Showing posts with label Gay Marriage International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Marriage International. Show all posts

February 12, 2020

These are The Countries Where Gay Marriage is Legal

 Gay Marriage in Taiwan 2019

  - Two lesbian women will on Tuesday become the first gay couple to marry in Northern Ireland after the province became the last part of the United Kingdom to introduce equal marriage rights.

As Sharni Edwards and Robyn Peoples make history, here are the key facts about same-sex marriage around the world.

- The first country to legalize same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.

- Same-sex marriage is legal in 27 United Nations member states Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, and the United States.

- A total of 31 U.N. states recognize some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples.

- Ecuador, Taiwan, and Austria all legalized gay marriage in 2019.

- Taiwan was the first place in Asia where gay marriages were allowed. Drives for that right to be granted in China and Japan have faced stiff opposition.

- In Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in many countries and can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty, South Africa alone allows for same-sex marriage.

- Gay marriage is hotly contested among many religious groups. Leaders of the United Methodist Church announced proposals to split the church into two amid deep disputes over the issue.

- Almost one in three adults globally believe people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, a survey of almost 100,000 people in 65 countries showed in 2016.

Sources: ILGA State-Sponsored Homophobia report, Pew Research Centre, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters.

July 11, 2019

Same Sex Marriage is Coming to Northern Ireland

       Image result for northern ireland gay marriage

Britain's parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of a plan that would compel the government to legalize same-sex marriage and extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland, if the province is unable to re-establish its own devolved government.

The changes passed with a large majority in parliament in London on Tuesday and turned a routine, technical piece of legislation into a vehicle that could enact major social reforms in Northern Ireland.

The province is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not allowed, and laws there forbid abortion except where a mother's life is at risk.

To the south, once staunchly conservative Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 and liberalized its abortion laws in a separate referendum last year. 

The legislation has several stages to pass before it creates a legal duty on the British government to amend Northern Ireland's laws. That duty only comes into effect if the Northern Irish assembly, which collapsed in 2017, has not been re-established by Oct. 21.

Earlier this year, thousands of people marched through Belfast to demand the recognition of same-sex marriage.

Previous attempts to legislate for same-sex marriage have been blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a key ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May, despite opinion polls in recent years showing most in the region are in favor.

Advocacy groups have called on the government to bypass the frozen local assembly and introduce legislation in the British parliament in Westminster.

Last year, Britain's Supreme Court found Northern Ireland's strict abortion law was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights but said it did not have the powers to make a formal declaration that the law should be changed. 

U.S. women's team boldly embraces the off-the-field activist role
Northern Ireland has been without a devolved executive for 2.5 years since Irish nationalists Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory power-sharing government with the pro-British DUP.

On-off talks to restore the executive resumed in May after a hiatus of more than a year but have made no obvious progress. Ireland's government said last week key differences remained.

Sinn Fein, which has consistently raised the DUP's stance on same-sex marriage as a major stumbling block in the political talks, said the issue should be addressed by the local assembly but that it was inevitable that the British government's failure to defend "basic rights available everywhere else on the islands would be confronted", as it was by parliament on Tuesday.

June 1, 2019

Pew Research Publishes Where Europe Stands on Gay Marriage and Civil Unions

Same-sex marriage in EuropeMore than 18 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, Austria became the latest European nation to legalize the practice. The change in Austria’s marriage laws on Jan. 1, 2019, was prompted by its highest court, which in 2017 ruled that the country was discriminating against gay and lesbian couples by not allowing them full marriage rights.
Austria is the 16th European jurisdiction to legalize gay marriage. This number counts England and Wales together and Scotland as a separate entity, since those parts of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of legislation on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland, the other UK constituent state, has not legalized such marriages.
A more prominent exception in Western Europe is Italy, which has historical ties to the Roman Catholic Church. In spite of these ties, Italy began recognizing same-sex civil unions in 2016. Switzerland also offers same-sex couples the option of civil unions.
Majorities of adults in all 15 countries in Western Europe surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2017 support same-sex marriage, including roughly six-in-ten Italians and three-quarters of Swiss adults. Support is even higher in Sweden (88%), Denmark (86%) and the Netherlands (86%).
By contrast, people in Central and Eastern Europe are broadly opposed to the practice. Just 5% of Russians and 9% of Ukrainians, for example, say they favor allowing same-sex marriage. Figures in Poland (32%) and Hungary (27%) are higher, though Poles and Hungarians who support same-sex marriage remain in the minority. The Czech Republic is the only country out of 19 surveyed in Central and Eastern Europe where a majority of adults (65%) support gay marriage.
Likewise, no country in Central or Eastern Europe – not even the Czech Republic – allows same-sex couples to legally marry. However, the Czech Republic, along with Croatia, Estonia, Hungary and several other countries in the region, does allow civil unions. Greece joined this list in late 2015 when it agreed to begin recognizing same-sex civil partnershipsdespite opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church. Slovenia also allows civil unions, but its voters rejected a 2015 referendum that would have legalized full same-sex marriage. (Ireland, on the other hand, became the world’s first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015.)
More than half of the entities around the world that allow same-sex marriage are in Europe, though Taiwan recently become the first Asian jurisdiction to join the list.
Note: This is an update of a post originally published June 9, 2015.

July 23, 2018

Castro Wants Changes to The Constitution Including Gay Marriage and Term Limits for President

 Cuba’s former President Raul Castro applauds as he sits next to Miguel Díaz-Canel during a previous session of the island’s National Assembly. The National Assembly, Cuba’s parliament, met Saturday and approved the Council of Ministers that will serve under Díaz-Canel. Ismael Francisco Cubadebate via AP

Read more here:


After leaving the Cuban government at age 86, Raúl Castro is proposing a new constitution that would limit the age of future presidents to 60 at the start of their first terms.
The constitutional reforms, discussed Saturday by the Cuban parliament, also would erase the word “Communism” from the document and open the way for same-sex marriage, according to official TV broadcasts of the gathering.

 AF_one Approaching Airport in Habana with President Obama on board (2016 File)

But the proposed constitution repeats that Cuba’s socialist system is “irrevocable” and says the Communist Party is the only legal party and holds a “vanguard” role in the country’s affairs.   
Castro and his late brother Fidel ruled Cuba until well into old age. Miguel Díaz-Canel, 58, succeeded Raúl Castro as head of the government in April. Castro has often spoken about the need for a “generational change” in the government leadership, and the need to enforce term limits on future presidents.

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba from 1959 until 2006, when he suffered a grave health emergency and passed the reins of power to Raúl.
Raúl Castro, who is still in charge of the Communist Party and heads the commission that wrote the draft of the constitutional changes, seems to be taking steps to avoid a long run at the top by another president.
The draft restricts presidents to two terms and says they must not be older than 60 at the start of the first term. The proposed new system of government also calls for a division of powers at the top.
The draft’s proposals for the posts of president, vice president and prime minister have sparked speculation about the powers that Díaz-Canel might really have.
The issue appears to be sensitive, and the secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, spent time explaining to parliament that the president would not be a “ceremonial” figure, especially because it will be the president who will nominate the prime minister to the parliament.
It’s not a matter of “a ceremonial, figurehead president, but a president with [real] functions in the government,” Acosta said.
Nevertheless, the president will not be directly in charge of the Council of Ministers — which would be run by the Prime Minister — nor the Council of State, which Raúl and Fidel Castro and Díaz-Canel have headed.
Although U.S. analysts doubted preliminary reports published in the official news media, it has now been confirmed that the draft says the president of the parliament, the National Assembly, will also preside over the Council of State — making that person very powerful.
The Assembly, if the draft is approved as is, also would have the power to interpret the constitution — a role held by the highest courts in most other countries.
The official web page Cubadebate also reported Saturday that the new constitution would define marriage as “the consensual union between two people, regardless of gender.” That’s been one of the demands by LGBTI groups on the island and Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela, who heads a sex education center in Havana. 
Acosta underlined that the language of the Constitution must be flexible, and that several laws will have to be changed in order to implement the constitutional reforms.
Other aspects of the draft have been less surprising.
The president will continue to be elected by parliament and not directly by voters — a change that many Cubans wanted.
And the new constitution will recognize private property but “retains the essential principles of socialist ownership by the people over the basic means of production and central planning as a principal component,” according to the official Granma newspaper.
The draft constitution must be approved by the National Assembly and will be submitted later to a referendum.  

June 19, 2018

Another Royal Wedding: This Time Gay

 Mountbatten (left) revealed the marriage had received the full blessing from the Royal Family, but then stated that he still isn't completely comfortable


The British royal family is gearing up for another historic wedding. Later this summer, the Queen's cousin, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, will become the first member of the extended royal family to have a same-sex marriage. Lord Ivar will marry his partner, James Coyle, in a private chapel in Devon.

Lord Ivar's ex-wife, Penny, with whom he has three daughters, will give him away at the ceremony.

"It was the girls' idea," she explained in an interview with the Daily Mail. 'It makes me feel quite emotional. "I'm really very touched."

Penny is immensely supportive of her ex-husband's new relationship and knew to go into her marriage with Lord Ivar that he identified as bisexual.

"What I don't think Ivar realizes is how much he has changed as a man since he came out. James is hugely responsible for that because he's so much fun," she said. "Ivar is so much more relaxed these days. He's so much kinder. He's become a great cook. I now call him Fanny Cradock. He probably wasn't even aware that by keeping his sexuality a secret it was really quite tormenting him. Now it's out he's a completely different person. Everybody says they've never seen him happier."

The wedding has the full blessing of the family. One of Lord Ivar's best friends is Prince Edward. Lord Ivar is a godparent to Edward's daughter Louise and the Earl and Countess of Wessex are godparents to Lord Ivar's two oldest children.

"Sophie and Edward know of our plans and are really excited for us," Lord Ivar explained. "Sadly they can't come to the wedding. Their diaries are arranged months in advance and they're not around, but they adore James. Everyone adores him.

March 2, 2018

Kenya Awaits Ruling in Landmark Gay Marriage Case

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - 

When John Mathenge finished primary school in the early 1990s, he dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But his dreams were shattered when life showed him what being gay in Kenya meant.

His sexual orientation was seen as sinful from childhood. Mathenge’s father refused to pay his secondary school fees, and he found himself homeless and unable to get even menial jobs, pushing him into sex work.

Mathenge, 37, said he had been forced to move house numerous times after landlords discovered he was gay. He regularly puts up with physical and verbal abuse.

“I have been evicted from seven houses. I have now moved quite far from where there are people who know me. I have to drive for three hours to work just because of my sexuality,” Mathenge told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We need to change this environment so I can live anywhere I want, as long as I pay rent.”

Mathenge is one of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Kenyans anxiously awaiting a verdict in a landmark case seeking to decriminalize gay sex, which is punishable by 14 years in jail in the conservative nation.

Homosexuality is taboo across Africa and the persecution of gay people is rife. Sexual minorities are routinely abused, assaulted by mobs, raped by police or vigilantes, or enslaved by criminals, campaigners say.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) is one of the groups that petitioned the court to repeal sections of a colonial era Penal Code, which it says violate constitutional rights to equality, dignity and privacy.

LGBT campaigners, Christian and Muslim groups and the office of the attorney general testified at the three-day High Court hearing. The court said on Thursday that it would on April 26 announce the date that it will deliver its ruling.

The government said that decriminalization of gay sex would lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is not allowed anywhere on the continent apart from South Africa.

“There is a legitimate expectation some of those unions might end up in marriage,” said Jennifer Gitiri, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office.

“In the event that would happen, it would be a violation of the constitution,” she told the court.
NGLHRC director Eric Gitari said the law was used daily to discriminate against LGBT people - from getting a job or a promotion, to renting housing or accessing health and education.

“If the law is repealed, people will be able to fight from a point of legal confidence,” he said.

Same-sex acts are illegal in 32 of 54 African countries, and can lead to imprisonment or even the death penalty, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

There are no accurate figures on the size of Kenya’s LGBT community, rights groups said, because many people are afraid to disclose their orientation for fear of being targeted.

Kenya prosecuted 595 people under the Penal Code between 2010 and early 2014, the government reported.

“This law places so much power in the hands of the police and prosecutor,” said Gitari, whose organization provides legal support to people facing prosecution.

“If the law is repealed, all the criminal cases against people will collapse or will be void.”

Despite vehement opposition from powerful bodies, Mathenge remained hopeful.

“Even if the courts rule against our favor, we will still continue to fight,” he said.“Maybe this case will be an eye-opener and people will realize that there are gay men in Kenya.”

Reporting by John Ndiso, Editing by Nita Bhalla, Robert Carmichael and Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

February 8, 2018

UK Gov Will Not Block Gay Marriage in Its Territory of Bermuda

The UK government has said it would not be "appropriate" to block Bermuda's decision to repeal same-sex marriage.
On Wednesday the British overseas territory became the first country in the world to pass and then revoke, the law, replacing gay marriage with domestic partnerships.
Theresa May said the UK's dealings with Bermuda should be based on "respect". 
Critics say the law reversal will make the UK an international "laughing stock".
The Caribbean island, which is home to 60,000 people, legalized marriage between homosexual couples in May 2017, following a Supreme Court ruling.  
But the new Domestic Partnership Act, approved by Bermuda Governor John Rankin on Wednesday, rolls back the legalization. 
Instead of marriage, the act allows gay or straight couples to form a partnership, which the Bermuda government says carries equivalent rights.
According to Bermuda's minister of home affairs, Walton Brown, the majority of Bermudians do not agree with gay couples marrying.
He said: "The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples."

'Laughing stock'

Because of Bermuda's status as an overseas dependent territory, the UK government had the power to block the law change.
But Foreign Office minister Harriett Baldwin told MPs: "After full and careful consideration in regards to Bermuda's constitutional and international obligations, the Secretary decided that in these circumstances it would not be appropriate to use this power to block legislation, which can only can be used where there is a legal or constitutional basis for doing so, and even then only in exceptional circumstances."
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "seriously disappointed" about the decision to abolish same-sex marriage.
But she added: "That bill has been democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, and our relationship with the overseas territories is based on partnership and respect for their right to democratic self-government."
Labour MP Chris Bryant said the law reversal will make Britain a "laughing stock in the international human rights field".
He added: "Same-sex Bermudian couples who have been married under the ruling of the Bermudian Supreme Court have now been rendered an anomaly. 
"Gay and lesbian Bermudians have been told that they aren't quite equal to everyone else."

adamfoxie🦊 Celebrating 10 years of keeping an eye on the world for You brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers🦊

