Monday, November 20, 2017

Marriage equality around the world

Article maintained with help from Evan Wolfson and Rob Salerno - Last update: Nov. 20, 2017
Same-sex couples can marry in 24 nations and in 39 other jurisdictions around the world:
Netherlands (2001), Saba (2012), Bonaire (2013), Sint Eustatius
Belgium (2003)
Canada (2003-2005)
USA (2004-2015), Guam (2015), Northern Mariana Islands (2015), Puerto Rico (2015), U.S. Virgin Islands (2015)
Spain (2005), Canary Islands (2005), Ceuta (2005), Melilla (2005)
South Africa (2006)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Argentina (2010)
Iceland (2010)
Portugal (2010), Azores (2010), Madeira (2010)
Mexico (2010-2017; full article here)
Denmark (2012), Greenland (2016), Faroe Islands (2017)
France (2013), French Guiana (2013), French Polynesia (2013), Guadeloupe (2013), Martinique (2013), Mayotte (2013), New Caledonia (2013), Réunion (2013), Saint Barthélemy (2013), Saint Martin (2013), Saint Pierre and Miquelon (2013), Wallis and Futuna (2013)
Brazil (2013)
Uruguay (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
England and Wales (2014), Akrotiri and Dhekelia (2014), British Indian Ocean Territory (2014, 2015), Scotland (2014), Pitcairn Islands (2015), Ascension Island (2016), Isle of Man (2016), British Antarctic Territory (2016), Gibraltar (2016), Guernsey (2017), Falkland Islands (2017), Bermuda (2017), Tristan da Cunha (2017), Alderney (2017)
Luxembourg (2015)
Ireland (2015)
Colombia (2016)
Finland (2017)
Malta (2017)
Germany (2017)

Notes
Dutch Caribbean
As with Bonaire and Saba, same-sex marriage should be available in the Dutch municipality of Sint Eustatius but there's no indication one has occurred. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Dutch constituent countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, though Dutch marriages from elsewhere are partially recognized.
Mexico
Mexican states (there are 31) are a current hotspot of the marriage-equality movement. To date, 13 states have achived full marriage equality via three different pathways. My full article is here.
French places
In the France list above, links go to proof of a same-sex couple marrying in nine of the 11 overseas departments and collectivities. In the remaining two (Saint Barthélemy, Wallis and Futuna), same-sex marriage is legal but there's no indication one has occurred.
British places
See above for the list of British places that have marriage equality. These British overseas territories, one province and one crown dependency do not yet have marriage equality: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Montserrat, Northern Ireland, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands. Neither does Sark, which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Ireland
On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Irish people amended their constitution to bring in marriage equality by a landslide margin of 62.07% to 37.93%.
U.S. territories
Four of the five U.S. territories — Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands — were covered by the U.S. Supreme Court's nationwide marriage-equality ruling on June 26, 2015. American Samoa was not.
The United States Minor Outlying Islands -- Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean, and Navassa Island in the Carribean Sea -- would have marriage equality. Their only population nowadays is a small number of temporarily assigned scientists and military personnel.
Antarctica
Marriage equality exists in much of Antarctica, given the nations that claim portions of the continent as national territory: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom. Take mittens.
On the high seas
For a price, you can now marry a same-sex partner at sea on ships of Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line, courtesy of the Bermuda Supreme Court's May 2017 marriage-equality ruling, and on ships of Celebrity Cruises, courtesy of the Malta Parliament's passage of marriage equality in July 2017. Bon voyage.
U.S. Indian tribes
There are 567 of them, and they are not covered by the June 26, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. At least 22 tribes, listed below, have legalized same-sex marriage to date. A number of others follow the marriage law of the state in which they are located, meaning same-sex marriage is legal within the tribe without any additional tribal action.
Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009)
• Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut (2010)
• Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011)
• Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in Washington (2012)
• Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013)
• Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington (2013)
• Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013)
• Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013)
• Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013)
• Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013)
• Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014)
• Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming (2014)
• Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes in Alaska (2015)
• Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin (2015)
• Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan (2015)
• Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in Oregon (2015)
• Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon (2015)
• Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota (2016)
• Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma (2016)
• Osage Nation in Oklahoma (2017)
• Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin (2017)
• Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona (2017)

Map
The Human Rights Campaign produced this fab map. Enlarging it to about 400% reveals every speck of the earth where same-sex couples can marry.

