This Is the State of Marriage Equality around the World

Written by | Lifestyle

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Every issue, we take a look at the advances and setbacks LGBTQ couples face as the struggle for equality continues at home and around the world. The state of marriage, changes in law, and politicans’s pronouncements are all part of the mix here. Have you missed any of these developments?

Botswana

While rainbow wedding bells might not be ringing in Botswana yet, civil rights activists are reveling in the fact that Botswana’s High Court overturned laws that criminalized homosexuality. Judge Michael Leburu made the decision that these laws violate the country’s Constitution and ruled in favor of protecting human rights. Letsweletse Motshidiemang courageously challenged the country’s anti-sodomy laws stating, “We are not looking for people to agree with homosexuality [but] to be tolerant.” Under section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code, “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” was an offense that could carry a maximum sentencing of seven years in prison. In section 167 “acts of gross indecency” (public or private) were considered a punishable offense with up to two years in prison.

Ecuador

Good news came to the people of Ecuador this June when the Constitutional Court, Ecuador’s highest court, voted in favor of marriage equality. The 5-to-4 ruling came on June 12, 2019, just before the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Ecuador officially became the fifth South American country to allow same-sex couples to marry, following Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

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Indiana

All eyes were on Cathedral High School in Indianapolis this past June when the school fired a teacher for being married. The school terminated the teacher’s contract in order to protect its “Catholic identity.” In a letter posted on the high school’s website, Board Chairman Matt Cohoat and President Rob Bridges wrote “It is Archbishop Thompson’s responsibility to oversee faith and morals as related to Catholic identity within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral’s continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, Cathedral would lose the ability to celebrate the Sacraments as we have it the past 100 years with our students and community.”

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Earlier that month, The Archdiocese of Indianapolis cut ties with Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School after they refused to fire a gay teacher. Cathedral High School addressed the difference of their decision, stating: “We respect the position of our brothers and sisters at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as they also navigate this painful time. Brebeuf is sponsored by the Jesuits while Cathedral is merely affiliated with The Brothers of Holy Cross. Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours. Therefore, the two schools cannot function the same way if Cathedral were to receive a similar decree as Brebeuf.”

Israel

During gay pride month, 23 couples held a fabulous party in Tel Aviv. At the party these couples had an “unofficial” wedding, bringing attention to the fact that the country currently only recognizes foreign same-sex marriages.

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Kenya

At the end of May, Kenya’s highest court voted to uphold its law banning gay sex. Activist Eric Gitari had filed a 2016 petition stating that two sections of Kenya’s penal code violated the rights of Kenayans. Article 162 penalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with a maximum of 14 years in prison and Article 165 addresses “indecent practices between males” with up to five years of prison. Same-sex relations continue to remain punishable with up to 14 years behind bars.

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Last modified: September 13, 2019