Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage

On 22 May, Irish voters decide on a constitutional amendment that will allow for same-sex marriage.  If it passes then Ireland will be the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via the ballot box.

There are posters up all through out Dublin right now.  Both for and against; mostly for.

The amendment is supported by the government as well as by every major political party.  Hopefully the measure will pass.

The referendum is only for Ireland.  It does not include Northern Ireland which is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not recognized.  Here's a great TV commercial I found on YouTube about the upcoming vote.

In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.  Belgium followed in 2003 and in 2005 so did Spain and Canada.  South Africa passed legislation in 2006.  In 2009 it became legal in Norway and Sweden.  Gay marriage became legal in 2010 in Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina.  In 2012 it became legal in Denmark.  Brazil, France, Uruguay, and New Zealand all passed legislation in 2013.  Same-sex marriage became legal in 2014 in England, Wales, and Scotland.  So far in 2015 only Luxembourg has legalized same-sex marriage.  It becomes legal in Finland in 2017.

These are just the countries that permit same-sex marriage.  Other countries such as Germany allow for civil unions/domestic partnerships that allow for many of the same benefits as marriage but not equal protection.  Let's see what happens this year in Ireland and the USA.

While Czechland does not recognise same-sex marriage it has allowed for registrované partnerství (registered partnerships) since 2006.  While not perfect, Czech registered partnerships grant equal status when it comes to inheritance, alimony, and hospital privileges but it does not allow for joint adoption, widow's pensions or joint property rights.  That's still way more benefits than many parts of the USA allow for. 

Since 1999 gays are allowed to serve openly in the Czech military.  In 2009, a law was passed that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, education, housing, and access to goods and services.  Again, way more than what most American states have.

While more and more countries are recognizing gay marriage there are still many more that want to limit equal rights.  In February there was a motion in Slovakia to restrict marriage to only between a man and a woman.  Fortunately it failed but most likely only because not enough Slovaks went to the polls.

Update:  Another reason for me to like my favorite island even more! Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote on Saturday.  In politics it was a landslide with 62,07% of Irish voters choosing "Yes/Tá" for equality.

Update:  Gay marriage actually became legal in the USA.
Update:  In July 2017, gay marriage became legal in Malta.

Update:  Here's the current 2019 status.  Gay marriage is now legal in Columbia, Greenland, Australia, Germany, Austria, Ecuador, and Taiwan.  

Update:  Northern Ireland passed it in October 2019 and it becomes effective in January 2020.  In 2020, it became law in Costa Rica.

Update:  Switzerland had a referendum in 2021 that passed with 64% of the vote.  So equal marriage in Switzerland becomes legal on 1 July 2022.

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