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Dear Sir/ Madam:

Greetings from Cuyo Island Palawan!

We, the current PSU – Cuyo Graduate Class 2012 – 2013 have come up with various resolutions and advocates relating to good Public Governance. One is to conduct a “Medical Mission” for a target people this December 19, 2012 (tentative date) or by January 2013.

Regarding this, we are appealing to your foundation, offices and organization. Can you help us on these, as we target about 200 general check ups not to include circumcision, eye consultation and dental services.

We need a Medicine Donation for the mission.

Thank you, God bless and more power.

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Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation regalia, 2 June 1953

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is a multinational celebration throughout 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. She is today queen regnant of 16 sovereign states, 12 of which were British colonies or Dominions at the start of her reign.

Queen Victoria in 1897 is the only other monarch in the histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other Commonwealth realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. Following the tradition of jubilees past, a Diamond Jubilee medal is being awarded in various countries and holidays and events will be held throughout the Commonwealth. Plans were discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011.

Commonwealth-wide and beyond

In February 2012, a senior adviser was quoted as saying the Queen set two guidelines for the planning of her jubilee: the use of public funds should be minimized, and people should not “be forced to celebrate”

In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship, and good neighborliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.

Elizabeth II, 2012
At the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which was officially launched in the UK on 6 February 2012. Chaired by former British prime minister Sir John Major, the trust is intended to support charitable organizations and projects across the Commonwealth of Nations, focusing on areas such as cures for diseases and the promotion of all types of culture and education. In early 2012, Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard announced the Australian Crown-in-Council would make an A$5.4 million contribution to the Diamond Jubilee Trust. The New Zealand Crown-in-Council later made a $1 million donation to the fund. The Canadian government announced in April that former prime minister Jean Chrétien would be Canada’s representative to the trust.
The first major event of the jubilee celebrations was the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, also branded The World Comes to Windsor, a cavalcade held at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen’s visits to and tours of over 250 countries and her passion for horses. The show, which featured 550 horses and 1,100 performers from around the world, was performed on the evenings of 10, 11, 12 and 13 May, after the daytime events of the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show had taken place. The Queen attended the final night. Google displayed a Google Doodle for the Diamond Jubilee featuring the Queen’s profile, corgis, and diamonds. Top Trumps honoured the event with the release of a Queen’s Jubilee Top Trumps mobile application, creating a game out of all of “one’s favorite things”.

On 18 May, the Queen hosted an informal lunch at Windsor Castle for more than twenty current or former monarchs from other countries. In the evening of the same day, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall hosted a dinner which most of the monarchs also attended, although the Queen herself was not present. Criticism was directed at the presence of the King of Bahrain at the lunch, because of alleged repression of protests against the government of Bahrain in that country in 2011. Protesters against the King assembled outside Buckingham Palace during the dinner, although he did not attend that event.

Armed Forces

On 19 May 2012, The Queen attended the Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade and Muster at Windsor Castle. The parade featured 2600 Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force soliders, sailors and airmen. This was followed by a Drum Head Service and a Royal Air Force fly past.

A Royal Navy Spit head Fleet Review was not held, nor was a separate Army or RAF review as was done for the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; and Prince Harry aboard the MS Spirit of Chartwell during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
The Royal Barge Gloriana
The River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was held on 3 June; a maritime parade of 1,000 boats from around the Commonwealth — the largest flotilla seen on the river in 350 years — together with other celebrations along the river banks. Heavy rain started during the event, and the commemorative air force flyover at the end was cancelled due to very low cloud base and bad visibility at ground level. The event was attended by various governors-general from the Commonwealth realms other than the UK.
The night after the Thames River Pageant, Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, fell ill with a bladder infection and was hospitalised. This meant that he would be unable to attend the remainder of the Jubilee events.

Members of the Royal Family, governors-general, and prime ministers from the Commonwealth realms attended various events on 4 and 5 June: A reception was held at Buckingham Palace before the Diamond Jubilee Concert; a service of thanksgiving took place the following day at St. Paul’s Cathedral, also attended by 2,000 other guests; a reception was held at London’s Guildhall; and a luncheon took place at Lancaster House, hosted by the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Another reception solely for governors-general was held by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The lighting of thousands of beacons across the Commonwealth took place on 4 June. The number of beacons was originally set at 2,012; by the closing date for registrations, approximately 4,000 had been submitted in the United Kingdom alone. The first beacon of the Jubilee was lit on the grounds of Apifo’ou College in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, by Tongan girl scouts and boy scouts using coconut sheath torches. Other nations including Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, and several Caribbean states took part in the beacon lighting. The world’s most remote beacon was lit in Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic, using invasive, non-native plants to fuel the fire. In the United Kingdom, British servicemen and women wounded in battle and individuals representing charities will carry beacons to the summits of the UK’s four highest peaks. One beacon was lit at Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park in Kenya, where the Queen was at the moment of her accession to the throne. The Queen lit the beacon outside Buckingham Palace at 10:30 pm, by inserting a large, specially made, diamond-cut crystal into a receptacle. The lighting proceeded until the final beacon was lit in Canada eight hours later.

Commonwealth Realms

Australia

Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General of Australia, announced that the Diamond Jubilee would be celebrated “with a host of national and community events throughout the Commonwealth.” In that vein, it was said in late 2011 that the government of Queensland was planning to declare a holiday in June 2012 to mark the jubilee and that Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, would tour the country.

A detachment of the New South Wales Mounted Police represented Australia at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant held at Windsor.

The Prince of Wales attended a Jubilee reception for all living Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients in London in which he welcomed new Australian member Corporal Ben Roberts Smith VC to the celebrations.

During the central Jubilee weekend in London, the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce was present at the Saint Paul’s Cathedral thanksgiving service. The Governor-General also attended a dinner hosted by the Queen at Buckingham House for all Commonwealth Governors- General.

The Royal Australian Mint announced in August 2011 that it would be releasing a silver proof 50-cent coin to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

A special ecumenical service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne was conducted in St James’ Church, Sydney. The invited preacher was Cardinal George Pell and the Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir, was the guest of honour.

The Anglican Church of Australia held a service of Prayer and Thanksgiving to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane on the 20th of May 2012. The service was welcomed by Phillip Aspinall, Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane and the Homily was given by Mark Coleridge, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane. The guest of honour was the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley, and Ian Walker, MP represented the Government of Queensland.

Paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia in the Australian House of Representatives in Canberra on 6 February 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated the Queen was a revered figure in Australia. Gillard also announced that she would on 4 June light a beacon atop Parliament House and a street in the parliamentary triangle in Canberra would be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace. Meanwhile, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced on 28 May that a new waterfront development in Perth would be named Elizabeth Quay in her honour. By coincidence the Jubilee Weekend coincided with the inaugural Western Australia Day Public Holiday in Western Australia.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will tour Australia on behalf of the Queen in November

Bahamas

Prince Harry toured The Bahamas. There, he attended a reception for youth leaders and met with Governor-General of the Bahamas Sir Arthur Foulkes. The Prince attended an outdoor ceremony where children’s schools, clubs, and associations presented themselves and delivered a speech at Government House,where he stated “I stand before you with a deep sense of pride at being asked to convey to you a message of good wishes from The Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.” He also took part in maritime exercises organized by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and toured Harbour Island.

Barbados

The Parliament of Barbados, where the Earl of Wessex read to a joint sitting of the legislature a message from Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, on 23 February 2012, to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee

To mark Elizabeth II’s 60 years as Barbados’ monarch — as Queen of the United Kingdom between 1952 and 1966 and as Queen of Barbados thereafter — the country hosted the Earl and Countess of Wessex between 23 and 24 February. The tour began with Their Royal Highnesses arriving, aboard RFA Fort Rosalie, at the Deep Water Harbour of Bridgetown. At the port, Barbadian military personnel were given inspection. The Earl read to a joint sitting of the Parliament of Barbados a written message from the Queen, in which the monarch stated she has taken note of the level of development Barbados had achieved during its 45 years of independence and called the country a model small state for others around the world. Parliamentary officials responded with thanks to the Queen for her service to the country and Barbadians and invited her to the island to celebrate the 375th anniversary of the Barbadian parliament in 2014. The royal couple opened an exhibit at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and an official state dinner and reception was held at Government House in the evening.

The following day, the Countess visited the Albert C. Graham Children’s Development Centre at Ladymeade Gardens, while the Earl presented eight Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Awards to Barbadian youth at a dedication ceremony. Directly following, the couple travelled together to a ceremony to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, where a plaque was unveiled at the Kensington Oval cricket stadium. Other events included Their Royal Highnesses lunching with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at his residence, Ilaro Court, and touring several areas of Bridgetown that were added to UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sites in 2011.

As in other Commonwealth realms, a set of commemorative Diamond Jubilee stamps were released by the Barbados Postal Service.An ecumenical thanksgiving service will also be held at the St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown on 3 June and a beacon lighting will take place at the Garrison Savannah the following day, where an official Trooping of the Colour will be performed by the Barbados Defence Force and military tattoo performed by the Royal Barbados Police Force. Members of the Barbados Boys Scout Association with high honours were chosen to aid in the actual beacon lighting.

Belize

In Belize, the Governor-Generalin-Council and the Belize Tourism Board organised a tour of the country by Prince Harry, between 2 and 3 March 2012, as part of the country’s celebrations of Elizabeth II’s 60th year as monarch of Belize, first as Queen of the United Kingdom and then, after 1981, as Queen of Belize. Harry visited Belmopan and San Ignacio and ceremonies and events had less emphasis on state protocol. In the capital, Harry unveiled a series of commemorative stamps issued by the Belize Postal Service,[56] attended the city’s street festival, and dedicated a street as Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard, where he delivered a speech on the sovereign’s behalf. The following day, the Prince journeyed to the OAS Adjacency Zone on the Belize-Guatemala border, where he participated in a cultural programme and toured an immigration facility. He also visited Xunantunich and there met children involved with the Belize Special Olympics Programme and presented a canoe to the Ruta Maya Organization in commemoration of the diamond jubilee. Harry further visited the Price Barracks, where he met members of the Belize Coast Guard Service and Belize Defence Force and laid a wreath at the monument to British soldiers killed while on service in Belize.

Canada

Planning

Forethought about the anniversary began as early as April 2007, when then-Secretary of State for Canadian Heritage (now Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) Jason Kenney requested that the various lieutenant governors begin preparations for the jubilee. Three years later, the question of a national holiday to mark the jubilee was raised in the media and a series of official announcements were made by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, one being that a new painted portrait of the Queen, the first since 1976, would be completed by an Ontario artist by 2012.

The official emblem of the Queen of Canada‘s Diamond Jubilee

The Secretary to the Queen, Kevin S. MacLeod, was charged by the Governor General-in-Council to head the Diamond Jubilee Committee (DJC)—a 14-member group of individuals drawn from the provincial and territorial governments, non-governmental organisations, officials from the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration, National Defence, and Canadian Heritage (DCH), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police —which is overseeing the organisation of the country’s fêtes for Elizabeth II’s 60 years as Queen of Canada.Similarly, Premier of Alberta Ed Stelmach in February 2011 tasked the Alberta Chief of Protocol and the Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta to form and head a committee to develop plans for Alberta’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. As with other royal events, the DCH will play a large role in organisation and planning. $7.5 million of resources granted to the DCH in the previous budget approved by the federal parliament has been allocated for federal jubilee celebrations, education and awareness, and distribution to community groups; $2 million is for events in the Queen’s honour and $3.7 million is allocated for the Diamond Jubilee medal. The total amount was reduced by Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore from the DJC’s original estimate of $8.8 million.

