Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where is same-sex marriage legal?

Here is the answer as of April 13, 2014:

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) and Scotland (starting this fall).

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 -- for some couples who filed legal cases -- in the states of Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Quintana Roo and Yucat√°n. 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), Utah (2013; temporarily suspended Jan. 6, 2014) and Illinois (2014; at least 16 counties at present, including Cook County, where Chicago is, then everywhere come June 1). The U.S. has 50 states. Illinois has 102 counties.

It also is legal 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) and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013).

In Oregon, while same-sex couples cannot marry there, gay couples who get married anywhere else in the world -- including the bordering states of Washington and California -- are recognized by the state as fully married. Kentucky recognized same-sex marriages that took place outside the state for two days in February 2014, until a federal judge stayed his order.

Bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia have been struck down by federal judges, but the rulings were stayed while they are on appeal to federal courts of appeal. Three hundred fifteen same-sex couples married in four Michigan counties on Saturday, March 22, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a stay. Similarly, in Utah, 1,243 same-sex couples married over 18 days prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's staying a Salt Lake City's federal judge's strikedown of the state's gay-marriage ban.

Lawsuits to overturn bans on same-sex marriage and/or force recognition of same-sex marriages that took place elsewhere also are ongoing in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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.