris)
King Philip of England 21 May 1527
Valladolid, Spain
son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal
(2) Mary I of England
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
no children
three other marriages
and seven children
13 September 1598
El Escorial, Spain
aged 71
husband of Mary I
(Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain)
Coat of arms, 1554–1558

Under the terms of the marriage treaty between Philip I of Naples (Philip II of Spain from 15 January 1556) and Queen Mary I, Philip was to enjoy Mary’s titles and honours for as long as their marriage should last. All official documents, including Acts of Parliament, were to be dated with both their names, and Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple. An Act of Parliament gave him the title of king and stated that he “shall aid her Highness … in the happy administration of her Grace’s realms and dominions” (although elsewhere the Act stated that Mary was to be “sole queen”). Nonetheless, Philip was to co-reign with his wife. As the new King of England could not read English, it was ordered that a note of all matters of state should be made in Latin or Spanish. Coins were minted showing the heads of both Mary and Philip, and the coat of arms of England (right) was impaled with Philip’s to denote their joint reign. Acts which made it high treason to deny Philip’s royal authority were passed in England and Ireland. In 1555, Pope Paul IV issued a papal bull recognising Philip and Mary as rightful King and Queen of Ireland.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Elizabeth I
17 November
1558–1603
Elizabeth I, by Darnley 7 September 1533
Greenwich Palace
daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
unmarried 24 March 1603
Richmond Palace
aged 69
daughter of Henry VIII
(Third Succession Act)

House of Stuart

Main article: House of Stuart

Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 without issue, the Scottish king, James VI, succeeded to the English throne as James I in the Union of the Crowns. James was descended from the Tudors through his great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII. In 1604 he adopted the title King of Great Britain. However the two parliaments remained separate.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
James I
24 March
1603–1625
James I, by Paulus van Somer 19 June 1566
Edinburgh Castle
son of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and Mary I, Queen of Scots
Anne of Denmark
Oslo
23 November 1589
7 Children
27 March 1625
Theobalds House
Aged 58
great-great-grandson and heir general of Henry VII
Charles I
27 March
1625–1649
Charles I, by Anthony van Dyck 19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace
son of James I and Anne of Denmark
Henrietta Maria of France
St Augustine’s Abbey
13 June 1625
nine children
30 January 1649
Whitehall Palace
aged 48 (beheaded)
son of James I (cognatic primogeniture)

Commonwealth

There was no reigning monarch between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Instead, from 1653 the following individuals held power as Lords Protector, during the period known as the Protectorate, when the monarchy was overthrown.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Oliver Cromwell
Old Ironsides
16 December
1653–1658
Oliver Cromwell 25 April 1599
Huntingdon
son of Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward
Elizabeth Bourchier
in St Giles
22 August 1620
nine children
3 September 1658
Whitehall
aged 59
Richard Cromwell
Tumbledown Dick
3 September 1658
– 7 May 1659
Richard Cromwell, c.1650 4 October 1626
Huntingdon
son of Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth Bourchier
Dorothy Maijor
May 1649
nine children
12 July 1712
Cheshunt
aged 85

House of Stuart (restored)

Although the monarchy was restored in 1660, no stable settlement proved possible until the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when Parliament finally asserted the right to choose whomsoever it pleased as monarch.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Charles II
1660–1685
Recognized by Royalists in 1649
Charles II (1670s).jpg 29 May 1630
St. James’s Palace
son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
Catherine of Braganza
Portsmouth
21 May 1662
no children
6 February 1685
Whitehall Palace
aged 54
son of Charles I (cognatic primogeniture; English Restoration)
James II
6 February 1685 –
23 December 1688 (deposed)
James II by John Riley.png 14 October 1633
St. James’s Palace
son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
(1) Anne Hyde
The Strand
3 September 1660
eight children(2) Mary of Modena
Dover
21 November 1673
seven children
16 September 1701
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
aged 67
son of Charles I (cognatic primogeniture)
Mary II
13 February
1689–1694
Queen Mary II.jpg 30 April 1662
St. James’s Palace
daughter of James II and Anne Hyde
St. James’s Palace
4 November 1677
no children
28 December 1694
Kensington Palace
aged 32
grandchildren of Charles I (offered the crown by Parliament)
William III
William of Orange
13 February
1689–1702
Portrait of William III, (1650-1702).jpg 4 November 1650
The Hague
son of William II, Prince of Orange, and Mary, Princess Royal
8 March 1702
Kensington Palace
aged 51 after breaking his collarbone from falling off his horse
Anne
8 March
1702–1 May 1707
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland
1 May 1707–1 August 1714
Anne1705.jpg 6 February 1665
St. James’s Palace
daughter of James II and Anne Hyde
George of Denmark
St. James’s Palace
28 July 1683
5 children
1 August 1714
Kensington Palace
aged 49
daughter of James II (cognatic primogeniture; Bill of Rights 1689)

Timeline of English Monarchs

Anne of Great Britain Mary II of England William III of England James II of England Charles II of England Richard Cromwell Oliver Cromwell Charles I of England James I of England Elizabeth I of England Philip II of Spain Mary I of England Lady Jane Grey Edward VI of England Henry VIII of England Henry VII of England Richard III of England Edward V of England Edward IV of England Henry VI of England Edward IV of England Henry VI of England Henry V of England Henry IV of England Richard II of England Edward III of England Edward II of England Edward I of England Henry III of England John of England Richard I of England Henry the Young King Henry II of England Empress Matilda Stephen of England Henry I of England William II of England William I of England Edgar the Ætheling Harold Godwinson Saint Edward the Confessor Harthacnut Harold Harefoot Cnut the Great Edmund Ironside Æthelred the Unready Sweyn Forkbeard Æthelred the Unready Saint Edward the Martyr Edgar the Peaceable Eadwig Eadred Edmund the Magnificent Athelstan the Glorious Ælfweard Edward the Elder Alfred the Great Æthelred of Wessex Æthelberht of Wessex Æthelbald of Wessex Æthelwulf of Wessex Egbert of Wessex Offa of Mercia Commonwealth of England House of Stuart Tudor Dynasty House of York House of Lancaster House of Plantagenet Normans House of Denmark House of Wessex Mercia

Acts of Union

The Acts of Union 1707 were a pair of Parliamentary Acts passed during 1706 and 1707 by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland to put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate states, with separate legislatures but with the same monarch) into a single Kingdom of Great Britain.[71]

The two countries had shared a monarch for about 100 years (since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne from his first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I). Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate Crowns resting on the same head. There had been three attempts in 1606, 1667, and 1689 to unite the two countries by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early eighteenth century that the idea had the will of both political establishments behind them, albeit for rather different reasons.

Titles

The standard title for all monarchs from Alfred the Great until the time of King John was Rex Anglorum (King of the English). In addition, many of the pre-Norman kings assumed extra titles, as follows:

  • Alfred the Great: Rex Angulsaxonum (King of the Anglosaxons) and Rex Anglorum et Saxonum (King of the Angles and Saxons)
  • Athelstan: Rex Anglorum per omnipatrantis dexteram totius Bryttaniæ regni solio sublimatus
  • Edmund the Magnificent: Rex Britanniae and Rex Anglorum caeterarumque gentium gobernator et rector
  • Edred: Regis qui regimina regnorum Angulsaxna, Norþhymbra, Paganorum, Brettonumque
  • Edwy the Fair: Rex nutu Dei Angulsæxna et Northanhumbrorum imperator paganorum gubernator Breotonumque propugnator
  • Edgar the Peaceable: Totius Albionis finitimorumque regum basileus
  • Canute: Rex Anglorum totiusque Brittannice orbis gubernator et rector and Brytannie totius Anglorum monarchus

In the Norman period Rex Anglorum remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie (“King of England”). Matilda styled herself Domina Anglorum (“Lady of the English”).

From the time of King John onwards all other titles were eschewed in favour of Rex Anglie, or Regina Anglie (“Queen of England”) if female.

In 1604 James I, who had inherited the English throne the previous year, adopted the title (now usually rendered in English rather than Latin) King of Great Britain. The English and Scottish parliaments, however, did not recognise this title until the Acts of Union of 1707 under Queen Anne (who was of course Queen of Great Britain rather than king).

The British monarchy is the direct successor to those of England, Scotland and Ireland. For those, see List of English monarchs, List of Scottish monarchs and List of Irish monarchs.