Pre-events

A corbel within the Sovereigns’ Arches of the federal parliament‘s Senate foyer was sculpted into a rendition of the Queen and unveiled on 9 December 2010 by Governor General of Canada David Johnston. The Royal Canadian Mint also issued an “extensive set” of coins to mark the anniversary.

During her tour of Canada in mid-2010, the Queen on 3 July dedicated the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens outside her official residence in Manitoba and there planted an Amber Jubilee Ninebark shrub, the species having been created specifically for the Diamond Jubilee. At Rideau Hall in Ottawa, she also on 30 June unveiled a commemorative stained glass window showing herself and Queen Victoria with their respective royal cyphers and renditions of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament during the reign of each monarch. The window, a gift from the Senate, was installed above the Senate entrance to the Centre Block and dedicated by the Governor General on 7 February 2012.

The Royal Standard of Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, which was flown at various locations across Canada during Diamond Jubilee Week

A Diamond Jubilee Week began on Accession Day (6 February) 2012. That day, the Queen’s personal standard for Canada was unfurled in Ottawa, both at the monarch’s residence Rideau Hall and on Parliament Hill, as well as at provincial royal residences and legislatures across the country;⁠permission was granted by the Queen to break the usual protocol of flying the banner only where the sovereign is personally present At noon on the same day, the Peace Tower carillon played a tribute to the Queen. The Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada issued statements commending the Queen for her six decades of “dedicated service to our country, to the Commonwealth and to the world.

Also on 6 February, the first of the 60,000 Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to be distributed to citizens and permanent residents were handed out; 60 individuals were given theirs personally by the Governor General at Rideau Hall.  Federal Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Plamondon, along with other members of the Quebec separatist Bloc Québécois,  refused his medal and stated the money being spent by the Crown on jubilee events and markers was a waste. Citizens for a Canadian Republic claimed that day that the government’s spending of money on the Queen’s jubilee was to be expected “from the personality cult dynasties of North Korea or Syria, not Canada.” The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society claimed it will stage “counter-celebrations”

In Nova Scotia, the provincial government announced the establishment of educational programmed, related to the Queen and her role in Canadian government, and the one-time award of the $2000 Diamond Jubilee Award Scholarship to 60 Grade 12 students in the province. There and in other provinces, various events were held on Accession Day and other days during the week.

After the end of Diamond Jubilee Week, further governmental events took place in Canada and abroad: At the opening of the British Columbia legislature on 14 February, the province’s lieutenant governor, Steven Point, along with Premier Christy Clark and parliamentary officials, presided over a ceremony at the parliament buildings that marked the Diamond Jubilee. The Speaker of the Senate, Noël Kinsella, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, were received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 21 February 2012, where they presented a loyal address to the sovereign. And Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley mounted at the viceregal suite at the Ontario Legislative Building an exhibition entitled 60 in 60, to “show six decades of Her Majesty’s devotion and service to Canada.”

Royal tour

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, speaks to the public outside of the Ontario Legislative Building during his tour of Canada for the Diamond Jubilee

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, toured parts of the country in May, making stops in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. In an editorial he wrote for The Globe and Mail, Charles stated he wanted his activities during the tour to reflect the jubilee’s “central theme of service to others” and expressed that he was “returning to Canada in this special Jubilee year, to renew my own pledge of service and to encourage others to consider how they might contribute their own particular talent”.  In that vein, he in all three provinces visited with people associated with his organization The Prince’s Charities Canada and presented Diamond Jubilee Medals to recipients.

The couple arrived at Saint John Airport on the evening of 20 May. The following day, they were formally welcomed to Canada by the Governor General and met at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown with young Canadian Forces veterans and mentors involved in the Military Entrepreneurship program before moving on to Saint John. There, they undertook a walking tour of Prince William Street to observe heritage projects and meet the 2002 Committee for the Prince of Wales Municipal Heritage Leadership Prize, participated in a citizenship ceremony, attended Victoria Day events, and opened the Diamond Jubilee IT Centre at Hazen-White-St. Francis School. They then flew on to Toronto to meet with emergency workers and their families and observe the annual fireworks show at Ashbridges Bay that marks Victoria Day and the Queen’s official Canadian birthday.

