Saturday, November 26, 2016

Where is same-sex marriage legal?

Same-sex marriage is legal in:
• Netherlands (2001), Saba (2012), Bonaire (2013)+
• Belgium (2003)
• Canada (2003-2005)
• United States of America (2004-2015)
• Spain (2005)
• South Africa (2006)
• Norway (2009)
• Sweden (2009)
• Argentina (2010)
• Iceland (2010)
• Portugal (2010)
• Mexico (2010-2016; full article here)
• Denmark (2012), Greenland (2016), Faroe Islands (2016)
• 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), Scotland (2014), Pitcairn Islands (2015), Acension Island (2016), Isle of Man (2016), Gibraltar (2016), Guernsey (2017)*
• Luxembourg (2015)
• Ireland (2015)
• Colombia (2016)
• Finland (March 2017)
On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first nation in the world 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%.

*British territories/dependencies in process
• The parliament of Jersey (population 99,500) in the Channel Islands preliminarily voted 37-4 to legalize same-sex marriage in September 2015.

+Netherlands/France notes
• Legally, same-sex marriage also should be available in the Dutch Caribbean "municipality" of Sint Eustatius but I've been unable to confirm that one has occurred.
• In the remainder of the Dutch Caribbean, 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.
• In the lengthy French list above, the linked year takes you to proof of a same-sex marriage having occurred in nine of the 11 overseas "departments" and "collectivities." In the remaining two, Saint Barthélemy in the Carribean and Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific, same-sex marriage is legal, but I've been unable to confirm that one has occurred.

Mexico
Mexico is a current hotspot of the marriage-equality movement. Full details here.

American Samoa (and U.S. territories)
In addition to the 50 states, the U.S. has five territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. A federal court on Guam legalized same-sex marriage on June 5, 2015. The Marianas, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands were covered by the U.S. Supreme Court's nationwide ruling on June 26, 2015. But American Samoa (population 55,165) seems not to have been. This is why.

U.S. Indian tribes
There are 566 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 18 tribes (listed below) have legalized same-sex marriage to date. A number of others have laws stating that they 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)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Mexico's wild ride to marriage equality

Alex Alí Méndez Díaz
Mexico is a current hotspot of the marriage-equality movement. Here's where things stand as of November 2016.

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 10 states -- via three different routes: Legislative legalization, a Supreme Court ruling, and state administrative decisions to stop enforcing their ban. Those states are:
Campeche (legislative)
Chihuahua (administrative)
Coahuila (legislative)
Colima (legislative)
Guerrero (administrative; may not be statewide)
Jalisco (SCJN ruling)
Michoacán (legislative)
Morelos (legislative)
Nayarit (legislative)
Quintana Roo (administrative)
+ Mexico City (legislative)
• There are also cities that have stopped enforcing their state's ban, including Santiago de Querétaro, capital of Querétaro state, and San Pedro Cholula in Puebla 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 requires at least a month of time and up to $1,000 U.S. 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, and which may happen in Chiapas and Puebla, as well.

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 that law with an "action of unconstitutionality" filed with the full Supreme Court. What Jalisco did is change the legal age for marriage and, in the process, in one sentence of the revised law, it mentioned that marriage is man-woman. This qualified that man-woman language as a "new" law that could be challenged during the 30 days after it took effect. The National Human Rights Commission filed an action of unconstitutionality against the language and the SCJN struck down Jalisco's ban on same-sex marriage in a unanimous ruling with immediate effect.

The states of Chiapas and Puebla also recently altered their marriage laws -- again not specifically having to do with marriage being between a man and a woman -- and made the same mistake or decision that Jalisco did. They mentioned in the revised law that marriage is man-woman. Lawsuits were quickly filed with the Supreme Court and are pending.

4. A project of the organization Matrimonio Igualitario México -- 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 let's keep it simple:

When one of Mexico's 253 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 higher-level courts. When a state gets there, the Supreme Court then has the power to move directly against a state's legislature, and likely would do so.

The mastermind of this large undertaking is a young activist lawyer named Alex Alí Méndez Díaz and he works on the project with cooperating local lawyers nationwide.

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 now, why some state and city governments have stopped enforcing bans, and why federal politicians, including Mexico's president, have been looking to support same-sex marriage by changing 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. (Amending the 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.

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.")

Thursday, November 03, 2016

LGBT nondiscrimination laws in U.S. states

Updated November 2016
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 the situations listed above. 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.

Twenty-eight states and three territories have no statewide/territorywide LGBT protections. But in many of those 28 states, there are protections in some 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
[Older]