Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where is same-sex marriage legal?

Here is the answer as of October 22, 2014.
First, here's what's next in the U.S., where developments have come very fast since Oct. 6 and same-sex marriage is now legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

There are three states where, due to in-force federal-appeals-court rulings, same-sex marriage should be legal now but isn't: Kansas (there's a hearing Oct. 24), Montana (there's a hearing Nov. 20) and South Carolina (Lambda Legal sued on Oct. 15).

Beyond that, any day now could see a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on the marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. That should be followed later by rulings from the 5th Circuit affecting the bans in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and the 11th Circuit affecting the bans in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The 8th Circuit likely will be last. At present, that ruling would affect Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Also in play is a new appeal from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to the 1st Circuit, after a federal district court upheld the commonwealth's marriage ban on Oct. 21. All states in the 1st Circuit already permit same-sex marriage.

If the 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th or 11th circuit rules against same-sex marriage, that should send the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court for a nationwide ruling. If all circuits rule for same-sex marriage, it becomes legal in the remaining 15 states and five territories without SCOTUS intervention, as lawsuits conclude in each jurisdiction. More details in my full worldwide post that begins now.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE is legal in the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013), Brazil (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), England and Wales (2014), Scotland (starting Dec. 31) and Luxembourg (starting early 2015).

Same-sex marriages also have taken place on the Caribbean islands of Saba, a municipality of the Netherlands (2012), and Martinique, an overseas region of France (2013).

In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo -- and, for some couples who filed legal cases, in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Jalisco, Oaxaca and Yucatán. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order. Mexico has 31 states.

In Colombia, a handful of same-sex couples have managed to get married since September 2013, but the situation remains fluid. Latest here.

In Australia, same-sex couples were able to marry in the Australian Capital Territory from Dec. 7, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013, under a special "same-sex marriage" law the territory enacted. On Dec. 12, Australia's High Court invalidated the law and the marriages, pointing out that marriage is a matter of federal law in Australia.

IN THE UNITED STATES, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts (2004), California (2008 for four months, then 2013 for good), Connecticut (2008), Vermont (2009), Iowa (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), New York (2011), Maine (2012), Maryland (2012), Washington (2012), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), Minnesota (2013), New Jersey (2013), Hawaii (2013), New Mexico (2013), Oregon (2014), Pennsylvania (2014), Illinois (2014), Colorado (Oct. 6, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Idaho (Oct. 15, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014) and Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014). That's 32 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition, three more states will see same-sex marriage legalized soon because they are in federal circuits where appeals-court decisions striking down bans are the law of the land -- following the U.S. Supreme Court's Oct. 6, 2014, rejection of appeals from three circuits and its Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, 2014, refusals to issue stays in the 9th Circuit. Those states are Kansas, Montana and South Carolina. A same-sex couple married at the courthouse in Olathe, Kansas, on Oct. 10. Later that day the state Supreme Court halted any more gay marriages.

Missouri has a curious situation. It does not let gay couples marry but it recognizes their marriages if they get married anywhere in the world -- including the bordering states of Illinois and Iowa -- a decision state officials finalized Oct. 6, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court action.

Bans on same-sex marriage in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas have been struck down by federal and/or state judges, but the rulings were stayed while on appeal. In Louisiana and Puerto Rico (one of the United States' five inhabited territories), federal judges have upheld bans. The rulings are being appealed. On Oct. 7, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a strikedown of Idaho's gay-marriage ban, and struck down Nevada's ban. Marriages soon began in both states, as well as in the 9th Circuit states of Alaska and Arizona. Because SCOTUS rejected stay requests from Idaho and Alaska, legalization of same-sex marriage is just a matter of time in the rest of the 9th Circuit -- Montana and the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Montana's case is in its final stage while the two territories have yet to be sued.

The remaining two territories are American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Neither has been sued. The Virgin Islands is in the 3rd Circuit, where all states permit same-sex marriage (as do all states in Puerto Rico's circuit, the 1st). American Samoa does not have a federal district court. When/if it is sued, the matter might start in territorial court or in federal court in D.C., then possibly move up the applicable appellate ladder. (American Samoa's situation vis-a-vis federal courts is super confusing and no amount of Googling makes it less so. I've asked 14 of my favorite lawyers to take a look at the evidence.)

INDIAN TRIBES: Same-sex marriage also has been explicitly legalized within the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009), The Suquamish Tribe in Washington state (2011), the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington state (2013), the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013), the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013), the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013), the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013), and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014).

