Same-sex marriages, civil unions, etc.
Activities in other countries:
Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, & the Czech Republic
See elsewhere in this web site for information about same-sex marriages,
civil unions, etc. in the United States and the rest of the world
- 2009-JUL-29: The government website announced that the governing
party -- the Democrats -- will introduce a law creating a system of civil
weddings for loving, committed same-sex couples. The statement mentioned that
it "...may spark debate." However, the party believes that it is necessary in
order to stop discrimination against same-sex couples. The Democrats have 74
of Parliament's 140 seats, so the bill is expected to pass.
This is an amazing development, because Albania is predominately Muslim and
has large Orthodox and Roman Catholic minorities. This would be the first
mainly Muslim country to officially recognize same-sex marriages. In about six
predominately Muslim countries, sexually active gays and lesbians are
- 2004-MAR: A lesbian college professor attempted to obtain funding
for her partner's expenses during a sabbatical. They had been together for
eight years. The university, which would have routinely funded her partner's
expenses if they had been married, refused. She lodged a request with the
human rights commission in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. A panel
of judges issued an opinion which guaranteed the rights of same-sex couples
to obtain the same legal protections that are automatically given to married
opposite-sex couples. Because of Brazilian law, the only way to overturn
this decision would be to have approved an amendment to the country's
constitution. Same-sex couples are now free to join in civil unions
and receive broad benefits including areas such as inheritance, child
custody, insurance benefits, pensions, etc. The public seems to have taken
this change in stride. The Roman Catholic church is unhappy. Father Ricardo
Paz, a priest and ecclesiastical judge from Porto Alegre, said: "It's a
pragmatic attitude which says, 'As long as I don't suffer the consequences,
fine' without realizing that this could destroy the concept of family, and
confuse our children, especially teens, who will see this as an option." 2
- 2005-FEB-28: Joao Gilberto Gonclaves, a prosecutor, has filed a
lawsuit charging the country's prohibition of same-sex marriage as being
in violation of the 1988 constitution. The latter outlaws discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation. 3
- 2008-JUL-26: Civil unions are currently available in many states of Brazil.
The Government of Brazil considered a law to make them available across the country.
- 2011: Brazil's supreme court approved civil unions for same-sex couples. Some state courts have upgraded individual civil unions to marriages.
- 2012-MAY-24: A bill to legalize same-sex civil unions across the country had been introduced circa 1997. After 16 years, it finally obtained approval from Brazil's Senate. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Marta Suplicy, said that the government needed to update the country's penal code to match what courts are already permitting.
- 2013-MAY-14: Brazil's National Council of Justice ruled that notaries public must perform same-sex marriages, register same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and convert same-sex civil unions into marriages when requested. This decision effectively legalizes same-sex marriages across the country effective MAY-16, making Brazil the 14th country to do so. 4
This is a state in the North West corner of South America. It is to the East of Venezuela, North East of Brazil and North of Peru. Its population is expected to exceed 50 million by 2015. It has no state church, although about 81% of the population are at least nominally Roman Catholic. Some recent developments that may lead to marriage equality are:
- 2009-JAN-29: Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples can be recognized as "uniones de hecho" (de facto unions, similar to common-law marriages) after having lived together for two years. This form of recognition was previously only available to Colombia's opposite-sex couples. If the couples wish, they can have their union registered before a notary or judge.
- 2010-JAN: A public opinion survey found that 63% of adults in Bogata, the capital city, favored marriage equality while 36% opposed it. 5
- 2011-JUL-26: The Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that any loving, committed same-sex couple constitutes a family. In doing so, the court ignored the requests of several Churches who wanted such couples recognized only as "legal strangers" -- as roommates -- without benefits and protectons for themselves that are enjoyed by opposite-sex couples in de facto unions or marriages. The court ruled that there is a "deficit of legal protection" for such couples under current law. They ordered the Colombian Congress to eliminate that deficit by 2013-JUN-20. If they fail to do this, then same-sex couples will be able to formalize their relationships before a notary couple even without the law having been passed.
The Colombian Constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights signed by the country of Colombia both require that people
be treated equally before the law. The Towleroad website comments:
To allow marriage equality is to reconcile the marriage and equality clauses [of the Constitution]; to prohibit same-sex marriage is to ignore the equality clause altogether and to invent an intention for the family clause that never existed. 6
Diana Guzman, a lawyer for a Colombian LGBT equality group said:
"We would've preferred for the court -- as guarantor of rights of minorities and in particular guarantor of equality -- would have itself extended marriage to same-sex couples. Nonetheless, we think this ruling is a step forward." 7
- 2012-NOV-04: A Senate committee passed a bill with a vote of 10 to 5 to legalize SSM in the country. Senator Armando Benedetti, of the ruling Social Party of National Unity said:
‘The marriage of couples of same-sex couples is a clear manifestation of respect and non-discrimination of groups that have been permanently marginalized. With this initiative we seek to bridge the gap of inequality and respect the provisions of the constitution and the rulings of the constitutional court."
Conservative party spokesman, Senator Hernán Andrade apparently believes that elementary civil rights, such as the right to marry, must be first subject to majority approval. He called for a national referendum on SSM before it is approved. He said:
"We must think about legislating [SSM, because only] 26% [of the public] ... is in agreement with these issues, while the majority have to keep silent. This is the dictatorship of the minority." 8
This is not a novel situation in civil rights conflicts. In the U.S., there have been two main occasions when marriage was redefined to let groups marry who had historically been discriminated against. These were: in the 19th century when African Americans were allowed to marry, and in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage. In both cases, the majority of Americans opposed such marriages at the time. In both cases, a substantial majority of Americans support these decisions today.
- 2012-NOV-22: At a discussion of the SSM bill in Congress, Senator Roberto Gerlein said that sex between men is:
"... dirty, repulsive. It is sex that deserves condemnation and is excremental sex. ... The homosexual has a smaller hypothalamus (a portion of the brain). It is a condition that comes imprinted in the biology of the homosexual. He has no way to remove it. He can visit all the psychiatrists and will still have no way to take it out. It is bad luck that nature imposes this burden on someone, because being homosexual is a burden. 9
In this statement he is supporting the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church who teach that having a homosexual orientation is not a choice, and that it is a burden for many gays and lesbians.
He also said that lesbian sex is "inane" presumably because it cannot cause conception.
- 2012-NOV-04: Senator Edgar Espíndola of the conservative National Integration Party said:
"Today in the world there are many countries where bestiality is practically a sexual preference for some, or necrophilia, or pedophilia. ... We can’t copy those models." 10
He appears to be saying that if the people of Colombia accept what he calls "modernism" and allow loving, committed same-sex couples to marry, that the result will be a drastic increase in adult humans having sex with animals, other humans who are dead, or children. We are not aware of any evidence of a linkage between same-sex marriage and these paraphilias.
- 2013-MAR-08: The Colombian Constitutional Court responded to an earlier brief filed by the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General had disagreed with the court's ruling that same-sex couples had a right to their partner's survivor pensions. The court reiterated its support for marriage equality. On MAR_08, the Court said that:
"Survivor pension protection extends to life partners of the same sex."
The court also urged the Congress to pass: "comprehensive, systematic and orderly legislation" before JUN-20 that would provide more rights to LGBT couples. The Court's web site stated that:
"The ruling held that the phrase ’man and woman’ in the definition of marriage is in conformity with the Colombian Constitution, but the justices were of the view that such a phrase does not imply a prohibition against a legal bond between homosexuals, similar or equal to that of the heterosexual couples." 4
It is unclear from the reporting by the media on this topic whether the Constitutional Court would accept a system of civil unions that would grant same-sex couples all the rights, advantages, benefits, and protections of marriage except what is often to couples the most important right of all -- the right to call their relationship a marriage. Wherever civil unions have been tried in the U,S, such separate and equal arrangements have proven to be separate but unequal.
During 2018-JAN, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that recognized same-sex marriage and rights for transgender persons. 13
On 2018-APR-02, David Alire Garcia and Enrique Andres Pretel, writing for Reuters, said:
"The center-left's Carlos Alvarado Quesada decisively defeated a conservative Protestant singer in Costa Rica's presidential runoff election on Sunday [APR-01] by promising to allow gay marriage, [and thus] protecting the country's reputation for tolerance.
A former minister and fiction writer, Quesada, 38, had 61 percent of the vote with results in from 95 percent of polling stations, a far bigger lead than predicted by opinion polls that foresaw a tight race.
"My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty for a more prosperous future," he told thousands of cheering supporters blowing horns and waving Costa Rica's red, white and blue flag.
"There is much more that unites us than divides us."
He defeated Alvarado Munoz, a former TV journalist known for religious dance songs, whose campaign was based on promises to prevent gay marriages. and restrict women's access to abortion. Munoz conceded the election, congratulated Quesada, and promised to help him tackle the country's problems. 14
During 2018-NOV-14, the Costa Rica Supreme Court formally released its ruling giving lawmakers in the country 18 months to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. That is until mid 2020-MAY. The ruling states:
"Acts of open discrimination, whether they are expressed or implied, cannot be justified in any way in a democratic society that respects fundamental rights.
A copy of the ruling, in Spanish, can be downloaded.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Albanian government presents draft law to legalize same-sex civil
weddings," Associated Press, 2009-JUL-30, at: http://www.startribune.com/
- "Gays in Brazilian State quietly tie knot," Associated Press, 2004-MAY-28.
- "Brazilian prosecutor files suit to legalize gay 'marriage',"
- Julie Deisher, "Brazil justice council effectively legalizes same-sex marriage," Jurist, at: http://jurist.org/
- "Colombian senator: Same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality or necrophilia," Pink News, 2012-DEC-06, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/
- Jason St. Amand, "Colombian High Court Stands Firm On Gay Rights Support," Edge of the Net, 2013-MAR-13, at: http://www.edgeonthenet.com/
- "Colombian court says Congress must decide on gay marriage," CNN, 2011-JUL-27, at: http://www.cnn.com
- Dann Littauer, "Gay marriage bill passes first vote in Colombia," GayStarNews, 2012-DEC-05, at: http://www.gaystarnews.com
- Scott Roberts, "Colombian politician says gay sex is ‘dirty and repulsive’," Pink News, 2012-NOV-22, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
- "Colombian Senate to vote on marriage equality today," Towleroad, 2013-APR-17, at: http://www.towleroad.com/
- Pavla Horakova, "Czech MPs approve law on same-sex partnerships," Radio
Prague, 2005-DEC-19 at: http://www.radio.cz/
- Uruguay Passes Homosexual Civil Union Law. First Latin
American country to cave in to mounting homosexual rights
pressure,"LifeSiteNews.com, 2007-DEC-20, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
- Michael K. Lavers, "Costa Rica lawmakers ordered to legalize same-sex marriage," Washington Blade, 2018-NOV-14, at: https://www.washingtonblade.com/
- David Alire Garcia and Enrique Andres Pretel, "Costa Rica center-left easily wins presidency in vote fought on gay rights," Reuters, 2018-APR-02, at: https://mobile.reuters.com/
Copyright © 2002 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-SEP-24
Latest update: 2018-NOV-16
Author: B.A. Robinson