Status of same-sex marriage


Status of same-sex marriage

The current status of same-sex marriage changes nearly on a daily basis as legislation and legal action takes place around the world. Summarized in this article are the current trends and consensus of religions and political authorities throughout the world.

Civil recognition

:"See also Homosexuality laws of the world

The first country to legalize same-sex marriages was the Netherlands (2001), where the first marriages were performed in the Amsterdam city hall on the April 1, 2001. At present, same-sex marriages are legal nationally in several countries (see map): the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Norway, South Africa, and Spain.

Africa

In December 2005, in the case of "Minister of Home Affairs v. Fourie", the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled unanimously that it was unconstitutional to prevent people of the same gender from marrying when marriage was permitted for people of opposite gender, and gave Parliament one year to "rework laws allowing same-sex unions". If Parliament does not act, the words "or spouse" will be added to the Marriage Act to allow these unions.

South Africa has completed the process of reorganizing certain government departments to support gay marriages. By July 2005, the Department of Home Affairs had completed the design and printing of new forms to allow for same-sex couples to apply for immigration and residence benefits. Several same-sex couples are already legally recognized as married, based on the definition of "spouse" in South Africa's Immigration Act of 2002.

In November 2006, the government of South Africa passed the Civil Unions Act, allowing for the "voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnized and registered by either a marriage or civil union". The law allows for churches to refuse to perform civil unions.

Asia

China

The National People's Congress, legislature of the People's Republic of China (PRC, aka China), proposed legislation allowing same-sex marriages in 2003. During the course of the debate, the proposal failed to garner the 30 votes needed for a placement on the agenda. Same-sex marriage supporters have vowed to keep pressing for its passage in the PRC.

Taiwan

In 2003, the government of the Republic of China, (ROC, aka Taiwan) led by the Presidential office, proposed legislation granting marriages to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law. However, it faced opposition among cabinet members and has not proceeded. Currently ROC does not have any form of same-sex unions.

outh Korea

On July 30, 2004, the Democratic Labor Party of South Korea filed a formal complaint against the Incheon District Court's decision to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages. The complaint was filed on the grounds that the decision is unconstitutional, since neither the Constitution nor civil law define marriage as being between a man and a woman (the only mentioned requisite is age of majority) and that the Constitution explicitly forbids discrimination "pertaining to all political, economic, social, or cultural aspects of life of an individual." The Committee also claimed that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation and a refusal to provide equal protection under the law. [ [http://blog.naver.com/draft23?Redirect=Log&logNo=80004596491 블로그 :: 네이버 ] ]

Philippines

The New People's Army of the Philippines conducted the country’s first same-sex marriage in 2005. However it was not recognized by the government. Within the government there has been fierce debate on the issue of same-sex unions. Generally the Communist Party supports legislation allowing such marriages, while the Roman Catholic Church opposes it. But since 1991 the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has been conducting Same Sex Holy Unions in the Philippines.

Cambodia

The King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, announced in 2004 that he supports legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. However, since his proclamation no effort has been made to legislate for them.

Israel

Marriages in Israel are performed under the authority of the religious authorities to which the couple belong. For Jewish couples the responsible religious authority is the orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The Rabbinate does not permit same-sex marriages.

However, on November 21, 2006, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that five same-sex Israeli couples who had married in Canada were entitled to have their marriages registered in Israel. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/790724.html In precedent-setting ruling court says state must recognize gay marriage - Haaretz - Israel News ] ]

Europe

legend|#FF0000|Same sex marriage bannedSame-sex civil marriages currently are legally recognized nationwide in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. These four countries treat married same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples in the same way, also with respect to adoption. In a number of other European countries, same-sex civil unions give identical or very similar rights to marriage, and are different only in name (e.g., the United Kingdom and Sweden).

A poll conducted by EOS Gallup Europe in 2003 found that 57 percent of the population in the then 15-member European Union supports same-sex marriage. The support among the members states who joined in 2004 is lower (around 28 percent), meaning that 53 percent of citizens in the 25-member EU support legalising same-sex marriage. [http://www.steff.suite.dk/eurolet/eur_109.pdf]

Belgium

On January 30, 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage, with some restrictions.

