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social sciences

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Same-Sex Marriage  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  

Latin America

Although a popular perception is that the countries of Latin America lag behind the United States in granting rights to gay and lesbian couples, that perception is belied by recent developments. In 2000, the Brazilian government extended de facto legal recognition to same-sex relationships by allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to inherit each other's pension and social security benefits. The Brazilian policy requires applicants to prove a "stable union."

In 2002, the city of Buenos Aires adopted a domestic partnership ordinance that granted legal status to same-sex couples and a handful of rights such as hospital visits and pension benefits. Similarly, a bill was recently introduced in Chile's Congress to recognize same-sex couples.

Sponsor Message.

In 2006, Mexico City's legislative assembly adopted a domestic partnership ordinance that provides same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage, including inheritance rights and pension benefits, though not adoption rights.

A series of rulings, beginning in 2007, by Colombia's Constitutional Court, have granted same-sex couples many of the property, inheritance, health, and pension rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples in that country.

In 2011, the Court gave Congress two years to extend marriage rights to gay couples. Finding that that Columbia's gay and lesbian citizens currently lack the full set of rights afforded to heterosexual married couples in Columbia, the Court instructed Congress to pass a remedy through "comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation" by June 20, 2013 to address the imbalance. Should the country's lawmakers fail to pass legislation within that time, gay and lesbian couples will be permitted to go before a notary or a court to have their partnership officially recognized.

In 2008, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to adopt a national civil union law, the Ley de Unión Concubinaria. The law permits both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil union after living together for at least five years. Couples in civil unions are entitled to most of the benefits that married couples are afforded, including social security entitlements, inheritance rights, and joint ownership of goods and property. In addition, same-sex couple are permitted joint adoption rights.

In December 2009, Mexico City's legislature passed a bill permitting same-sex marriage. The bill, which defines marriage as "the free uniting of two people," was quickly signed into law by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. The law permits same-sex couples to adopt children, apply for bank loans together, and be included in the insurance policies of their spouse, as well as the rights that were provided in the domestic partnership law.

The law was bitterly denounced by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and challenged as unconstitutional by Mexico's federal government, but after the nation's highest court refused to intervene to stay the law, the city began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March 2010.

On August 4, 2010, Mexico's supreme court announced that it had upheld the constitutionality of the law on an 8-2 vote. On August 10, 2010, the court further ruled, on a 9-2 vote, that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City must be honored as legal in all 31 Mexican states, although they are not obligated to perform same-sex marriages themselves.

Victory in Argentina

Also in 2009, a judge in Buenos Aires granted a gay couple permission to be married. The couple, Alex Freyre and José María Bello, became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Argentina. The ruling permitting that marriage applied only to that couple, though subsequently eight other couples were also married as a result of separate judicial rulings.

Meanwhile, legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage nationally advanced in Congress, and a lawsuit that would legalize same-sex marriage was filed for review by Argentina's Supreme Court.

In May 2010, at the urging of President Cristina Fernández, Argentina's House of Representatives approved a marriage equality law. On July 15, after an impassioned debate that lasted almost 16 hours, the law was ratified by the Senate.

The victory in Argentina came after strenuous efforts to derail the legislation by the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches. President Fernández criticized the tone taken by the religious groups, saying that they "recall the times of the Inquisition."

Marriage equality advocate Evan Wolfson issued a statement hailing the historic vote as a measure of how far Catholic Argentina has come, "from dictatorship to true democratic values."

Brazilian Civil Unions

On May 4, 2011, Brazil's highest court, on a 10-0 vote, with one abstention, ruled that partners in a "stable" same-sex union had the same legal rights as a heterosexual married couple. "Discrimination generates hatred," wrote Justice Carlos Ayres Britto.

The ruling in effect extends the Brazilian government's 2000 grant of certain inheritance and retirement rights to same-sex couples to cover all the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by married couples, including the right to adopt children. The lawsuit that resulted in the landmark decision was initiated by Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral and supported by President Dilma Rousseff and Attorney General Roberto Gurgel.

The ruling does not mandate same-sex marriage, but it is expected to further the movement for marriage equality in Brazil.

Conclusion

While progress abroad has been steady, efforts to achieve same-sex marriage in the United States continue to face well-organized opposition from conservative churches and the religious right. Lesbian and gay couples continue to press their case in court and before the public. In time this country may catch up to where other countries already are.

