Gay Same-Sex Marriage News
Amid the political turmoil of the midterm elections, the Senate passed a bill to protect gay same-sex marriage. It’s a reminder that rights won can be easily lost, says UCR professor Brandon Andrew Robinson.
It’s a measure that supporters hope will ward off any future attempts to overturn the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling.
Ecuador and Taiwan Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
One of the main objectives of the LGBT rights movement has been the approval of same-sex marriage, allowing couples to marry each other freely. However, this is a right that has been denied to many gay couples around the world.
The first country to legalize same-sex marriage was Canada, when the country’s parliament approved a bill in early January 2003 that granted the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexual couples. The law went into effect the following year, and it marked a milestone for LGBTQ people.
After years of campaigning, the first same-sex couple in Taiwan married in November last year after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that an article in the civil code stating marriage must be between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The ruling came after a veteran gay rights activist filed a lawsuit, and the Taipei city government also lodged an administrative lawsuit over the same-sex marriage registration issue.
A few months later, the country’s president enacted the 748 Act, which gave same-sex couples the same marriage and civil union recognition as heterosexual couples. However, until this week, same-sex couples in the country were unable to have their marriages recorded in household registers. The reason is that the household registry only accepts the names of heterosexual parents or spouses as listed in their national ID cards.
Ecuador has now joined other Latin American countries like Argentina, Brazil and Colombia by allowing same-sex marriage. The move comes almost a month after Iceland’s parliament passed a law legalizing the unions, and weeks after Denmark’s Queen Margerethe II gave her royal assent to a same-sex marriage bill passed by lawmakers earlier this year. Also in June, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill making gender-neutral marriages enforceable, and in October, the Cayman Islands’ highest court ruled that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Luxembourg and Scotland Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Lawmakers in Luxembourg, a small European country whose prime minister is openly gay, have approved changes in the nation’s laws governing marriage that will allow people of the same sex to wed and adopt children. The Chamber of Deputies voted 56-4 to approve the new rules, which will come into effect six months after they’re officially published. Luxembourg’s move follows a similar decision in February by Scotland, which allows couples to wed under the same laws that apply to civil partnerships.
The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage when it enacted legislation in 2001. Belgium followed suit in 2003, and Spain did so in 2005. Denmark then passed a similar bill that same-sex couples could marry under, and in 2009 Norway passed a gender-neutral marriage law. That same year Iceland became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, and its then-Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir wed her partner Jonina Leosdottir.
In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that all EU member states must recognize same-sex marriages if they are conducted in another country where it is legal, regardless of whether or not the union was a public ceremony. Britain and Ireland are among the few nations in the bloc that don’t allow same-sex marriage, though they do permit civil unions for LGBT couples.
In June of this year, the Scottish Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first gay marriages in that country began to take place in December of last year. The ruling by Luxembourg’s lawmakers follows a similar decision by the country’s high court, which ruled that same-sex marriages should be treated equally with traditional marriages in terms of rights and privileges. In addition, the court ruled that religious institutions and civil officers have the right to decline to perform gay marriages.
New Zealand Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
New Zealand’s parliament voted 77-44 Wednesday in favor of amending the current Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage. The change will go into effect in August. The vote prompted cheers and applause from the public gallery. It makes the country the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize gay marriage and the 13th worldwide. New Zealand already had allowed same-sex partnerships to become legally married, but that was only partial recognition.
After the vote, a few members of parliament and many people watching from the gallery broke into song, singing a traditional Maori celebratory song. Louisa Wall, a Labour party member of parliament who introduced the bill that became law, gave a reading from the Bible that ended with a prayer for equality.
She said the wedding ceremonies that will follow will show how the nation embraces love, which is something the world needs now more than ever. She urged other countries to follow New Zealand’s example and eliminate inequality and discrimination wherever they find it.
The day after the vote, Air New Zealand staged a soaring, fairy-tale wedding for Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau, a couple who won a competition hosted by a local radio station to win an all-expense-paid ceremony in the skies. Bendall, who is a fashion designer, and Wanikau, who works in an office, tied the knot at 30,000 feet beneath strings of lights with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of Modern Family, as witness.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English endorsed the new law, saying it will help same-sex couples have the support of friends and family. He still holds views on other social issues, however, such as abortion and euthanasia, which have been shaped by his Catholic religion. But he said that having experienced marriage himself as a parent, he now understands the positive impact it can have on families.