Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where is same-sex marriage legal?

Updated May 26, 2015
U.S. LATEST: 37 states have same-sex marriage, achieved through a combination of legislative passage, voter referendums, state court rulings, federal district-court and appeals-court rulings, and a series of refusals by the U.S. Supreme Court to accept appeals or issue stays.

SCOTUS' non-involvement ended in January, however, when it accepted appeals from four states in order to resolve the issue for all of the remaining 13. There is now little doubt the Supreme Court's June ruling will mandate nationwide marriage equality. Additional U.S. info in the full worldwide post:

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE is legal in the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013), Brazil (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), England and Wales (2014), Scotland (2014), Luxembourg (2015), Ireland (starting in August), Greenland (starting Oct. 1) and Finland (starting March 1, 2017).

On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via popular vote. Irish people amended their constitution to OK same-sex marriage by a landslide margin of 62.07% to 37.93%.

Same-sex marriages also have taken place on the Caribbean islands of Saba, a municipality of the Netherlands (2012), and Martinique, an overseas region of France (2013).

In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo -- and, for some couples who filed legal cases, in the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Colima, Guanajuato, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Yucatán. Mexico has 31 states. This list contains 25 of them.

A few same-sex couples reportedly have managed to marry in Colombia, though the legal situation appears to remain unresolved.

IN THE UNITED STATES, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts (2004), California (2008 for four months, then 2013 for good), Connecticut (2008), Vermont (2009), Iowa (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), New York (2011), Maine (2012), Maryland (2012), Washington (2012), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), Minnesota (2013), New Jersey (2013), Hawaii (2013), New Mexico (2013), Oregon (2014), Pennsylvania (2014), Illinois (2014), Colorado (Oct. 6, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Idaho (Oct. 15, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014), Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014), Kansas (Nov. 12, 2014), Montana (Nov. 19, 2014), South Carolina (Nov. 20, 2014), Florida (Jan. 6, 2015) and Alabama (Feb. 9, 2015). It also is legal in the independent city of St. Louis, Missouri (Nov. 5, 2014), the separate county of St. Louis (Nov. 5, 2014) and Jackson County, Missouri, which includes Kansas City and Independence (Nov. 7, 2014). That's 37 states, the District of Columbia, and three of Missouri's four largest cities.

(At the moment, same-sex marriage has been paused in Alabama due to conflicting rulings from federal courts and the Alabama Supreme Court. Litigation is ongoing. In Kansas, same-sex marriage is not yet happening in all counties, and the state continues to refuse to recognize its own marriages. Litigation is ongoing.)

What's the deal in Missouri? Since Oct. 6, 2014, when Attorney General Chris Koster opted not to appeal a marriage-recognition ruling from a state court in Kansas City, Missouri has recognized same-sex marriages from anywhere in the world. Then, on Nov. 5, 2014, a state judge in St. Louis struck down Missouri's marriage ban and weddings began in St. Louis and St. Louis County (the city of St. Louis is independent and not located in any county). Koster appealed the decision but did not seek a stay to stop the St. Louis marriages. Then, on Nov. 7, a federal judge in Kansas City struck down the state's ban and marriages began in Jackson County. Koster appealed that ruling as well. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit refused to lift a stay that prevents the ruling from having statewide effect. Oral arguments in that appeal were to take place May 12 in Omaha but on April 29 the court canceled them in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court's expected nationwide marriage ruling in June.

Bans on same-sex marriage in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas have been struck down by federal or state courts, but the rulings were stayed for appeal. In Louisiana and Puerto Rico (one of the United States' five inhabited territories), federal courts upheld bans. The rulings were appealed. (On March 20, 2015, Puerto Rico's government reversed course and invited the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston to strike down its ban.) Oral arguments in cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas took place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans on Jan. 9. Journalists exiting the courthouse said they expected a 2-1 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Oral arguments in cases from Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota were scheduled to take place May 12 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in Omaha until the court canceled them on April 29 in anticipation of SCOTUS' June nationwide marriage ruling.

(The six states not yet mentioned: Bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee were upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. These are the four cases that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and that are expected to result in a ruling for nationwide marriage equality in late June. North Dakota was sued twice but the U.S. district court paused the cases to wait for SCOTUS. Georgia also was sued, but there has been no movement in the case lately.)

As for the other four inhabited U.S. territories: A lesbian couple on Guam applied for a marriage license on April 8, 2015, were turned down, and sued five days later in federal court. On April 15, Guam's attorney general said the island's ban on same-sex marriage is unenforceable because of binding precedent in the 9th Circuit, and told the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services to begin issuing same-sex-marriage licenses immediately. However, the department refused to comply and joined Gov. Eddie Calvo in asking the district court to pause the case. The Guam AG refused to represent them in that request. Should Guam's ban turn out to be unenforceable, so is the ban in the Northern Mariana Islands, which is in the same appeals-court circuit. To date, no same-sex couple has attempted to marry in the Marianas. There also have been no same-sex-marriage moves in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is the 3rd Circuit (where all states have same-sex marriage but achieved it in ways that did not involve a circuit-appeals-court ruling). American Samoa is a case unto itself. Lambda Legal recently tried to untangle the situation here.

INDIAN TRIBES: Same-sex marriage also has been explicitly legalized within the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009), The Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011), the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington (2013), the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013), the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013), the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013), the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013), the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014) and the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes in Alaska (2015).