Czech Republic

On March 15 2006, the parliament of the Czech Republic voted to override a presidential veto and allow same-sex partnerships to be recognized by law, effective July 1 2006, granting registered couples inheritance and health care rights similar to married couples. The legislation did not grant adoption rights. The parliament had previously rejected similar legislation four times. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4811030.stm] [http://www.gcn.ie/content/templates/newsupdate.aspx?articleid=995&zoneid=4] ]

France

In May 2004, the largest opposition party in France, the French Socialist Party, announced its support for same-sex marriage. A 2004 poll by ELLE found that 64% of those polled in France supported same-sex marriage and 49% supported adoption by same-sex couples. [ [http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/06/060504frWed.htm Sorry ] ]

Germany

In Germany there is a legal recognition of same-sex couples. Registered life partnerships (effectively, a form of civil union) have been instituted since 2001, giving same-sex couples rights and obligations in areas such as inheritance, health insurance, immigration, name change, and maintenance (alimony and child support). In 2004, this act was amended to include adoption rights (stepchild adoption only) and to reform previously cumbersome dissolution procedures with regard to division of property and alimony. Later that year, the Social Democratic Party, one of the oldest and largest political parties in Germany, and the Alliance '90/The Greens (a political party founded in the 1970s, based on progressive social movements in Germany) proposed allowing same-sex marriage. However, in recent years the Social Democratic Party ceased to push for same-sex marriage but to equalise rights for registered partners. German public opinion showed generous support for same-sex marriage in 2003, with 65% agreeing with such a proposal, and 57% agreeing with gay adoption. This represents an increase over the acceptance in May 1999, when only 54% favored gay marriage, with 37% opposed. Fact|date=February 2007

Greece

Greek law on civil marriage does not explicitly specify that the couple should be a female and a male. In spring 2008, the Minister of Justice announced that a bill was to be introduced to Parliament in order to regulate civil partnerships, but refused to include provisions for same-sex couples in the bill. On June 2, 2008 the mayor of Tilos Island [http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100003_04/06/2008_97375 performed two same-sex civil weddings] , one of a female and one of a male couple. This created a flurry of reactions, both positive and negative. The chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court declared that the weddings have no basis in law and initiated judicial action against the mayor, the Minister of Justice concurring. Many clerics declared their opposition, but the spokesman of the Primate of the Church of Greece said that people who marry "outside the church ... can do what they want". Most opposition parties declared their support both for same-sex civil marriage or partnership and for the mayor's actions. The newlyweds indicated that they intend to pursue the matter in the courts and, if not vindicated, to the European Court of Human Rights.

Hungary

Hungary was the fifth country in the world to legalize same-sex partnerships.

Unregistered cohabitation has been recognized since 1996. It applies to any couple living together in an economic and sexual relationship (common-law marriage), including same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together. These rights and benefits are not automatically given - they must be applied for to the social department of the local government in each case. An amendment was made to the Civil Code: "Partners - if not stipulated otherwise by law - are two people living in an emotional and economic community in the same household without being married." Widow-pension is possible, partners cannot be heirs by law (without the need for a will), but can be designated as testamentary heirs.

The Hungarian government (MSZP-SZDSZ) passed legislation on December 14, 2007 giving the same rights as heterosexual couples to homosexual couples as well, in the form of a registered partnership. However, same-sex couples may neither adopt jointly nor become the legal guardian of their partner's child. The law passed 185 votes in favor, 154 against and 9 abstentions. It will come into effect January 2009. According to polls, 60% of Hungarians support full same-sex marriage, and 50% support joint adoption.fact|date=July 2007.

Latvia

In December 2005, the Latvian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga signed the amendment shortly afterwards, making Latvia the third (after Poland and Lithuania) member state of the European Union to constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. [ [http://www.europarl.eu.int/comparl/libe/elsj/charter/art09/default_en.htm#6 RIGHT TO MARRY AND RIGHT TO FOUND A FAMILY - Charter of Fundamental Rights ] ]

Netherlands

The Netherlands became the first country in the world to recognize same-sex marriages on April 1, 2001.