Gregory A. Johnson
Claude J. Summers

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social sciences >> Overview:  Argentina

Although Argentina recently became the first Latin American country to attain marriage equality nationally, the country has a long history of defining itself in terms of masculinity and in opposition to sexual deviancy.

social sciences >> Overview:  Belgium

In addition to having many legal protections for glbtq people, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Boston

Boston has seen a variety of responses to its glbtq citizens, ranging from acceptance of "Boston marriages" to vice squad raids of gay bars to joyous weddings of same-sex couples.

social sciences >> Overview:  Canada

In 2005 Canada became the fourth country to recognize same-sex marriages; the milestone victory solidified Canada's position as a leader in the struggle for glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Census 2000

Census 2000 revealed that there were 594,391 gay male and lesbian couples in the United States, living in 99.3 percent of all U.S. counties; nearly a quarter of these couples are raising children, and these families live in 96 percent of U.S. counties.

social sciences >> Overview:  Children of GLBTQ Parents

Over three decades of research has repeatedly shown that children of glbtq parents are no different from their peers reared in heterosexual families; recently queerspawn themselves have added their own voices to the discourse.

social sciences >> Overview:  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

The socially and politically conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long been antagonistic to the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Civil Union

Vermont's Civil Union law conferred all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage on same-sex couples.

social sciences >> Overview:  Commitment Ceremonies

Similar to heterosexual weddings, commitment ceremonies of same-sex partnerships are legally recognized in some countries, but generally not in the United States.

social sciences >> Overview:  Custody Litigation

While the courts of some states have been almost unremittingly hostile to gay men and lesbians involved in custody litigation, others have declared that glbtq parents have the same rights and responsibilities as other parents.

social sciences >> Overview:  Denmark

Denmark has a reputation for sexual liberation, tolerance, and progressive social policy in regards to glbtq issues.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Family

Many glbtq people reject a fixed definition of family imposed by society, and instead claim the right to define their own families as they choose.

social sciences >> Overview:  Finland

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social sciences >> Overview:  France

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social sciences >> Overview:  Iceland

In recent decades, gay men and lesbians in Iceland have made significant legal advances, but life continues to be difficult for glbtq people outside the capital.

social sciences >> Overview:  Lutheranism

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social sciences >> Overview:  Madrid

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social sciences >> Overview:  The Netherlands

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social sciences >> Overview:  New Right

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social sciences >> Overview:   Norway

Like most Scandinavian countries, Norway respects glbtq rights, and Norwegians are broadly tolerant of homosexuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Organized Labor

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social sciences >> Overview:  Political Blogs

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social sciences >> Overview:  Prague

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social sciences >> Overview:  Presbyterianism

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social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

social sciences >> Overview:  Spain

From a particularly strong application of sodomy laws in the early modern period to a liberalization of sexual mores since the 1980s, Spanish society has displayed an ambivalent and complex relationship to sexual minorities.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sweden

A liberal and democratic kingdom, Sweden has a reputation for sexual openness, yet it maintains a law that punishes buyers of sex from prostitutes.

social sciences >> Overview:  Switzerland

Switzerland is a very cosmopolitan nation with a vibrant glbtq community, but it has lagged behind much of Europe, particularly the Nordic countries, when it comes to assuring equal rights.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada has been instrumental in the increased acceptance of glbtq rights, including same-sex marriage, in Canada.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Kingdom II: 1900 to the Present

Twentieth-century efforts to reform British law and public opinions about homosexuality met with mixed results, but at the beginning of the twenty-first century the United Kingdom has emerged as a leader in recognizing the rights of its glbtq citizens.

social sciences >> Overview:  Vancouver

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social sciences >> ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project

For more than four decades, the ACLU has been at the forefront of litigation and education designed to secure glbtq rights on a variety of fronts.

arts >> Barclay, Paris 

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social sciences >> Bonauto, Mary

American attorney Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, has won major rulings that have brought the promise of equal rights nearer to reality.

social sciences >> Cashman, Michael

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social sciences >> Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) authorizes states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships or civil unions and it requires that federal bureaus and agencies recognize only opposite-sex marriages.

social sciences >> Empire State Pride Agenda

The Empire State Pride Agenda, which lobbies New York governments at both state and local levels for equal rights, is recognized as among the strongest statewide glbtq political organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Equality California (EQCA)

Equality California (EQCA) is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide glbtq advocacy and civil rights organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

New England's leading legal organization dedicated to equal justice for glbtq individuals and families, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) provides litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of glbtq civil rights.

social sciences >> Gingrich-Jones, Candace

Candace Gingrich-Jones, the half-sister of former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, serves as a spokesperson and Senior Youth Outreach Manager for the Human Rights Campaign.

social sciences >> Gomes, Peter

After coming out publicly in 1991, to protest a homophobic incident at Harvard University, the Reverend Peter Gomes lent his eloquent voice to the cause of equality for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Griffin, Chad

Chad Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights to sponsor a legal challenge to Proposition 8; in June 2012, he assumed the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

arts >> Harris, Neil Patrick

Child actor Neil Patrick Harris has made a successful transition to mature roles, showcasing his singing and dancing abilities along the way; he has also spoken out on behalf of glbtq causes.

social sciences >> Hawkes, Brent

Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, the Reverend Doctor Brent Hawkes has worked with fervor and dedication to secure equal rights for glbtq Canadians.

social sciences >> Hughes, Chris (b. 1983), and Sean Eldridge (b. 1986)

Chris Hughes, one of the founders of the social networking site Facebook, also spearheaded the social networking efforts of the 2008 Obama campaign; he and his partner Sean Eldridge are activists for marriage equality.

social sciences >> Maloney, Sean Patrick

Long a champion of glbtq and progressive causes, Sean Patrick Maloney was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2012 to become the first openly gay U.S. Representative from New York state.