January 30, 2018

An LGBT Couple, Their Marriage Wiped Off in Singapore are Going to Court

A Singapore court has agreed to review the decision to delete a Singaporean couple’s marriage from the city-state’s marriage registry after one partner underwent gender-affirming surgery, according to lawyers for the couple. 
The marriage was revoked and deleted in February last year after the registrar decided that the marriage, while a heterosexual union at the time it occurred in 2015, had become a same-sex marriage, which is not allowed in Singapore. The couple applied in November to have the authorities’ actions examined in a bid to get their union reinstated. Singapore’s High Court granted the request last week.
The story of FK and BS, first reported in Quartz on June 14 last year, showed how laws in the city-state are out of step with one another, leaving the couple in legal limbo. Singapore’s laws on transgender and marriage rights also don’t fully reflect the gender and sexual orientation experiences people grapple with more openly now.
The couple last year detailed the stressful, convoluted process they had been through relating to their marriage over nearly two years. FK was asked to dress up as “obviously male” for the marriage proceeding, in keeping with her gender on her official Singapore-issued ID, and to sign a statutory declaration stating that she had not undergone surgery prior to marriage. Later, the couple was denied the four-bedroom public housing flat they were due to collect as a married couple after a four-year wait. The final blow was the revocation of their marriage.
“This application seeks a court ruling that the Registrar of Marriages, in deciding to void our clients’ marriage and then deleting the record of marriage from the state marriage register, acted beyond her legal powers. In our view, the Registrar’s decision and the action she took, raise rule of law issues,” the couple’s solicitors, Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss and Suang Wijaya of Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, told Quartz in a joint statement.
The case will be heard before a judge at the High Court, and could potentially proceed to the Court of Appeal, Singapore’s highest court, where it would be considered by a bench of three to five judges. A hearing date has not been set yet.
Singapore recognizes transgender people, but does not allow for same-sex marriage. When Quartz approached the Ministry of Social and Family Development, which oversees the Registry of Marriages, for comment last year, a representative stated: “Singapore law does not recognize a marriage where both parties are of the same sex. At the point of marriage, a couple must be man and woman, and must want to be and want to remain as man and woman in the marriage.”
However, the actual wording of the law governing marriages in Singapore states that “[a] marriage solemnized in Singapore or elsewhere between persons who, at the date of the marriage, are not respectively male and female shall be void.” At the time of the 2015 marriage, FK identity’s card still listed her sex as “male,” which continued until she changed it in 2016.
“I feel that the case was never really properly concluded, because the reason for revoking the marriage… it leaves open more questions than answers,” said FK. 
Issues related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Singapore can often be murky. Under Singaporean law, sex between men is still criminalized under Section 377A of the Penal Code, a holdover from the British colonial era, similar to statutes on the books of other former colonies. 
Although the government has stated that the law is not proactively enforced as a form of compromise between the LGBT community and conservative sectors of the populace, LGBT activists have long claimed that the retention of the law has ripple effects, such as when it comes to the representation of same-sex couples in the media, or formal recognition of LGBT organizations.
FK feels that their troubles have stemmed from bureaucratic indecision over how to handle their unusual case, and hopes the judicial review will provide some clarity: “It’s time the LGBT community [in Singapore] got a sense of direction of where the government is. There are some questions that do deserve answers, and we need to know what the government’s stance is with regard to LGBT rights.”

January 12, 2018

EU Court Adviser Says Gay Couples Merit Residency Rights

A gay Romanian-American couple is entitled to the same residency rights as other married couples in the European Union, a top EU legal adviser said in an opinion published Thursday.
European Court of Justice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the key legal issue in the case of Romanian Adrian Coman and his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, was "not that of legalization of marriage between persons of the same sex but that of freedom of movement of a Union citizen."
So while the 28 EU countries "are free to provide or not for marriage for persons of the same sex," they must not limit their application of spousal rights in a way that infringes "on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States," Wathelet wrote.
Coman has been fighting since 2012 to get his marriage to Hamilton in Belgium two years earlier recognized in Romania, which doesn't acknowledge same-sex unions. The couple lives in New York.
Romania's Constitutional Court asked the European Court of Justice, which is based in Luxembourg, to weigh in with its legal interpretation of the case. Thursday's decision is non-binding on EU court judges, who are expected to issue a ruling this year, but they often follow the reasoning laid out by advocates general.
"We are overjoyed," Hamilton said in a written statement. "It shows the Romanian authorities were wrong to refuse to treat us as a family."
Coman added: "Romanian citizens can't be divided into good and gay. We can't be treated as inferior citizens, lacking equal rights, based on prejudices that some have about homosexuality."
The couple's case is giving the European Court of Justice its first opportunity to consider if an EU directive on the rights of citizens and their family members to "move and reside freely" within the bloc applies when married spouses are two men, according to Wathelet.
Same-sex unions remain difficult in Romania. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in the conservative, Eastern European nation as Romania prepared to join the EU in 2002.
About 3 million people signed a petition backing a referendum to amend the Romanian Constitution so it explicitly states that marriage only can be a union between a man and a woman.
The Alliance of Romanian Families and the Coalition for Family, two conservative Christian groups which oppose same-sex marriage didn't immediately respond to requests asking for comment on the development.
Same-sex marriages or civil partnerships are recognized or have some protections in 22 of the 28 countries. Like Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia do not give same-sex couples any legal rights or responsibilities.

December 18, 2017

Homophobic Philippines Duterte About Faces On Gay Marriage Against Wishes of Catholic Church

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his support for same-sex marriage, after previously declaring his opposition, in an about-face that may displease bishops in the mainly Roman Catholic country.
Speaking at a gathering of LGBT people in his hometown Davao City, Mr Duterte vowed to protect the rights of homosexuals and invited them to nominate a representative to work in his government.
"I said I am for [same-]sex marriage if that is the trend of the modern times," he said.
"If that will add to your happiness, I am for it."
Mr Duterte previously was quoted by local media as saying he was opposed to same-sex unions because marriage in the Philippines is only between a man and a woman.
The President had brought up the gender issue in the past while attacking Western countries that allow it, especially those who criticise his brutal war on drugs.
Many countries, mostly in Western Europe and the Americas, have already recognised same-sex unions. 
Australia is the latest to legalise it after federal Parliament earlier this month amended the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to wed. The first such marriages under Australian law were held on Saturday.
Catholic bishops in the Philippines, who also oppose Mr Duterte's bloody anti-narcotics campaign, have voiced concern over legalising same-sex marriage after his top ally in Congress vowed earlier this year to push for it.
"Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passed," Mr Duterte said, in an apparent reference to traditional church teaching on the issue.
"So I am with you."
He asked the LGBT community to nominate a representative whom he could appoint to a government post, saying he needed "the brightest" to replace those he had recently fired over allegations of corruption.
"You nominate somebody who is honest, hardworking. I give you until the second week of January to nominate," he said.

In the coming months we will learn what this homophobe Trumpie act alike is thinking. When a person who only cares how everything affects him personally says,
"If that will add to your happiness, I am for it." one has to watch ones back. On the other hand may be he is foud out someone close to him is gay but when a person like him changes position so fast and drastically you know there is a good reason for it that is not immediadly known. Some might say so what? The end game is what matters! And I understand that except when an enemy says Im your friend one has to get chills before one gets happy about about the new found concern for human happiness.
Adam Gonzalez 

December 15, 2017

Bermuda Outlaws Same Sex Marriage After Only Six Months

Bermuda did what the United States did by electing Trump, someone who said he was coming to destroy and he did. The difference is that we have an independant court and a well established strong constitution. Bermuda, not long ago a colony does not have the same type of stong system as ours. There you can have a new elected governemnt change what the previous had accomplished, just like Trump except Trump needs to go through the backdoor and get his cronies in Congresss and in agency heads he has appointed to do his dirty work.  He is not supposed to break the law and that is why his government is being investigated. Trump tried to do the same with Transexuals in the military but thanks to a military man (appointed by Trump) Who took his job seriously, stopped Trump dead on his tracks until at least the courts took over. As a matter of fact transexuals will be recruited again starting next month. Adam Gonzalez

In Bermuda,  the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP), in power for almost five months, has put the brakes on same-sex marriages in Bermuda which had been given the green light by a Supreme Court judge earlier this year.

One opposition MP called the government decision “shameful”.

However, gay couples who have already tied the knot in Bermuda this year will not be affected.

Legislation to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships was passed in the House of Assembly on Friday night after a five-hour debate.

The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 was passed with 24 MPs supporting the bill and 10 opposing it.

Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown, who introduced the bill, said it would provide same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevent any further same-sex marriages on the island.

“We need to find a way in Bermuda to fully embrace greater rights for all members of the community,” Brown said. 
“But the status quo will not stand. On the ground, the political reality is that if we do not lead we would have a private member’s bill tabled to outlaw same-sex marriage.

“That bill would pass because more than 18 MPs are opposed to same-sex marriage. If that bill passes same-sex couples have no rights whatsoever. This is tough for me. But I don’t shy away from tough decisions.”