Norway

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Norway. The Norwegian government proposed a marriage law on March 14, 2008, that would give gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. On May 29, 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian Opposition parties came out in favour of the new bill, assuring the bill's passage when the vote was held on June 11. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the current three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass. With this, it became almost certain that the bill would pass.cite news|url=http://www.pr-inside.com/majority-in-norwegian-parliament-agrees-r614727.htm|title=Majority in Norwegian parliament agrees on new law allowing gay weddings, adoptions|date=2008-05-29|publisher=Associated Press|accessdate=2008-06-11]

The first hearings and the vote were held, and passed, on June 11, 2008. 84 votes for and 41 against. This law also said that when a lesbian who is married to another woman becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization, the partner would have all the rights of parenthood "from the moment of conception".cite news|url=http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=513117|title=Tårer da ekteskapsloven ble vedtatt|last=Ravndal|first=Dennis|coauthors=Gjermund Glesnes and Øystein Eian |date=2008-06-11|publisher=Verdens Gang|language=Norwegian|accessdate=2008-06-11]

Portugal

Portugal is one of the few countries in the world that has a constitution that bans any form of discrimination based on one's sexual orientation, along with race, religion, etc.

On March 2001, the Socialist government of then Prime Minister António Guterres introduced legislation that would extend to same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples living in a de facto union for more than two years. This, effectively provides same-sex couples with the possibility to register their partnership as a Civil Union.

Same-sex marriage has been the source of debate since on February 2006 a lesbian couple were denied a marriage license. They have taken their case to court based on the ban to discrimination based on one's sexual orientation as stipulated by the 1976 constitution. Prime Minister José Sócrates has stated that introducing same-sex marriage legislation is not in his current government's agenda, yet he has stated that such legislation could be studied in a future mandate. The youth wing of his Socialist Party is strongly in favor of same-sex marriage, as are the two other left-of-center parties with parliamentary representation. The right has spoken against any such possible legislation.

lovenia

In July 2006, Slovenia became one of the more recent country to recognize domestic partnerships nationwide. [ [http://365gay.com/Newscon06/07/072406slovenia.htm Gay News From 365Gay.com ] ]

pain

After being elected in June 2004, Spanish prime minister Zapatero restated his pre-election pledge to push for legalization of same-sex marriage. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3548727.stm BBC NEWS | Business | Spain 'to approve gay marriages' ] ] On 1 October, 2004, the Spanish Government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, including adoption rights. The bill received full parliamentary approval on June 30, 2005 and passed into law on July 2, becoming fully legal on Sunday July 3. Polls suggest that 62% to 66% of Spain supports same-sex marriage. [ [http://www.planetout.com/news/article.html?2005/04/21/5]
[http://www.cadenaser.com/articulo.html?xref=20050701csrcsrsoc_3&type=Tes&anchor=]
[http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/7887]
]

weden

In late January 2005, the Swedish government put together a committee of the major political parties to study whether or not the country should allow same-sex marriages. [ [http://www.gaynz.com/news/default.asp?dismode=article&artid=2188] ] The conclusion of the committee shall be brought to the government no later than March 30, 2007. [ [http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/1910/a/42901 Regeringen presenterar utredningen om äktenskap och partnerskap ] ]

United Kingdom

On 18 November, 2004 the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005 and allows same-sex couples to register their partnership. The government stressed during the passage of the bill that it is "not" same-sex marriage, and some gay activists have criticized the act for not using the terminology of marriage. However, the rights and duties of partners under this legislation are almost exactly the same as for married couples. An amendment proposing similar rights for family members living together was rejected. The press is widely referring to these unions as "gay marriage." [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2429532005]
[http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=166440912&p=y6644y6y8]
]

