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Same-sex marriages, civil unions, etc.

Activities in other countries:
Albania, Brazil, & the Czeck Republic

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See the same-sex marriage menu for information on marriages, civil unions, family partnerships,
etc. in the U.S., Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland.

See another essay for activites in Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, & Uruguay

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Albania:

  • 2009-JUL-29: The government website announced that the governing party -- the Democrats -- will introduce a law creating a system of civil weddings for loving, committed same-sex couples. The statement mentioned that it "...may spark debate." However, the party believes that it is necessary in order to stop discrimination against same-sex couples. The Democrats have 74 of Parliament's 140 seats, so the bill is expected to pass.

    This is an amazing development, because Albania is predominately Muslim and has large Orthodox and Roman Catholic minorities. This would be the first mainly Muslim country to officially recognize same-sex marriages. In about six predominately Muslim countries, sexually active gays and lesbians are executed. 1

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Argentina: See a separate essay

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Brazil:

  • 2004-MAR: A lesbian college professor attempted to obtain funding for her partner's expenses during a sabbatical. They had been together for eight years. The university, which would have routinely funded her partner's expenses if they had been married, refused. She lodged a request with the human rights commission in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. A panel of judges issued an opinion which guaranteed the rights of same-sex couples to obtain the same legal protections that are automatically given to married opposite-sex couples. Because of Brazilian law, the only way to overturn this decision would be to have approved an amendment to the country's constitution. Same-sex couples are now free to join in civil unions and receive broad benefits including areas such as inheritance, child custody, insurance benefits, pensions, etc. The public seems to have taken this change in stride. The Roman Catholic church is unhappy. Father Ricardo Paz, a priest and ecclesiastical judge from Porto Alegre, said: "It's a pragmatic attitude which says, 'As long as I don't suffer the consequences, fine' without realizing that this could destroy the concept of family, and confuse our children, especially teens, who will see this as an option." 2

  • 2005-FEB-28: Joao Gilberto Gonclaves, a prosecutor, has filed a lawsuit charging the country's prohibition of same-sex marriage as being in violation of the 1988 constitution. The latter outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 3
     
  • 2008-JUL-26: Civil unions are currently available in many states of Brazil. The Government of Brazil considered a law to make them available across the country.

  • 2011: Brazil's supreme court approved civil unions for same-sex couples. Some state courts have upgraded individual civil unions to marriages.

  • 2012-MAY-24: A bill to legalize same-sex civil unions across the country had been introduced circa 1997. After 16 years, it finally obtained approval from Brazil's Senate. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Marta Suplicy, said that the government needed to update the country's penal code to match what courts are already permitting.

  • 2013-MAY-14: Brazil's National Council of Justice ruled that notaries public must perform same-sex marriages, register same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and convert same-sex civil unions into marriages when requested. This decision effectively legalizes same-sex marriages across the country effective MAY-16, making Brazil the 14th country to do so. 4

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Colombia:

This is a state in the North West corner of South America. It is to the East of Venezuela, North East of Brazil and North of Peru. Its population is expected to exceed 50 million by 2015. It has no state church, although about 81% of the population are at least nominally Roman Catholic. Some recent developments that may lead to marriage equality are:

  • 2009-JAN-29: Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples can be recognized as "uniones de hecho" (de facto unions, similar to common-law marriages) after having lived together for two years. This form of recognition was previously only available to Colombia's opposite-sex couples. If the couples wish, they can have their union registered before a notary or judge.

  • 2010-JAN: A public opinion survey found that 63% of adults in Bogata, the capital city, favored marriage equality while 36% opposed it. 5

  • 2011-JUL-26: The Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that any loving, committed same-sex couple constitutes a family. In doing so, the court ignored the requests of several Churches who wanted such couples recognized only as "legal strangers" -- as roommates -- without benefits and protectons for themselves that are enjoyed by opposite-sex couples in de facto unions or marriages. The court ruled that there is a "deficit of legal protection" for such couples under current law. They ordered the Colombian Congress to eliminate that deficit by 2013-JUN-20. If they fail to do this, then same-sex couples will be able to formalize their relationships before a notary couple even without the law having been passed.

    The Colombian Constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights signed by the country of Colombia both require that people be treated equally before the law. The Towleroad website comments:

    To allow marriage equality is to reconcile the marriage and equality clauses [of the Constitution]; to prohibit same-sex marriage is to ignore the equality clause altogether and to invent an intention for the family clause that never existed. 6

Diana Guzman, a lawyer for a Colombian LGBT equality group said:

"We would've preferred for the court -- as guarantor of rights of minorities and in particular guarantor of equality -- would have itself extended marriage to same-sex couples. Nonetheless, we think this ruling is a step forward." 7

  • 2012-NOV-04: A Senate committee passed a bill with a vote of 10 to 5 to legalize SSM in the country. Senator Armando Benedetti, of the ruling Social Party of National Unity said:

    ‘The marriage of couples of same-sex couples is a clear manifestation of respect and non-discrimination of groups that have been permanently marginalized. With this initiative we seek to bridge the gap of inequality and respect the provisions of the constitution and the rulings of the constitutional court."

