Same-sex marriage (SSM)
Part 2: 2013-OCT: Current status & recent
marriage (SSM), worldwide
In this web site, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage;"
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.
Other recent U.S. developments regarding SSMs, civil unions, etc.:
- Lawsuits in state or federal courts are underway in about 10 other states to legalize SSM.
- In New Hampshire, a pro-discrimination bill was introduced in the House that would have allowed any person or company to discriminate in in providing accommodation, services, etc. to any couple getting married. Although the bill was intended to enable discrimination against same-sex couples, it was written so sloppily that it would have allowed denigration of couples through refusal to serve them on the basis of their race, skin color, belief, religion, age, fertility status, intention whether or not to have children, and other grounds. It was resoundingly defeated by a vote of 246 to 85!
- Democratic Party platform: During late 2012-JUL, Democratic Party officials unanimously approved in principle the advocacy of SSM as part of their party platform. In early August, the entire platform committee met in Detroit and confirm this decision. It was accepted by the convention delegates in Charlotte, NC in early September. More details.
The approved platform language also repeats the party's 2008 platform that condemned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That law prevents the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages solemnized in the District of Columbia and 6 states. More details.
- Republican Party platform: During 2012-AUG, the Republican Party's platform committee briefly considered adding the promotion of civil unions to the party platform. It was overwhelmingly rejected by a voice vote. More details.
- Presidential elections: Several of the Republican candidates for the Presidency in 2012-NOV had promised to try to have a "marriage amendment" added to the U.S. Constitution that would restrict marriage to one man and one woman everywhere in the U.S. This would be a major violation of state rights, because eligibility to marry has historically been defined by the individual states since the country was founded. However, the idea of such an amendment is wildly popular among social and religious conservatives. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party candidate for the presidency in 2012 signed "... a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage that commits him to support the marriage amendment, defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and establish a commission on 'religious liberty' to investigate allegations of harassment of opponents of same-sex marriage. This threat to SSM died when he lost the election to President Barack Obama during 2012-NOV.
- U.S. Supreme Court: On 2012-DEC-07, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they have granted certiorari to the lawsuit that challenges the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This law prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal SSMs solemnized in individual states or the District of Columbia. The case was originally launched by Edith Windsor of New York in District Court and later appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both courts determined that the federal DOMA law is unconstitutional, "Granting certiorari" means that the Supreme Court decided to hear the case. This was done in late 2013-MAR. The court issued its ruling on 2013-JUN-26, having determined that the main section of DOMA is unconstitutional. This gives legally married same-sex couples access to 1,138 federal benefits and protections on an equal standing with married opposite-sex couples.
As noted above, the court also granted certiorari to the Prop 8 case in California. This involves a constitutional challenge to a referendum held on 2008-NOV in which the public banned future same-sex marriages in the state. On 2013-JUN-26, it ruled that a District Court ruling was valid. Same-sex marriages returned to California within a few days.
Same-sex marriages (SSMs) were made available in nine of the ten provinces and all three territories in mid-2005 by a federal law. SSMs have since become a non-issue in the country, as marriages between one man and one woman, two women, or two men have become routine and unremarkable.
There have been only three significant developments in Canada since 2005-JUL:
- The one province that refused to implement the federal law was Prince Edward Island. The government couldn't figure out how to marry same-sex couples. It may have been because the standard license application form had headings for "Bride" and "Groom." Faced with a lawsuit from a lesbian couple, the provincial government had a flash of insight and quickly figured out a way to adapt the forms. SSMs then became available everywhere in Canada, for the first time, from sea onto sea onto sea.
- During 2006-DEC, the conservative-led federal government attempted to reopen debate on SSM with the goal of repealing the law. The attempt failed. More details.
- During 2012-JAN, the conservative-led federal government reopened an attack on SSM by victimizing a same-sex couple from Florida and the UK. They had married in Canada and returned years later to obtain a divorce. A government lawyer argued that their marriage in Canada was not valid. This is because SSMs were not available at the time in either of their countries of origin. The government considers them to be "legal strangers" to each other with only the rights of roommates. There was an immediate and intense outcry from LGBT, civil liberty groups, religious and social liberals, etc. The Government has promised legislation to remove the uncertainty and guarantee the validity of this couple's marriage and the marriages of other same-sex couples who had come -- and continue to come -- to Canada to marry. More details.
Elsewhere in the world:
- Current status as of 2013-OCT-20: There is no uniformity from country to country. In some states, the relationships of loving committed same-sex couples are celebrated in marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. In other countries, it can cause imprisonment and perhaps even execution.
- 15 states have legalized SSM: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay, have attained marriage equality. In addition, Mexico City allows same-sex couples to marry as do 14 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S.
- In most of the remaining states, loving committed same-sex couples are treated as roommates, without rights and protections for themselves or their children.
- In some countries, mainly those that are predominately Muslim, criminalize same-gender sexual behavior; in six of them, the penalty can be execution.
- In a few islands in Oceania. same-gender sexual behavor by men is punishable with up a 14 year jail sentence -- sometimes with corporal punishment -- while same-gender sexual behavior among women is legal.
Major news items regarding SSM:
- Australia: Bills to legalize SSM were introduced into the federal Parliament. The House of Representatives rejected the Labour Party's SSM bill on 2012-SEP-19 by a vote of 98 to 42. The Senate also rejected the bill on SEP-20 by a vote of 41 to 26. The ruling Liberal party forced some of its members to vote against their conscience. They were required to vote against the bill or face the possibility of expulsion from the party. More details.
- Spain: When a conservative party took over control of the Spanish government, they launched a lawsuit to terminate same-sex marriages in the country. It was rejected by the courts during 2012-NOV.
- New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage in 2003-APR. More details.
- France legalized same-sex marriage in 2003-JUN. More details.
- United Kingdom: Legislation to legalize SSM in England and Wales was passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords in 2013-JUL. Marriages should begin in mid-2014. More details.
- More details on SSM outside of North America.
Amazon.com lists the following books on
same-sex marriage that you can safely order from their online bookstore.
If a generic Amazon.com ad is displayed, click on your browser's refresh
Copyright © 2012 and 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2012-MAR-17
Latest update: 2013-OCT-20
Author: B.A. Robinson