1 60-->
Religious Tolerance logo


SSM ( Same-sex marriage; a.k.a. gay marriage)

Review 2001 to now. SSM in South and Central America:

Sponsored link

Worldwide review of early developments in same-sex marriages:

  • 2001-JAN-14: The world's first same-sex marriages in modern times were performed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. Under police protection, Kevin Bourassa married Joe Varnell, and Elaine Vautour married Anne Vautour. Rev. Brent Hawkes officiated. However, the Government of Ontario refused to register the marriages because the province, at the time, only recognized marriages between a woman and a man. Ten years later, both couples renewed their vows.

  • 2001-APR-01: The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages. Belgium followed suit later that year.

  • Mid 2003: The Court of Appeal for Ontario, Canada ruled that the provincial government's restriction of marriage to one man and one woman violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The two Toronto marriages were registered at that time, and same-sex marriages have since become routine in the province. 1

  • 2004: Massachusetts became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to allow same-sex resident couples to marry.

  • Prior to mid 2005, no country in the Western Hemisphere recognized same-sex marriages across all of its states or provinces. There was strong opposition to marriage equality, particularly in Central and South America, where approximately 70% of the population is Roman Catholic, and many of the rest are evangelical Christians. The leadership of both groups have strongly opposed gay marriages.

  • 2005: Spain legalized same sex marriages. Later in the year, Canada followed suit when its Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act. It became the first country in the Western Hemisphere, and the fourth country in the world, to recognize same-sex marriages.

  • 2010: Some states in Mexico allowed same-sex couples to marry and obtain full spousal rights equivalent to opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriages that are legally solemnized anywhere in Mexico are recognized throughout all of Mexico's 31 states.

  • Same-sex marriage became legal in Argentina in 2010, Brazil and Uruguay during 2013, in the U.S. in mid-2015, and in Columbia during 2016.

  • According to Wikipedia, in mid-2018:

    "Among non-independent states, same-sex marriage is also legal in Greenland, the British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, all French territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, French Guiana, Saint Martin, and Saint Pierre & Miquelon), and in the Caribbean Netherlands." 6

horizontal rule

2018-JAN-09: An Inter-American Court issued a ruling on marriage equality that affects many countries in Central and South America:

The jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' (IACHR) extends over dozens of Central and South American states. The court issued a ruling on 2018-JAN-09, deciding:

"... that countries which are signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights are required to allow same-sex couples to marry."

The ruling states that:

"The State must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11.2 and 17.1 of the American Convention.... in accordance with articles 1.1, 2, 11.2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention, it is necessary to guarantee access to all the existing figures in domestic legal systems, including the right to marry. ... To ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination with respect to those that are constituted by heterosexual couples." 2

The ruling affects 16 American countries, all of whom have ratified the American Convention and accepted the Court's jurisdiction. They are: Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname.

In Costa Rica, the Superior Council of Notaries refused to recognize the ruling by the Inter-American Court. The council prohibited notaries from performing same-sex marriages until existing provisions in the Family Code that ban such marriages are either changed by the Parliament, or struck down by the country's Supreme Court. However. the Attorney General said that the opinions of the IACHR are binding. 3

The gay marriage debate played a major role in Costa Rico's presidential election on 2018-FEB-04. 4 Three presidential candidates from three minor Christian parties supported a continuing ban on gay marriages. The remaining ten candidates either supported same-sex marriage, or were willing to accept the IACHR's ruling. A runoff election was held on 2018-APR-01. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, who supported gay marriages, won with 61% of the vote. A slim majority of his supporters were Roman Catholics. Fabricio Gerardo Alvarado Muñoz, a conservative evangelical Christian who strongly opposed marriage equality lost the election with 39% of the vote. 5

Polls show that about 60% of Costa Ricans currently oppose marriage equality.

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Brent Hawkes, " Wikipedia, as on 2018-AUG-02, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. "Recognition of same-sex unions in Costa Rica," Wikipedia, as on 2018-JUL-19, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. Laura Alvarado, "Costa Rica’s Attorney General Confirms Ruling of Inter-American Court Regarding Same sex Marriage is Binding," Costa Rica Star, 2018-AUG-02, at: https://news.co.cr/
  4. Nick Duffy, "LGBT rights hang in the balance as Costa Rica votes in Presidential election," Pink News, 2018-APR-01, at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/
  5. "Costa Rican general election, 2018," Wikipedia as on 2018-JUN-23, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  6. "LGBT rights in the Americas," Wikipedia, as on 2018-JUL-24, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  7. "Same-sex marriage in Ontario," Wikipedia, as on 2018-JUN-05, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  8. Bill Browning, "Landmark court case brings marriage equality to 20 countries with one ruling," LGBTQ Nation, 2018-JAN-10, at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/

How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > Worldwide > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage> Worldwide > here


Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-AUG-03

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

Go to the previous page, or go to the worldwide menu, or choose:




Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Hot, controversial topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

GooglePage Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.