The Royal Arms of the United Kingdom since the accession of Queen Victoria, (1837), featuring the arms of England in the first and fourth quarters, Scotland in the second, and Ireland in the third. In Scotland a separate version is used, (shown right), whereby the Arms of Scotland take precedence

There have been 12 monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom (see the Monarchy of the United Kingdom). The United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed on 1 May 1707 with the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which had been in personal union under the House of Stuart since 24 March 1603. On 1 January 1801, Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After most of Ireland left the union on 6 December 1922, its name was amended on 12 April 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

House of Stuart

Main article: House of Stuart

Queen Anne had been queen of England, Scotland and Ireland since 8 March 1702, and so became Queen of Great Britain upon the Union of England and Scotland.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Anne
1 May 1707–1 August 1714
Anne1705.jpg 6 February 1665
St. James’s Palace
daughter of James II and VII and Anne Hyde
George of Denmark
St. James’s Palace
28 July 1683
17 children
1 August 1714
Kensington Palace
aged 49
daughter of James II and VII (cognatic primogeniture; Bill of Rights 1689); Queen of England and Scotland upon the Union; (Treaty of Union and Acts of Union 1707)

House of Hanover

Main article: House of Hanover

The Hanoverian succession came about as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701, passed by the Parliament of England. In return for access to the English plantations in North America, the Hanoverian succession and the Union were ratified by the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

After the death of Anne with no living children, George I, the son of Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England through his daughter Elizabeth of Bohemia, was the closest Protestant heir to the throne.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Succession right References
George I
1 August 1714 –
11 June 1727
King George I by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg 28 May 1660
Leineschloss
son of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Sophia of Hanover
Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Lueneburg-Celle
21 November 1682
2 children
11 June 1727
Osnabrück
aged 67
son of Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I & VI; (Act of Settlement 1701 and Acts of Union 1707)
George II
11 June 1727 –
25 October 1760
George II by Thomas Hudson.jpg 30 October 1683
Herrenhausen
son of George I and Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Lueneburg-Celle
Caroline of Ansbach
22 August 1705
8 children
25 October 1760
Kensington Palace
aged 76
son of George I
George III
25 October 1760 –
29 January 1820
George III in Coronation edit.jpg 4 June 1738
Norfolk House
son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
St James’s Palace
8 September 1761
15 children
29 January 1820
Windsor Castle
aged 81
grandson of George II
George IV
29 January 1820 –
26 June 1830
(Prince Regent since 1811)
George IV van het Verenigd Koninkrijk.jpg 12 August 1762
St James’s Palace
son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
(1) Maria Anne Fitzherbert
Park Lane
15 September 1785
(2) Caroline of Brunswick
St James’s Palace
8 April 1795
1 daughter
26 June 1830
Windsor
aged 67
first son of George III
William IV
26 June 1830 –
20 June 1837
William IV.jpg 21 August 1765
Buckingham Palace
son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Kew Palace
13 July 1818
2 children
20 June 1837
Windsor Castle
aged 71
third son of George III
Victoria
20 June 1837 –
22 January 1901
Melville - Queen Victoria.jpg 24 May 1819
Kensington Palace
daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
St James’s Palace
10 February 1840
9 children
22 January 1901
Osborne House
aged 81
granddaughter of George III (by his fourth son)

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Although he was the son and heir of Victoria, Edward VII inherited his father’s names and is therefore counted as inaugurating a new royal house.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Succession right References
Edward VII
22 January 1901 –
6 May 1910
Edward VII in coronation robes.jpg 9 November 1841
Buckingham Palace
son of Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Alexandra of Denmark
St George’s Chapel
10 March 1863
6 children
6 May 1910
Buckingham Palace
aged 68
son of Queen Victoria

House of Windsor

Main article: House of Windsor

The house name Windsor was adopted in 1917, during World War I. It was changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha because of wartime anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Succession right References
George V
6 May 1910 –
20 January 1936
George V of the united Kingdom.jpg 3 June 1865
Marlborough House
son of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark
Mary of Teck
St James’s Palace
6 July 1893
6 children
20 January 1936
Sandringham House
aged 70
son of Edward VII
Edward VIII
20 January –
11 December 1936 (abdicated)
A030596.jpg 23 June 1894
White Lodge
son of George V and Mary of Teck
Wallis Warfield Simpson
Château de Candé
3 June 1937
no children
28 May 1972
Neuilly-sur-Seine
aged 77
son of George V
George VI
11 December 1936 –
2 June 1952
King George VI of England, formal photo portrait, circa 1940-1946.jpg 14 December 1895
Sandringham House
son of George V and Mary of Teck
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Westminster Abbey
26 April 1923
2 children
2 June 1952
Sandringham House
aged 56
son of George V
Elizabeth II
2 June
1952 – present
Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, 07 Mar 2006 crop.jpeg 21 April 1926
Mayfair
daughter of George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Philip of Greece and Denmark
Westminster Abbey
20 November 1947
4 children
Incumbent daughter of George VI

Timeline of British Monarchs

Elizabeth II George VI of the United Kingdom Edward VIII of the United Kingdom George V of the United Kingdom Edward VII of the United Kingdom Victoria of the United Kingdom William IV of the United Kingdom George IV of the United Kingdom George III of the United Kingdom George II of Great Britain George I of Great Britain Anne of Great Britain House of Windsor House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House of Hanover House of Stuart

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What’s the average penis size? How fast is premature ejaculation? Exactly where is the G-spot? Grab a ruler and a stopwatch as the experts sort sex myths from the facts.
By Rob Baedeker
WebMD Feature

If there were a roll call for the founding fathers of sex myths for men, a couple of no-brainers would surely make the list: porn legend John Holmes, whose yule-log-size penis still casts a shadow over anxiety-prone males. Ditto NBA-great Wilt Chamberlain, whose claim of having slept with 20,000 women makes Don Juan look monastic.

And then there’s purveyor-of-sex-myths Walt Disney.

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“I think Walt Disney creates a lot of mythology,” says Seth Prosterman, PhD, a clinical sexologist and licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in San Francisco. “In Disney movies, people fall in love and walk into the sunset, and you get this myth that intimacy is a given once you fall in love, and sexuality is natural and follows that.”

In reality, says Prosterman, “Sex is something that we learn throughout a lifetime.”

If sexuality is a continuing education, a lot of us are scrambling to make up course credits. And in a realm that’s clouded by ego, myth and advertising that preys on anxieties, getting the facts about sex can be difficult. What is the average size of the male penis? How long do most men last during intercourse? Can men have multiple orgasms? Does the G-spot exist, and if so, how do I find it?

(Need to talk to the guys about something? Check out the Men’s Health: Man-to-Man message board for straight talk.)

Penis Size: The Hard Facts

“Drastically enlarge the penis length and width to sizes previously thought impossible!” reads a website for the Penis Enlargement Patch. (One envisions a lab-coated mad scientist pouring chemicals on his own penis, then shouting “Eureka!” and phoning the Guinness Book.) Almost anyone with an email account has been deluged by spam for such miracle-growth patches and pills, and the endurance of sex myths may explain the pervasiveness of such ads.

“We equate masculinity and power with penis size,” says Ira Sharlip, MD, clinical professor of urology at the University of California at San Francisco and president of the International Society for Sexual Medicine. “Of course, there’s really no relationship.” Still, Sharlip says, “all” of his patients want to increase their penis size.

The idea that bigger is better is “not just total mythology,” says Seth Prosterman, who has counseled couples since 1984 and notes that some of the women he’s worked with do prefer a bigger penis — aesthetically or “fit-wise.” But, he adds, “For the vast majority of partners, penis size doesn’t matter.”

So what, exactly, constitutes a big penis? Let’s whip out some data:

  • The average penis size is between five and six inches. That’s for an erect penis.
  • The flaccid male organ averages around three and a half inches.

Sex Fact: We Are Not Our Penises

If you had an anxiety hiccup before you read the “erect” qualifier, consider it a metaphor for the danger of jumping to conclusions about penis size — or about the primacy of the penis altogether.

“The idea that the penis is the most important part of your body underlies so many of men’s sexual problems,” says Cory Silverberg, a sexual health educator and founding member of Come As You Are, an education-based sex store in Toronto. “One of the biggest sex myths for men is the notion that we are our penises, and that’s all that counts in terms of sex.”

“It’s a myth that using the penis is the main way to pleasure a woman,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex and relationships counselor in New York City whose book She Comes First offers a guide to “female orgasms and producing them through inspired oral techniques.” In his book, Kerner cites a study that reports women reaching orgasm about 25% of the time with intercourse, compared with 81% of the time during oral sex.

OK, OK, Size Isn’t Important. But How Can I Increase My Penis Size?

Despite the facts, the din of penis-enlargement marketing only seems to grow louder. (“Realize total and absolute power and domination in bed with your partner, with your new-found penis size and sexual performance” screams the ad for the Penis Enlargement Patch.) Men keep chasing after the mythical, mammoth-sized member.

