Falkland Islands Says Yes to Same-sex Marriage

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Last March, on a vote of 7-1, the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly approved gender-neutral marriage and civil partnership legislation which made the islands the latest addition in a growing list of British Overseas Territories to extend these rights to all couples.

The bill guarantees couples in civil partnerships the same parental rights as married couples and notes that “parents to a child may be two mothers or two fathers”.

Falkland couples will be able to enter a civil partnership or marry once the bill receives Royal Assent and a date of enactment is chosen by the Governor.

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

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.

Colombian Constitutional Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriage

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On a vote of 6-3, Colombia’s Constitutional Court has extended marriage equality to the South American country.

The marriage case began in 2013 after several civil court judges registered “solemn unions” between same-sex couples as marriages.

A previous ruling in 2011 gave Congress two years to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples, but as the Legislature did not approve a bill, couples in Colombia won the ability to register their unions in 2013 when the ruling went into effect.

After some civil court judges registered the marriages in 2013, Colombia’s Inspector General asked the higher courts to intervene and annul the nuptials and the issue found its way to the 9 magistrates of the Constitutional Court.

A conservative magistrate wrote his opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman and that same-sex couples should retain the solemn union scheme. He also argued that is should be Congress who changes the matrimonial laws and not the Court. The plenary voted 6-3 to reject his opinion and then turned to a counter-opinion from another magistrate in favor of extending marriage rights.

A Constitutional Court memo says that the counter-opinion will be voted on in the next session and a similar 6-3 verdict in favor of same-sex marriage is expected. Either way, marriage equality already prevailed today and the vote is mostly seen as a formality.

The Constitutional Court made Colombia the next country with marriage equality by ordering Civil Registries to serve any couple who requests a marriage license and warned that not even judges can deny the celebration of equal marriage rights in the country.

-¡Felicidades, Colombia!

Colombian Senator Wants Referendum Against Same-sex Adoption

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In November of 2015, Colombia’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling granting full adoption rights to same-sex couples. A member of Congress recently turned in over 2 million signatures to force a referendum on the issue.

Arguing that only couples made up of a man and a woman should be allowed to adopt, the congresswoman began a campaign titled “Sign for Mom and Dad” and turned in the signatures on Tuesday to the National Civil Registry.

For the referendum to happen, the signatures must be verified by the Registry then both Congress and the Constitutional Court must approve the initiative.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives need to approve the proposal in two separate sessions each while 5 of the 9 Constitutional Court magistrates need to vote on allowing the referendum.

The current government has publicly announced its support for several judicial rulings benefiting the LGBT community in the past and simply lets the pro-LGBT Court decisions become law.

The Constitutional Court on the other hand, has granted couples in the country many benefits over the years with written opinions citing constitutional rights and negating that the majority has a right to rule on the minority.

As such, it is unlikely that the initiative will garner enough support from either of the two branches in Colombia for the referendum to come into fruition.

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

Colombian Media Claims Marriage Equality Case Is Already Victorious; Final Vote After Holy Week

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In Colombia, several media outlets have reported that a 20-page Constitutional Court opinion that will bring marriage equality to the country is ready and only awaits a meeting to cast a Court vote.

According to them, sources close to the Court say that the magistrates will vote against one conservative judge’s proposal to annul marriages registered by lower courts, keep civil unions as the only option for couples, and state that only Congress can change marriage laws. The expected vote is 6-3 to defeat this opinion.

Next would come the final vote on a counter-opinion to legalize same-sex marriage. The same 6 out of 9 judges are expected to extend the right to marry to gay couples.

The two pending votes may come on two different days. The media says that everyone will have to wait until after Holy Week for any final action.

We’ll remain perched.

Colombia Will Now Register Same-Sex Marriages Performed Abroad

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According to Colombia Diversa, the first same-sex marriage conducted abroad was registered in the country this week.

A Spanish-Colombian couple first raised the issue of having their marriage registered last year and a recent memo sent from the National Registry to all notaries and registrars included instructions to register gay couples who marry outside the country. Those couples will only need to bring a stamped marriage certificate and identification documents to the nearest designated office.

Having the marriages registered in Colombia means that same-sex couples will enjoy the same visa, pension, healthcare benefits and inheritance rights as heterosexual spouses, among other things.

As for couples who want to marry inside the country, they will have to wait for word from the Constitutional Court.

In Colombia, “solemn unions” are performed, and after several civil court judges deemed the term ‘vague’ and registered some couples as spouses, a case was brought to settle the marriage issue once and for all. The media expects a majority of the 9 Constitutional Court magistrates to uphold the marriages already performed and allow all gay couples in Colombia to marry any day now.

Remain perched.

Colombia’s Court Debate on Gay Marriage Postponed Again

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Colombia’s Constitutional Court was scheduled to discuss the same-sex marriage lawsuits today, but according to BluRadio Colombia, the Court has once again delayed the topic until next week.

The 9 magistrates are being asked to decide if couples who have contracted solemn unions should have the unions recognized as a marriage and if previously registered marriages should be annulled.

The country’s Inspector General argues that marriage should not be extended to gay couples and that marriages that were conducted by civil court judges should be canceled.

Although the media is predicting a victory for gay couples, the Constitutional Court has delayed a final decision four times.

The new debate date is the 25th.