Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc.
Activities in other countries:
Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, and Mexico
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 activities in Albania,
Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, & England
- 2001: The German Parliament passed a law recognized same-sex
unions. They may take each other's names, must support each other
financially, and may divorce and demand alimony.
- 2003-JUL: Germany's Supreme Court upheld the country's civil
union law which gives some of the benefits of marriage to registered
same-sex couples. German cardinal Karl Lehman of the Roman Catholic
Church condemned this decision as "a hard blow to marriage and the
family." He said in a Vatican Radio interview: "Now the
associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further
concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples,
including the right to adoption." 1
- 2004-OCT-29: The Cardinal's
prediction came true. The German parliament voted to extend additional
rights to same-sex couples. They are not compelled to testify against
each other in court. Widows and widowers can obtain a state pension.
They can adopt the biological children of their spouses. The bill was
supported by the ruling Social Democrats and the Greens, and some liberal
Free Democrats, but opposed by conservative parties. Justice Minister
Brigitte Zypries said: "Same-sex partnerships are a reality in
Germany. But gays and lesbians are still not treated equally in how they
are able to live their lives, and there is no reason for that."
About 5,000 civil unions have been registered since 2001. About 8,000
children are being raised by same-sex couples. 2
The parliament passed legislation in 2007 that would allow unmarried
opposite-sex or same-sex couples register their union beginning on 2009-JAN-01.
This would have given the registering couples almost the same rights and
protections as have been enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.
The Constitutional Court annulled the law on 2008-DEC-15, stating that it
"downgraded" the institution of marriage.
- 2009-FEB-02: The Social Democratic Alliance Party in Iceland chose Johanna Sigurdardottir, the former social affairs minister, to lead the Government. She thus became the world's first openly lesbian head of state: She is in a three decade long same-sex relationship with prominent writer Honina Leosdottir. 3
- 2010-JUN-11: The Icelandic Parliament voted unanimously (49 to 0) to change the country's marriage laws to include unions between "man and man" and "women and women" in addition to opposite-sex unions. The law states that clergy will be "... free to perform [same-sex] marriage ceremonies, but will never be obliged to." 4
Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a political scientist at the University of Iceland said:
"The attitude in Iceland is fairly pragmatic. It (same-sex marriage) has not been a big issue in national politics -- it's not been controversial." 5
The main religious group in Ireland is
the Evangelical Lutheran Church. It has yet to decide whether to allow same-sex marriages in its churches.
- 2010-JUN-27: Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and Honina Leosdottir were married in church on the same day that same-sex marriages first became available in the country.
||1993: Ireland decriminalized same-sex activity.
||2004-SEP-11: Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone, a
lesbian couple, had married in British Columbia in 2003-SEP. Zappone is
a member of Ireland's Human Rights Commission. Gilligan is a
Dublin philosophy lecturer. They have been together for 23 years and
live together in Brittas, a beachside resort south of Dublin. They
returned to Ireland and are now petitioning the court for recognition of
their marriage. Their case will be heard in 2005. They are seeking that
the Revenue Commissioners allow them to file their income tax forms as a
married couple. Tax for married couples is lower than for singles;
spouses also pay lower inheritance taxes. Their lead lawyer,
Gerard Hogan, argued that neither the 1937 Irish constitution nor more
recent tax laws specifically define marriage as between one man and one
||2004-OCT-18: The all-party Oireachtas (National Parliament)
committee on the Constitution is conducting a review of family related
clauses in the Constitution. Part of the review will involve rights for
same-sex couples. The committee will be hearing from a variety of groups
and legal experts. They plan to report to the government by 2005-JUL.
Possible options that they might pass on to legislators may include the
abolition of marriage, the introduction of a civil partnership, opening
marriage to include same-sex unions, or introducing different categories
of marriage. Ms. Jan O'Sullivan of the Labour Party said her party would
"favor gay couples having the same rights that everyone else has,
whether you call it marriage or something else. We feel the option
should be available to gay couples." Barry Andrews of the Fianna
F�il party also favor recognition of gay marriages. But he foresaw
problems related to adoption and other family rights. 7
2009-DEC-21: Mexico city passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage: By a vote of 39 to 20, with five abstentions, Mexico City legislative assembly
approved a bill to revise the civil code to define marriage as "the free uniting of two people."