Silverberg says male clients at his store, and in his counseling work, constantly ask him about penis pumps, whose powers of elongation, he says, are a “myth,” although he adds that some men who’ve used them report satisfaction, a phenomenon he explains this way: “I think spending more time paying attention to our genitals will probably increase our sexual health.”

Just the Facts on the G-Spot

If sex myths have such power over men’s thinking about their own anatomy, they have even more sway when it comes to female partners’ bodies — especially the much-debated G-spot.

Named after a German doctor, Ernst Gräfenberg, who first wrote about an erogenous zone in the anterior vaginal wall, the G-spot was popularized by a 1982 book called … The G-spot. This region behind the pubic bone is often credited as the trigger for a vaginal (vs. clitoral) orgasm, and even a catalyst for female ejaculation.

At the same time, the G-spot is commonly derided as perpetuating the myth ensconced by Sigmund Freud — namely, that the clitoral orgasm is a “lesser” form of climax than the vaginal orgasm, which requires penile penetration. As Ian Kerner summarizes, “In Freud’s view, there were no two ways about it: If a woman couldn’t be satisfied by penetrative sex, something must be wrong with her.”

The G-spot’s existence is still debated, and whether it’s fact or fiction depends on whom you ask.

“The G-spot exists,” says Seth Prosterman. “It’s a source of powerful orgasm for a percentage of women.”

“I don’t think the G-spot exists,” says Ira Sharlip. “As urologists, we operate in that area [where the G-spot should be] and there just isn’t anything there — there’s no anatomical structure that’s there.”

Prosterman and others point out the importance of thinking of the G-spot in context — that it may be an extension of the clitoral anatomy, which extends back into the vaginal canal. Kerner writes that the G-spot may be “nothing more than the roots of the clitoris crisscrossing the urethral sponge.”

Helen O’Connell, MD, head of the neurourology and continence unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Urology in Australia, says, “The G-spot has a lot in common with Freud’s idea of vaginal orgasms. It is a sexual concept, this time anatomical, that results in confusion and has resulted in the misconception that female sexuality is extremely complex.”

In the end, whether this debated locus of pleasure is fact or fiction may not matter that much. O’Connell, who is also co-author of a 2005 Journal of Urology study on the anatomy of the clitoris, says that focusing on the G-spot to the exclusion of the rest of a woman’s body is “a bit like stimulating a guy’s testicles without touching the penis and expecting an orgasm to occur just because love is present.” She says focusing on the inside of the vagina to the exclusion of the clitoris is “unlikely to bring about orgasm. It is best to think of the clitoris, urethra, and vagina as one unit because they are intimately related.”

How Long, Part 2: How Premature Is Premature Ejaculation?

The possibilities for exploring a woman’s erogenous zones may be tremendously exciting — which leads to another source of sex myth and male anxiety: How long can I last? And how long should I be able to last?

Premature ejaculation is “the most common form of sexual dysfunction in younger men” according to Ira Sharlip, and its prevalence is around 20% to 30% in men of all ages.

The medical method of determining premature ejaculation is called “intravaginal ejaculatory latency time” (IELT), a stopwatch-timed duration measured from the beginning of vaginal penetration until ejaculation occurs. However, Sharlip adds, this quantitative measure doesn’t tell the whole story: “There are men who ejaculate within a minute but say that they don’t have premature ejaculation. And then on other end of spectrum, there are patients who are able to last for 20 minutes, and they say they do have premature ejaculation.”

In other words, the definition of “premature” may be largely in the eye (or mind) of the beholder, and depends on a man’s sexual satisfaction and his perception of his ability to control when ejaculation occurs.

If you just can’t wait for the numbers, though, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found “a median IELT of 5.4 minutes.”

Ian Kerner says a common cutoff time used to define premature ejaculation is two minutes, but he adds that many of the men he works with “are not guys who can last a few minutes; they’re having orgasms during foreplay, or immediately upon penetrating. They have a hard time lasting past 30 seconds.”

But a quick trigger is normal, says Kerner. “Men were wired to ejaculate quickly — and stressful situations make them ejaculate even more quickly. It’s been important to the human race. If guys took an hour to ejaculate, we’d be a much smaller planet.”

Sex therapists and physicians offer a number of techniques that can help men manage their anxiety and prolong their time to ejaculation. Several drugs — like some antidepressants and topical creams  — have been prescribed by doctors to extend time to ejaculation.

And, contrary to the common perception that distraction or decreasing stimulation is the answer (slow down, think about baseball), some say that giving in to sensation can help address the issue as well. “The way to learn [to last longer] is by getting used to intense stimulation,” says Prosterman, “to increase the frequency of intercourse, and feel every sensation of being inside your partner and enjoy it.”

Come Again? The Mythical Multiple Orgasm for Men

While multiple male orgasm is possible anywhere two or more men are gathered and talking, actual male multiple orgasm is another story. Unlike the more established phenomenon of female multiple orgasm, men’s claims of successive climaxes can stray into the realm of sex myth. At the very least, male multiple orgasm is difficult to verify and may depend on the definition of orgasm.

Prosterman says that the book The Multi-Orgasmic Man popularized “an Eastern meditative process that involves wrapping the PC [pubococcygeus] muscle around the prostate. There’s a valve on the prostate that switches on and off before urination and ejaculation. The PC muscle stops this valve from opening, allowing an orgasm without ejaculation. The idea is to keep doing that five or six times in a row.

“Out of hundreds of guys I know who’ve tried this,” says Prosterman, “I know only one who’s been able to do it.”

Is this man Mr. Lucky, or just prone to poetic license?

A 1989 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior recorded the testimony of 21 other men who claimed to be multi-orgasmic, but Ira Sharlip says “that doesn’t happen,” referring to the phenomenon of “multiple orgasms in succession over a short period of time — like minutes.” And there’s no such thing as separating ejaculation and

Orgasm or Orgasm-esque?

What may be at issue here is the definition of orgasm — which, according to a 2001 Clinical Psychology Review article, has been strikingly inconsistent. “Many definitions of orgasm “depict orgasm quantitatively as a ‘peak’ state that may not differentiate orgasm adequately from a high state of sexual arousal,” the study’s authors wrote.

In other words, those men who report multiple orgasms may be able to achieve orgasm-esque states before they hit the point of ejaculatory no-return. And many men report that strengthening the PC muscles through Kegel exercises allows them to edge closer to this “point of inevitability” without cresting the mountaintop of ejaculation and descending into the gentle valley of the flaccid and the “refractory” period, where the penis is temporarily unresponsive to sexual stimulation.

This refractory period — commonly 30 minutes or more — is an unfortunate reality. While you’re “waiting,” spending that time caressing, kissing, massaging, and nuzzling isn’t so bad. If you are trying to have a second round because your partner wants it, keep sex toys in mind.

And if that recovery period isn’t super quick, you can still enjoy multiple orgasms — you may just need to cancel your afternoon appointments.

Sex Fact: It’s Not Always about the Numbers

In the end, there seems to be a recurring theme in moving beyond sex myths: Don’t get too hung up on the numbers.

So often the key to sexual satisfaction is not about penis size, stamina records, or a technical isolation of the G-spot. Rather, it’s about understanding yourself and your partner’s desires and recognizing that, unlike those Disney characters, real people aren’t born with a perfect, divinely granted understanding of sex.

As O’Connell remarks on the perils of over-privileging of the G-spot, “It is best for partners to explore the precise areas that turn someone on and how a partner likes to be given pleasure. That applies to both men and women, and the idea that there is any consistent ‘magic spot’ in either sex is just tyrannical.”

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What are the benefits of  Massage Therapy?

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There are a number of benefits of massage including:

  • The patient’s circulation can be improved.
  • The massage can induce a soothing feeling as the nervous system responds better than any other body system to massage.
  • By stimulating the flow of lymph towards the lymph glands a massage can help eliminate waste and toxic products.
  • A massage can help the digestive process become more efficient as well.
  • The respiration system also responds to massage treatment by stimulating the circulation system.
  • Last but by no means least, massage obviously has many benefits for the muscular system by addressing various muscular conditions and injuries.

 

The following diagram shows a number of specific injuries that can be either treated or rehabilitated with the aid of remedial massage:

Massage has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, if you need or want a massage, you can choose from among 80 massage therapy styles with a wide variety of pressures, movements, and techniques. These all involve pressing, rubbing, or manipulating muscles and other soft tissues with hands and fingers. Sometimes even forearms, elbows, or feet are used.

According to a 2007 American Massage Therapy Association survey, almost a quarter of all adult Americans had at least one massage in the previous year. And, they have a wide range of reasons for doing so. More and more people — especially baby boomers — recognize the health benefits of massage. They choose from among many massage styles to get relief from symptoms or to heal injuries, to help with certain health conditions, and to promote overall wellness.

