The Year in Review: Marriage, Family, and Sexuality News

A comprehensive look at the key developments and controversies in 2023

As we bid farewell to another eventful year, it’s time to reflect on the significant events and debates that shaped the landscape of marriage, family, and sexuality in 2023. From the ongoing struggle for transgender rights to the fractures within religious denominations over issues of homosexuality, this year brought forth a range of complex and contentious issues. In this article, we will explore the major headlines and delve into the implications of these developments on society at large.

More states say no to transgender treatments for kids

In a significant shift, 20 states passed laws in 2023 aimed at protecting children from cross-sex hormone treatments and surgeries. Despite facing protests and legal challenges, the majority of these measures remained intact. However, a judge overturned a 2021 Arkansas law, leaving youth in that state without these protections. Meanwhile, lawsuits are pending against similar measures in four other states, and four states have had their laws temporarily blocked by judges. This ongoing battle highlights the deep divisions and legal complexities surrounding transgender rights and the treatment of minors.

Methodists, but no longer united

The United Methodist Church experienced a seismic split this year, with over 5,000 congregations leaving the denomination due to disagreements over homosexuality, sexual ethics, and Biblical fidelity. This mass exodus, representing a quarter of the denomination, has prompted UMC officials to plan historic budget cuts. While most breakaway congregations have joined the Global Methodist Church, a new conservative denomination, others have chosen independence or smaller denominations. The UMC’s struggle to reconcile differing views on homosexuality underscores the challenges faced by religious institutions grappling with evolving societal norms.

Is the Vatican shifting on same-sex marriage?

The Roman Catholic Church, known for its traditional stance on homosexuality, witnessed signs of a potential shift in 2023. Pope Francis made several statements that suggested a changing perspective within the Church. He condemned the criminalization of same-sex activity, acknowledging that homosexuality should not be a crime. Additionally, the pope allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, clarifying that such blessings do not constitute wedding ceremonies. Similarly, the Church of England altered its policy, permitting bishops to hold services, though not weddings, for same-sex couples. These developments indicate a nuanced and evolving approach to LGBTQ+ issues within religious institutions.

Drag queens and public libraries

The issue of drag queens reading to children at public libraries gained attention in state legislatures this year. Tennessee became the first state to protect children from viewing public drag performances, followed by Montana. Subsequently, Arkansas, North Dakota, Florida, and Texas passed bans on minors attending adult-oriented or sexually oriented performances, which some argue includes any performance done in drag. While these laws faced legal challenges, with temporary blocks in Florida and Montana and permanent strikes in Tennessee and Texas, the debate surrounding the appropriate exposure of children to adult-oriented content continues.

Marriage rate bounces back

In September, a report revealed that the marriage rate in the United States had returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, while the divorce rate remained close to historic lows. However, a Pew Research Center survey released in June highlighted a growing trend of more 40-year-old Americans remaining unmarried. This suggests that while Americans are waiting longer to marry, those who do eventually tie the knot are more committed to their unions. These contrasting trends reflect the evolving dynamics of relationships and the changing social landscape.


As we reflect on the major news stories surrounding marriage, family, and sexuality in 2023, it becomes clear that these issues continue to shape and challenge societal norms. From the battles over transgender rights to the fractures within religious institutions and the shifting perspectives on same-sex marriage, the year was marked by complexity and controversy. These debates highlight the ongoing struggle to reconcile deeply held beliefs with the changing attitudes and expectations of a diverse and evolving world. As we move into the new year, it is crucial to engage in open and respectful dialogue to foster understanding and compassion in the face of these complex issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *