Faroe Islands Approves Same-sex Marriage and Adoption

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On a vote of 19-14 , the Faroe Islands approved the adoption of Denmark’s same-sex matrimonial and adoption laws, with the only difference being that the local church will be allowed to decide if it will be performing same-sex weddings or not.

The bill will now be sent to the Danish Parliament who must repeal a clause in Denmark’s 2012 equal marriage law that states that the Danish constituent territories, Greenland and Faroe Islands, will not be affected by the 2012 marriage legislation. The future vote there is seen as a simple formality and once the bill is read in the Danish Parliament three times, it will be sent for Royal Assent so the law can come into effect.

According to Copenhagen Post, the bill will become law in December once it is passed and promulgated in Denmark.

-Congratulations to our friends in the Faroes and special thanks to LGBT Føroyar for answering our questions.

Colombia: Constitutional Court Finalizes Same-Sex Marriage Ruling; Weddings Soon

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On April 7th, Colombia’s Constitutional Court defeated a proposal from one of its conservative magistrates that would have barred same-sex couples from marrying on a vote of 6-3.

The LGBT community and many supporters around the country rejoiced, but a successful counter-opinion from another magistrate in favor of expanding the right to marry was needed to make the court order telling Civil Registries and notaries to approve marriage licenses binding.

Today, once again on a vote of 6-3, the Constitutional Court sided with same-sex couples and made Colombia the next country with marriage equality with the finalization of their ruling.

The Court declared same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right and ended the legal battle between the plaintiffs and the Inspector General who sought to annul their marriages after a handful of civil court judges registered the pairs as spouses when they applied for a “solemn union” contract in 2013.

Solemn unions came to Colombia as a result of a 2011 Constitutional Court ruling that gave Colombia’s Congress two years to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples, but the Legislature failed to do so. The ruling then came into effect in 2013 and afforded couples some of the rights of marriage.

The parties who registered the couples and were mentioned in the marriage lawsuit that was studied this month, stated that the 2011 verdict was vague in its usage of “solemn unions” and thus interpreted the couples as married.

Following the publication of today’s ruling, which shall be within 10 days, couples will be able to marry in the next few days and neither registries, notaries, nor judges who handle marriage licenses will be able to use conscientious objection as a reason to turn down applicants.

Faroe Islands’ Same-sex Marriage Bill Advances, Final Reading Scheduled for Friday

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After a long debate which included a proposal for a referendum that was later withdrawn, the Faroese Legislature approved their same-sex marriage and adoption bill during its second reading on a vote of 19-14. According to the parliamentary calendar, the final reading is scheduled for Friday.

The bill seeks to adopt Denmark’s matrimonial and adoption laws and will require future ratification from the Danish Parliament if it is approved in the Faroe Islands.

Denmark’s approval, though mostly a formality as seen with the other Danish constituent territory, Greenland, is required because the 2012 Danish same-sex marriage bill included a clause that states that the territories will not be affected by the new Danish law. Denmark must approve an amendment to repeal the clause and allow the Faroese bill to go into effect if it passes this week and gets sent to Copenhagen.

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

Isle of Man Approves Same-sex Marriage

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Today, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2016 was approved in the Isle of Man’s Upper House, the Legislative Council, on a 6-3 vote. The final reading in the Legislative Council ends the bill’s journey through the different voting rounds and it will be signed in Tynwald Court then sent for Royal Assent so the law can come into effect.

The bill seeks to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and allow heterosexual couples access to civil partnerships.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2016 began its journey in the House of Keys, the island’s Lower House, where it was approved on a vote of 17-3 in March.

Same-sex couples currently in civil partnerships will be able to convert their union to a marriage. Civil partnerships on the island already allowed full adoption rights and the Isle of Man’s leader, Chief Minister Alan Bell, who publicly announced his relationship with a man last year, called the bill a way of crossing off a dark chapter in the island’s history regarding LGBT issues.

The Chief Minister hopes to have weddings start in the summer.

-Congratulations to our friends in the Isle of Man!

Slovenia’s New Same-sex Partnership Bill Advances

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On Thursday, Slovenia’s National Assembly approved a same-sex partnership bill that will fix several deficiencies found in the country’s existing partnership legislation.

Back in 2009, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia ordered Parliament to upgrade their 2006 partnership law, especially in regards to pensions. Two attempts resulted in conservatives collecting enough signatures to force referendums that defeated the proposals by large margins. This third try may finally close some gaps found in same-sex unions.

In 2011, the Government attempted to make same-sex unions equal to marriage in all but full adoption rights, but the law was repealed after the public voted 54.5-44.5% against the proposal in 2012. Although most provisions of the law were rolled back to their 2006 state, a stepchild adoption clause that allows a person to adopt their partner’s child was retained.

A new coalition approved a change to the Family Code in 2015 that would make marriage gender-neutral and grant all couples joint adoption rights, but once again, conservative groups collected signatures to hold a referendum that resulted in the law’s defeat when voters rejected the law by a margin of 63-37%. Like 2012, last year’s vote had a very low turnout.

Following the 2015 referendum result, an Independent member of Parliament presented a partnership bill that would fulfill the Constitutional Court’s order and grant same-sex couples all of the benefits of marriage barring joint adoption and equal in-vitro rights, two legal provisions that conservative groups promised to collect signatures against if Parliament tried to approve them.

Slovenia’s National Assembly approved the new bill this week on a vote of 54-15. The bill now heads to the National Council who has seven days to decide if the Assembly must vote on it again.

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

Austria: Second Recent Same-sex Marriage Lawsuit is Dismissed

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A second lawsuit filed against Austria’s same-sex marriage ban in recent months was dismissed last week.

A regional administrative court in Linz ruled that there is no ground for the case since there is no constitutional issue. They added that it’s up to the Legislature to decide the legal status of opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

This is the second dismissal in four months in the country and the first case in Upper Austria.

The legal team first attempted to bring down the ban at the end of 2015 using the argument that the LGBT community in Austria is already afforded the same adoption and in-vitro rights as heterosexual couples so there should be no reason to deny them marriage, but a negative ruling in Vienna set the effort back.

Undeterred by the December ruling, the attorney tried his luck in Linz last month and the verdict was released on Friday.

Currently, Austria offers civil partnerships with full adoption rights, but the partnerships have at least 32 legal deficiencies when compared to the country’s marriage laws. One fear by the plaintiffs is that partnerships will not always be honored to the fullest if abroad, even if the countries have a same-sex marriage law in place.

There are also some couples who would prefer marriage over partnerships since couples in civil partnerships cannot choose their own last name and may fear being outed by the civil partnership’s surname clause, which is sometimes given the nickname the “Pink Triangle”, a reference to WWII’s public labeling of homosexuals.

Despite a Constitutional Court ruling that civil partnerships in Austria must be improved, a bill to that effect remains stalled in Parliament along with a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

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

-Special thanks to Robin for his help.

Isle of Man’s Same-sex Marriage Bill Receives Second Reading in Upper House

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On Tuesday, the Isle of Man’s same-sex marriage bill moved out of the amendment stage and is headed for its final reading in the Upper House.

The bill was approved in the House of Keys (Lower House) last month and received its second reading in the Legislative Council (Upper House) this week.

Once the bill receives its third reading in the coming days, it will be sent for Royal Assent and should come into force not long after.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to extend marriage equality on the island by allowing same-sex couples in civil partnerships to convert their status to married, allowing new couples to tie the knot, and extends civil partnerships to couples made up of the opposite sex.

The Chief Minister expects weddings to begin in the summer if the process is on schedule.