Previously, loving, committed same-sex couples were only able to obtain civil
unions in the city. The marriage bill enables same-sex couples to apply for bank loans,
inherit, be included in each other's insurance plans, etc. Victor Romo of the
Democratic Revolution party said:
"For centuries, unjust laws banned marriage
between blacks and whites or Indians and Europeans. Today, all barriers have
Others were not impressed. Armando Martinez, president of
the College of Catholic Attorneys, said that city legislators had:
"... given Mexicans the most bitter Christmas. They are permitting adoption [by
same-sex couples], and in one stroke of the pen have erased the terms mother
That is not really accurate, because the vast majority of future marriages -- certainly in excess of 95% -- will be between one woman and one man. If they have children, the terms mother and father will still apply. However, perhaps 5% of future marriages will be between two women or two men. If they have children, then their children will still have two parents. However, they will be two parents of the same gender.
The conservative National Action party planned to mount a court
- 2010-MAR-05: Same-sex couples began registering for marriage licenses, starting today, when Latin Americas first same-sex marriage law took effect. They will be able to use their licenses in a week to ten days after the paperwork is processed. This raised the number of political jurisdictions offering marriage equality in North America to 20. 8 Three years later, it had risen to 24: ten provinces and three territories in Canada, the District of Columbia and nine states in the U.S. and Mexico City in Mexico.
- 2012-DEC-05: Earlier, Oaxaca State in southern Mexico had passed a law that banned same-sex marriages. It claims that "one of the purposes of marriage is the perpetuation of the species." The legislators may not have been aware of the large percentage of same-sex marriages that create and raise children. A lawsuit was launched by three gay couples to challenge the constitutionality of the state law. In an unanimous decision on DEC-05, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that restricting marriages to one woman and one man "violates the principle of equality." 9 In support of their ruling, they referred to
"In the celebrated case of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court argued that '[r]estricting marriage rights as belonging to one race or another is incompatible with the equal protection clause' under the U.S. Constitution. In connection with this analogy, we can say that the normative power to get married is of little use if the opportunity to marry the person one chooses is not granted." 10
However, this ruling will not produce any immediate change. Mexican law requires two more similar rulings by the Supreme Court of Mexico before same-sex marriage will be legal in Oaxaca State. In order to become legal in each of the other 30 states, five lawsuits declaring their marriage law unconstitutional would be required. In total 152 additional successful lawsuits would be needed! That is because each state has its own civil laws. 11
Jaime Lopez, president of a gay-positive group in Mexico said:
"This makes it possible for the new generations of gays to see some hope that Mexico will recognize their rights, and that they can one day live their sexuality openly. ... This ruling makes it possible for people to file similar lawsuits throughout the country."
Gerardo Rojas, 43, said:
"Within our community there will be people who won't want to get married, but there are also people who are conscious of their role in society and will want to formalize their relationships through marriage."11
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Victor Simpson, "Vatican seeks to stop move toward same-sex
unions," Associated Press, at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
- Tisha Steyn, "Germany extends gay rights," News24.com, at: http://www.news24.com/
- "Lesbian in Charge," Star Observer, Australia, 2009-FEB-04, at: http://www.starobserver.com.au
- "Iceland legalizes same-sex marriage," Star Observer, Australia, 42010-JUN-26, at: http://www.starobserver.com.au/
- "Iceland passes gay marriage law in unanimous vote," Reuters, 2010-JUN-11, at: http://www.reuters.com/
- Andrea Botha, "Irish Ruling on gay marriage," 2004-SEP-11, News24.com, at: http://www.news24.com/
- Liam Reid and Joe Humphreys, "Gay marriage under focus in review of family rights," The Irish Times, 2004-OCT-18, at: http://www.ireland.com/
- "Mexico City legalizes same-sex marriage," Associated Press, 2009-DEC-22,
- "Mexico's Supreme Court Declares Anti-Gay Marriage Law Unconstitutional ," Huffington Post, 2012-DEC-06, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Marya Hannun, "For a lesson on marriage equality, look to Mexico (which looked to the U.S.)," Foreign Policy, 2013-MAR-29, at: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/
- E. Eduardo Castillo, "Experts: Mexico ruling opens door to gay marriage," Huffington Post, 2012-DEC-06, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Copyright © 2002 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-SEP-24
Latest update: 2013-APR-04
Author: B.A. Robinson