As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist’s hands. The pains of age, the throbbing from your overstressed muscles, the sheer need to be touched — all cry out for therapeutic hands to start their work. Once the session gets underway, the problems of the world fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.

But what if that hour of massage did more for you than just take the pressures of the day away? What if that gentle, Swedish massage helped you combat cancer? What if bodywork helped you recover from a strained hamstring in half the time? What if your sleep, digestion and mood all improved with massage and bodywork? What if these weren’t just “what ifs”?

Evidence is showing that the more massage you can allow yourself, the better you’ll feel. Here’s why.

Massage as a healing tool has been around for thousands of years in many cultures. Touching is a natural human reaction to pain and stress, and for conveying compassion and support. Think of the last time you bumped your head or had a sore calf. What did you do? Rubbed it, right? The same was true of our earliest ancestors. Healers throughout time and throughout the world have instinctually and independently developed a wide range of therapeutic techniques using touch. Many are still in use today, and with good reason. We now have scientific proof of the benefits of massage – benefits ranging from treating chronic diseases and injuries to alleviating the growing tensions of our modern lifestyles. Having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind – there are specific physiological and psychological changes which occur, even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you.

The Consequences of Stress
Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers your blood pressure, increases circulation, improves recovery from injury, helps you to sleep better and can increase your concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.

Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of living in the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.

What You Already Know: The Benefits of Massage
In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. So what exactly are the benefits to receiving regular massage and/or bodywork treatments?

– Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.

– Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.

– Increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin.

– Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles

– Reduces spasms and cramping

– Increases joint flexibility.

– Reduces recovery time, helps prepare for strenuous workouts and eliminates subsequent pains of the athlete at any level.

– Releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – and is being used in chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain.

– Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.

– Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain.

– Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication.

– Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion.

– Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as less need for medication, less depression and anxiety, and shorter hospital stays.

Other Body Therapies
Alexander Technique – A movement re-education therapy that was created by a mid-19th century actor who tried to understand his own movement dysfunctions on stage. The emphasis is on observing and modifying improper movement patterns, thereby reducing physical stress on the body.

Craniosacral Therapy – A gentle method of manipulating the body’s craniosacral system (consisting of thin membranes and cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord) in an attempt to improve the function of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress and enhance health and resistance to disease.

Reiki – A therapy based on universal life energy that serves to align chakras and bring healing energy to organs and glands. Utilizes visualization as practitioner acts as a channel for the life energy.

Rolfing – Used to reorder the major body segments, this technique utilizes physical manipulation and movement awareness to bring the body into vertical alignment. Treatments are offered in a 10-session series.

Shiatsu – A deep, finger-pressure technique using the traditional acupuncture points of Asian healing. Works to unblock energy flows and restore balance to meridians and organs.

We know a massage feels good, but it can have a host of therapeutic advantages, too.

The newest cure-all may be an ancient one: simple touch. The Chinese have been using massage for all kinds of medical conditions for centuries. Now, Western research is confirming that massage isn’t just for muscle pain. One of the most surprising findings: massage may help premature babies gain weight. When Tiffany Field, a professor of pediatrics, became a new mother, she massaged her premature infant daughter and was so impressed with the results she later founded the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Massage, it turns out, may boost immunity and help people with a range of conditions from premenstrual syndrome to high blood pressure. It also seems to help soothe pain from arthritis, burns and even surgery. Here are five surprising facts about massage from the research findings at TRI and elsewhere that you can put to use:

1. Pick Your Spot: You don’t have to massage the part of the body that hurts most. If you’re shy about letting a friend touch your aching lower back, for instance, she could help by massaging your shoulders instead. This is because massage creates chemical changes that reduce pain and stress throughout the body. One way it does this is by reducing a brain chemical called substance P that is related to pain. In a TRI study, for example, individuals with a form of muscle pain called fibromyalgia showed less substance P in their saliva (and they reported reduced pain) after a month of twice-weekly massages.

2. De-Stress, Stay Healthy. Massage may boost immunity. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol in subjects’ saliva before and after massage sessions, and found dramatic decreases. Cortisol, which is produced when you are stressed, kills cells important for immunity, so when massage reduces your stress levels and hence the cortisol in your body, it may help you avoid getting a cold or another illness while under stress.

3. Blood Pressure Benefits: Massage reduces hypertension, suggests a good deal of research. This may be because it stimulates pressure receptors that prompt action from the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that emerges from the brain. The vagus nerve regulates blood pressure, as well as other functions. In a 2005 study at the University of South Florida, hypertension patients who received 10 massages of 10 minutes each over three weeks showed significant improvements in blood pressure compared to a control group who simply rested in the same environment without any massage.

4. Technique Tactics: There’s little evidence to support one kind of massage over another, says Field, so don’t worry about whether your therapist is schooled in Shiatsu, Swedish or some other technique. The key is pressure firm enough to make a temporary indentation in the skin. If you try massage with a partner, use massage oil, which you can find in a health-food store or pharmacist, but test a little on your skin first to make sure you are not allergic.

5. Self Help. You can massage yourself. Although you don’t have to massage the part of the body that hurts to relieve pain, targeting that area does tend to help more. One example is massaging the arms. If you’re in danger of developing inflamed nerves in your hands or arms from repetitive movements (like typing on a keyboard, or even gripping a steering wheel for hours at a time) try massaging your arms for 15 minutes a day. Stroke from the wrist to the elbow and back down on both sides of the forehand.

Which Massage Styles Are Best?

You may have noticed that different massage styles are popular at different times. And you may have wondered whether each was just part of a passing fad or the latest, greatest massage technique? Even more important is how can you tell whether the latest style will actually help you?

Styles used in massage therapy range from long, smooth strokes to short, percussive strokes. Some massage therapists use oils and lotions; others do not. Most massage therapists have clients unclothe for a massage, but some do not. A massage can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Before you can decide which massage style is best for you, you need to ask yourself a question. Do you simply want a massage for relaxation and stress control? Or do you need symptom relief or help with a certain health condition? Before booking a massage, let the therapist know what you’re looking for and ask which style the therapist uses. Many use more than one style. Or the therapist may customize your massage, depending on your age, condition, or any special needs or goals you have.

What follows is a list of some of the more popular massage therapy styles. The first four are especially popular.

Swedish Massage

The most common type of massage is Swedish massage therapy. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing. And it may even help after an injury.

The four common strokes of Swedish massage are:

  • Effleurage: a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue
  • Petrissage: the squeezing, rolling, or kneading that follows effleurage
  • Friction: deep, circular movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, helping to increase blood flow and break down scar tissue
  • Tapotement: a short, alternating tap done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand

The Need for Touch
As a society, we are touch deprived and this can lead to disease or emotional dysfunction. From the cradle to the nursing home, tactile stimulation and the emotional assurance of caring touch bring about a sense of well-being and security. In numerous studies conducted on massage for infants, TRI researchers have found improved weight gain and development in pre-term infants, improved weight gain and motor behavior in cocaine-exposed infants, and improved weight gain and decreased stress behavior in HIV-exposed infants. Full-term infants also benefit with increased alertness and social behavior, less crying and increased weight gain.

An In-Depth Study of the Positive Effects of Massage Therapy On the Body:

The eleven systems of the body are:  
1. Integumentary System (skin & skin structures)  7. Nervous System  
2. Muscular System  8. Endocrine System (glands)
3. Circulatory System   9. Urinary System
4. Skeletal System  10. Lymphatic and Immune System
5. Digestive System 11. Reproductive System  
6. Respiratory System

Examples of Massage Therapy Effects:

1. Integumentary System (skin and structures derived from it): massage promotes normal oil and sweat gland activity, improving the skin’s role as a protective barrier and in its elimination of waste products.

2. Muscular System: massage decreases the amount of fibrosis and adhesion that develops in muscle tissue after injury or immobilization, such as with a sprain or strain. Fibrosis is the formation of excessive fibrous tissue during tissue repair and adhesion is scar tissue that binds together normally separate tissues.

3. Circulatory System: massage increases local circulation to skin and muscles, clearing stagnate waste products and delivering oxygen and nutrition to tissues. This has the greatest effect on tissue that has impaired circulation, such as with someone with flaccid paralysis.

4. Skeletal System: massage increases circulation to the bones, benefiting their nutritional needs and aiding in their growth and repair. Joint pain as experienced with arthritis can be reduced by circulatory drainage.

5. Digestive System: massage physically assists the movement of solids in the colon, enhancing elimination and combating constipation.

6. Respiratory System: massage increases chest expansion and oxygen intake during inspiration, which is helpful for athletes and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

7. Nervous System:  massage causes stimulation or sedation of the nervous system depending on the technique used. Useful for people that are either sluggish or have insomnia.