social sciences >> Murray, Edward B. ("Ed") 

After a long career in the legislature of the state of Washington, Ed Murray was elected mayor of Seattle in November of 2013.

social sciences >> National Center for Lesbian Rights

Founded in 1977 as the Lesbian Rights Project, the National Center for Lesbian Rights is a public interest law firm committed to advancing the civil and human rights of glbtq people through litigation, advocacy, and education.

arts >> Orman, Suze

Suze Orman rose from hardscrabble roots to become a financial manager, radio and television personality, and best-selling author in the field of personal money management.

social sciences >> Pocan, Mark

A former seven-term member of the Wisconsin Assembly, Mark Pocan easily won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

social sciences >> Polis, Jared

Businessman and philanthropist Jared Polis became one of only three openly gay members in Congress, and the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a freshman, when he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.

social sciences >> Proposition 8 (California)

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social sciences >> Quinn, Christine

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literature >> Rodriguez, Richard

Essayist and memoirist Richard Rodriguez, perhaps the most widely read of Latino-American authors, positions himself as an outsider in America, not only because of his ethnicity, but also because of his sexuality.

social sciences >> Romer v. Evans

Romer v. Evans (1996) marks the first time in its history that the U. S. Supreme Court recognized lesbians and gay men as worthy and deserving of equal rights.

social sciences >> Savage, Dan

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social sciences >> Silver, Nate

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social sciences >> Sinema, Kyrsten 

After serving several terms in the Arizona state legislature, Kyrsten Sinema ran successfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2012, becoming the first openly bisexual person elected to that body.

social sciences >> Soulforce

Utilizing the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance, Soulforce is an activist organization founded in 1999 to combat the anti-gay rhetoric and polical actions of the religious right

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Sullivan, Andrew

Social and political commentator Andrew Sullivan has established himself as an influential participant in Anglo-American political discourse.

arts >> Takei, George

Best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the cult-classic television series Star Trek and subsequent films, George Takei has, since coming out as a gay man, also been an articulate advocate for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Tyler, Robin

Charismatic performer and activist Robin Tyler has spent much of her life enmeshed in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, from planning national marches to promoting same-sex marriage.

arts >> Vogel, Paula

In her work, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel has tackled difficult topics, including AIDS, incest, and prostitution.

social sciences >> Whipple, Diane

Diane Whipple, the coach of the women's lacrosse team at Saint Mary's College in California, was killed in a dog-mauling; the response of her partner helped establish the right of same-sex partners to equal treatment with heterosexuals.

social sciences >> White, James Melville "Mel"

Mel White spent over thirty years serving the Evangelical Christian community; after struggling with his homosexuality for many years, he broke his ties with anti-gay religious leaders and became a glbtq activist.

social sciences >> Wolfson, Evan

Evan Wolfson has participated in some of the crucial legal battles in the struggle for glbtq rights, and has been particularly visible in the quest for marriage equality.


    Bibliography
   

Baird, Robert M., and Stuart E. Rosenbaum, eds. Same-Sex Marriage: The Moral and Legal Debate. Amherst, N. Y.: Prometheus Books, 1996.

Capehart, Jonathan. "Maryland Gay Marriage Debacle Reveals Cowards and Civil Rights Myopia." Washington Post (March 15, 2011): http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/maryland-gay-marriage-debacle-reveals-cowards-and-civil-rights-myopia/2011/03/04/ABDcqxY_blog.html

Daley, Suzanne. "French Couples Take Plunge That Falls Short of Marriage." New York Times (April 18, 2000): A1.

Eskridge, William E. The Case for Same-Sex Marriage. New York: The Free Press, 1996.

Kulow, Marianne DelPo. "Same-Sex Marriage: A Scandinavian Perspective." Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review 24 (2002): 419-38.

Krauss, Clifford. "Canadian Leaders Agree to Propose Marriage Law." New York Times (June 17, 2003): A1.

_____. "Gay Canadians' Quest for Marriage Seems Near Victory." New York Times (June 15, 2003): A3.

"Marriage Is a Constitutional Right." New York Times (August 4, 2010): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/opinion/05thu1.html?ref=opinion

Maxwell, Nancy G. "Opening Civil Marriage to Same-Gender Couples: A Netherlands-United States Comparison." Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law 18 (2001): 141-207.

McFadden, Robert D. "Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connectiuct." New York Times (October 10, 2008): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/nyregion/11marriage.html?em

Rohter, Larry. "Brazil Recognizes Same-Sex Unions." International Herald Tribune (June 12, 2000): 10.

Rubenstein, William B. Cases and Materials on Sexual Orientation and the Law. 2nd ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing, 1997.

Sullivan, Andrew, ed. Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.

Strasser, Mark. On Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and the Rules of Law. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

Wardle, Lynn D., Mark Strasser, William C. Duncan, and David Orgon Coolidge, eds. Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, A Debate. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003.

www.hrc.org/familynet.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Johnson, Gregory A. ; Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Same-Sex Marriage  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated May 26, 2014  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/same_sex_marriage.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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