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building, the centenary of which was marked by PrinceCharles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as part of their Canadian Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour

On 22 May, the couple attended an event at Queen’s Park, hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. After, the Duchess of Cornwall visited The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, of which she is colonel-in-chief, laying at the armoury a wreath in memory of fallen Canadian soliers, while the Prince of Wales saw the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, toured the construction site of the athletes’ village for the 2015 Pan American Games (where Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty announced a portion of Front Street running through the village would be named Diamond Jubilee Promenade), visited theYonge Street Mission, and met with the national leadership of the Assembly of First Nations. The couple also attended a luncheon hosted by the government of Ontario and participated at Fort York in a Canadian Forces event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Prince there wearing his uniform of a lieutenant-general of the Canadian Army.

They arrived in Regina on 23 May and marked the centenary of Saskatchewan’s legislative building, participated in a reception held by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan at Government House, toured the First Nations University of Canada, and visited an environmentally friendly water purification plant. In the evening, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attended at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Depot Division Drill Hall a performance of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, of which Prince Charles is patron. There, the Prime Minister announced that Charles was to be appointed Honorary Commissioner of the RCMP, taking the post from his mother, the Queen, who was to become the RCMP’s Commissioner-in-Chief.

New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin, an open anti-monarchist, stated in the House of Commons that the tour was “a bread-and-circuses routine” intended to distract from cuts to the federal civil service.[94] The Minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore, said the tour would be the “least expensive for taxpayers” of those that had taken place since 2009.

Further events

After performing in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle, members of the equestrian Musical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on 23 May, at the Queen’s request, took part in the Changing of the Guard as they formed the Queen’s Life Guard outside Buckingham Palace for 24 hours. Said by the contingent’s commander to be a “way for Canada and the Mounties to salute her Majesty the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year”,  it was the second time the RCMP had performed the task, the first being in 1897 (when the force was named the Northwest Mounted Police), as a part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria.

We, Your Majesty’s loyal and dutiful subjects, the House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg to offer our sincere congratulations on the happy completion of the sixtieth year of Your reign.

In this, the Diamond Jubilee year of your reign as Queen of Canada, we trust that Your gracious and peaceful reign may continue for many years and that Divine Providence will preserve Your Majesty in health, in happiness and in the affectionate loyalty of Your people.

Parliament of Canada, 2012

In the federal parliament on 31 May, a loyal address to the Queen was passed.The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba held a Diamond Jubilee garden party at the province’s Government House on 26 May. The Royal British Columbia Museum on 1 June opened an exhibition of approximately 100 Cecil Beaton photographs of Elizabeth II throughout her life.

In the United Kingdom, Canada House, the location of the Canadian High Commission to that country, held a Big Jubilee Lunch on 3 June and two beacons were lit on the building’s roof the following evening, the night of the Diamond Jubilee Concert. Governor General Johnston attended both events and Prime Minister Harper was at the latter. Harper was also granted an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 5 June.

A team of Canadian and British mountaineers reached the summit of Mount Barbeau, in Canada’s arctic, by 3 June and there held a tea party in celebration of the jubilee. From the summit, they sent a loyal greeting to the Queen via satellite, to which the monarch promised to reply.

Upcoming

The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan will hold a garden party at Government House on Canada Day and a conference on the Canadian Crown will be conducted on 25 October. Communities across Canada are also planning events to mark the jubilee.

