Same-sex marriages (SSM) and civil unions
Snapshot of governments' recognition of
same-sex relationships as of mid-2005
The status of government recognition of same-sex relationships as of
The LA Times has a fascinating dynamic map showing changes to same-sex marriage and civil unions across the U.S., starting in on 2000-JAN-01 and extending to election day on 2012-NOV-06. See: http://graphics.latimes.com/
As of the middle of 2005:
- California gradually phased in certain restricted benefits for same-sex couples in 2001. They made domestic partnerships available to same-sex
couples in 2005-JAN-01. These are similar to Vermont's civil unions.
- Connecticut's legislature approved a civil union bill
on 2005-APR-20. It was signed into law by the governor within hours. It took effect on
2005-OCT-01. More details
- Vermont: The state
Supreme Court determined that the existing marriage laws in the state
violated the state constitution. The legislature approved a system of
civil unions for same-sex couples which became effective on 2000-JUL-1. The
rights and privileges granted under this law are similar to those given
by the state to all married couples. The 1,138 Federal rights and
obligations are denied couples who enter civil unions. The rights given
to couples in civil unions are not transportable to other states in the
U.S. Thus, if a civil unionized couple in Vermont steps over the state line,
they are regarded simply as roommates. More details.
- Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court ruled on 2004-MAY
that the state constitution
requires same-sex marriage, and that the state had to
issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Committed same-sex couples have been able to marry in the state since 2004-MAY-17. However their marriages
are not recognized by the Federal government, so they do not receive any of the over 1,000 federal rights and obligations of opposite-sex marriage.
- Developments after 2005-JUN
The provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova
Scotia had civil-union-type arrangements in place.
- 2003-JUN: Ontario, Canada: The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that same-sex
couples can obtain marriage licenses and register their marriages in the province. They obtain full provincial and federal rights.
- 2003-JUL: British Columbia, Canada: The British Columbia Court of Appeal had ordered
implementation of same-sex marriages in the province starting in 2004-JUL-12. On 2003-JUL-08, they issued a supplementary ruling ordering the government
to start issuing licenses immediately. More details
- 2004-MAR: Québec, Canada: On 2004-MAR-20, the provincial Court of Appeal upheld
the Quebec Superior Court's decision to permit SSM. They became available immediately.
- 2004-JUL: Yukon, Canada:
The Yukon Supreme Court ruled on 2004-JUL-14 that SSM was legal.
- 2004-SEP: Manitoba, Canada: On 2004-SEP-14, The Court of
Queen's Bench noted that 12 or more other Canadian judges had already
decided that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is a violation of Canada's
Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- the country's constitution. The court
declared the marriage act in Manitoba to be unconstitutional and ordered the
definition of marriage to be immediately "reformulated to mean a voluntary
union for life of two persons at the exclusion of all others."
- 2004-SEP: Nova Scotia, Canada: The province's Supreme Court ruled on
2004-SEP-24 that "civil marriage
between two persons of the same sex is therefore lawful and valid."
- 2004-NOV: Saskatchewan, Canada: The Family Law Division of the
Court of Queen's Bench ruled that: "The common-law definition of marriage
for civil purposes is declared to be 'the lawful union of two persons to the
exclusion of all others'." More details
- 2004-DEC: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: The Supreme Court of
Newfoundland ordered the province to recognize same-sex marriages. The lawsuit
was heard on DEC-19 and 20; the ruling was handed down on DEC-21.
- 2005-JUN-23: New Brunswick, Canada: Court of Queen's Bench Justice Judy Clendenning
determined that the civil definition of marriage in the province should be
broadened to include same-sex couples. She gave the province ten days in which
to make the necessary administrative adjustments. More details
However, these arrangements were largely superseded by the
availability of marriage across
the entire country (except for Prince Edward Island) on 2005-JUL-20.
PEI later followed the federal law, but only
when threatened by a lawsuit which they had a 100% certainty of losing.
In other countries:
- Argentina: Partnership registration since 2003 in Buenos
Aires city and Rio Negro province.
- Australia: The country has implemented
cohabitation rights since 1994 in the Capitol Territory, 1999 in New
South Wales, and 2001 in Victoria.
- Hungary: Registered partnerships since 1996.
- Iceland: Registered partnerships since 1996.
- Liechtenstein: Registered partnerships since 2002.
- New Zealand: A civil union bill came into effect on
2005-APR. More details
- Norway: Registered partnerships since 1993.
- Developments after 2005-JUN
- "Civil Partnership: A framework for the legal recognition of same sex couples," Women & Equality Unit, at:
This is a PDF file. You may require software to read
it. Software can be obtained free from:
- J.S. Spong, "Three cheers for the New Jersey Supreme Court," A new
Christianity for a New World newsletter, 2006-NOV-01.
Copyright © 2005 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-MAY-27
Latest update: 2013-APR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson