Yet Another Court Victory for Gay Marriage, Family Equality:

In barely a week, there have been four important court judgements in three American countries that represent important victories for gay marriage and family equality. Immediately after the celebrated judgement in California striking down Proposition 8, the Mexican court ruled that the legal provision for gay marriage in Mexico City was fully constitutional. Yesterday, that same court ruled that marriages in Mexico City must be recognized, and the associated benefits granted, right across all Mexican states. Also yesterday, the court in Costa Rica ruled that a proposed national referendum on civil unions, may not go ahead. There may well be another important advance coming within days: the Mexican court is due to pass judgement on a matter concerning gay adoptions, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Marriage: Where Next?

In the first six months of the year, three countries have already approved legal recognition for same sex marriage, up from just two last year, and an average of less than one a year during the previous eight years. The pace is clearly accelerating. We could well ask, where next? There are several candidates, some of which could see change quite soon.

 

State of Marriage, Europe: July 2010

 

Luxembourg is closely associated with its neighbours Netherlands and Belgium (hence the term “Benelux” countries), which were the first to introduce full marriage equality. At present, the Grand Duchy’s legal provision is based on the French PACS, but the government has announced plans to upgrade that to full marriage. In January, the minister of Justice announced  promised that legislation would be passed before the summer recess this year. The  bill was accepted for the session which began last week, and could be passed within weeks.

Slovenia announced its intention to provide legal recognition in July 2009, and passed the first reading of the required bill in March this year. There have been no reports since.

Nepal will introduce full marriage rights for all couples, but this too could take some time yet. To comply with a ruling by the Supreme Court last year, the country is obliged to do so, and has promised to include such a provision in the new constitution currently being drafted. It is expected that this should be promulgated by May 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Marriage: Available to 250 Million People!

I wish I had thought of doing it this way! I have often reported on the global growth in gay marriage, and looked for ways to present it in a simple graphic. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight has found the simple key – convert the jurisdictions, whether countries, provinces or cities, to the populations living under them, and treat all of Europe as a single entity.

This is the colourful chart that resulted:

That’s 250 million people who now live in locations where legal recognition for gay marriage has been agreed. (More are on the way. Finland this week was just the latest to declare an intention to change the law.) Please note the rather prominent band of yellow – South Africa.

I have only two quibbles with this. Nate refers to the “slow” growth to equality. But going from roughly one million at the start of 2007 to two and a half million now, I would describe as rapid. I would also stress that this applies to full marriage only: it would be interesting to see a similar chart which included civil unions.

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Progress to Marriage Equality (1): Ireland.

In Ireland, the Dáil (the parliamentary lower house) has passed the long-expected Civil Partnership Bill, without requiring a vote, and to applause from the public gallery. It is expected that it will pass in the  Seanad within a fortnight or so, and is most likely to be signed in the autumn, to come into effect in the new year.  The legislation is modelled on the existing British law, which gives couples virtually the same standing in law as married couples, except for the name. In Ireland, the law explicitly does not include adoption rights. There is also provision for a divorce equivalent, on exactly the same terms as existing divorce law.

This will leave Italy and Malta as the only countries in Western Europe with no provision for any form of legal recognition for same sex-partnerships. Resistance in Italy has come on the back of strenuous opposition but the Catholic bishops, but as the Irish example has shown, Church resistance elsewhere has come to nothing. How much longer can Italy hold out?

This will be the state of partnership recognition in Europe after the Irish law takes effect

(Dark blue – full equality; Light blue – civil unions; Red – constitutional restriction to opposite sex couples only; Yellow – under review)

 

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UK: Support for Gay Equality Grows

“A revolution in attitudes towards gay men and lesbians: Church out of Touch”.

In this month celebrating 40 years since Stonewall, the Times reports this weekend on an important opinion poll showing strong support for further advancing legal protections for LGBT equality.

On marriage, the current situation provides for “Civil Partnerships”, which in practice and in legal status are almost identical  to marriage, except in name.    Even so,

“61 per cent of the public want gay couples to be able to marry just like the rest of the population, not just have civil partnerships.”

On adoption, the law currently insists on the right of  gay adoption, and directs that adoption agencies should treat all potential parents equally.  This has brought the Catholic Bishops into disputes with the law over the church agencies, but

 

Half (49 per cent) believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights, eight years after it became legal for them to adopt in a highly controversial move by Tony Blair.
Some Roman Catholic adoption agencies are fighting to retain the right to turn away gay couples, which they are now specifically prohibited from doing.
MULTIMEDIA
Archive blog: Hanged for being gay, John Attwood Eglerton, 1816
RELATED LINKS
Sizeable minority against gay relationships
Long process of adopting for gay couples
MULTIMEDIA
Graphic: tolerance towards gays
But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that 51 per cent of the public want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage.
“Half (49 per cent) believe that gay couples should have equal adoption rights, eight years after it became legal for them to adopt in a highly controversial move by Tony Blair. Some Roman Catholic adoption agencies are fighting to retain the right to turn away gay couples, which they are now specifically prohibited from doing. “
On education:
“But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that 51 per cent of the public want children to be taught in school that gay relationships are of equal value to marriage.”

Read the full report at Times Online
(London celebrates Pride on Saturday.   Several faith based groups are expected to participate.  I will be joining them).
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