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Archive for May 22nd, 2012

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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So Cute

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Chief Justice Renato Corona “compounded insult with injury” when he signed a conditional waiver opening up his accounts and assets to scrutiny, and then walked out of the impeachment proceedings before he could be cross-examined, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda blasted Corona for his actions in the Senate despite being allowed to give a lengthy opening statement in the impeachment trial.

He said that instead of making the most of his day in court, Corona squandered the opportunity by resorting to the same arguments used by people who want to remove President Aquino from office.

He said the issuance of the conditional waiver and Corona’s subsequent walkout led to an unprecedented lockdown in the Senate, in order to assert its authority and the dignity of the court.

“Never has there been a more blatant attempt to manipulate a duly constituted court. Never has there been such an obvious attempt to stage-manage judicial proceedings,’ he said.

“It does not help Mr. Corona that that after having been given the highest consideration by the Senate, after giving his side he tried to leave the proceedings, as if to say he is the only one who should be heard,” he added.

During his opening statement, Corona admitted that he owned 4 dollar accounts instead of the 82 accounts alleged by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

He then signed a waiver allowing all banks to open his peso and dollar accounts. He also allowed government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Securities and Exchange Commission and Land Registration Authority to reveal all assets under his name.

However, the chief magistrate refused to turn over the waiver until all 188 impeachment complainants and Sen. Franklin Drilon sign a similar waiver.

“If any of you should choose to decline, I regret that there is no point in my waiver because it will only allow the completion for the persecution I have suffered. I am no thief. I am no criminal. I have done no wrong. But honorable senators, I am also no fool. I pray that these gentlemen will accept my invitation,” he added.

“Otherwise I stand by my actions as being completely founded on the law itself. Isusumite ko po ang aking waiver sa kinauukulan kapag kumpleto na ang 189 waivers. Kuing hindi sila papayag sa hamong ito, bibgyan ko po nang direktiba ang aking defense penal na i-rest na ang aking defense tutal wala naman silang napatunayang paratang sa akin.”

He maintained that he never disclosed his dollar deposits in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) because the Foreign Currency Deposit Act states that all foreign currency accounts are absolutely confidential in nature.

Lacierda said Corona was using an ordinary law to justify the non-disclosure of his dollar deposits when Article XI Sec. 17 of the Constitution requires disclosure of assets.

“Mr. Corona, however, proposes that an ordinary law, RA 6426 holds supreme over the Constitution’s requirements. But first and foremost, it is about accountability: about the character and behavior of the head of a branch of government of whose members none but the highest ethical standards are required at all times,” he said.

The President’s spokesman said impeachment is the instrument for determining if a high official otherwise guaranteed a fixed term, can and should be dismissed as a danger to the state or unworthy of high office.

He said: “As the Senate ponders the testimony of Mr. Corona, one thing is sure: all dangerous avenues that may lead to questioning the Senate and the conduct of its proceedings, have been closed, by Mr. Corona asking for, and being given, this unprecedented opportunity to speak his mind – and disclose his cavalier attitude to our institutions, the law and the truth.”

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Impeachment court Presiding Judge Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday warned Chief Justice Renato Corona that senator-judges will decide his case without his opening statement if he does not return on Wednesday.

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Controversial pop star Lady Gaga arrived in the Philippines Saturday night, amidst calls to ban her from staging a concert in the country.

Lady Gaga, who was on board a private plane, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 7:30 p.m.

She posed for pictures and greeted her fans at the airport before heading to her Makati hotel.

She is scheduled for a two-night concert at SM Arena in Pasay City on May 21 and 22 as part of her “Born This Way Ball” tour.

Lady Gaga, known for her provocative style, is a Grammy award-winning artist behind the mainstream hit songs “Poker Face,” “Paparazzi,” and “Born This Way.”

Not gaga over concert

Several religious groups have expressed their resentment over the scheduled performance of Lady Gaga, whose antics they believe are making a mockery of Christianity.

Members of evangelical group Biblemode Youth marched along Roxas Blvd. on Saturday to go to the venue for the singer’s upcoming concert but were stopped by police.

Instead, members of the group held a mini-program and distributed religious pamphlets to policemen.

“’Yung isang kanta ‘yung ‘Born This Way,’ it’s also telling the young people na you can do anything you want anyway you are born this way. It is not only immoral, it is a blasphemy. The Lord Jesus Christ is being maligned here and mocked,” said former Manila congressman and Pastor Benny Abante Jr. of the Metropolitan Baptist Church.

The evangelical group believes that the pop singer is a bad influence to the youth.

“Ayaw namin ‘yung message niya,” said one of the protesters.

The group will hold a vigil on Sunday night, ahead of Lady Gaga’s concert on Monday.

The city government of Pasay, meanwhile, has warned Lady Gaga to refrain from “nudity, lewd conduct and blasphemy” at the Manila leg of her Asian tour.

Authorities said inspectors will be at the venue to ensure that she does not violate Article 201 Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.

Under the code, those found in violation of “offending any race or religion” may face a penalty of P6,000-P12,000 and/or imprisonment.

Protesters have already filed a petition before the Office of the Mayor of Pasay seeking to revoke the concert permit.

The singer has also faced opposition in other Asian countries, including Indonesia where she was refused a permit to perform amid threats from Islamic hardliners.

‘Not anti-Christ’

Lady Gaga has been tagged by some as “anti-Christ” for the lyrics and music video of her song “Judas,” wherein she portrayed Mary Magdalene.

Lady Gaga as Mary Magdalene in “Judas”

Ovation Productions Inc., the concert’s promoter in Manila, has dismissed allegations that Lady Gaga is “anti-Christ.”

“Wala naman ‘yan eh. Why do they say Lady Gaga is evil? Kasi she was shown riding a motorcycle tapos ang nagda-drive may thorns on his head? Pero OK lang manood ng vampire movies tapos ‘yung mga music videos na very heavy on sex?” said Renen de Guia.

In a statement, SM said they have asked the producers to make the event entertaining, fun and controversy-free.

“As a responsible venue provider, we have requested the production company to make the presentation entertaining, fun and stir away from controversial songs,” the statement said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it is leaving it up to parents to decide if they will let their children watch the concert. — Reports from Pia Gutierrez and Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News; ANC; Agence France-Presse

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