8. Endocrine System (glands): massage causes a re-balancing toward normal levels of stress-related hormone (ie. adrenalin).

9. Urinary System: massage promotes the activity of the kidneys, enhancing the removal of waste products and reducing fluid retention.

10. Lymphatic and Immune System: massage promotes the reduction of edema and removal of wastes resulting from edema and inflammation. Improves immune function by reducing stress levels, as stress has been shown to decrease the immune response resulting in susceptibility to illness. Lymph is a fluid derived from body tissues that also contains white blood cells that protect against disease. It circulates through the lymphatic system, eventually returning to the bloodstream. Edema is an accumulation of lymph fluid between tissue spaces due to trauma, obstruction and several other causes.

11. Reproductive System: massage can help alleviate symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) such as decreasing pain and promoting drainage.

 


Psychological/Emotional Effects:

It is well documented that massage is able to reduce anxiety, depression, stress and the hormone levels associated with it, and give the client a sense of well-being. Massage therapy has a positive effect on our mood states. Additionally, therapeutic massage can also bring forth a release of repressed emotions, which is usually part of a gradual process of the client learning to be more aware of areas of themselves that they have disconnected with.


Pain Control: 

Massage is recognized to have a great effect in reducing and managing pain that arises from a variety of sources, such as trauma, post-surgery, headache, fibromyalgia, arthritis and terminal illness. It can address the source of the pain and stop painful nerve firing, it can alter the processing of pain stimuli in the central nervous system (consisting of the brain and spinal cord) and can affect the processing of painful nerve firing by the peripheral nervous system (consisting of the nerves outside the central nervous system).

 

Preventative Measures:

An important and often overlooked benefit of massage therapy is its use as a means to help prevent injury or other conditions from arising. Athletics will be used as an example. Depending on the sport, athletes may continually overuse certain parts of the body that can cause a build up of tension in muscle tissue and microtears of muscle fibres over time. Muscle imbalances can result causing compensation and therefore altered posture and biomechanics (mechanics of a living body). This will all lead to increased stress on the affected joints, ligaments (connect bone to bone), tendons (connect muscle to bone) and muscles, resulting in possible injury. Before injury, an athlete may only feel the symptoms of tight muscles, mild pain or a mild decrease in range of motion in tissue and/or joints, and disregard it only as symptoms of training.

Massage may prevent injury from happening by reducing muscle tension, increasing muscle length and flexibility, and assisting in the removal of metabolic wastes (derived from the chemical processes of cells in the body); therapeutic massage aids in relieving pain and reducing adhesions and fibrosis in injured and healing tissue. This would encourage a more effective and efficient environment for tissue and its surrounding structures to function. 

 

Maintenance:

Another important and often overlooked benefit of massage therapy is its use to assist in increasing and maintaining the health of the body after recovery from an injury or when addressing certain conditions.

An example of how massage is used in the maintenance of our health is as follows. Our homes and vehicles need to be maintained otherwise they start to fall apart or stop working. Our bodies need the same attention we have for anything else in life, if not more. Even though we feel good and have no pain, it does not mean our body no longer requires attention. When symptoms arise, as long as they are not caused by  an acute trauma such as a car accident, usually means that there has been some sort of dysfunction going on for some time. This is our own body’s way of saying “Enough, I have been trying to normalize whatever you have been doing to me but it is just too much to handle. Stop doing what you are doing or change something. Please.” 

Massage can maintain tissue health by increasing its circulation thereby removing wastes, supplying nutrition, increasing drainage and decreasing pain. Therapeutic massage can maintain our general health by decreasing stress and stress related hormones thereby maintaining the function of our immune system and decreasing the chance of stress-imposed diseases and conditions. Massage therapy can maintain tissue health by decreasing the amount of fibrosis and adhesions developed from microtearing, overuse and lack of proper tissue nutrition; it can maintain our health by positively affecting any of our eleven systems. Massage can maintain our health by aiding in the prevention of injuries and resulting conditions. Massage can maintain our health by addressing, on a regular basis, the changes that occur to our body by the everyday stresses we impose on it, thereby allowing us to continue functioning in the most efficient and effective manner.


I am not expressing that, with massage, you’ll never become injured or develop a condition of some sort. What I am attempting to convey is that you only have one body in this lifetime so why not treat it as the most precious thing you own? As well, massage is not the only means of increasing and/or maintaining your health. It is one of many things that you can incorporate in what you feel is important to you and your well-being. As a therapist, massage constitutes only a portion of my treatment content and I understand the importance of always gaining more knowledge and advanced training in other modalities so as to provide the best treatment possible for my valued clients.

Please note that people with conditions that have brought about structural changes to the body, or with presenting pathologies, may only receive symptomatic relief with massage. However, in such cases, even symptomatic relief may make a huge difference in a client’s quality of life. I do not believe that massage “cures” anybody; I believe that massage helps me bring positive changes to my clients’ bodies so that they find themselves in a better position to heal and/or better cope with stresses that are so inflicted.

Hopefully this information has helped you gain a better understanding on what massage can do for you.


 

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A hug has the power to make us feel good, but it also relieves pain, depression and anxiety. Generates positive physiological reactions the giver and the recipient. It increases the desire to live for the sick. It is well known that all four hugs a day are necessary for survival, eight for twelve to stay and grow as people.

Benefits of embracing

Trust:

• It is the result of security and protection we receive.

• The confidence we can advance when questions arise during our personal and professional performance.

• The trust raises our self esteem.

Safety:

• No matter what our age or our position in life, we all need to feel safe.

• If we fail to act inefficiently and our relationships are poor.

Self evaluation:

• When we give or receive a hug honest, with all the essence, this meaning that we are worth enough for someone else.

• He who gives much better for the receiver, since it allows a contact from person to person, much more comprehensive than melee and the same is for the giver.

• In short, a hug that we revalued is given simultaneously, one in which they can not easily distinguish who gives and who receives, as both become one of the inner expression.

Protection:

• The feel protected is important for everyone, but it is more for children and the elderly who depend on the love of those around them.

Strength:

• The energy that emanates from our being is that we place on the person who hugged and it is our inner strength that we exercise it through the embrace becomes more positive projection beings.

Healing:

• The same internal force that developed to convey our positive energy has great therapeutic power to pass through the embrace, being able to alleviate this certain ailments.

To achieve the benefits of a hug is important that there be mutual consent if either party is not ready, either to give or receive, it is best not to try. Respect is fundamental.

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The status of same-sex marriage changes frequently as legislation and legal action takes place around the world. Summarized in this article are the current trends and consensus of political authorities and religions throughout the world.

Civil recognition

The Netherlands in 2001 was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, with the first marriages performed in the Amsterdam city hall on 1 April 2001. Since then, same-sex marriages have been performed legally by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2003 – in some provinces; 2005 – nationally), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010).

In the United States, same-sex marriages are performed in its federal district, the District of Columbia (2010), and in six states: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (for 4 hours in 2007 and from 2009), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), and New York (2011). A 1996 law prevents the U.S. federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, but this law is under challenge in the courts and was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court in Massachusetts. This ruling is currently under a stay, but if the stay is lifted, same-sex marriages in Massachusetts would be afforded both state and federal recognition. If the case is affirmed on appeal, it could be applied regionally in the U.S. or, if affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, nationwide.

In Mexico, same-sex marriages are only performed in Mexico City (2010),but same-sex marriages are legally recognized throughout the country.

Africa

South Africa

In December 2005, in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled unanimously that it was unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from marrying when marriage was permitted for opposite-sex couples, and gave Parliament one year to “correct the defect” in the law. If Parliament did not act, words would be “read in” to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriages. In November 2006 Parliament passed the Civil Union Act, under which same-sex and opposite-sex couples may contract unions. A union under the Civil Union Act may, at the choice of the spouses, be called either a marriage or a civil partnership; whichever name is chosen, the legal effect is identical to that of a traditional marriage under the Marriage Act.

Asia

Nepal

Nepal’s highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights. Based on its recommendation the government will introduce a same-sex marriage bill. Same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities will be included in the new Nepalese constitution currently being drafted.

China

The National People’s Congress, legislature of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), proposed legislation allowing same-sex marriages in 2003. During the course of the debate, the proposal failed to garner the 30 votes needed for a placement on the agenda. Same-sex marriage supporters have vowed to keep pressing for its passage in the PRC.

