Thursday, March 22, 2018

Marriage equality around the world

Article maintained with Evan Wolfson, Rob Salerno and Andrés Duque. Last update: March 22, 2018. Latest edits: Northern Ireland, Chile, Philippines.
Same-sex couples can marry in 25 nations and in 45 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), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (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), Saint Helena (2017), Jersey (2018)
Luxembourg (2015)
Ireland (2015)
Colombia (2016)
Finland (2017)
Malta (2017)
Germany (2017)
Australia (2017), Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Norfolk Island

Final rulings issued
The Constitutional Court struck down the ban on marriage equality on Dec. 5, 2017, and also extended the nation's same-sex registered-partnership law to opposite-sex couples. The ruling takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, if the government doesn't implement it sooner.
The Constitutional Court declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on May 24, 2017, and gave the Legislative Yuan no more than two years to change laws. If it doesn't, marriage equality arrives automatically.
Sixteen Americas nations
On Jan. 9, 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Costa Rica to let same-sex couples marry. The ruling was immediately binding on Costa Rica — although weddings have been delayed as the executive branch battles the bureaucracy — and is binding legal precedent for the 19 of the other 22 signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights that accept the court's jurisdiction: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay already have marriage equality, and Mexico has it in many states. Convention signatories Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica do not accept IACHR jurisdiction.
"All countries are obligated to apply the Convention as the court applies it, so it is binding on all as precedent," said Hunter T. Carter, a partner at Arent Fox who has tried a case in the Inter-American Court and represents Chilean same-sex couples in the Inter-American system.

Dutch Caribbean
As with Bonaire and Saba, same-sex marriage should be available in the Dutch municipality Sint Eustatius but there's no indication one has occurred. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Dutch constituent countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, though Dutch marriages from elsewhere are partially recognized.
Mexican states (there are 31) are a 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 lengthy list of British places with marriage equality. Northern Ireland, Sark (part of Guernsey) and the overseas territories Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands do not have marriage equality.
Marriage equality arrived in Bermuda on May 5, 2017, via a court ruling. On Feb. 7, 2018, the United Kingdom's governor in the British overseas territory, John Rankin, signed a bill passed by Parliament that repealed marriage equality and replaced it with domestic partnerships that included all the benefits of marriage. Then, on Feb. 28, 2018, while the partnership law was awaiting formalities that would bring it into force, the government announced that it would delay the law from taking effect until June 1. The timing is notable. On Feb. 16, 2018, former Bermuda Attorney-General Mark Pettingill filed suit on behalf of a gay man who wants to get married, arguing that Parliament's repeal of marriage equality was unconstitutional. The case will be heard in May and could see a ruling before June 1, potentially undoing Bermuda's repeal of marriage equality before it takes effect.
The only other place ever to repeal marriage equality was California, where voters halted it in 2008 and federal courts reinstated it in 2013. Voters in the U.S. state of Maine once blocked a marriage-equality law from coming into force, in 2009, and then reversed themselves and allowed marriage equality, in 2012. Voters in Slovenia blocked a marriage-equality law from coming into force in 2015.
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.
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.
On the high seas
Same-sex couples can marry at sea on Celebrity Cruises ships, courtesy of the Malta Parliament's passage of marriage equality in July 2017. For the moment, weddings also are possible on Princess, P&O and Cunard ships that are registered in Bermuda. See the Bermuda section above for the latest on the island's marriage-equality mess.
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, so 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)

