TOWARDS EQUALITY FOR SAME SEX COUPLES

Sixteen countries, most of which are in Europe, currently allow same-sex couples to marry. The list of countries includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, France, Brazil, South Africa and Iceland.  New Zealand, Uruguay, Canada, and Britain, have all passed legislation that allows same sex marriage, but has not yet taken effect. Mexico has court-mandated legal protections for same-sex couples similar to those now mandated in the United States. Bills allowing legal recognition of same-sex marriage have been proposed, are pending, or have passed at least one legislative house in Andorra, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Nepal, Scotland, and Taiwan, as well as in parts of Australia.

At the end of June, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, struck down a provision of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits — like Social Security or the ability to file joint tax returns — to legally married same-sex couples.

Following that decision, President Obama asked all agencies to review policies in regard to same sex couples. As a result, the State Department decided to make a change to the visa application process that now will allow same sex couples to obtain immigration benefits. Immigrants will derive benefits under these new visa policies even if they hail from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Similarly, they will enjoy these benefits even if they reside in states in the U.S. that do not currently have same sex marriages.

Not long after the US Supreme Court decision, Pope Francis surprised the Catholic faithful late last month by saying: “If a person is gay, seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” The comments followed one of the largest papal Masses in recent history in Brazil and prompted worldwide speculation about whether the pope, known as a staunch opponent of gay rights, was signaling a slightly softer tone or a more dramatic shift on a longstanding hot-button issue for the church.

Be it as it might the tide might be finally changing. When the most influential country and the representative of the most influential religious institution in the world appear to move in the same direction many others might just follow.

2 thoughts on “TOWARDS EQUALITY FOR SAME SEX COUPLES

  • January 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm
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    I totally agree with the last part of the post: “when the most influential country and the representative of the most influential religious institution in the world appear to move in the same direction, many others might just follow”. In my opinion, some countries, as you wrote, should look around and see what is going on. They should take example and allow them. I can understand that is forbidden in very religious countries like Saudi Arabia, they have strictly vision of it. But they could also look at the Vatican where they are starting to accept it. Is not marriage love between two individuals? Does it mean that same-sex couples do not love each other? Same-sex couples should have the same rights than a heterosexual couple in every country and it should be done now as we are leaving in the 20th century.

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  • April 21, 2014 at 3:02 am
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    It’s good to see that other countries are opening up to same sex marriage, especially religious countries like Brazil. I also agree with the last part of the article. Seeing Brazil’s religious beliefs and acceptance for same sex marriage at the same time may be a huge influential factor for countries that are struggling to go with same sex marriage. I also agree that if a person has good will, and seeks god they should not be judged if they are gay. Their decision to be gay solely only effects them and their significant other, and they deserve that much according to their human rights.

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