The race for eighth (and ninth and tenth)

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2010

With Italy now out of the running, the big question is which nation will be the eighth to recognize same-sex marriage. The contestants are:

Portugal – the legislature passed the bill. The President sent it to the supreme court which approved the bill. And now he has until about the end of the month to either veto or sign it. It vetoed, there are probably enough votes to overturn. The time frame is between immediately and early May.

Nepal – it is believed that same-sex marriage will be included in the new constitution. This should be in place no later than May 28, 2010.

Iceland – the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News is reporting:

The Sigurdardóttir administration presented the bill to Parliament on March 23. The bill’s passage is expected soon, and same-sex marriage could become legal as early as June 27

– the Minister of Justice said in January that marriage would be legalized by the legislature’s summer break.

– Although the administration intends to legalize marriage, without a law in place several judges are fighting over whether to grant couples the right to marry. In addition to the male couples previously reported, two women have now legally married in Buenos Aires (Santiago Times):

Two women that were exiled during the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976/1983) were married Friday in Buenos Aires, the first wedding among lesbians in the country, reported the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Federation of Argentina, or FALGBT.

Norma Castillo, from Uruguay, and Ramona Arevalo, Argentine, were married by Judge Elena Liberatori after having requested legal protection within the framework of the campaign “Same right, same names,” which the LGBT Argentine Federation has been carrying out for several months. They are both 67 years old and have been a couple for over 30 years.

Slovenia – the Family Law Bill does appear to continue to move forward but it is difficult to figure out just where things stand.

Cyprus – this tiny island seems to have dropped out of the race. Earlier this week the Cypriot government continued pondering the issue but the language now seems to focus on “partnerships”. (Cyprus Mail)

THE GOVERNMENT will take “seriously” the Ombudswoman’s latest report recommending legal reforms to allow same-sex partnerships, said Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides yesterday.

“No decision has been taken. It is something we have to study a bit further. We have not closed the issue, it remains open,” he said.
Savvides told the Sunday Mail that the various departments will continue to examine the issue and reconvene after June to discuss the matter.


April 14th, 2010

I put my money on Portugal, Iceland, Nepal being 8th, 9th and 10th.

Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.


April 15th, 2010

That Cyprus is even considering some form of recognition is remarkable – it is one of the most conservative states in the entire EU – no mean feat considering the competition!

I think it will be Portugal, Nepal, Iceland, Luxembourg. Even if Cavaco Silva vetoes, the Assembly of the Republic will almost definitely override his veto within a matter of days, perhaps hours. Also, there’s considerable support for getting the law in place before Pope Ratty’s visit, which is (I think) early May.

In Iceland it’s simply a matter of getting the work done, but there’s a lot to go through and the financial crisis means that marriage equality is not a top priority just now, which will delay the process. That the Althing is committed to a change in the law at some point from late June onwards, rather than any earlier, tells me that late June is the earliest they think they can get it done. By contrast, we know that Nepalese law will almost definitely be changed about a month earlier. So the race is between Nepal and Portugal, and my money is on the latter.


April 15th, 2010

You should add Denmark to the list: the bill is going through Parliament at the moment. The Danish press is covering this extensively, but the overseas media doesn’t seem to have picked up on it yet.


April 15th, 2010

I’m glad to hear that Mark. I’ve been wondering about what ever happened to Denmark. After all, they were the FIRST country to legalize state recognized unions of same-sex couples. I just figured that gay Danes, like many gay people other countries in Europe with Civil Roommates laws, had settled in comfortably with their second class institution. I know that Denmark, probably more than any other country, considers all “marriages” civil unions, but still only the gay ones were not allowed to be called “marriages”. It’s good to hear that they are moving forward. It’s odd that the international press has been so silent on this development.

I still think Iceland will be Nepal to the punch. Iceland is in the final stages of passing marriage equality and has a lesbian Prime Minister is a strong advocate and figurehead. I’ve heard that gay should be marrying in Iceland by July. I don’t think Nepal will get there by then. The reports I’ve heard have Nepal ratifying their new gay-inclusive, marriage equality supportive constitution later in the year, perhaps by autumn.

Fred in the UK

April 15th, 2010

I think that the financial situation in Iceland could work both ways. On the one hand it isn’t really a priority for the Icelandic government, however, on the other hand the politicians need to find ways to be seen improving the lives of Icelanders without spending money.


April 15th, 2010

Regarding the European candidates: A citizen of any EU country can legally live and work in any of the 27 EU member countries (without any special permit or procedure).

It will be interesting to see, in the next decade or so, if gay couples migrate in large numbers to countries that allow them to marry.

An alternative would be to appeal a case to the European Court of Human rights, whose decisions are binding on all EU member states.


April 18th, 2010


Considering the language and culture differences this is a bigger step than moving from Mississippi to Vermont. And I’m not sure you can live in any country as long as you want. Where did you find that?


April 19th, 2010

Citizens of countries part of the EU can freely move and work in all of them (I’m not sure if there are limits for some of the last ones joining the Union).
As an Italian I can go to live in France, Denmark or UK without problems.
My wife, a Texan, will have to obtain the sojourn permit and being an extra-EU citizen she can have more or less problems depending on the country, even if being the wife of an EU citizen helps a lot.


PS: Please forgive my English, it’s not my first language

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