Jamaica

Prince Harry toured Jamaica between 5 and 8 March 2012,participating in various events marking his grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee as Jamaica’s queen regnant, first as Queen of the United Kingdom, between 1952 and 1962, and subsequently as Queen of Jamaica (Jamaica will also thus be concurrently celebrating 50 years of independence). During the tour, the Prince partook in military exercises with the Jamaica Defence Force, visited Bustamante Hospital for Children and, in Trelawny Parish, visited Water Square, Falmouth Pier, and the William Knibb Baptist Church, where he paid respect at the William Knibb memorial. The Prince attended an event for the charity Rise Life,[113] ran with Usain Bolt at the latter’s training ground at the University of the West Indies, Mona. There, he was also named an Honorary Fellow of the university. A Jamaica Night reception was held at the Royal Caribbean Hotel in Montego Bay and Governor-General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen hosted a dinner at King’s House as a combined celebration of the Diamond Jubilee and Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. The Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, stated the tour was intended to “highlight the country’s tourism developments on the North Coast and the important work being done in the area of youth and children”.

The Governor-General and his wife travelled to London, United Kingdom (UK), to partake in various events there in June, including a reception held by the High Commissioner of Jamaica to the UK.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Clerk of the Executive Council, Rebecca Kitteridge is overseeing the organisation of that country’s celebrations of Elizabeth’s 60 years as Queen of New Zealand.

Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General of New Zealand, unveiled New Zealand’s Diamond Jubilee emblem and announced a full programmed would be announced in due course.New Zealand Post and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced in January 2012 the release a silver proof dollar coin to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the following month the Ministry for Culture and Heritage added Crown-related entries to Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and an essay on the jubilee to NZ.History.net.nz. The Governor-General-in-Council also launched, via the Ministry of Health, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Research Grant, “seeking to purchase research projects that transfer knowledge from initiatives with proven effectiveness, into practice in the health sector”.

The official emblem of the Queen of New Zealand‘s Diamond Jubilee

The New Zealand Army Band took part in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant held at Windsor. The Band also took part in the changing of guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Jubilee.

The Prime Minister, John Key, moved a motion in the House of Representatives congratulating the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee on 7 February.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will tour New Zealand on behalf of the Queen in November.

Oceanic realms

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.[31]

Other Caribbean and West Indies realms

The Queen’s realms throughout the Caribbean and West Indies are planning a number of Diamond Jubilee events. Using RFAFort Rosalie, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, will visit other Caribbean realms, including: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Historical re-enactments were put on in Saint Kitts and Nevis for the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who arrived on 3 March 2012. There, the couple met with Governor-General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, and other dignitaries, watched cultural shows (including the performance of a calypso song about the Queen), and the Earl unveiled a plaque commemorating the Diamond Jubilee and officially designated the Basseterre Valley Park as the Royal Basseterre Valley Park. They also visited Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and the children’s ward of the JNF Hospital and the Children’s Home before attending a state dinner and fireworks display at Port Zante.[125]

Saint Lucia

The Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived in Saint Lucia on 21 February 2012 and there participated in Independence Day celebrations and attended receptions held by the Governor-General of Saint Lucia. They also visited the Association of Saint Lucia and the Saint Lucia School of Music.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Committee was established to oversee events staged to mark, between February and June 2012, the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II’s accession as queen regnant of the country, from 1952 to 1979 as Queen of the United Kingdom and thereafter as Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The committee head, former Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste, stated the aim was to “showcase what we have to offer, as well as our loyalty to the Parliament…” The Earl and Countess of Wessex, aboard RFA Fort Rosalie, arrived for their tour of country on 25 February and visited the restored Botanic Gardens St. Vincent and planted a Pink Poui tree, attended an official lunch at Government House, and planted Royal Palms on the Grenadines.

Trade unionist Noel Jackson said he heard displeasure expressed by Vincentians towards the royal tour and that “a lot of people were cursing.” Senator Julian Francis, the General Secretary of the governing Unity Labour Party, stated the public reaction to the presence of the royal couple “confirmed to me that we could not have won the 2009 referendum on a republic. The outpouring of the people in St. Vincent to come and greet Prince Edward yesterday confirmed to me that people, in the majority in St. Vincent, still want the monarchy… It was like a carnival in town yesterday.”

