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Chile's President Bachelet sends gay marriage bill to Congress | Reuters
Same-sex marriage , also known as gay marriage , is the marriage of two people of the same sex or gender , entered into in a civil or religious ceremony. There are records of same-sex marriage dating back to the first century. In the modern era, marriage equality was first granted to same-sex couples in the Netherlands on 1 April As of , same-sex marriage is legally performed and recognized in 29 countries nationwide or in some jurisdictions :. The introduction of same-sex marriage also called marriage equality has varied by jurisdiction, and came about through legislative change to marriage law , court rulings based on constitutional guarantees of equality, recognition that it is allowed by existing marriage law,  or by direct popular vote via referendums and initiatives.
Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country , the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others.
Although same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private was decriminalized in ,  homosexuality is disapproved of by most Russians, and same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. There are currently no separate laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in Russia. Transgender people are allowed to change their legal gender following sex reassignment surgery ; however, there are currently no laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression, and recent laws could discriminate against transgender residents. Homosexuality has been declassified as a mental illness since , and although gay and lesbian individuals are legally allowed to serve openly in the military, there is a de facto " Don't ask, don't tell " policy. Russia has long held strongly negative views regarding homosexuality, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Russians are against the acceptance of homosexuality and have shown support for laws discriminating against homosexuals.