Monday, September 13, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage and Same-Sex Adoption Around the World

We have some figures (courtesy of Rex Wockner) on the number of same-sex couples who have married in Mexico since March 11, 2010, when a groundbreaking law in Mexico City took effect.  As of September 6, 2010, there were 398 same-sex marriages in Mexico City.  Fifty-three percent of the marriages were between men.  Forty-one foreigners have married a Mexican citizen of the same sex.

Although the marriages are performed in Mexico City, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that those marriages had to be recognized in each of the 31 states of Mexico.

So here is an update on the current global picture for same-sex marriage. 

Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.  Same-sex marriages are legal in Mexico City and by Supreme Court decision must be recognized throughout Mexico.  In the United States, the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. recognize same-sex marriage.  Same-sex marriages from California are also recognized if they were performed before the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8.  That law (Proposition 8) was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court in California, and that ruling is on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  In a strange twist, however, neither the governor nor the attorney general of California are parties to the appeal, which is being made by the private proponents of Proposition 8.  Because the state officials do not have to defend the constitutionality of a law they believe is unconstitutional, they do not have to appeal the case.  There is widespread speculation that the Ninth Circuit will dismiss the appeal brought by the private proponents, finding that they simply do not have standing to bring the case.

Click here for an earlier post that had updates from Argentina and Mexico.

Three other U.S. states recognize, as full marriages, same-sex marriages that were entered into elsewhere: California (if the marriage took place before the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8), Maryland and New York.

Many other jurisdictions have civil unions, domestic partnerships, and other ways of recognizing same-sex relationships.  In the European Union, for example, 14 of the 27 EU member states offer some form of civil partnerships (and five of the 27 member states allow same-sex marriage).  

And what's the status of the right to adopt by same-sex couples?  Rex Wockner provided us with that list too.  Same-sex couples can adopt in Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Mexico City, sixteen U.S. states and Washington, D.C. A gay or lesbian partner can adopt his or her partner's child in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and 25 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.  In the United States the number of jurisdictions where same-sex couples adopt may be higher because adoptions tend to be low-key.


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