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

Watch list
A marriage-equality bill is pending in Congress and both houses have majority support for marriage equality. The new president, Sebastián Piñera, however, doesn't seem very supportive. Chile is required to bring in marriage equality to comply with a 2016 settlement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The nation is also bound by the Jan. 9, 2018, Inter-American Court of Human Rights marriage-equality ruling, which created binding precedent for 16 nations without marriage equality that are signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights. See the "Sixteen Americas nations" item in the "Final rulings issued" section above.
Costa Rica
Six marriage-equality cases are pending in the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica's Supreme Court of Justice — four of them filed since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights marriage-equality ruling in January 2018. The cases include actions of unconstitutionality against the nation's Family Code, which prohibits marriage equality, as well as amparos — individuals' demands for protection from discriminatory government action. The amparos target the government for not complying with the Inter-American Court ruling, the Superior Notary Council for blocking couples' marriages after the Inter-American Court ruling, and the Constitutional Chamber justices themselves, for not having ruled on the older cases.
A marriage-equality case (an "extraordinary protection action") is pending before Ecuador's Constitutional Court and the ruling is, by law, years overdue. In the wake of the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights marriage-equality ruling, if the Ecuador decision doesn't come soon, plaintiffs say they will advance to the Inter-American system. On Jan. 15, 2018, the Ecuadorian Federation of LGBTI Organizations called on President Lenín Moreno to recognize marriage equality immediately.
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, 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 is 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. It is also increasingly possible that, in the absence of a Northern Ireland government, marriage equality will be imposed by the UK Parliament in London. Meanwhile, a failed attempt to achieve marriage equality via the courts is on appeal.
Lawyer Iván Chanis Barahona, head of Panama's marriage-equality group, La Fundación Iguales Panamá, says the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights marriage-equality ruling is "totally binding" on Panama. "Case closed." A Panama Supreme Court of Justice draft opinion rejecting marriage equality that had been circulating at the court was withdrawn on Feb. 15, 2018, because of the Inter-American Court ruling. On Jan. 16, 2018, Panamanian Vice President Isabel De Saint Malo said the Inter-American court ruling is indeed binding ("vinculante") on Panama.
According to activists, there's nothing in Paraguay's constitution that stands in the way of marriage equality. In the wake of the January 2018 marriage-equality ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, activist group SomosGay announced two new lawsuits at the nation's Supreme Court of Justice. As a first step, the suits seek recognition of two marriages of same-sex couples who married abroad.
In the wake of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' January 2018 marriage-equality ruling, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Duberlí Rodríguez, said, "Peru is part of the Inter-American system, and the organism that defends and protects these rights is called the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and ... if the court has taken a decision, I believe that all the parties are called to respect that decision." A legal case is on appeal in the Lima Superior Court of Justice in which veteran LGBT activist Óscar Ugarteche is trying to get the national registry to recognize his Mexican marriage to Fidel Aroche. Ugarteche and Aroche won in a lower court, and constitutional experts say the appeal is one path for Peru to move toward compliance with the Inter-American Court ruling. Meanwhile, a marriage-equality bill was introduced in Congress in 2017 and is awaiting action by the Justice Committee.
The Supreme Court will hear a marriage-equality case June 19, 2018. President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed support for marriage equality.
Two marriage-equality lawsuits are in their final stage in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, reports Venezuela Igualitaria. The group said it expects rulings soon and expects to win. One lawsuit targets Civil Code Article 44, which says: "Marriage cannot be contracted except between one man and one woman." ("El matrimonio no puede contraerse sino entre un solo hombre y una sola mujer.") The other lawsuit alleges a "legislative omission" resulting from the National Assembly's failure to take up the Equal Civil Marriage Bill (Proyecto de Ley de Matrimonio Civil Igualitario). "2018 looks to be a year with favorable judicial decisions on our ... cases for the rights of LGBTI people," Venezuela Igualitaria said.

Geography lesson
Where are those 45 other jurisdictions of Australia, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, UK and USA?
• Christmas Island » Indian Ocean
• Cocos (Keeling) Islands » Indian Ocean
• Norfolk Island » South Pacific Ocean
• Faroe Islands » North Atlantic Ocean
• Greenland » between North Atlantic and Arctic oceans
• 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
• Bonaire » Caribbean Sea
• Saba » Caribbean Sea
• Sint Eustatius » Caribbean Sea
• Azores » North Atlantic Ocean
• Madeira » North Atlantic Ocean
• Canary Islands » North Atlantic Ocean
• Ceuta » Africa
• Melilla » Africa
United Kingdom
• Akrotiri and Dhekelia » Cyprus
• Alderney » English Channel
• Ascension Island » South Atlantic Ocean
• 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
• Jersey » English Channel
• Pitcairn Islands » South Pacific Ocean
• Saint Helena » South Atlantic Ocean
• Scotland » Great Britain
• South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands » South Atlantic Ocean
• Tristan da Cunha » South Atlantic Ocean
• Wales » Great Britain
• Guam » North Pacific Ocean
• Northern Mariana Islands » North Pacific Ocean
• Puerto Rico » Caribbean Sea
• U.S. Virgin Islands » Caribbean Sea