Hong Kong and Macau

Same sex marriage is not legal in Hong Kong nor Macau. In Hong Kong changes to the Domestic Violence Law in 2009 may pave the way for future changes

Japan

Article 24 of the Japanese constitution states that “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.” The purpose of the clause was to counter previous feudal arrangement where the father or husband was legally recognized as the head of the household. However, the new constitution had the unintended consequence of defining the marriage as union of “both sexes”, i.e. man and women.[citation needed] However, on 27 March 2009, it was reported that Japan has given the green light for its nationals to marry same-sex foreign partners in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, a justice ministry official said. Japan does not allow same-sex marriages domestically and has so far also refused to issue a key document required for citizens to wed overseas if the applicant’s intended spouse was of the same gender. Under the change, the justice ministry has told local authorities to issue the key certificate—which states a person is single and of legal age—for those who want to enter same-sex marriages.

Taiwan

In 2003, the government of the Republic of China, (ROC, Taiwan) led by the Presidential office, proposed legislation granting marriages to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law.[citation needed] However, it faced opposition among cabinet members and has not proceeded. ROC does not have any form of same-sex unions.

South Korea

On 30 July 2004, the Democratic Labor Party of South Korea filed a formal complaint against the Incheon District Court’s decision to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages. The complaint was filed on the grounds that the decision is unconstitutional, because neither the Constitution nor civil law define marriage as being between a man and a woman (the only mentioned requisite is age of majority) and that the Constitution explicitly forbids discrimination “pertaining to all political, economic, social, or cultural aspects of life of an individual.” The Committee also claimed that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation and a refusal to provide equal protection under the law.

Philippines

The New People’s Army of the Philippines conducted the country’s first same-sex marriage in 2005. However it was not recognized by the government. Within the government there has been some debate on the issue of same-sex unions. The Roman Catholic Church stands in fierce opposition to any such unions. But since 1991 the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has been conducting Same Sex Holy Unions in the Philippines. As of 2010, the issue of same-sex marriage is not “under consideration” in the Philippines. The only thing under consideration is a possible ban on same-sex marriage, including refusal to recognize marriages performed overseas. No political party has placed gay rights on its platform aside from Akbayan, a small party with only one representative in Congress.

Cambodia

The King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, announced in 2004 that he supports legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. However, since his proclamation no effort has been made to legislate for them.

In an exceptional case, a marriage between a lesbian couple was legally and religiously solemnized in 1995 in Kandal Province

Israel

Marriages in Israel are performed under the authority of the religious authorities to which the couple belong. For Jewish couples the responsible religious authority is the orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The Rabbinate does not permit same-sex marriages. However, on 21 November 2006 the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that five same-sex Israeli couples who had married in Canada were entitled to have their marriages registered in Israel

Europe

Main article: LGBT rights in Europe

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe

  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to man and woman

Same-sex civil marriages are legally recognized nationwide in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Portugal and Iceland. In a number of other European countries, same-sex civil unions give similar rights to marriage.

A poll conducted by EOS Gallup Europe in 2003 found that 57 percent of the population in the then 15-member European Union support same-sex marriage. The support among the member states who joined in 2004 is lower (around 28 percent), meaning that 53 percent of citizens in the 25-member EU support legalizing same-sex marriage.[13]

Albania

Albania’s government announced its intention the bill allowing same-sex marriage. However, the bill was never presented.

Belgium

On 30 January 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage, with some restrictions[vague].

Czech Republic

On 15 March 2006, the parliament of the Czech Republic voted to override a presidential veto and allow same-sex partnerships to be recognized by law, effective 1 July 2006, granting registered couples inheritance and health care rights similar to married couples. The legislation did not grant adoption rights. The parliament had previously rejected similar legislation four times.[14][15]

France

In May 2004, the largest opposition party in France, the French Socialist Party, announced its support for same-sex marriage. A 2004 poll by ELLE found that 64% of those polled in France supported same-sex marriage and 49% supported adoption by same-sex couples.[16]

Germany

In Germany there is a legal recognition of same-sex couples. Registered life partnerships (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) (effectively, a form of civil union) have been instituted since 2001, giving same-sex couples rights and obligations in areas such as inheritance, health insurance, immigration, name change, and maintenance (alimony and child support). In 2004, this act was amended to include adoption rights (stepchild adoption only) and to reform previously cumbersome dissolution procedures with regard to division of property and alimony.

Later that year, the Social Democratic Party, one of the oldest and largest political parties in Germany, and the Alliance ’90/The Greens (a political party founded in the 1970s, based on progressive social movements in Germany) proposed allowing same-sex marriage.

In June, 2011, the Senate of Hamburg, following CDU/CSU losses in state elections around the country, announced its intention to introduce a same-sex marriage bill in the Bundesrat, the federal representation of the German states.

Greece

Greek law on civil marriage does not explicitly specify that the couple should be a female and a male. In spring 2008, the Minister of Justice announced that a bill was to be introduced to Parliament in order to regulate civil partnerships, but refused to include provisions for same-sex couples in the bill. On 3 June 2008 the mayor of Tilos Island performed two same-sex civil weddings, one of a female and one of a male couple. This created a flurry of reactions, both positive and negative. The chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court declared that the weddings have no basis in law and initiated judicial action against the mayor, the Minister of Justice concurring. Many clerics declared their opposition, but the spokesman of the Primate of the Church of Greece said that people who marry “outside the church … can do what they want”. Most opposition parties declared their support both for same-sex civil marriage or partnership and for the mayor’s actions. The newlyweds indicated that they intend to pursue the matter in the courts and, if not vindicated, to the European Court of Human Rights.

Hungary

Unregistered cohabitation has been recognized since 1996. It applies to any couple living together in an economic and sexual relationship (common-law marriage), including same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together. These rights and benefits are not automatically given – they must be applied for to the social department of the local government in each case. An amendment was made to the Civil Code: “Partners – if not stipulated otherwise by law – are two people living in an emotional and economic community in the same household without being married.” Widow-pension is possible, partners cannot be heirs by law (without the need for a will), but can be designated as testamentary heirs.

The Hungarian Parliament on 21 April 2009 passed legislation by a vote of 199–159, called the Relationship Registory Act 2009 which allows same-sex couples to register their relationships so they can access the same rights, benefits and entitlements as opposite-sex couples (except for the right to marriage, adoption, IVF, surrogacy, taking a surname or become the legal guardian of their partner’s child). The legislation does not allow opposite-sex couples to register their relationships (out of fear that there might be duplication under the law). The law will come into force from 1 July 2009.[17]

Iceland

On 11 June 2010, a law was passed to make same-sex marriage legal in Iceland. The law took effect on 27 June 2010.[18]

Ireland

The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 was first debated in Dáil Éireann on 3 December 2009. It passed in Dáil Éireann without a vote on 1 July 2010 due to all parties supporting the bill. The bill passed in Seanad Éireann on 8 July 2010 with a vote of 48–4. It was signed by the President of Ireland on 19 July 2010.

The law took effect on the 1st January, 2011.[19] It grants many rights to same-sex couples through civil partnerships but does not recognise both civil partners as the guardians of a child being raised by the couple. Irish law allows married couples and individuals to apply to adopt and allows gay couples to foster. The Act also gives new protections to cohabitating couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex. The Irish Government’s forward programme for 2011 to 2016 includes plans to legalise same sex marriage.[20]

Latvia

In December 2005, the Latvian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga signed the amendment shortly afterward, making Latvia the third (after Poland and Lithuania) member state of the European Union to constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.[21]

Netherlands

The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages on 1 April 2001.

Norway

Same-sex marriage is legal in Norway. The Norwegian government proposed a gender-neutral marriage law on 14 March 2008, that would give gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. On 29 May 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian Opposition parties came out in favor of the new bill, assuring the bill’s passage when the vote was held on 11 June. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass. With this, it became almost certain that the bill would pass.[22]

The first hearings and the vote were held, and passed, on 11 June 2008. 84 votes for and 41 against. This also specified that when a woman who is married to another woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination, the partner would have all the rights of parenthood “from the moment of conception” – the law became effective from 1 January 2009.[23]

Norway was also the second country to legalize registered partnerships, doing so in 1993. Since 1 January 2009, all registered partnerships[citation needed] from 1993–2008 were upon request by the couples upgraded to marriage status.

Portugal

On March 2001, the Socialist government of then Prime Minister António Guterres introduced legislation that would extend to same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples living in a de facto union for more than two years. This, effectively provides same-sex couples with the possibility to register their partnership as a Civil Union.

Same-sex marriage has been the source of debate since on February 2006 a lesbian couple were denied a marriage license. They have taken their case to court based on the ban to discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation as stipulated by the 1976 constitution. Prime Minister José Sócrates of the Socialist Party was reelected on September 2009 and included same-sex marriage in his party program. There is now a majority of the left in the Parliament, with all the left parties in favor of same-sex marriage. A bill that recognizes same-sex marriage was proposed by the government and approved by parliament on 8 January 2010.[24] Portugal’s parliament rejected proposals to allow homosexual couples to adopt.[25] The Portuguese President did ratify the bill on 17 May 2010. The law became effective on 5 June 2010, after publication in the official gazette, on 31 May. The first marriage was celebrated on 7 June 2010 between Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão, the same lesbian couple that was denied a marriage licence in 2006.

