A Rundown of Gay-Marriage News

Written by | Lifestyle, Miscellaneous

We look at adoption and marriage equality in Arkansas, Australia, Cyprus and Greece. But first, some American Indian reservations.

Wed in the World: A Rundown of Gay-Marriage News

Though we’re fond of saying the U.S. has same-sex marriage nationwide, a wrinkle in that blanket equality is the remaining bans on same-sex marriage on American Indian Reservations. Cleo Pablo and Tara Roy-Pablo were married when marriage equality was approved in Arizona. Unfortunately, their marriage is not recognized in Pablo’s home community, the Ak-Chin Indian Community. American Indian reservations are not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and therefore still have the right both to forbid gay marriages and to deny benefits and insurance to couples recognized by the rest of the country. As recently as 2005, the Navajo Nation Council passed the Dine Marriage Act, which spells out marriage law for all Navajo. Section 3 of this act states: “Marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited.”

In December, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ordered government officials to start listing both same-sex parents on their children’s birth certificates. This is in direct response to three couples who came together in a lawsuit after publicly rallying for both spouses to be represented as the rightful parents of their respective children.

Couples in Victoria, Australia, will soon have the opportunity for their marriages to be formally recognized through the new Relationships Amendment Bill. This new bill will oversee civil unions and same-sex marriages performed outside of Australia. Victoria joins New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania in recognizing the legitimacy of same-sex marriages. Recently, same-sex couples were also granted permission to formally adopt (though this included an amendment specifically allowing religious organizations to decline adoption to same-sex couples).

The Cypriot Parliament voted in favor of the Civil Partnership Bill in late November of last year. Cyprus decriminalized same-sex sexual relations in 1998, and civil partnerships were first proposed there in 2013. “This is an important step forward not only for the LGBT community, but for every marginalized community,” said Costas Gabrielides of the organization Accept LGBT Cyprus.

The Greek parliament made a historic move to adopt a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples just before Christmas this past December. In this landmark decision 194 members of parliament voted for the approval of these unions. Greek Minister of Justice Nikos Paraskevopoulos additionally submitted amendments to the legislations to grant these couples a variety of taxation rights and benefits. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed parliament in saying “with the legalization of civil partnership for same-sex couples, a cycle of backwardness and shame for the Greek state is closing.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, just north of Albany, are defending their right to have refused to host the 2012 wedding of Melisa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy. Owners Cynthia and Robert Gifford were subsequently fined $13,000 for violating New York’s anti-discrimination laws, but they pushed for a reversal on this ruling in late 2015. In addition to their fine, the couple was forced to provide sensitivity training to their staff and display a poster illustrating the state’s anti-discrimination laws after the incident.

South Carolina State Representatives Bill Chumley and Mike Burns have teamed to co-sponsor House Bill 4513, an attempt to protect the “traditional definition of marriage.” This bill is set to come into formal discussion when the state legislature reconvenes in 2016.

Last modified: July 27, 2017