He also confirmed that the legislation would not have a retroactive effect on same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in the Godwin and DeRoche case against the Registrar-General.

In that case, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the Registrar-General could not reject a gay couple’s application to marry in Bermuda and that the common law definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was “inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation”.

During Friday’s debate, PLP backbencher Lawrence Scott said the bill brought balance and gave “the LGBTQ ((lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer) community the benefits it has been asking for”, while keeping the “traditional definition of marriage”.

“As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want,” he said.

However, Shadow Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she could not support the bill “having given a community something only to take it away”.

“I don’t like to accept that it is OK for us to treat our sisters and brothers differently, whether fair or unfair, to treat them differently under similar circumstances,” she noted.

Leah Scott, One Bermuda Alliance’s (OBA) deputy leader, also said she could not support the bill because it took away a right that already existed.

Jeff Baron, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said it was a “very flawed and, frankly, shameful bill”.

Instead of protecting equality, he said, it was “stripping Bermuda’s reputation naked for the world to see”.

Grant Gibbons, the Shadow Economic Development Minister, described the bill as “regressive”.

“This is a human rights issue. We are taking away marriage equality rights from the LGBTQ community.”

Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden added: “We are taking away rights that have been granted to communities of individuals who want to start families.”

PLP backbencher Scott Simmons agreed the bill was imperfect but said: “This government has decided to address this issue that no one else wanted to deal with.

“We set we would repeal and replace but we cannot satisfy everyone. It’s not perfect. But we have to go with what we have got.”

In June, a month before the OBA was trounced by the PLP in a general election, equal rights campaigners — including a former cabinet minister — celebrated Bermuda’s first gay marriage on the island.

The marriage ceremony of Bermudian lawyer Julia Saltus and her partner Judith Aidoo was conducted at the Registrar-General.

The nuptials came less than a month after the landmark Supreme Court ruling of May 5 which enabled gay people to marry on the island.

Former PLP cabinet minister Renee Webb, who tried unsuccessfully to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation more than a decade ago, said after the June ceremony: “I attended the wedding, along with many others.”

“The sky did not fall, nor did it fall when we attended the reception. Bermuda is indeed a beautiful place.”

A referendum last year, in which there was less than a 50 percent turnout, resulted in voters overwhelmingly rejecting same-sex marriages and same-sex civil unions by a wide margin.

The May 5 court ruling cleared the way for Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian partner Greg DeRoche to marry on the island.

In the event, the gay couple married in Toronto on May 20, saying that their legal battle had been about forcing an overdue change in Bermuda.

It is not known how many gay couples have married in Bermuda since the first wedding in June.

December 6, 2017

Austria Approves Gay Marriage by Stating "Equality is a Fundamental Right"

Same-sex couples will finally be able to marry in Austria after the country’s constitutional court ruled on Tuesday that laws prohibiting marriage equality are unconstitutional.

The ruling overturned a 2009 law permitting LGBTQ couples to enter into domestic partnerships but blocked them from receiving the full benefits of marriage. The ban will be lifted on Dec. 31, 2018, allowing same-sex partners to wed as late as 2019. Reports indicate that the European country may move to enact the changes sooner.

Judges ruled the earlier legislation constituted unlawful bias against same-sex couples.

“The distinction between marriage and registered partnership cannot today be maintained without discriminating against same-sex couples,” the court said in its written opinion.

The historic ruling makes Austria the 16th country in Europe to pass marriage equality, bringing the country in line with nations like United Kingdom, France, Ireland, and Belgium. The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex unions back in 2001.

But what makes Austria unique is that it’s the first country to recognize the freedom to marry as a “fundamental right,” says attorney Helmut Graupner in a Facebook post.

“Today is a truly historic day,” writes Graupner, the lawyer representing the couple who brought the constitutional challenge to the nation’s highest court. “[...] All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it... the political way.”