Slovenia

In July 2006, Slovenia became the first former Yugoslav country to recognize domestic partnerships nationwide.[26] In December 2009 the Slovenian government approved a new Family Code, which includes same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. The bill has been sent to Parliament to vote on the matter.

Spain

Spain became the third country in the world (after the Netherlands and Belgium) to legalize same-sex marriage. After being elected in June 2004, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero restated his pre-election pledge to push for legalization of same-sex marriage.[27] On 1 October 2004, the Spanish Government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, including adoption rights. The bill received full parliamentary approval on 30 June 2005 and passed into law on 2 July, becoming fully legal on 3 July. Polls suggest that 62% to 66% of Spain supports same-sex marriage.[28]

Sweden

Following a bill introduced jointly by six of the seven parties in the Riksdag, a gender-neutral marriage law was adopted on 1 April 2009.[29] It came into force on 1 May, replacing the old legislation on so-called registered partnerships.[30] On 22 October, the assembly of the Church of Sweden (which is no longer officially the national church but whose assent was needed for the new practice to work smoothly within its ranks) voted strongly in favor of giving its blessing.[31]

Turkey

Main article: LGBT rights in Turkey

Although same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Turkey since 1858, there is no recognition of same-sex relationships in Turkey.

United Kingdom

On 18 November 2004 the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005 and allows same-sex couples in England and Wales to register their partnership. The government stressed during the passage of the bill that it is not same-sex marriage, and some gay activists have criticized the act for not using the terminology of marriage. However, the rights and duties of partners under this legislation are exactly the same as for married couples. An amendment proposing similar rights for family members living together was rejected. The press is widely referring to these unions as “gay marriage.”.[32] The UK government are currently consulting on Same-Sex Civil Marriage, but have stated their putative intention to introduce enabling legislation to Parliament.[33]

In Scotland, which is a separate legal jurisdiction, the devolved Scottish Parliament also introduced Civil Partnerships, and is also currently consulting on the issue of same-sex marriage.

North America

North America, from Mexico north

  Same-sex marriage1
  Only foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership1
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized or unknown
  No recognition, issue under consideration
  No recognition, same-sex marriage banned
  No recognition, marriage and civil unions banned

1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.

Canada

In Canada between 2003 and 2005, court rulings in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Yukon ruled the prohibition of same-sex marriage to be contrary to the Charter of Rights, thus legalizing it in those jurisdictions (which covered 90% of the population). In response to these rulings, the governing Liberal party minority government introduced legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. On 20 July 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act, defining marriage nationwide as “the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” This was challenged on 7 December 2006 by a motion tabled by the newly elected Conservative party, asking the government to introduce amendments to the Marriage Act to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples; it was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 175 to 123.

Canada does not have a residency requirement for marriage; consequently, many foreign couples have gone to Canada to marry, regardless of whether that marriage will be recognized in their home country. In fact, in some cases, a Canadian marriage has provided the basis for a challenge to the laws of another country, with cases in Ireland and Israel.

As of 11 November 2004, the Canadian federal government’s immigration department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), considers same-sex marriages performed in Canada valid for the purposes of sponsoring a spouse to immigrate.[34] Canadian immigration authorities previously considered long-term, same-sex relationships to be equivalent to similar heterosexual relationships as grounds for sponsorship.[citation needed]

Mexico

On 9 November 2006, Mexico City’s unicameral Legislative Assembly passed and approved (43–17) a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions, under the name Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (Law for Co-existence Partnerships), which became effective in 16 March 2007.[35] The law recognizes property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples. On 11 January 2007, the northern state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, passed a similar bill (20–13), under the name Pacto Civil de Solidaridad (Civil Pact of Solidarity).[36] Unlike Mexico City’s law, once same-sex couples have registered in Coahuila, the state protects their rights no matter where they live in the country.[36] Twenty days after the law had passed, the country’s first same-sex civil union took place in Saltillo, Coahuila.[37]

On 21 December 2009, Mexico City’s Legislative Assembly legalized (39–20) same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples.[38] Eight days later, the law was enacted and became effective in March 2010.[39] In January 2010, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, a same-sex marriage bill has been proposed.[40] In southeastern Tabasco, the state’s largest political parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have announced their support for same-sex marriage in the 2010 agenda.[41] In the western state of Michoacán, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has announced it will propose bills concerning civil unions, same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in 2010.[42] In neighboring Colima, governor Mario Anguiano Moreno has agreed to discuss the legalization of civil unions and adoption by same-sex couples.[43]

Costa Rica

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5–2 decision that it was not required by the constitution to recognize same-sex couples in family law.[44] Legal recognition of same-sex unions has been considered by the Legislative Assembly.[45]

United States

Wikinews has related news: Interview with gay marriage movement founder Evan Wolfson

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in the United States

  Same-sex marriage1
  Unions granting rights similar to marriage1,2
  Legislation granting limited/enumerated rights1
  Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere recognized1
  No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions
  Statute bans same-sex marriage
  Constitution bans same-sex marriage2
  Constitution bans same-sex marriage and some or all other kinds of same-sex unions

1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Same-sex marriage laws in California are complicated; please see the article on same-sex marriage in California.

Marriage laws in the United States are governed by the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Consequently, recognition of same-sex marriages differs from state to state. As of February 2012, 42% of Americans currently live in 21 states with various forms of legal same-sex partnerships (full marriage, civil union or domestic partnership). The other 29 states have either banned such recognitions by law, by their state constitution, or by both. This number changes year to year, however. In 2012, for instance, lawmakers, judges, and voters in 16 states will decide to allow, or ban, various forms of marriage equality. [46]

Six U.S. states and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) now perform legal same-sex marriages: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington D.C. (2010), and New York (2011). Two additional states have passed laws allowing for legal same-sex marriage, but are not yet enforced. The legislature of Washington State legalized same-sex marriage in February 2012, but the law will not go into effect for several months. If opponents can gather sufficient petition signatures by June, the outcome will be decided by a referendum at the November 2012 election.[47] Similarly, the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate passed legislation that is currently in front of the Governor, who has stated it will be signed into law. This too will be stayed pending signature collection for a voter referendum in November. [48]

In 2005, California became the first state to pass a bill authorizing same-sex marriages without a court order, but this bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2008, the Supreme Court of California overturned a law banning same-sex marriages that had been passed by a voter initiative in 2000 (Proposition 22).[49] The legal effect of the court ruling was curtailed by another voter initiative called Proposition 8 later that year.[50] Proposition 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2009, holding that same-sex couples have all the rights of heterosexual couples, except the right to the “designation” of marriage.[51] But the court also ruled that marriages performed after its 2008 decision and before the passage of Proposition 8 remained legally valid. Attempts to overturn Proposition 8 by another voter initiative immediately followed the court’s ruling.

The case was eventually appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On February 7, 2012, in a 2–1 decision, the court affirmed Judge Walker’s decision declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional (see Prop 8 Ruling).[52] The panel continued a stay on the ruling, however, barring any marriages from taking place pending further appeals.[53]. On February 22, the case was appealed to the 9th circuit again to have a full hearing on the matter.

Federal recognition

Although marriage laws are the province of state law in the U.S., after the Hawaii State Supreme Court became the first U.S. state supreme court to rule that the denial of marriage to same-sex couples was discriminatory in 1993, the U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. (Hawaii passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 that allowed the legislature to overturn the court’s 1993 decision.)

DOMA defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and its purpose was to enable states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.[54] During his political campaign, President Barack Obama vowed to overturn DOMA, and gay-rights groups have pressured Obama to come through on his promise. Because of DOMA, same-sex couples who marry in states that grant legal recognition are denied federal rights that attach to marriage, such as the right to petition a spouse to immigrate to the U.S.

On 3 March 2009, GLAD filed a suit challenging DOMA in Federal District Court in Boston, Massachusetts on behalf of eight married couples and three surviving spouses from Massachusetts who have been denied federal legal protections available to spouses.[55][56][57] On 9 March 2009, Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer filed a lawsuit challenging both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional under U.S. federal law in Federal District Court in Santa Ana, California.[58]

On 8 July 2010, Judge Joseph Tauro of the District Court of Massachusetts held that the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married Massachusetts same-sex couples under the DOMA is unconstitutional, under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[1][2] This ruling is currently under a stay, but would affect residents residing within the federal district that covers Massachusetts if the stay is lifted. If this decision is appealed and affirmed, the ruling could apply elsewhere in the U.S. For now, no act or agency of the federal government—except within the state of Massachusetts if the stay is lifted—may recognize same-sex marriage. The federal court case on California’s Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, could also have an effect on DOMA.[59]

On 23 February 2011, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and President Obama instructed the Justice Department to do the same. The decision was made in response to two court challenges that were filed in a judicial jurisdiction with no established precedent for evaluating claims of discrimination against gay people.

