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Article: Same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage

Legal Recognition and Alternative Legal Protections

  • Same-sex marriage is performed in the Netherlands proper, including the Caribbean Netherlands.
  • Same-sex marriage is registered in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, but the rights of marriage are not guaranteed.
  • Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in Niue, Tokelau, or the Cook Islands.
  • Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in six British Overseas Territories.
  • Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in some tribal nations. It is recognized but not performed in several other tribal nations and American Samoa.
  • Cohabitation and registered foreign marriages confer limited rights.
  • Some cities recognize and issue partnership certificates, although they are not legally binding.
  • Recognition of a declaration of family relationship can be useful in matters such as housing, but they are not legally binding.
  • Guardianship agreements provide limited legal benefits, including decisions about medical and personal care.
  • Inheritance, guardianship rights, and residency rights are granted for foreign spouses of legal residents.

Global Perspective and Adoption and Constitutional Restrictions

  • Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in a large majority of the world's developed democracies.
  • Notable exceptions to legal recognition include Italy, Japan, South Korea, Greece, and the Czech Republic.
  • Same-sex marriage is not yet recognized in any of the world's Islamic polities.
  • Some countries, such as China and Russia, restrict advocacy for same-sex marriage.
  • Estonia is the most recent country to legalize same-sex marriage, with Greece expected to pass it in February 2024.
  • Most states with same-sex marriage allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt.
  • 35 countries have constitutional definitions of marriage that prevent same-sex marriage.
  • Some countries with constitutionally mandated Islamic law prohibit same-sex marriage.
  • Homosexuality itself is criminalized in six countries with constitutional restrictions on same-sex marriage.
  • Records of marriage between men date back to the first century.

Social and Scientific Support

  • Major medical and scientific communities support same-sex marriage.
  • Human rights and civil rights organizations also support same-sex marriage.
  • Polls consistently show rising support for same-sex marriage in developed and developing countries.
  • Scientific studies show that marriage enhances the well-being of gay people and their children.
  • Exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage stigmatizes and invites discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

Historical and Contemporary Context

  • Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in the Bible mention acts in Egypt and Canaan that included same-sex marriage.
  • Scholars believe that in the early Roman Empire, male couples celebrated traditional marriage rites.
  • Emperor Nero in ancient Rome celebrated two public weddings with males.
  • Emperor Elagabalus in the 3rd century AD was the bride in a wedding to his male partner.
  • Roman law did not recognize marriage between males, but there were disapprovals and expectations for official registration.
  • The first same-sex couple to be legally married in modern times were Michael McConnell and Jack Baker in Minnesota in 1971.
  • The modern movement in support of same-sex marriage began in the 1980s or 1990s.
  • Denmark became the first country to legally recognize same-sex relationships in 1989.
  • The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.
  • Same-sex marriage has been established by law in 34 other countries, with uneven spread across continents.

International Court Rulings and Other Arrangements

  • European Court of Human Rights ruled in Schalk and Kopf v Austria in 2010 that same-sex unions are protected under art. 8 and art. 14 of ECHR.
  • European Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that married same-sex couples have residency rights in EU countries.
  • Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in 2018 that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is mandated by the American Convention on Human Rights.
  • The ruling applies to countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Barbados, Bolivia, and more.
  • Governments must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from same-sex family bonds.
  • Civil unions are being considered in countries like Lithuania, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, and Ukraine.
  • Some countries have enacted constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, while others have adopted constitutions specifying marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • Some countries have restrictions and limitations on same-sex marriage through legislation.
  • European Parliament called for the implementation of the European Court of Justice ruling across the EU.
  • The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recommended temporary recognition of same-sex marriage until new legislation is brought in.

Same-sex marriage Data Sources

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