Conservative party spokesman, Senator Hernán Andrade apparently believes that elementary civil rights, such as the right to marry, must be first subject to majority approval. He called for a national referendum on SSM before it is approved. He said:

"We must think about legislating [SSM, because only] 26% [of the public] ... is in agreement with these issues, while the majority have to keep silent. This is the dictatorship of the minority." 8

This is not a novel situation in civil rights conflicts. In the U.S., there have been two main occasions when marriage was redefined to let groups marry who had historically been discriminated against. These were: in the 19th century when African Americans were allowed to marry, and in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage. In both cases, the majority of Americans opposed such marriages at the time. In both cases, a substantial majority of Americans support these decisions today.

  • 2012-NOV-22: At a discussion of the SSM bill in Congress, Senator Roberto Gerlein said that sex between men is:

    "... dirty, repulsive. It is sex that deserves condemnation and is excremental sex. ... The homosexual has a smaller hypothalamus (a portion of the brain). It is a condition that comes imprinted in the biology of the homosexual. He has no way to remove it. He can visit all the psychiatrists and will still have no way to take it out. It is bad luck that nature imposes this burden on someone, because being homosexual is a burden. 9

    In this statement he is supporting the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church who teach that having a homosexual orientation is not a choice, and that it is a burden for many gays and lesbians.

    He also said that lesbian sex is "inane" presumably because it cannot cause conception.

  • 2012-NOV-04: Senator Edgar Espíndola of the conservative National Integration Party said:

    "Today in the world there are many countries where bestiality is practically a sexual preference for some, or necrophilia, or pedophilia. ... We can’t copy those models." 10

He appears to be saying that if the people of Colombia accept what he calls "modernism" and allow loving, committed same-sex couples to marry, that the result will be a drastic increase in adult humans having sex with animals, other humans who are dead, or children. We are not aware of any evidence of a linkage between same-sex marriage and these paraphilias.

  • 2013-MAR-08: The Colombian Constitutional Court responded to an earlier brief filed by the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General had disagreed with the court's ruling that same-sex couples had a right to their partner's survivor pensions. The court reiterated its support for marriage equality. On MAR_08, the Court said that:

    "Survivor pension protection extends to life partners of the same sex."

The court also urged the Congress to pass: "comprehensive, systematic and orderly legislation" before JUN-20 that would provide more rights to LGBT couples. The Court's web site stated that:

"The ruling held that the phrase ’man and woman’ in the definition of marriage is in conformity with the Colombian Constitution, but the justices were of the view that such a phrase does not imply a prohibition against a legal bond between homosexuals, similar or equal to that of the heterosexual couples." 4

It is unclear from the reporting by the media on this topic whether the Constitutional Court would accept a system of civil unions that would grant same-sex couples all the rights, advantages, benefits, and protections of marriage except what is often to couples the most important right of all -- the right to call their relationship a marriage. Wherever civil unions have been tried in the U,S, such separate and equal arrangements have proven to be separate but unequal.

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Czech Republic:

bullet 2005-DEC-16: The Czech parliament passed a bill legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples by a vote of 86 to 54 with 7 abstentions. This is the seventh attempt to pass a bill over the past decade, and the first to make it this far. It does not allow same-sex couples to marry or to adopt. However, it does give restricted rights to inheritance and health care. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is not expected to pass. The Christian Democrats voted unanimously against the bill. Their leader, Miroslav Kalousek, said:

"With all respect to homosexual relationships, I believe the law on family is a privilege. That privilege is granted to couples in return for reproduction and the upbringing of a new generation. In this case I see no reason for such a privilege."

He appears to be unaware of the many same-sex couples who bring up children, and the many opposite-sex couples who do not. 11

bullet 2006-JAN-16: Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands, and eight Protestant Churches issued a joint letter stating that:

"...the family is the basic element of society and is irreplaceable. We think that the adoption of a law on same-sex partnership will further weaken family life and will cause chaos in values, mainly in the young generation." 12

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Albanian government presents draft law to legalize same-sex civil weddings," Associated Press, 2009-JUL-30, at:  http://www.startribune.com/
  2. "Gays in Brazilian State quietly tie knot," Associated Press, 2004-MAY-28.
  3. "Brazilian prosecutor files suit to legalize gay 'marriage'," LifeSiteNews, 2005-FEB-28.
  4. Julie Deisher, "Brazil justice council effectively legalizes same-sex marriage," Jurist, at: http://jurist.org/
  5. "Colombian senator: Same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality or necrophilia," Pink News, 2012-DEC-06, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/
  6. Jason St. Amand, "Colombian High Court Stands Firm On Gay Rights Support," Edge of the Net, 2013-MAR-13, at: http://www.edgeonthenet.com/
  7. "Colombian court says Congress must decide on gay marriage," CNN, 2011-JUL-27, at: http://www.cnn.com
  8. Dann Littauer, "Gay marriage bill passes first vote in Colombia," GayStarNews, 2012-DEC-05, at: http://www.gaystarnews.com
  9. Scott Roberts, "Colombian politician says gay sex is ‘dirty and repulsive’," Pink News, 2012-NOV-22, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk
  10. "Colombian Senate to vote on marriage equality today," Towleroad, 2013-APR-17, at: http://www.towleroad.com/
  11. Pavla Horakova, "Czech MPs approve law on same-sex partnerships," Radio Prague, 2005-DEC-19 at: http://www.radio.cz/
  12. Uruguay Passes Homosexual Civil Union Law. First Latin American country to cave in to mounting homosexual rights pressure,"LifeSiteNews.com, 2007-DEC-20, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/

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Site navigation: Home page > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > here

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Copyright © 2002 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-SEP-24
Latest update: 2013-MAY-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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