Legal recognition of same-sex unions without marriage

Several other states offer alternative legal certifications that recognize same-sex relationships. Before states enacted these laws, U.S. cities began offering recognition of these unions. These laws bestow marriage-like rights to these couples, and are referred to as civil unions, domestic partnerships, or reciprocal beneficiaries depending on the state. The extent to which these unions resemble marriage varies by state and several states have enhanced the rights afforded to them over time. The U.S. jurisdictions that use these forms of same-sex union recognition instead of marriage are: Hawaii (1997), California (1999), Maine (2004), New Jersey (2007), Washington (2007), Oregon (2008), Maryland (2008), Colorado (2009), Wisconsin (2009), Nevada (2009), Illinois (2011), Rhode Island (2011), and Delaware (2012).

States with constitutional or statutory bans on same-sex marriage or union recognition

Constitutional amendments in 29 states explicitly bar the recognition of same-sex marriages,[60] and 18 of these states prohibit the legal recognition of any same-sex union. Another 14 states have legal statutes that define “marriage” as a union of two persons of the opposite sex.

An attempt to ban same-sex marriages and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico failed in 2008. Puerto Rico already banned same-sex marriage by statute.[61]

States with neither bans on same-sex marriage nor legal recognition

There are two states that have no explicit bans against same-sex marriages nor laws that enable their legal recognition:

  • Maryland: A full marriage equality bill passed the House of Delegates and Senate in early February 2012, and is expected to be signed by Governor O’Malley. this law will not go into effect until voters have a change to collect enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.
Coquille

In 2008, the Native American Coquille Nation passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage; it is believed to be the first tribal nation to do so.[62] Although the Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit such marriages, the Coquille are not bound by the Oregon Constitution, because they are a federally recognized sovereign nation.[63]

Cherokee

After a Cherokee lesbian couple applied for a marriage license, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council unanimously approved a Constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The couple appealed to the judicial court on grounds that their union predated the amendment, and on 22 December 2005 the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation dismissed an injunction against the lesbian couple filed by members of the Tribal Council to stop the marriage.[64] The couple would still need to file the marriage certificate for the marriage to become legal.

Oceania

Australia

Status of same-sex unions in Australia.

  Same-sex marriage
  Same-sex civil partnerships or relationship registers
  Domestic partnership agreement
  Defined statewide as “de facto”

Since August 2004, same-sex marriage became banned under an amended federal law Marriage Act 1961 (Amendment) Act 2004 so that neither a foreign same-sex marriage can be performed or recognised in the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961. This effectively banned same-sex marriage in Australia. The law, which prior to 2004, had not defined marriage specifically, appropriated marriage as the “voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” In 1874 under the Hyde vs. Hyde case marriage was defined in the common law as a “voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” Neither Civil partnerships nor civil unions are recognised by the Commonwealth Government, either. The Federal Opposition, namely the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Mark Latham, joined with the Government to support the ban, amid strong objection from the Australian Democrats and The Greens. It was passed on 13 August 2004 as effective from the day of assent. In June 2009, polling showed that 60 percent of Australians support same-gender marriage (Galaxy).

The states and territories of New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have civil partnerships or relationship registration schemes that are available for all couples. These state-level registered relationships are recognised on both the state and Commonwealth Government levels. Local governments such as Sydney, Melbourne and Yarra also provide relationship registers for symbolic recognition, but these do not provide any legal rights. Furthermore, all states and the Commonwealth Government provide recognition to same-sex couples (and unmarried opposite-sex couples) as “de facto” couples, providing them with most of the rights of married couples.

However, in 2011, Labor voted 218 to 184 in favor of same-sex marriage on a conscience vote. If passed, it would legalise same sex marriage in Australia.[65]

New Zealand

In New Zealand civil unions, which impart all of the same rights and privileges as marriage, are allowed (except for adoption).[citation needed]

South America

South America

  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unrecognized or unknown
  No recognition, issue under consideration
  No recognition, same-sex marriage officially banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Argentina

On 22 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriage. The law also allows same-sex couples to adopt.[66]

Brazil

The Supremo Tribunal Federal ruled in May 2011 that civil unions are legal. Legally, same-sex couples can currently have registered partneships and full rights to adopt children.

On October 25, 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Court of Justice has ruled that two women can legally be married. It’s the highest court in Brazil to uphold a gay marriage. It overturned two lower court’s ruling against the women. [67]

Colombia

The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in February 2007 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same inheritance rights as heterosexuals in common-law marriages. This ruling made Colombia the first South American nation to legally recognize gay couples. Furthermore, in January 2009, the Court ruled that same-sex couples must be extended all of the rights offered to cohabitating heterosexual couples.[68]

Ecuador

The Ecuadorian new constitution has made Ecuador stand out in the region. Ecuador has become the first country in South America where same sex civil union couples are legally recognized as a family and share all the same rights of married heterosexual couples (except for adoption).[citation needed]

Uruguay

Uruguay became the first country in South America to allow civil unions (for both opposite sex and same-sex couples) in a national platform on 1 January 2008.

Children can be adopted by same-sex couples since 2009.[69][70]

Religious recognition

The religious status of same-sex marriage has been changing since the late 20th century and varies greatly. Reformed traditions in mainly Protestant (Liberal Christian denominations and Unitarian churches) and Reformed Jewish societies tend to be more receptive to the idea than orthodox or conservative ones (Catholic), but many others, particularly some Protestant churches are deeply divided over the issue.

Recognized

Many religious institutions that do recognize same-sex marriage avoid using the terms “marriages” or “weddings”, and instead call them “blessings” or “unions.” How and to what degree these institution embrace the idea varies, often by congregation. These institutions have recognized same-sex marriage or encourage it in their congregations in some fashion, either simply as marriage or some kind blessing or union:

Christianity

The following denominations accept same-sex unions to some degree:

  • Anglican
    • The Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia (which includes Greater Vancouver) decided to allow the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002. In response bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America representing more than one-third of the Anglican Communion cut their relations with the diocese.
    • As of June 2011, 8 of the 29 Dioceses have the discretion to bless same-gender civil marriages in consultation with the bishop.
    • The Old Catholic Church of Germany blesses same sex unions
  • The Episcopal Church (United States) blesses same-sex unions[71]
  • British Quakers, some American Quaker meetings (see Homosexuality and Quakerism). (1987)
  • Lutheran(Europe)
    • In the Netherlands and Switzerland the reformed church allows blessings of married same-sex couples.
    • The Danish Church of Argentina marries same-sex couples.
    • In Germany some Lutheran and reformed churches in the EKD permit their priests also blessings of same-sex couples.
    • On 22 October 2009, the governing board of the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden voted 176–62[72] in favour of allowing its priests to wed same-sex couples in new gender-neutral church ceremonies, including the use of the term marriage.[31][73] Same-sex marriages in the church will be available starting 1 November 2009.[74]
  • Metropolitan Community Church perform same-sex marriages,
  • United Church of Canada variously bless same-sex unions or allow same-sex marriages in the church—several Canadian religious groups joined in an interfaith coalition in support of equal marriage rights, and issued a joint statement: http://www.religious-coalition.org/
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (2009) – During its 2009 Churchwide Assembly the ELCA passed a resolution by a vote of 619-402 reading “Resolved, that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”[75]
  • United Church of Christ (2005) – the specifics of the resolution did not change any church’s religious marriage policies, but urged UCC congregations to advocate for civil marriage equality. In keeping with the polity of that denomination, doctrinal matters like wedding policies remain under the authority of each local congregation.

Judaism

Rabbis will also perform blessings of same sex relationships where one partner is Jewish and the other is not so long as a (legal) Civil Partnership is in force for the couple.

Other

Debated or divided

In many religious traditions, the adherents are deeply divided over the issue, often alongside other contentious issues, such as having women in leadership positions or legalizing abortions. The institutions within the following traditions are either debating the issue or have policies that vary according to congregation:

Christianity

  • Baptists, other than the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Presbyterians – PC(USA), not the more conservative PCA, OPC, ARP, EPC and others

Judaism

Hinduism

  • Individual interpretation

Not recognized

The religious traditions or institutions that do not recognize same-sex marriage tend to view homosexuality as immoral. These traditions or institutions do not recognize same-sex unions in any form or in any congregation:

Christianity

Judaism

Others

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