Colombia’s Constitutional Court Resumes Gay Marriage Debate on Thursday

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Colombia’s Constitutional Court has held several hearings on whether Civil Registries and notaries should recognize “solemn unions” as marriages since a case was brought before them in 2013. The issue stems from a previous Court ruling allowing same-sex partners legal recognition through a judge or notary, but never specifying if the couples could be deemed as spouses. On Thursday, the Court will hold another hearing.

A 2011 Court ruling stated that same-sex couples constituted a family and shall obtain contracts with the same rights as marriage if Congress fails to pass a law within two years. As Congress did not pass any law by 2013, the Court’s ruling gave gay couples legal recognition on par with heterosexual marriages via “solemn unions”. After several civil court judges began using the ruling’s vague language to register couples as spouses, the Inspector General argued that all same-sex marriages must be annulled and brought the marriage issue before the Constitutional Court.

The Court will once again convene next week and the media has speculated that the votes are there to guarantee gay couples the right to marry. The public will have to wait and see whether a verdict is revealed that day.

LGBT in the country have made great strides through the Court system in recent years, such as making Colombia one of the places to enjoy full adoption rights before the right to marry, and having one of the simplest forms of changing legal gender in the world.

Over the years, several gay marriage bills have not succeeded in Congress, though the Government has announced its support. The effort to stop gay Colombians from marrying is being spearheaded by the Inspector General who insists that any changes to Colombian marriage laws must come from the Legislature.

A conservative Court Justice agrees with the Inspector General and has written an opinion that same-sex couples may only marry if Congress changes the law. The Court’s plenary must now vote on whether to uphold his opinion or counteract it. If the Court rules for gay couples then Colombia will become the fifth South American nation with same-sex marriage.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Colombia, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Colombia

Proposal To Remove Transsexualism From Denmark’s List of Illnesses

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In October of 2015, a bill was submitted to Danish Parliament to remove transsexualism from being classified as a medical condition or disorder. The bill argues:

A person’s gender identity is not in itself a medical
or psychiatric condition and should not be treated, cured
or suppressed. Transsexualism (diagnosis codes DF640 and DF651) is thus out of place in the Health Classification system and must be removed.

 

Legal gender change without the need for any medical or surgical intervention has been available in Denmark since the approval of a 2014 gender identity law.

The proposal also urges Denmark to convince the World Health Organization to change its health codes on trans-related issues.

The bill’s first reading is scheduled for February 25th.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Denmark, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Denmark

Jalisco Becomes the 6th Mexican State with Gay Marriage

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Today the Mexican Supreme Court declared the matrimonial articles of Jalisco’s Civil Code unconstitutional for limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Citing the nation’s constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the Justices nullified the text stating that marriage was only between a man and a woman on a vote of 11-0.

This is the first time the Court directly strikes down a law blocking gay couples from marrying. Couples in Jalisco will now be able to go before a Civil Registry to receive a marriage license without needing a court injunction.

Jalisco joins Mexico City and the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero, Nayarit, and Quintana Roo where gay couples can marry freely. Couples from those areas and couples from other states who receive court injunctions have their marriages recognized both on a federal and state level.

In the past the Mexican Supreme Court ruled for gay couples in individual cases around the country, but due to Mexico’s complex rules stating that a suit must be filed within 30 days of a law’s enactment, only Jalisco qualified for immediate Court action. Couples wanting to marry in other states must request injunctions which are always approved by the court system, but the process can take months and cost thousands of pesos.

The Court needed to have at least 8 of its 11 judges side with same-sex couples for the Civil Code to be changed and the unanimous vote assured LGBT rights groups that the plenary of the Court with several new members would knock down any marriage prohibition brought before them.

As a law was changed, the Court’s written opinion will be published in Jalisco’s state gazette, the Federal gazette, and the Judicial gazette. The publication will bind all the Civil Registries in the state of Jalisco to issue marriage licenses to any and all couples.

For more information on the journey to marriage equality in Mexico, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Mexico

Portuguese President Vetoes Gay Adoption Bill

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Today the President of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, vetoed legislation to allow gay couples in the country to adopt. Portugal is the only nation with gay marriage but no same-sex adoption rights.

The move did not surprise some LGBT activists as Silva previously sent a 2010 same-sex marriage bill to the Constitutional Court for review. Although he signed the marriage law following a green light from the Court, by asking for the Court’s opinion, the law had been delayed by several weeks. Silva, who leaves office in March, is being replaced by another center-right candidate. If the adoption bill is passed in Parliament once again, as is, then the veto will be overriden. If changes are made, the bill will most likely come before the new President later this year.