HISTORICAL NOTES: In Utah, 1,259 same-sex couples married between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a Salt Lake City federal judge's strikedown of the state's gay-marriage ban. The stay was lifted Oct. 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review pro-same-sex-marriage rulings from appeals courts in three federal circuits. In Michigan, 315 same-sex couples married in four counties on Saturday, March 22, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a stay. In Arkansas, 541 same-sex couples received marriage licenses before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay a week after the May 9, 2014, strikedown. In Wisconsin, more than 500 same-sex couples married June 6-13, 2014, before a federal judge finalized her paperwork and issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Indiana, some 800 same-sex couples married June 25-27, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Colorado, more than 300 same-sex couples married in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties in June and July 2014 after various legal developments, including the state's marriage ban being struck down in both state and federal court. The counties eventually were forced to stop issuing gay licenses by the state Supreme Court and Attorney General John Suthers, with Boulder being the final county shut down on July 29, 2014. Colorado resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Oct. 6, 2014, following the U.S. Supreme Court rejection of appeals from other states located in the 10th Circuit.

In U.S. states that do not allow or recognize same-sex marriage, married same-sex couples who live there are still recognized as married for many federal purposes, including income tax, immigration, military benefits and other matters that always have been tied to whether a couple entered into a legal marriage anywhere in the world rather than to a state's marriage rules.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

LGBT discrimination laws in U.S. states

Updated March 12, 2015
These 18 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts*, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. Also: Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. (*Massachusetts does not protect transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations.)

Utah prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing, but not in public accommodations.

These 3 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin.

These 28 states do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (although there are city and/or county protections in some places -- click the "City and County Listing" tab here). In 15 of these 28 states (marked with an asterisk), court rulings have legalized same-sex marriage, creating a situation where a same-sex couple who comes out further by getting married could be fired for having done so: Alabama*, Alaska*, Arizona*, Arkansas, Florida*, Georgia, Idaho*, Indiana*, Kansas*, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri*, Montana*, Nebraska, North Carolina*, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma*, Pennsylvania*, South Carolina*, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia*, West Virginia*, Wyoming*.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Mexico's Coahuila state legalizes same-sex marriage

[Second draft. Sources: 1 2 3 4 5]

For the first time, a Mexican state legislature has voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Sept. 1 vote by the Congress of the state of Coahuila was 19-1.

The new law, which alters more than 40 parts of the state's Civil Code, takes effect in one week.

According to reports, the law says, "Marriage is the free union with full consent of two people, which has as its objective to realize community life where both [people] seek respect, equality and mutual aid, and make in a free, responsible, voluntary and informed way reproductive decisions that fit their life project, including the possibility of procreation or adoption."

("El matrimonio es la unión libre y con el pleno consentimiento de dos personas, que tiene como objeto realizar la comunidad de vida en donde ambas se procuran respeto, igualdad y ayuda mutua, y toman de manera libre, responsable, voluntaria e informada las decisiones reproductivas que se ajustan a su proyecto de vida, incluida la posibilidad de procrear o adoptar.")

The law's "exposition of motives" says it "puts an end to the restrictions and limitations imposed on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, travesti, transgender and intersex community, which constitute a constitutional and international violation."

The 19 'yes' votes came from members of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) and local parties. The 'no' vote came from a member of the Democratic Unity Party.

Coahuila borders the U.S. state of Texas. It's capital, Saltillo, is 191 miles (307 km) south of Laredo, Texas.

Full marriage for same-sex couples is legal two other places in Mexico -- the Federal District (Mexico City), where it was passed by legislators, and the state of Quintana Roo, where the secretary of state determined in 2012 that the state's Civil Code did not specify sex or gender requirements for marriage.

Mexico has 31 states.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Illinois governor signs marriage-equality bill into law


Sitting at the desk on which Abraham Lincoln wrote his first inaugural address, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn today signed the marriage-equality bill into law. When the law comes into force, Illinois will be the 16th U.S. state (along with D.C.) where same-sex couples can marry. [Screen cap: Illinois.gov live feed]
Photo by Hal Baim/Windy City Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Marriage equality arrives in Hawaii

The bill legalizing same-sex marriage has just cleared the Hawaii Legislature and is en route to strong supporter Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The final Senate vote was 19-4. Abercrombie will sign the bill tomorrow morning (Nov. 13) at 10 a.m. HST. Same-sex couples should be able to marry beginning Dec. 2.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

San Diego LGBT Pride today

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prop 8 dies, plaintiff couples marry

Prop 8 federal case plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were married yesterday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were married last evening (video) at Los Angeles City Hall by Mayor Antontio Villaraigosa.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gays march through San Diego as Prop 8 dies

More than 1,000 people took to the streets of San Diego Tuesday evening in celebration of the demise of Prop 8 and DOMA. The impromptu march closed down about seven blocks of major thoroughfare University Avenue in the heavily gay Hillcrest district. The peaceful crowd eventually crammed itself into the LGBT Community Center for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and more partying.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Rex Wockner

Rex Wockner reported news for the gay press from the 1980s until 2011. His work appeared in hundreds of publications.

He has a B.A. in journalism, started his career as a radio reporter, and wrote for the mainstream press as well, including the Chicago Tribune and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Highlights of Wockner's career include:

Going to Denmark in 1989 to cover the world's first registered partnerships granting gay couples the rights of marriage.

Covering the world's first full gay marriages in the Netherlands in 2001.

Reporting from the first gay-pride events in Moscow and Leningrad in 1991.

Reporting from world conferences of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the international AIDS conferences.

Making early contact with gay movements in the former East Bloc and developing nations.

And filing stories in the U.S. from the Democratic and Republican conventions, Creating Change, NLGJA conferences, the GLAAD Awards, Equality Begins At Home, the National Gay Men's Health Summit, the LGBT marches on Washington, ACT UP demonstrations, the National Equality March, the Maine same-sex marriage battle, the trial in the federal Prop 8 case, and New Orleans after Katrina.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DOMA's day at the Supreme Court

My photos from outside the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. It is quite likely the justices will strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, finding it unconstitutional for equal-protection reasons.


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