Austria is the latest country to push for marriage equality this year, following Malta and Germany. Its Western neighbor allowed same-sex couples to tie the knot in October after the Parliament voted 393 to 226 in favor of equality. The push for full marriage rights had stalled for a number of years after Germany enacted civil unions in 2001.

Australia will likely be next after the country voted in favor of same-sex unions in a November plebiscite. Sixty-one percent of voters cast a ballot supporting the right to wed, but that result is non-binding.

The Australian Parliament is currently debating a bill that would make those wishes the law of the land. A decision is expected soon.

But in a curious move, this week’s ruling from the Australian constitutional court will not strike down domestic partnerships. The country has claimed that the option will still be available for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

November 28, 2017

Gay Marriage in A Romanian Court Room Would Make Europe Take a Big! Notice

 Adrian Coman outside the Constitutional Court of Romania in Bucharest in 2016. He is pressing for the right to legal residency for his American husband. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images 

The European Union’s highest court began examining a case on Tuesday over a Romanian man’s attempts to get legal residency for his American husband, a closely watched hearing that will have major implications for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Europe.
The case, legal experts say, could determine whether same-sex partners are afforded some of the same benefits and rights available to heterosexual spouses across the 28-member bloc, irrespective of the countries’ stance on same-sex marriage. Specifically, it would affect whether they would be allowed to live and work freely across the European Union, one of the region’s fundamental principles.
“This is the first time the European Court of Justice has been asked to decide whether ‘spouse’ includes a same-sex spouse,” said Robert Wintemute, a professor of human rights law at King’s College London.
The case before the court involves Adrian Coman, a Romanian rights activist, and his American partner, Claibourn Robert Hamilton. The couple was married in Belgium in 2010, seven years after the country legalized same-sex marriage. Belgium is one of 13 countries in the European Union to allow same-sex marriage, while a further nine member states have civil unions or something similar, according to Mr. Wintemute.
European Union laws give the citizens of the bloc’s member states and their family members the right to move and freely reside across the region, subject to certain conditions. But as the couple looked to move to Romania, the authorities in Bucharest refused to recognize their relationship for the purposes of residency. Romania prohibits marriage between people of the same sex and does not recognize same-sex marriages carried out abroad. It is one of six European Union countries with no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.
In 2013, Mr. Coman and Mr. Hamilton challenged the country’s refusal to recognize Mr. Hamilton’s right to a residence permit as a spouse. The case bounced around domestic courts before the country’s Constitutional Court referred it to the European Court of Justice in November 2016.
The couple now live in the United States, but if the court rules in their favor, the impact could be considerable, and not just for them. It would effectively force Romania and five other countries — as well as any country that joins the European Union in the future — to grant same-sex couples who have been married elsewhere residency and working rights, as long as one of them is an E.U. citizen.
“I grew up here, and I still refer to Romania as my home country,” Mr. Coman said in an interview late last year, as the case was progressing through Romania’s legal system. “Sooner or later, I’ll be back.” 
Reached by phone on Tuesday, shortly after the hearing had finished, he expressed optimism about the eventual verdict, which won’t be known for several months, but added that the process had taken far too long.
“Starting this litigation, we realized that we had to take it to the end, whatever the end was,” Mr. Coman said.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Romania in 2001. But same-sex marriage remains a contentious issue in the country, with its majority Orthodox Christian population.
In early 2016, three million Romanians out of a population of roughly 20 million signed a petition calling for the constitutional definition of marriage to be altered, from a union between two spouses to one specifically between a man and a woman. In July 2016, the country’s Constitutional Court accepted the validity of the proposal, paving the way for a referendum on the topic, which could be held next year.
The case at the European Court of Justice, then, comes at an important moment for Romania’s gay community.
“People see it as a beacon of hope after 16 years in which no progress has been made in Romania concerning equal rights, in terms of legislation,” said Vlad Viski, the president of MozaiQ, a Romanian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group.
“A positive decision in the Coman case would also send a symbolic signal to society that L.G.B.T. people must be treated as citizens, that ought to be respected by the state, by institutions, by fellow citizens.”
       By s
     New York Time

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