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Posts for January, 2014

Luxembourg to get marriage equality this year

Timothy Kincaid

January 13th, 2014

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a nation a bit smaller than Rhode Island tucked into the corner where France, Germany, and Belgium come together, has been a likely candidate for marriage equality. With a gay Prime Minister, a gay Deputy Prime Minister, about 85% approval, and a mostly-Catholic populace, the question has not been whether this nation will adopt equality, but when. Now it appears that the answer is ‘this year’. (Wort)

Luxembourg Justice Minister Félix Braz announced on Wednesday that the government would vote on the bill this summer and, if approved, it could mean wedding bells for same sex couples before the end of the year.

The Grand Duchy’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community welcomed the news.

“We’re very happy about this decision of the new government. We thought initially it could be re-filed again for another couples of months or even years, due to the fact that it might be that the government judges other points on the political agenda more important than this law, ” said LGBT Rosa Lëtzebuerg Asbl president, Gabriele Schneider, adding: “We are indeed very happy to see that it is one of the important points on the agenda of the government continuing working on the law and vote all the necessary steps to have filed it during the year 2014.

The bill had been proposed in 2010 by the previous administration but when power shifted it was delayed as other items took higher priority. Luxembourg currently has a weak couple recognition system similar to the old French PACS.

Luxembourg takes next step towards marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

August 14th, 2010

On Tuesday a bill was entered into the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies to allow for same-sex marriage on the same terms as heterosexual marriage. The bill would also allow for simple (but not full) adoption by same-sex couples and would raise the marriage age for women from 16 to 18 so as to have equality between the sexes. (Wort)

The Civil Code is amended in two material respects: First, the marriage allows same-sex couples. This is the reform of the current legislation beyond that allowed for same-sex couples only registered partnerships. All rights and obligations arising from marriage, should also arise for same-sex couples.

The bill will come for debate this fall and likely come into force next year. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the likeliest contender for being the eleventh nation to enact same-sex marriage.

(Much thanks to Jutta Zalud for providing this update)

Will Luxembourg be eleven?

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2010

Hot on the heels of Argentina, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is taking action that may make them the eleventh nation to join the marriage equality club.

From L’essential (translated by Google from French)

Since Friday, Luxembourg has made a step to enter the closed circle of countries that permit marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. Indeed, the Governing Council adopted the draft law amending articles related to the union of same-sex couples, as well as those governing the rules of adoption.

This appears to the the first step in a several month process.

The government’s decision does not, however, that marriage and adoption by same-sex couples enter into force in the coming weeks. Indeed, this decision is a further step towards a legislative change. “The validation of the bill by the Governing Council will allow him to be brought before Parliament during the next week, said Guy Schuller, head of government communication, contacted by lessentiel.lu. For what is finally adopted, it takes at best six months period, in view of possible opposition parliamentarians and opinion of the Council of State.

(hat tip to reader Jutta Zalud)

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.

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.