Watch list
Australia
In an unusual approach, Australia's government mailed a survey form to every registered voter asking if same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The outcome, announced Nov. 15, 2017, was 61.6% "yes" and 38.4% "no" -- with a response rate of 79.5%. Parliament can ignore the nonbinding survey, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes marriage-equality will now "sail through" the House of Representatives and Senate and same-sex couples will be marrying by Christmas.
Austria
In a preliminary determination in a case brought by lawyer Helmut Graupner, Austria's Constitutional Court said Oct. 12 that forcing same-sex couples into registered partnership instead of marriage is not permissible. It said this would be the case even if registered partnerships and marriage were legally "absolutely identical." The court launched proceedings to delete the words "of different sex" from the Austrian Civil Code's marriage law and to terminate the registered-partnership law. The government has several weeks to respond to the preliminary determination. A final judgment is anticipated in December, and marriage equality could arrive in January.
Chile
President Michelle Bachelet introduced a marriage-equality bill to Congress in September 2017. A November 2017 election produced a majority for marriage equality in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. New members will take office in March.
Northern Ireland
The UK territory of Northern Ireland doesn't have a government because the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin power-sharing agreement collapsed in January 2017 and hasn't been restored due to disagreement about marriage equality and local language rights. It's possible any resolution to the impasse could see introduction of equal marriage in the last major area of the United Kingdom that doesn't have it.
Panama
The nine judges of the Supreme Court of Justice will study one judge's draft ruling rejecting marriage equality until Nov. 22 and support it or reject it. If it is rejected, a new draft will be produced reflecting the opinion of the majority. The draft says the marriage section of the Family Code is not unconstitutional and that marriage equality is a matter for the National Assembly.
Taiwan
Taiwan's Constitutional Court declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on May 24, 2017, and gave the legislature no more than two years to change laws. If it doesn't, marriage equality arrives automatically.

Geography lesson
Where are those 39 other jurisdictions of Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, UK and USA?
Denmark
• Faroe Islands » North Atlantic Ocean
• Greenland » between North Atlantic and Arctic oceans
France
• French Guiana » South America
• French Polynesia » South Pacific Ocean
• Guadeloupe » Caribbean Sea
• Martinique » Caribbean Sea
• Mayotte » Indian Ocean
• New Caledonia » South Pacific Ocean
• Réunion » Indian Ocean
• Saint Barthélemy » Caribbean Sea
• Saint Martin » Caribbean Sea
• Saint Pierre and Miquelon » next to Newfoundland
• Wallis and Futuna » South Pacific Ocean
Netherlands
• Bonaire » Caribbean Sea
• Saba » Caribbean Sea
• Sint Eustatius » Caribbean Sea
Portugal
• Azores » North Atlantic Ocean
• Madeira » North Atlantic Ocean
Spain
• Canary Islands » North Atlantic Ocean
• Ceuta » Africa
• Melilla » Africa
United Kingdom
• Alderney » English Channel
• Ascension Island » South Atlantic Ocean
• Akrotiri and Dhekelia » Cyprus
• Bermuda » North Atlantic Ocean
• British Antarctic Territory
• British Indian Ocean Territory
• Falkland Islands » South Atlantic Ocean
• Gibraltar » attached to Spain
• Guernsey » English Channel
• Isle of Man » Irish Sea
• Pitcairn Islands » South Pacific Ocean
• Scotland » Great Britain
• Tristan da Cunha » South Atlantic Ocean
• Wales » Great Britain
USA
• Guam » North Pacific Ocean
• Northern Mariana Islands » North Pacific Ocean
• Puerto Rico » Caribbean Sea
• U.S. Virgin Islands » Caribbean Sea

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Mexico's wild ride to marriage equality

Article maintained with help from Geraldina González de la Vega and Alex Alí Méndez Díaz

Alex Alí Méndez Díaz
Mexico is a current hotspot of the marriage-equality movement. Here's where things stand as of Nov. 5, 2017.

As was the case in the U.S., Mexico's legalization of same-sex marriage is proceeding state by state but unlike in the U.S., there is no possibility for a single ruling from the highest court that will overturn same-sex marriage bans nationwide. Even the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) will have to go state by state.

