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Posts for April, 2010

Argentina’s legislature to debate marriage equality next week

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2010

Buenos Aires Herald is reporting that the nation’s Lower House will take up marriage equality next week:

As for the same sex marriage debate, Rossi called for a special session to be held next Wednesday in order to discuss the controversial bill which allows it.

“We are calling for a new session to be held next week, on Wednesday at 10:00am with the only purpose of debating the same sex marriage,” Rossi assured.

As regards this bill, the resolution which the Family and General Legislation committees have issued modifies the Civil Code and replaces the terms “man and woman” for general words implying no sex.

First Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina Anulled

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2010

The status of same-sex marriage in Argentina remains murky. Blabeando reports that a judge in the city of Tierra Del Fuego has declared the marriage of Alex Freyre and José Maria Di Bello is “nonexistent” under the constitution and has annulled it.  Freyre and Di Bello were the first same-sex couple in Latin America to marry last December following a long and complicated path to the registrar’s office.

Four same-sex couples have married altogether in Argentina, but another of those marriages has been annulled by a Buenos Aires court as well, leaving two legally married same-sex couples. One of those couples still married is Uruguay native Norma Castillo and Ramona Arevalo of Argentina, who became Latin American’s first lesbian married couple last Friday in Buenos Aires.

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


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

Argentina
– 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.

Status of Buenos Aires marriage uncertain

Timothy Kincaid

March 10th, 2010

The Catholic News Agency is reporting that the Buenos Aires marriage between Damian Bernath and Jorge Salazar last week is void:

On Monday, Judge Felix Gustavo de Igarzabal of Buenos Aires reversed a decision which allowed two gay men to marry at the city’s civil registry office on March 3. In his ruling the judge said no marriage took place “because of the absence of the institution’s structural elements,” in this case a man and a woman, and thus declared the act to be invalid.

We hear that the Supreme Court is expected to hear the case, so this may not be the final resolution.

International Marriage Update

Timothy Kincaid

March 4th, 2010

Several nations are competing to become the eighth to offer full civil marriage recognition to same sex couples. It is likely that at least three, possibly four, will change their laws by summer.

Portugal – The parliament has now finalized the language of the bill and around the first of the month sent it to President Cavaco Silva. Silva is a member of the PSD party and has spoken in the past in opposition to same-sex marriage recognition. It is uncertain what he will do.

Silva has four choices. He can sign the bill, send it to the Supreme Court within 8 days, or refuse to sign it and return it to Parliament within 20 days (a form of veto). Prime Minister José Sócrates has stated that he has the requisite two-thirds vote to overturn a Presidential veto.

Nepal – This Asian nation is scheduled to implement a new constitution by May 28, 2010. This new constitution is reported to have marriage equality provisions. Nepal has been capitalizing on this change in hopes of increasing tourism.

Luxembourg – This tiny duchy has had civil partnership laws since 2004. However, at the end of January, Minister of Justice François Biltgen announced that the nation would legalize civil gay marriage before Parliament’s summer break. Gay couples will not be allowed to adopt.

Iceland – This vast island with its hardy but tiny population has had registered partnerships since 1996. The current government, helmed by lesbian Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is committed to changing the law to enact marriage equality. Although no time line is currently reported, as of 18 November 2009, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights confirmed that the government was working on such an act.

This is not likely to be a highly controversial issue in Iceland. Only one lawmaker voted against the 1996 partnerships and the 2006 upgrade was passed unanimously.

Argentina – There have now been two legal same-sex marriages in that country opening up a precedent, if not exactly law. However, the current governmental leadership has indicated support for marriage equality and there are bills currently under consideration. Although movement forward was scheduled for last November, but parliamentary procedures were used to delay the decision until 2010. The two judicially authorized marriages may be seen as impetus for the legislature to enact marriage as a matter of legislation rather than concede to judicial mandate.

Cyprus – The Attorney-general’s office, Law Commissioner, Ombudswoman, and senior representatives of the relevant government ministries will meet this month to discuss whether the island off the coast of Turkey and Syria will adopt marriage equality.

To make the race even more uncertain, the European Court of Human Rights heard testimony last week from an Austrian couple suing for marriage rights. On Tuesday, the court determined that Poland could not treat a gay man and his partner differently than a married couple. It is expected to announce within the next few months whether European states can deny marriage to same-sex couples or whether civil unions, such as those adopted by Austria at the first of the year, were sufficient to protect equal rights.

So we see movement in Europe, Asia, and the Americas and at the most northern and most southern parts of the globe. And, of course, we may always be surprised by an unexpected nation taking this step, as well as determinations in the European . But, whichever moves first, it will certainly be a spring to remember.

UPDATE:

Slovenia – This eastern neighbor of Italy, and former portion of communist Yugoslavia, has already begun the process of changing their laws to allow for marriage equality. Their legislature voted yesterday to advance the bill.

Argentina’s second same-sex marriage takes place in Buenos Aires

Timothy Kincaid

March 3rd, 2010

As predicted, Argentina’s second same-sex marriage has taken place in Buenos Aires. And this time all went well. (AFP)

Damian Bernath and Jorge Salazar “married on Wednesday at a Civil Registry office, and decided to do it completely privately,” said Maria Rachid, who leads the Argentine Federation of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered.

It’s quite some week for marriage at capital cities in the Americas.

Second Argentine couple granted right to marry

Timothy Kincaid

February 24th, 2010

We followed the tale of Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre and their efforts to marry which ended in a joyous celebration in Tierra del Fuego. Now another couple has been declared entitled to marriage equality. (AFP)

A judge on Tuesday authorized two men to marry in Buenos Aires in what would be the country’s second same-sex marriage.

Judge Elena Liberatori gave her approval to the second couple, two men whose names were not immediately released, to set a date to wed at the Civil Registry.

