Danish Parliament Begins Process of Ratifying Faroes Islands’ Same-sex Marriage Law

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Almost a year after the Faroese Parliament approved a same-sex marriage and adoption bill, Danish Parliament held its first reading February 28th on legislation that would allow the Faroese law to come into effect.

Ratification from Denmark on the Faroese marriage legislation is seen as only a formality, but is required as the 2012 equal marriage law in Denmark, which is the basis for the Faroese same-sex marriage bill, states that none of the Danish constituent territories would be affected by the 2012 law.

The ratification process essentially repeals the clause making the Faroe Islands an exception to adopting Denmark’s same-sex marriage legislation and replaces local laws with gender-neutral wording which affords all couples the right to marry. Provisions within the marriage bill also allow for full adoption rights in the Faroes.

Danish Parliament will approach the ratification process in several steps. One step is to allow same-sex marriages to be held on the Faroe Islands through a Royal Decree and the other is to update the Faroese Procedural Code to mirror Denmark’s and allow for divorce for same-sex couples; the latter being the bill first mentioned in this article which requires two more readings from the Danes and Royal Assent.

Same-sex weddings on the islands should occur not long after the ratification process is completed in the future.

Same-sex Weddings Begin Inside the Church of Norway

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After several years of lobbying by LGBT Christians and supportive priests, the Church of Norway held its final vote to celebrate same-sex ceremonies within its premises this week.

Monday’s vote of 83-29 in favor of a new gender-neutral liturgy was cheered through out the country with couples planning preparations on February 1st when the new rules would come into effect.

The first same-sex couple to marry inside the Norwegian Lutheran Church was a pair of men who wed at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday.

Unlike other Scandinavian countries, Norway passed a 2009 civil marriage law that did not have State Church weddings tied into its legislation.

The new State Church rules explain that religious leaders have a right to decline officiating a same-sex wedding, but the same parish must find a replacement for the couples.

Gratulerer til alle våre venner i Norge! 🙂

Guernsey Passes Final Same-sex Marriage Legislation; Weddings in 2017

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The States of Guernsey approved a same-sex marriage bill today by a vote of 33-5.

This vote comes almost a year after Guernsey voted in principle to modify their marriage laws to include same-sex couples.

The bill will now be sent to the Privy Council for its promulgation and weddings are expected to begin in mid-2017.

Guernsey is the second of the three British Crown Dependencies to open the door to same-sex weddings after Isle of Man began marrying couples in July. Jersey, who also voted in principle last year to expand marriage rights like Guernsey, stated that they will vote on their own final legislation in the coming months and also wish to hold weddings in 2017.

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

Aruba Approves Civil Unions

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After several postponements and heated debates, Aruba’s Parliament passed a civil union bill by a vote of 11-5 tonight.

The gender-neutral bill was brought forward by a local MP who married her female partner in the Netherlands and wished to address the issue of legal protection for non-married couples and same-sex couples already married within the Dutch Kingdom.

Despite all marriages performed within other regions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands being recognized on the island, same-sex couples cannot have their marriages performed in Aruba itself. Legal deficiencies are also present for couples of the same-sex as Aruba is not obligated to grant all the same rights to those marriages as it would with heterosexual couples.

The bill sought to bring in equal marriage in all but name. Supporters of the bill hope to see Parliament pass a same-sex marriage bill in the near future.

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

Same-sex Marriage Lawsuit Filed in El Salvador

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A lawyer in El Salvador has filed a lawsuit before El Salvador’s Supreme Court asking for the nullification of Article 11 of the Family Code which defines marriage as “a legal union between a man and a woman”.

Labeling the law as discriminatory and explaining the lack of gendered terms used in Article 34 of the Constitution’s summary of a marriage, the suit seeks to allow same-sex couples the right to wed.

Reacting to the lawsuit, several members of the Legislative Assembly dismissed the notion of allowing same-sex marriage, citing Article 11.

In recent years, several attempts by the Assembly’s conservative parties have been made to add a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage, but the second-largest party in the Assembly continued to deny them the 2/3 majority of votes required to ratify the ban.

The latest attempt led by a 35-member strong right-wing party in 2015 reached the first threshold of at least 43/86 votes in favor, but the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front’s 31-seat abstention resulted in the ban’s current state of limbo as 56 votes in favor are required for the ratification of a constitutional amendment.

El Salvador is the latest Latin American country after Mexico (on a state by state basis), Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Venezuela to sue for marriage equality.

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

Antarctica: British Antarctic Territory Introduces Same-sex Marriage Bill

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Earlier this year, the British Antarctic Territory proposed a bill to bring their marriage legislation in line with UK marriage laws.

The Marriage Ordinance 2016 will allow the purchase of a license to conduct a marriage and licenses to allow marriages to take place.

The bill will be under consultation until September 30th.

Although the area has no natives and is inhabited mostly by scientists, the British Antarctic Territory receives scores of tourists every year.

Gibraltar’s Government Presents Same-sex Marriage Bill

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Gibraltar’s Government announced the introduction of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage today.

Originally planned to make its debut earlier this year, the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 was delayed due to both the UK’s European Union referendum and the high volume of feedback during the consultation process.

With almost 3,500 answers submitted, the legislation is said to have received the largest number of public responses ever.

Despite stating that a conscience vote will be used in his center-left coalition, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is optimistic that there is enough support within his Government to approve the law.

Picardo’s coalition controls 10 of the 17 seats of Parliament while the Opposition, whose leader also expressed his confidence that his party will vote in favor, controls the remaining seats and announced a conscience vote as well.

The marriage bill will allow couples in civil partnerships to convert their union to a marriage if they desire.

Currently, gender-neutral civil partnerships with full adoption rights exist in the territory since 2014.

The civil partnership bill, which was viewed as a milestone by locals, was approved 16-0 after the Supreme Court of Gibraltar ruled that same-sex couples must not be excluded from the adoption process.

The Mariage Act will be debated for the first time no earlier than six weeks after its publication as mandated by Gibraltar’s constitution.

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