Mexico has 31 states plus the federal entity Mexico City. Marriage equality has arrived in Mexico City and in 13 states -- via three different routes: Legislative legalization, Supreme Court rulings, and state administrative decisions to stop enforcing their ban:
Baja California (administrative)
Campeche (legislative)
Chiapas (SCJN ruling)
Chihuahua (administrative)
Coahuila (legislative)
Colima (legislative)
Guerrero (administrative, hit and miss, not statewide)
Jalisco (SCJN ruling)
Mexico City (legislative)
Michoacán (legislative)
Morelos (legislative)
Nayarit (legislative)
Puebla (SCJN ruling)
Quintana Roo (administrative)
• There are also various cities that stopped enforcing their state's ban, including Santiago de Querétaro, capital of Querétaro state.

Same-sex marriage also became possible everywhere else in Mexico following a June 3, 2015, ruling by the SCJN's First Chamber, but only if a couple is able to jump through some hoops. The ruling declared that any law that defines marriage as "between a man and a woman" is unconstitutional (and therefore is ultimately doomed) -- and the declaration of unconstitutionality means that when any same-sex couple (or group of couples) goes to a federal judge and asks for an injunction (amparo) against the local civil registry allowing them to marry, the judge must grant it. The process works and couples use it, but it can take more than a month and cost up to US$2,000 to pay a lawyer for help.

As Mexico's marriage-equality movement continues, more states should see the freedom to marry without couples having to get an amparo. In each state, it would happen one of four ways:

1. The state congress will legalize same-sex marriage.

2. The state government will decide to stop enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage. (While this gets the job done, it could be reversed by a new administration.)

3. The Supreme Court will kill a state's ban via the route that happened in Jalisco, Chiapas and Puebla states.

Here's how that works. When any law is passed in Mexico and takes effect, there is a 30-day window for certain governmental entities to challenge the law with an "action of unconstitutionality" filed with the full Supreme Court. What Jalisco, Chiapas and Puebla did is make some changes to their marriage laws, unrelated to marriage equality, and the revised paragraphs also included existing man-woman language. The revisions qualified as "new" laws that could be challenged during the 30 days after they took effect. The National Human Rights Commission filed actions of unconstitutionality against the man-woman language and the SCJN struck down the three states' bans in separate rulings in 2016 and 2017. The states likely were unaware they were setting up their same-sex-marriage bans for strikedown. There are no more cases of this type pending at the court at this time.

4. A project of the organization México Igualitario -- which led to the 2015 SCJN ruling telling judges nationwide that they must approve all marriage-equality amparos -- is likely to succeed state by state. It's not easy to understand, so in a nutshell:

When one of Mexico's 256 second-level federal appeals courts or the First Chamber of the federal Supreme Court rules that an existing law is unconstitutional in five separate amparo rulings in a row, and uses identical language in each ruling, that creates "jurisprudence" against that law -- and jurisprudence can then be used to force a state congress to eliminate the law -- in this case, a ban on same-sex marriage.

It's an unusual process, for sure, but it's ongoing nationwide and several states are well on the way to arriving at the magic number of five identical rulings in a row from a higher-level court. When a state gets there, the Supreme Court then has the power to move directly against a state's legislature.

And that's Mexico's march toward marriage equality in a nutshell. The key thing to remember is that the 2015 ruling by the federal Supreme Court's First Chamber created jurisprudence binding on all courts that any ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. That's why state legislatures are legalizing same-sex marriage, why some state and city governments have stopped enforcing bans, and why federal politicians, including Mexico's president, have supported marriage equality by attempting to change federal laws and the federal Constitution. Because all bans eventually will be struck down anyway.

The jurisprudence says: "Marriage. The law of any federative entity that, on the one hand, considers that the end of it [marriage] is procreation and/or that defines it [marriage] as that which is celebrated between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional." ("Matrimonio. La ley de cualquier entidad federativa que, por un lado, considere que la finalidad de aquél es la procreación y/o que lo defina como el que se celebra entre un hombre y una mujer, es inconstitucional.")