A Diamond Jubilee Lecture has been set to be delivered in March, a flower show and tea party will be held at Government House on 4 and 5 May, a stamp exhibition will be mounted at the National Trust headquarters and an exhibition of photographs of the Queen in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the National Public Library. A Queen’s Birthday parade will take place, as will a Diamond Jubilee Beacon Event on 4 June, part of the wider plan to light such beacons at the same time across the Commonwealth.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom’s Diamond Jubilee logo

Planning

In the United Kingdom, national and regional events to mark the Diamond Jubilee are being coordinated by the Queen-in-Council and her Royal Household at Buckingham Palace.[130] As with the Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for coordinating the Cabinet-led aspects of the celebrations. Events are being planned so as to keep the use of tax money to a minimum; most funds used to fund celebrations are being drawn from private donors and sponsors. Only the cost of security is to be borne by Her Majesty’s Treasury. The British logo for the Diamond Jubilee was selected through a contest held by the BBC children’s programme Blue Peter; the winning design, announced in February 2011, was created by ten-year-old Katherine Dewar. Drupal, a free open-source content management system, was used for the official website.

Extended weekend

On 5 January 2010, the Lord President of the Council and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced that an extra bank holiday would take place on 5 June 2012. By moving the Spring Bank Holiday (the last Monday in May) to 4 June, this will result in a four-day holiday in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. As national holidays are a devolved matter, Scotland’s first minister confirmed that the bank holiday would be held on 5 June in Scotland. Some economists later theorised that the holiday could reduce the country’s gross domestic product by 0.5% in the second quarter of the year, though this would be partially offset by increased sales for the hospitality and merchandise sectors.

A public bus in Altrincham in a special livery for the Diamond Jubilee

Many events were staged in London during the bank holiday weekend.The River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was held on 3 June. The Diamond Jubilee Concert, with a preceding afternoon picnic in the palace gardens for the 10,000 concert ticket holders, was held the following day, in front of Buckingham Palace, and featured acts representing each decade of the Queen’s 60 year reign.

Street parties were permitted to take place across the country. Special community lottery grants, called The Jubilee People’s Millions, are being offered by the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.

The final day of the official Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations included a morning Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by the Queen and members of the royal family. Will Todd’s anthem The Call of Wisdom, commissioned especially for this event, was performed by the Diamond Choir made up of about 40 children from all around the UK.

The anti-monarchy campaign group Republic criticized the allocation of funds for jubilee events while cuts were made elsewhere, warned that schools could be in breach of the law by celebrating the jubilee without teaching about republican perspectives, and accused the BBC of bias in favor of the Queen. The group held a protest at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Permanent tributes

A mosaic picture of Elizabeth II in Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. The picture is produced by Helen Marshall for the diamond jubilee using more than 5,000 photos sent by the BBC viewers.

To mark the jubilee, the Queen has bestowed Royal Borough status on Greenwich, in southeast London. In addition, a competition was held to grant in 2012 city status to towns and either a lord mayoralty or lord provostship to one city. City status was awarded to Chelmsford in England, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales. Armagh was awarded the Lord Mayoralty. The Olympic park in East London, created for the 2012 London Olympics, will be named the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park following the Olympics. Further, the Woodland Trust has made plans to establish 60 Jubilee woodlands during 2011 and 2012, one of which is to be 500 acres and the remainder 60 acres each.

A stained glass window, paid for by MPs and members of the House of Lords, was unveiled in the Queen’s presence at Westminster Hall in March 2012.In addition, a majority of MPs have endorsed a proposal to name the clock tower of Westminster Palace that houses Big Ben, the Elizabeth Tower.[161]

Other events

On Accession Day, 6 February, a 62-gun salute was mounted on the banks of the River Thames, near the Tower of London and the Queen made a visit to Norfolk, one of the first places the monarch visited after acceding to the throne. Later in the month, Queen Elizabeth attended a multi-faith (Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian) reception held at the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace, in honour of the jubilee.