North America

United States

Laws Regarding Same-Sex Partnerships in the United Stateslegend|#ed1e24|Constitution bans same-sex marriage "and" other kinds of same-sex unionsIn 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman amongst other stipulations. This federal legislation was sparked by the showdown between Hawaii's State Supreme Court and its legislature that (had they not reached a compromise) could have led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii. Through DOMA, Congress aimed to prevent the courts from using the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause to force states that have rejected same-sex marriage into recognizing those marriages performed in another state where it is allowed. (It is debated whether DOMA was even necessary to preserve that right). [ [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/gay_marriage/act.html Online NewsHour: The Battle Over Same Sex Marriage - The Defense of Marriage Act ] ]

As of May 2007, twenty-six states have passed constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage. [http://hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=28225&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm] , eighteen of which prohibit the legal recognition of "any" same-sex union. Nineteen additional states have legal statutes that define "marriage" as a union of two persons of the opposite-sex. The territory of Puerto Rico ratified a similar statute in 1998. Nonetheless, some states are beginning to offer legal recognition to same-sex couples, whether in the form of marriage or as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

As of October 10, 2008, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut permit same-sex couples to marry. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7664780.stm] These couples enjoy all the benefits of opposite-sex couples under state law, including the right to inherit, sue for loss of consortium, and coverage under state insurance laws. Due to DOMA, however, these benefits do not extend to matters controlled by federal law, such as the ability to file a joint income tax return or assert a claim as a dependent spouse under Social Security.

The states of Vermont, New Jersey and New Hampshire offer civil unions. Also, California and Oregon have domestic partnership laws that grant all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Maine, Washington, and the District of Columbia grant certain "limited" benefits through domestic partnerships, and Hawaii has reciprocal beneficiary laws.

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court, in Baker v. Vermont, ruled that their state legislature must establish rights for same-sex couples identical to those of married opposite-sex couples. Legislators elected to create state-level civil unions, which provide all the same legal rights and responsibilities, but reserve the term "marriage" for heterosexual couples. This bill was signed into law by then-governor Howard Dean.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on November 18, 2003, ruled in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the state constitution's Equal Protection Clause, and based on this ruling, beginning on May 17 2004, Massachusetts became the first US state to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. In late 2006, because Rhode Island law does not specifically prohibit same-sex marriage, the Massachusetts court also ruled that same-sex couples from Rhode Island can marry in Massachusetts.

In 2005, the California State Legislature became the first state legislature in the United States to pass a bill authorizing same-sex marriage without a court order. The bill, Assembly Bill 849, was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On July 6, 2006, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in a 4-2 decision that the New York state government is not required to allow same-sex marriage, affirming the constitutionality of a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman. Judge Robert Smith said any change in the law should come from the New York Legislature. The majority opinion found that the Legislature has a compelling state interest to protect children and that while "marriage" is a fundamental right, "same-sex marriage" is not since there is no historical context for it. [ [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/state/ny-stgay0707,0,5118918,print.story?coll=ny-top-headlines] ] However, in April 2007, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. This legislation passed in the State Assembly on June 19, 2007, but died in the State Senate and was returned to the Assembly. [ [http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08590 Bills ] ]

On August 31, 2007, Iowa Judge Robert Hanson ruled a law defining marriage as a union only between one man and one woman as unconstitutional. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6971696.stm BBC NEWS, Iowa judge approves gay weddings] ] There was later a stay issued (a court order requiring that a party refrain from a certain action until the court has time to consider a matter); however, one male couple was able to secure a marriage certificate before the stay was ordered. The issue is now before the Iowa Supreme Court.