However, considering the complicated tango which Di Bello and Freyre had to dance, we should not expect that this marriage will go any more smoothly.

First Same-Sex Marriage In Argentina

Jim Burroway

December 28th, 2009

casamiento6It’s a first not just for Argentina. It’s the first same-sex wedding in Latin America:

An official in Argentina’s southern Tierra del Fuego province says two Argentine men have wed there in Latin America’s first gay marriage. Provincial spokesman Eduardo Porter says the wedding between Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre took place at the civil registry in Ushuaia. Their marriage plans in Buenos Aires earlier this month were thwarted when city officials refused to marry them because of conflicting rulings.

According to the Spanish-language Clarín, the couple had also tried to marry in the city of Usuahia on the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego (it’s reputedly the world’s southernmost city), but local authorities refused to register their marriage. They were able to marry after the gay-friendly Gov. Fabiana Ríos intervened.

The Argentine Marriage Tango

Timothy Kincaid

December 1st, 2009

gay tangoLast month, Judge Gabriela Seijas in Buenos Aires, Argentina, determined that disallowing gay couples the right to marry was unconstitutional. And as the decision applied only to one couple and only in Buenos Aires, once the mayor chose not to object it seemed like the marriage would occur.

So Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre scheduled today to be their wedding day.

But yesterday, Judge Marta Gomez Alsina, acting on the objection of a third party, put a hold on the wedding stating that the decision should be reviewed by the supreme court.

Today the couple showed up at the Civil Registry arguing that they had not been notified of the hold and that Alsina could not overturn the decision because she is not an appellate judge. Judge Seijas reconfirmed her decision to authorize the ceremony. But the registry did not allow the marriage to occur.

It now appears that the issue will be addressed by the Supreme Court (Buenos Aires Herald):

Supreme Court Justice Carlos Fayt said the highest tribunal is currently analyzing a ruling on the possible legalization of same-sex marriages, as the first gay wedding, scheduled for today, was suspended following an appeals court ruling. The case now awaits a final decision in the hands of the Supreme Court.

The complexities of Argentine law are beyond by knowledge base and cultural and language barriers leave this as unfamiliar as the Argentine Tango. But if I understand correctly, like the Tango there will be a lot of kicking followed by a long proud stride forward.

Same-Sex Marriage now legal in Buenos Aires

Timothy Kincaid

November 15th, 2009

We reported on Friday that a judge in Buenos Aires, Argentina, had found in favor of a same-sex couple seeking to marry. It now appears that this decision will stand and that Buenos Aires will have marriage equality.

Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri has decided not to appeal the ruling. (CNN)

His decision was not easy, Macri said. Many people wanted him to appeal.

“I had an important internal debate, weighing my upbringing with my search for the best customs and best liberties for society,” he said in a videotaped message on his Facebook page.

“What we have to learn is to live in liberty without violating the rights of others,” he said.

All of which breaths new life into the lyrics

What’s new Buenos Aires?
I’m new, I wanna say I’m just a little stuck on you
You’ll be on me too

(hat tip Burr)

Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina

Timothy Kincaid

November 13th, 2009

A judge in Argentina has decided that a Buenos Aires same-sex couple are allowed to marry (Reuters)

An Argentine judge has granted a homosexual couple permission to get married, setting a precedent that could pave the way for the Catholic country to become the first in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage.

This week’s ruling by Judge Gabriela Seijas in Buenos Aires, which became the region’s first city to approve civil unions between same sex couples in 2002, may increase pressure on lawmakers to debate a gay marriage bill currently deadlocked in Congress.

Whether this will be an isolated incident, lead to change, or be overturned is as yet undetermined (Pink News)

Her decision can still be overturned by city authorities.

Although Argentina is a leader in couple rights in Latin America, civil unions are not universally available.

Only a few areas of Argentina recognise civil unions between same-sex couples: Buenos Aires itself, the province of Río Negro in Patagonia, and the city of Villa Carlos Paz in Córdoba province.

Will Argentina Approve Same-Sex Marriage?

Timothy Kincaid

October 29th, 2009

It appears that they are considering doing so. From A/P

Is Argentina ready to become Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage?

Gay and lesbian activists think so — and they have a growing number of supporters in Congress, which opened debate Thursday on whether to change dozens of laws that define marriage as a union between a “man and woman.”

And this does not appear to be simply tokenism

Rachid said more than 20 lawmakers have signed on as supporters of same-sex marriage, and they believe they have enough votes in committee for a full vote in the lower house. It would then go to the Senate.

While it is far too early to be optimistic, it is worth noting that the more that such efforts are considered, the more people begin to truly think about civil equality.

We only win when people begin to think. I contend that one of the unintended consequences of the American anti-gay marriage movement has been an open discussion of the purposes and benefits of marriage and a resulting growing trend of folks who are slowly coming to see marriage equality less as an oddity and more as a civil right.

Guess Who Else Isn’t On Board With the U.N. Resolution to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2008

Mark, at Slapped Upside the Head, has a good take on yesterday’s news that the Vatican is opposing a U.N. resolution calling on member states to rescind laws outlawing homosexuality — which in some countries includes the death penalty. We discussed the Vatican’s intrinsically disordered logic here. Mark has his own take here.

There are a lot of countries which have already signed on to the declaration, including: Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Those last three are rather surprising. Also surprising co-sponsors are three African countries: Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. That’s quite an impressive list.

So, who’s missing? Well, let’s see. Oh look: the United States and Australia.

Argentina Recognizes Couples

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2008

Although five cities in Argentina, including Buenos Aires, recognize civil unions, the country has just enacted its first nationwide recognition. (AP)

Argentina on Monday announced its first nationwide gay-rights measure: granting same-sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners’ pensions.

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:

Marriage

Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.

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