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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for June, 2010

Iceland Prime Minister marries

Timothy Kincaid

June 27th, 2010

From asiaonenews

Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir married her long-time partner on Sunday as a new law legalising homosexual marriages came into force.

Sigurdardottir, in her late 60s, formally married writer Jonina Leosdottir after the couple submitted a demand for their civil union to be transformed into a marriage, the RUV broadcaster said.

Iceland’s parliament on June 12 unanimously adopted legislation allowing gay marriage, in a law that came into force on Sunday.

Iceland makes nine – passes marriage law

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2010

From Reuters:

The Althingi parliament voted 49 to zero to change the wording of marriage legislation to include matrimony between “man and man, woman and woman,” in addition to unions between men and women.

Unanimous. Very cool.

Iceland’s protestant church has yet to decide whether to allow same-sex marriages in church, although the law says “ministers will always be free to perform (gay) marriage ceremonies, but never obliged to.”

Our heartfelt congratulations.

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.

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.

Quarter of Iceland’s Population Turn Out For Reykjavik Pride

Jim Burroway

August 13th, 2009

Imagine it:

The eleventh annual Reykjavik Gay Pride parade and outdoor concert with Pall Oskar (probably Iceland’s biggest pop star) attracted about 80,000 people to the middle of Reykjavik on Saturday.

Involving roughly a quarter of Iceland’s entire population, the sheer size of the party is tribute to Iceland’s leading equal rights legislation and the citizens’ inclusive nature.

This is what a truly post-gay society looks like:

Iceland does not have a gay village. It does not even have many gay bars and clubs at all. But that has nothing to do with Iceland being a strict, conservative society…quite the opposite in fact.

Peek into a Reykjavik gay bar on a Saturday night and you will see a clientele anything but exclusively gay. And if you think all the dozens of other bars in town are straight-only, think again. People in Reykjavik go partying in places dictated by their taste in music, their taste in décor or simply by their bossy friends. They do not need to choose a venue based only on their sexuality.

Iceland To Appoint First Lesbian Prime Minister

Jim Burroway

January 28th, 2009

Iceland is set to appoint  as the world’s first openly gay woman to serve as prime minister. Jóhanna is currently the island nation’s social affairs minster. She was picked by the Social Democratic Alliance Party to lead an interim minority government after the conservative-led government fell on Monday. She will serve as prime minister until elections are held in early May.

Jóhanna is stepping into a plum job. The country’s banks have all collapsed, the Krona has plummeted, and inflation and unemployment are shooting through the roof. Which kind of remind me of the November 5th Onion headline, “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.” A lesbian still can’t get a break.

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.

Iceland to Allow Church Unions

Timothy Kincaid

June 27th, 2008

The Republic of Iceland has recognized same-sex civil unions since 1996. Now the Iceland Review reports that churches will now be able to offer services recognizing these unions.

Árni Thór Arnthórsson and his American fiancé Paris Prince will be the first gay couple to get married in church in Iceland early next month after a new law on the right of religious associations to confirm cohabitation of gay couples took affect today.

We would welcome any readers familiar with Icelandic law and language to clarify whether these unions may now be identified as marriage or whether that term was simply a translation convenience.

UPDATE:

This article in xtra.ca by Nicholas Little suggests that marriage may be the proper term:

1996.
The Althing grants same-sex registered partnerships equal status with heterosexual marriage, with the exception that neither adoption nor in-vitro fertilisation is permitted.

The Althing also amends the general penal code to include sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination. This makes it illegal to refuse people goods or services on account of their sexual orientation, or to attack a person or group of people publicly with mockery, defamation, abuse or threats because of their sexual orientation.

2006.
The Althing grants same-sex couples full legal rights of marriage, but denies churches and religious groups the authority to perform the legal ceremony.

Jun 27, 2008.
Ministers of churches can now join same-sex couples in legal marriage.

As more information is available we’ll let you know whether Iceland has become the Seventh nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

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.