On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California overturned laws restricting same-sex marriage to heterosexual couples, finding that restricting marriage from gay and lesbian couples was unconstitutional.cite news|url=http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9269719|title=California Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage|last=Mintz|first=Howard|date=15 May 2008|publisher=Mercury News|language=en|accessdate=2008-05-15] Citing a 1948 California Supreme Court decision that reversed interracial marriages ban, the Republican-dominated California Supreme Court, (in a 4-3 ruling, penned by Chief Justice Ronald George) struck down California's 1977 one-man, one-woman marriage law and a similar voter-approved 2000 law (passed with 61%). The ruling was not to take effect for 30 days, during which time appeals and motions could be filed. However, in a one-page Resolution, the California Supreme Court on 4 June 2008 forthwith denied all petitions for rehearing and to reconsider the May 15 ruling, as it removed the final obstacle to same-sex marriages starting on June 16. It further rejected moves to delay enforcement of the decision until after the November election, when voters will decide whether to reinstate a ban on same-sex nuptials. Chief Justice Ronald George and Justices Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos Moreno, voted for the resolution, while dissenting or voting to reconsider the judgment, were Justices Marvin Baxter, Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan. [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-gay-marriagejun05,0,6075700.story chicagotribune.com, Calif. court refuses to stall gay marriage] ] The judgment stated: “The decision filed on May 15, 2008, will become final on June 16, 2008, at 5 p.m.” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that marriages would be held at “5:01” on June 16. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/us/politics/05stay.html?ref=us nytimes.com, Court Won’t Delay Same-Sex Marriages] ] [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-marriage5-2008jun05,0,7825437.story latimes.com, California Supreme Court refuses to delay gay marriage] ]

However, in November there will be a constitutional amendment on the ballot in California to define marriage as between a man and woman, known as Proposition 8. If passed, Proposition 8 would effectively annul the decision. [ [http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_j.htm#2008General California ballot initiatives (Nr.1298)] ]

Same-sex marriage (CT) was legalized on Friday, October 10th, 2008.

Canada

In Canada between 2003 and 2005, the provincial supreme courts of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick as well as the Yukon Territory, ruled the prohibition of same-sex marriage to be contrary to the Charter of Rights, thus legalizing it in those jurisdictions. A similar ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Re Same-Sex Marriage) in December 2004 paved the way for national recognition of same-sex marriage. On July 20, 2005, the Canadian Parliament (a Liberal party minority government) passed the Civil Marriage Act, defining marriage nationwide as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others." This was challenged on December 7, 2006 by a motion tabled by the newly elected Conservative party, asking the government to introduce amendments to the "Marriage Act" to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples; it was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 175 to 123.

Canada is also the only country without a residency requirement for marriage; consequently, many foreign couples have gone to Canada to marry, regardless of whether that marriage will be recognized in their home country. In fact, in some cases, a Canadian marriage has provided the basis for a challenge to the laws of another country, with cases in Ireland and Israel.

As of November 11, 2004 the Canadian federal government's immigration department, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), considers same-sex marriages performed in Canada valid for the purposes of sponsoring a spouse to immigrate. [ [http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/sponsor/index.html CIC] ] Canadian immigration authorities previously considered long-term, same-sex relationships to be equivalent to similar heterosexual relationships as grounds for sponsorship.

Mexico

Mexico City's local government passed and approved (43-17) a bill legalizing same-sex partnerships on November 9, 2006. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061110/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/mexico_gay_unions] ] The northern state of Coahuila which borders Texas, passed a similar bill on January 11, 2007. Hidalgo (a state neighboring the capital) has also agreed to vote on a bill legalizing same-sex unions, breaking a long tradition of conservative politics.

Cherokee

The Native American Cherokee Nation in 2004 issued a moratorium on same-sex marriages while they consider their validity after a lesbian couple applied for a marriage. The Tribal Council unanimously approved a Constitutional amendment stating that the Cherokee defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The couple have appealed to the judicial court, on grounds that their union predated the amendment. On December 22 2005, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation dismissed an injunction against the lesbian couple filed by members of the Tribal Council to stop the marriage. The couple still has to file the marriage certificate for the marriage to become legal. However, there are no plans to complete the filing.

Coquille

In 2008, the Native American Coquille Nation passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage; it is believed to be the first tribal nation to do so.cite news |title= Coquille tribe approves same-sex marriages |url= http://www.koin.com/news/state/story.aspx?content_id=6fe95e76-b9c1-425c-95f1-e1b314bfdb3e |publisher= KOIN |date= August 21, 2008 |accessdate= 2008-08-21] Although the Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit such marriages, the Coquille are not bound by the Oregon Constitution, because they are a federally recognized sovereign nation. [cite news|url=http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/08/coquille_tribe_will_sanction_s.html|title=Gay marriage in Oregon? Tribe says yes|last=Graves|first=Bill|date=August 20, 2008|work=The Oregonian|accessdate=2008-09-07]

outh America

Brazil

The southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul currently (June 2006) allows same-sex civil unions, while the rest of the country debates a law that would allow same-sex civil unions throughout the nation. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5091518.stm BBC NEWS | Americas | Crowds celebrate Brazil Gay Pride ] ]

Argentina

Two regions in Argentina allow same-sex civil unions: the province of Río Negro and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (a federal district and capital city of the republic).