HISTORICAL NOTES: In Utah, 1,259 same-sex couples married between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court's stayed a Salt Lake City federal judge's strikedown of the state's gay-marriage ban. The stay was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Michigan, 315 same-sex couples married in four counties on Saturday, March 22, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a stay. In Arkansas, 541 same-sex couples received marriage licenses before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay a week after the May 9, 2014, strikedown. In Wisconsin, more than 500 same-sex couples married June 6-13, 2014, before a federal judge finalized her paperwork and issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Indiana, some 800 same-sex couples married June 25-27, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Colorado, more than 300 same-sex couples married in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties in June and July 2014 after various legal developments, including the state's marriage ban being struck down in both state and federal court. The three counties eventually were forced to stop issuing gay licenses by the state Supreme Court or Attorney General John Suthers, with Boulder being the final county shut down on July 29, 2014. Colorado resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Oct. 6, 2014, following the U.S. Supreme Court rejection of the 10th Circuit appeals from Utah and Oklahoma.

In U.S. states that do not allow or recognize same-sex marriage, married same-sex couples who live there are still recognized as married for many federal purposes, including income tax, immigration, military benefits and likely scores of other matters that always have been tied to whether a couple entered into a legal marriage anywhere in the world rather than to a state's marriage rules.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Mexico's Coahuila state legalizes same-sex marriage

[Second draft. Sources: 1 2 3 4 5]

For the first time, a Mexican state legislature has voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Sept. 1 vote by the Congress of the state of Coahuila was 19-1.

The new law, which alters more than 40 parts of the state's Civil Code, takes effect in one week.

According to reports, the law says, "Marriage is the free union with full consent of two people, which has as its objective to realize community life where both [people] seek respect, equality and mutual aid, and make in a free, responsible, voluntary and informed way reproductive decisions that fit their life project, including the possibility of procreation or adoption."

("El matrimonio es la unión libre y con el pleno consentimiento de dos personas, que tiene como objeto realizar la comunidad de vida en donde ambas se procuran respeto, igualdad y ayuda mutua, y toman de manera libre, responsable, voluntaria e informada las decisiones reproductivas que se ajustan a su proyecto de vida, incluida la posibilidad de procrear o adoptar.")

The law's "exposition of motives" says it "puts an end to the restrictions and limitations imposed on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, travesti, transgender and intersex community, which constitute a constitutional and international violation."

The 19 'yes' votes came from members of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) and local parties. The 'no' vote came from a member of the Democratic Unity Party.

Coahuila borders the U.S. state of Texas. It's capital, Saltillo, is 191 miles (307 km) south of Laredo, Texas.

Full marriage for same-sex couples is legal two other places in Mexico -- the Federal District (Mexico City), where it was passed by legislators, and the state of Quintana Roo, where the secretary of state determined in 2012 that the state's Civil Code did not specify sex or gender requirements for marriage.

Mexico has 31 states.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Illinois governor signs marriage-equality bill into law

Sitting at the desk on which Abraham Lincoln wrote his first inaugural address, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn today signed the marriage-equality bill into law. When the law comes into force, Illinois will be the 16th U.S. state (along with D.C.) where same-sex couples can marry. [Screen cap: live feed]
Photo by Hal Baim/Windy City Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Marriage equality arrives in Hawaii

The bill legalizing same-sex marriage has just cleared the Hawaii Legislature and is en route to strong supporter Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The final Senate vote was 19-4. Abercrombie will sign the bill tomorrow morning (Nov. 13) at 10 a.m. HST. Same-sex couples should be able to marry beginning Dec. 2.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

San Diego LGBT Pride today

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prop 8 dies, plaintiff couples marry

Prop 8 federal case plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were married yesterday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were married last evening (video) at Los Angeles City Hall by Mayor Antontio Villaraigosa.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gays march through San Diego as Prop 8 dies

More than 1,000 people took to the streets of San Diego Tuesday evening in celebration of the demise of Prop 8 and DOMA. The impromptu march closed down about seven blocks of major thoroughfare University Avenue in the heavily gay Hillcrest district. The peaceful crowd eventually crammed itself into the LGBT Community Center for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and more partying.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

As Prop 8 dies, POTUS calls Chad and MSNBC catches it live

Friday, May 03, 2013

Rex Wockner

Rex Wockner reported news for the gay press from the 1980s until 2011. His work appeared in hundreds of publications.

He has a B.A. in journalism, started his career as a radio reporter, and wrote for the mainstream press as well, including the Chicago Tribune and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Highlights of Wockner's career include:

Going to Denmark in 1989 to cover the world's first registered partnerships granting gay couples the rights of marriage.

Covering the world's first full gay marriages in the Netherlands in 2001.

Reporting from the first gay-pride events in Moscow and Leningrad in 1991.

Reporting from world conferences of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the international AIDS conferences.

Making early contact with gay movements in the former East Bloc and developing nations.

And filing stories in the U.S. from the Democratic and Republican conventions, Creating Change, NLGJA conferences, the GLAAD Awards, Equality Begins At Home, the National Gay Men's Health Summit, the LGBT marches on Washington, ACT UP demonstrations, the National Equality March, the Maine same-sex marriage battle, the trial in the federal Prop 8 case, and New Orleans after Katrina.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Rhode Island legalizes same-sex marriage

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has just signed the bill making R.I. the 10th U.S. state with same-sex marriage. D.C. has it also. Same-sex couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses in Rhode Island starting Aug. 1.