The Queen addressed both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall on 20 March 2012. Also in March, the Royal Commonwealth Society launched the Jubilee Time Capsule to mark the jubilee. The British Broadcasting Corporation and Andrew Marr created the television documentary The Diamond Queen, in which various members of the Royal Family and current and former politicians spoke about the sovereign and her life. The documentary was criticized by the campaign group Republic, which argued that it breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

At Buckingham Palace, a display of the Queen’s diamonds will be opened to the public.On 4 June, the bells in each of the 34 church bell towers along the River Welland valley will ring in succession, ending with the ringing of the bell at Fosdyke 60 times.

On 19 May, the Queen attended the Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade and Muster, the British Armed Forces‘ own tribute to the monarch, in Windsor Castle and nearby Home Park. The first time all three services had assembled for the Queen for such an event at the same time, it featured military reviews and a 2,500 strong military parade through the town, as well as a military flypast featuring 78 aircraft.

Overseas territories

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, toured the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in March 2012. On Montserrat, he met participants in the Sailability BVI programme, including Special Olympics medallists, and staff and associates of the Eslyn Henley Ritchie Learning Centre, BVI Technical and Vocational Institute, BVI Services, and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, will visit the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, between 11–13 June 2012, and Montserrat. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation expressed “upset and concern” about the couple’s tour of Gibraltar, which Spain claims as Spanish territory.

Other Commonwealth countries

Visits are planned by Princess Anne to Zambia and Mozambique, while the Duke of Gloucester will make official visits to Uganda and Malta. In Asia, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, will visit India, while Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will make visits to Malaysia and Singapore.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, visited Trinidad and Tobago, as did Governor General of Canada David Johnston.

South Africa

South Africa, one of the original Dominions at the time of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, left the Commonwealth while ruled by the Apartheid Era National Party Government on 31 May 1961, and rejoined on 1 June 1994 after the first democratic election. Two significant functions to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in South Africa will be held in Cape Town.

The British Consulate in Cape Town,in conjunction with the Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust will host a firing of ancient muzzle loading cannons at East Fort in Hout Bay, which once formed part of the multiple defences of the historic Cape of Good Hope. The fort was established during the period of Dutch control of the Cape in 1781 and was greatly extended after the British took over the Cape in 1795 and subsequently in 1806. The Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust has restored the Fort’s original Swedish made 18 pounder muzzle loading cannons dating from 1752 and will fire two rolling salvo salutes, of six cannon shots each, in the Queen’s honour and in recognition of the bond of friendship between South Africa and Great Britain. The South African Navy Band will be in attendance and the guns will be fired by VIPs who will be guided by gunners of the “Honourable Order of Hout Bay Artillerymen”.

The Heritage Trust has held firings for numerous events, including previous functions associated with Britain, India, Holland, France and during a visit of a NATO fleet to Cape Town, the most recent being the visit of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose in February 2012.

The Trust believes that the Hout Bay Battery is the oldest frequently used working battery of original muzzle loading cannons in the world.

The second function will be held at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in the heart of the historic Port of Cape Town which has a long-standing relationship with the British monarchy, dating back to 1870, when Prince Alfred opened the Breakwater Basin, today part of the V&A Waterfront.

A flotilla from the Royal Cape Yacht Club will sail past the Hildebrand Ristorante and into-the Victoria Basin and the Cape Town Highlanders will march from Ferryman’s to Nobel Square. British Consul General Chris Trott will light a beacon, followed by a further six-gun salute and both South African and British national anthems, to mark the 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s service to her people and the people of the world.

Other countries

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, a former British dependent territory and the most populous one until 1997, had The Big Jubilee Lunch on 3 June 2012, organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong. On 5 June 2012, there will be a service of thanksgiving at the territory’s Anglican St. John’s Cathedral.

Prince Phillip

About 2 pm on 4 June 2012 (the second day of the festivities) HRH Prince Philip was brought to King Edward VII Hospital in London with a bladder infection, and after that had to miss the festivities. The Queen insisted that she would continue to go to these events without her consort. Early on 5 June 2012 HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Queen’s son, went to visit Prince Philip. After the visit Prince Edward said that his father was watching the celebrations via television. Prince Philip’s absence caused rearrangements to provide someone to escort the Queen.

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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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