Colombia

The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in February 2007 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same inheritance rights as heterosexuals in common-law marriages. This ruling made Colombia the first South American nation to legally recognize gay couples.

Uruguay

Uruguay became the first country in South America to allow civil unions (for both opposite sex and same-sex couples) in a national platform 1 January, 2008.

Oceania

Australia

In Tasmania since 2004 and in Victoria (from 1 March, 2008) - Even the Councils of Sydney since 2004 and in Melbourne since 2007 have a "registered partnership" system available for all couples. All other states and territories have some form of "de-facto recognition" for all couples, called "unregistered co-habitation".

Since August 2004, same-sex marriage became banned under an amended federal law "Marriage Act 1961 (Amendment) Act 2004" so that neither foreign nor domestic same-sex unions of any sort could be recognised as marriage in Commonwealth legislation. This effectively banned same-sex marriage in Australia. The law, which prior to 2004, had not defined marriage specifically, appropriated marriage as the "voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others." The Federal Opposition, namely the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Mark Latham, joined with the Government to support the ban, amid strong objection from the Australian Democrats and The Greens. It was passed on 13 August 2004. In 2007, polling showed that 57% of Australians support same-gender marriage (Galaxy Poll, 2007).

A Civil Union Bill was introduced to the ACT parliament by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in late March 2006 and passed on May 11, 2006. The bill extends marriage-like rights to committed same-sex couples within the ACT. However in 2008, Kevin Rudd has said, "marriage(s) in my opinion is between a man and a woman, but I still support changes to 58 pieces of law(s); to include both same and mixed sex couples and I will not intervene into the Territory of the ACT, which are a legislative matter for individual States and Territories".The same sex civil unions were explicitly distinguished from traditional marriage in the proposed bill, however the Attorney General saw the legislation as a move which deliberately undermined the 2004 amendments to Family Law - Even despite 71% of Australians supporting same-gender couples on the road to "full" recognition (Galaxy Poll, 2007). cite news
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/canberra-may-step-in-on-samesex-law/2006/03/29/1143441216061.html
publisher=The Age
title=Canberra may step in on same-sex law
date=March 30 2006
]

The Civil Partnership Bill 2008 will be introduced into the self-Governing ACT House for a vote in February 2008.

New Zealand

In New Zealand civil unions, which impart all of the same rights and privileges as marriage, are allowed.

Religious recognition

The religious status of same-sex marriage has been changing since the late 20th century and varies greatly. Reformed traditions in Western societies (Liberal Christian denominations, Reform Judaism, and Unitarian churches) tend to be more receptive to the idea than orthodox or conservative ones, but many others, particularly mainline Protestant churches, are deeply divided over the issue.

Recognized

Many religious institutions that do recognize same-sex marriage avoid using the terms "marriages" or "weddings", and instead call them "blessings" or "unions." How and to what degree these institution embrace the idea varies, often by congregation. These institutions have recognized same-sex marriage or encourage it in their congregations in some fashion, either simply as marriage or some kind blessing or union:

Christianity

* Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia (which includes Greater Vancouver) (2002) -- in response, bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America, representing more than one-third of Anglican Communion members worldwide, cut their relations with the diocese.
* British Quakers (1987)
* Lutheran (Europe) -- in Sweden the Lutheran church allows blessings of same-sex couples and also in the Netherlands and in Switzerland the reformed church allowed blessings of married same-sex couples. In Germany some Lutheran and reformed churches in the EKD permit their priests also blessings of same-sex couples.
* Metropolitan Community Church
* United Church of Canada -- several Canadian religious groups joined in an interfaith coalition in support of equal marriage rights, and issued a joint statement: http://www.religious-coalition.org/
* United Church of Christ (2005) -- the specifics of the resolution did not change any church's religious marriage policies, but urged UCC congregations to advocate for civil marriage equality. In keeping with the polity of that denomination, doctrinal matters like wedding policies remain under the authority of each local congregation.

Judaism

* Union for Reform Judaism (Reform Judaism)
* Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (Reconstructionist Judaism) - Left up to the individual rabbi. [cite web
url = http://www.jrf.org/showres&rid=487
title = FAQ's on Reconstructionist Approaches to Jewish ideas and Practices
publisher = Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
date= 2007
accessdate = 2008-05-17
]

Other

* Unitarian Universalist
* Neo-Pagan

Debated or divided

In many religious traditions, the adherents are deeply divided over the issue, often alongside other contentious issues, such as having women in leadership positions or legalizing abortions. The institutions within the following traditions are either debating the issue or have policies that vary according to congregation:

Christianity

* Anglicans, particularly Episcopalians

* Baptists

* Lutherans

* Quakers

* Methodists

* Presbyterians

Judaism

* Conservative

Not recognized

The religious traditions or institutions that do not recognize same-sex marriage tend to view homosexuality as immoral. The degree to which it is considered immoral -- or even whether or it is immoral at all -- often varies according to the adherents within them, especially in large institutions like the Roman Catholic Church. These traditions or institutions do not recognize same-sex unions in any form or in any congregation:

Christianity

* Pentecostal
* Roman Catholic Church
* Eastern Orthodox Church
* Southern Baptists
* Latter-day Saints [Mormonism and Christianity]

Judaism

* Orthodox

Others

* Bahá'í Faith
* Islam
* Jehovah's Witness

ee also

* Adoption by same-sex couples
* Blessing of same-sex unions in Christian churches
*
* Religion and sexuality
* Same-sex controversy in the U.S. Census 2000
* Same-sex marriage
* Timeline of same-sex marriage
* Traditional marriage movement
* Uniting American Families Act
* List of LGBT couples

References

* http://mccph.wordpress.com - The Official Website of the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines
* http://www.realbenidorm.net/gaybenidorm - For latest info on gay marriage in Benidorm on the Spanish Costa Blanca


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  • Same-sex marriage in California — Same sex marriage is valid and recognized in California. California is the second U.S. state, after Massachusetts, to make marriage licenses available to same sex couples. The status of same sex marriage in California has been a contentious… …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage — Legal recognition of same sex relationships Marriage Argentina Belgium Canada Iceland …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in the United States — in the United States and elsewhere. The social movement to obtain the rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States for same sex couples began in the early 1970s, and the issue became a prominent one in U.S. politics in the 1990s …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in New England — The New England region of the United States is shaded in red, above …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in Oregon — In 2004 and 2005, there was controversy and political disagreement concerning the status of same sex marriage in Oregon. In 2004, Multnomah County began issuing same sex marriage licenses, which began a political battle over same sex marriage… …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage and procreation — is an issue that lawmakers and judges have used to determine whether or not same sex marriage is legal. One such use occurred in the 2006 Washington state Supreme Court decision, Andersen v. King County [… …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage legislation around the world — Same sex relationships legal …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in the Northwest Territories — Same sex marriage in the Northwest Territories: The Northwest Territories began granting marriage licences to same sex couples on July 20, 2005 upon the granting of Royal Assent to the Civil Marriage Act. In December 2004, NWT Justice Minister… …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in Washington — Same sex marriage is not recognized in Washington state. The Washington Supreme Court would have made Washington the second U.S. state to recognize these unions if it had decided differently in two cases that had been consolidated for appeal.… …   Wikipedia

  • Same-sex marriage in Wisconsin — Same sex marriage is not recognized in Wisconsin. It is banned by constitutional amendment and Wisconsin Statutes. Recent history March 5, 2004: The Wisconsin State Assembly approved, by a vote of 68 27, a state constitutional amendment reading:… …   Wikipedia