President-elect, Rebelo de Sousa, said in a Parliamentary debate earlier this month that he sees no reason not to sign the bill.

According to DN, the Left majority in Parliament has announced an attempt to override Silva’s veto. The Left Bloc is optimistic that as early as this week an override will succeed and not require de Sousa’s future promulgation.

To achieve an override, supporters of the bill must now pass the proposal with no amendments and with an absolute majority of MPs in favor.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Portugal, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Portugal

Mexico: Supreme Court Likely To Make Jalisco The 6th State with Gay Marriage Next Week

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On Thursday, the Mexican Supreme Court heard a case from the state of Jalisco that urged the Justices to immediately strike down the article of the state’s current Civil Code that restricts marriage to heterosexual couples. For a successful outcome, 8 of the 11 judges must rule in favor of gay couples and the decision is expected on Tuesday.

Although court injunctions allow any same-sex couple in the country to marry after the Supreme Court ordered all lower courts to rule in favor of couples last June, the process of obtaining an injunction can be both time-consuming and expensive causing activists to continue the fight against current marriage laws around the nation.

Despite the Mexican Supreme Court always ruling for the LGBT community and issuing several opinions in their favor, they can only force a state’s hand if a lawsuit was filed within 30 days of a law’s passage leaving Jalisco and Baja California as the only two places that can have their marriage laws directly struck down.

Jalisco’s Congress updated its marriage legislation in 2015 to raise the minimum age for marrying and the Supreme Court first had to decide on Thursday if the change constituted a new Civil Code which could be struck down. On a vote of 10-0 with 1 absence, the Court determined that the criteria had been met allowing the Code to come under judicial scrutiny. The Court adjourned leaving the final decision on axing the restriction against same-sex marriage to a Tuesday session. If the plaintiffs receive at least 8 votes in their favor, the section in question of the Civil Code would immediately become obsolete allowing gay couples to marry. The media has claimed that the votes are there to declare the marriage restriction unconstitutional and that Jalisco will become the 6th state to freely let same-sex couples marry next week.

Reports also say that over 100 couples are already preparing to marry if the Supreme Court changes Jalisco’s marriage legislation.

For more information on Mexico’s journey to marriage equality, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Mexico

Gibraltar’s Opposition Voices Support For Gay Marriage Bill

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The leader of Gibraltar’s Opposition voiced his support for a gay marriage proposal and has stated his optimism that his fellow members would back the bill.

Daniel Feetham of the center-right Gibraltar Social Democrats made this statement during a New Year’s television broadcast. Feetham says he believes that extending marriage to same-sex couples strengthens the institution, and although every GSD member would be allowed a free vote, he claims all of them would be in favor.

The issue has become a hot topic since the leading center-left Gibraltar Social Labour Party-Liberal Party Alliance presented a command paper on changing the local marriage laws in December of 2015.

The public will be able to send in their thoughts until January 29 when the consultation phase closes. Several debates between religious leaders and LGBT activists have arisen with some clergy suggesting that a referendum on same-sex marriage be held, but Gibraltar’s Chief Minister reportedly shot down the notion during a Parliamentary Questions and Answers.

The results of the public consultation will be released in June of this year according to the GSLP-Liberal Alliance.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Gibraltar, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Gibraltar

 

 

It’s Official: Greenland Gets Gay Marriage and Adoption

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After some delay due to the legislation requiring approval by Danish Parliament, Greenland’s gay marriage and adoption bill passed all the legislative hurdles today. Upon receiving Royal Assent, Greenlanders will be able to marry on April 1st.

In May of 2015, Greenlandic Parliament unanimously approved a same-sex marriage bill that was then sent to Danish MPs where it required the standard three readings in Danish Parliament. June’s elections in Denmark caused the original bill to be postponed. A new cabinet was chosen after the elections and another copy of the bill was sent to the Danish Parliament whose review was needed due to Denmark’s 2012 gay marriage bill stating that neither of its constituent territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, will be affected by the new Danish marriage law. The Greenlandic bill included an amendment to repeal that 2012 clause and allow the gay marriage law to come into effect in Greenland. Originally, the bill had envisioned weddings in October 2015, but the Danish governmental reshuffle did not let this come to fruition and several Danish MPs apologized for the delay.

The final reading was held today where 108 MPs unanimously voted in favor while 71 were not present. Only 90 MPs are required to be present to reach the quorum for a Parliamentary vote and this stage was merely a formality. The bill is expected to receive the ceremonial Royal Assent in the next few days.

The new marriage law in Greenland will repeal the registered partnerships law the island has had since 1996 and the same-sex adoption clause will go into effect on July 1st.

Perchy congratulates Greenland on its new laws.