PEÑA NIETO: On May 17, 2016, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed amending Mexico's Constitution to make marriage equality the law of the land and sent his proposal to Congress. On Nov. 9, 2016, the proposal was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies' Committee on Constitutional Matters, and died. The vote was 19-8 with 1 abstention. 'Yes' votes came from the PRD and Morena party deputies and from two PRI deputies, one of whom is openly gay. 'No' votes came from the PAN, PRI, PVEM, PANAL and PES parties.

It remains unclear whether marriage equality could have been imposed on the states via the pathway Peña Nieta proposed because marriage regulation is a matter of state, not federal, law. In the courts, though, it's a different story. State bans on same-sex marriage have been found unconstitutional because Article 1 of Mexico's Constitution bans "all discrimination motivated by ... sexual preferences."

(Amending Mexico's Constitution requires a two-thirds vote by members present the day of the vote in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, followed by ratification by the state congresses of at least 16 of Mexico's 31 states. Mexico City doesn't get to vote on ratification.)

NEW LGBTI ACTIVISM: Peña Nieto's move, Congress' procrastination on his bills, and vocal opposition to his plan from religious figures spurred unprecedented organizing and activism by Mexican LGBTI groups and the formation of new groups -- including Movimiento por la Igualdad en México (MOViiMX) and Frente Orgullo Nacional MX (FONMX).

OPPONENTS ORGANIZE: Peña Nieto's move likewise stirred unprecedented organizing by opponents of same-sex marriage, who staged marches and rallies across the country on Sept. 10, 2016 -- some of them very big -- and a large march in Mexico City on Sept. 24, 2016. Opponents also collected signatures and submitted citizens' initiatives to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies to amend the Constitution to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples. Congress has taken no action on the initiatives.

ADOPTION: On the eve of the Mexico City march, the Supreme Court issued jurisprudence binding on all courts securing adoption rights for same-sex couples nationwide. It says: "ADOPTION. The best interest of the minor is based on the suitability of the adopters, within which are irrelevant the type of family into which [the minor] will be integrated, as well as the sexual orientation or civil status of [the adopters]." ("Adopción. El interés superior del menor de edad se basa en la idoneidad de los adoptantes, dentro de la cual son irrelevantes el tipo de familia al que aquél será integrado, así como la orientación sexual o el estado civil de éstos.")

Saturday, September 30, 2017

LGBT nondiscrimination laws in U.S. states

Updated Sept. 30, 2017
These 18 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. So does the federal district, Washington, D.C.

These three states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin.

(The New York State Division of Human Rights promulgated regulations that took effect Jan. 20, 2016, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, transgender status or gender dysphoria in employment, housing and public accommodations. Courts have not yet ruled on whether the department was correct in determining that existing protections based on sex automatically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.)

Utah prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing but not in public accommodations.

Guam and Puerto Rico (U.S. territories) prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago ruled 8-3 that the 1964 Civil Rights Act's ban on employment discrimination based on sex is also a ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The 7th Circuit covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, so employment discrimination based on sexual orientation now is banned in Indiana also. The ruling had immediate effect and the defendant, a college in Indiana, opted not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In two other circuits, the 2nd and the 11th, three-judge panels recently ruled the opposite way on this concept and, on July 6, 2017, the full 11th Circuit refused to reconsider its panel's decision "en banc," prompting Lambda Legal to announce it will take the case to the Supreme Court. With a fresh "circuit split" on this concept, and nowhere left to go but SCOTUS, the court may be inclined to take the case and fix the problem of federal law being applied differently in different states. In the 2nd Circuit, meanwhile, the full court reconsidered its three-judge panel's decision on Sept. 26, 2017. It has not ruled.

Twenty-six states and three territories have no statewide/territorywide LGBT protections. But in many of those 26 states, there are protections in large cities and university towns. Local nondiscrimination ordinances, however, sometimes do not have the teeth of state or federal laws.

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. Its 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.

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, March 27, 2013

DOMA's day at the Supreme Court

My photos from outside the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. It is quite likely the justices will strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, finding it unconstitutional for equal-protection reasons.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prop 8 at the U.S. Supreme Court

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court today. Listen to the audio of the arguments or read the transcript here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hipster TJ's latest triumph

All My Friends Music Festival | 17 November 2012 - 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. | Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura's Casa de la Cultura - Tijuana
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