Legalization of same sex marriage spreads

Last week the New Zealand parliament passed a law legalizing same sex marriage. The vote was 77-44 in favor. The bill has to be signed by the country’s governor general to become law but that is a formality since his role is largely ceremonial and does not have executive powers.

Just a week earlier, Uruguay’s parliament also approved of same-sex marriage by lopsided votes, with 71 of the 92 lower house members voting for it and the senate passing it 23-8. The president has to sign it and he has said that he will do so. This will make Uruguay the second South American country to take this step, after Argentina. The Catholic church fiercely opposed the move in both countries but failed.

Yesterday the French parliament passed the final reading of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage by a vote of 331-225. Surprisingly for a country with a long and proud secular tradition, there have been large and violent protests against this move, perhaps the last gasp of its Catholic heritage. There was greater opposition to adoption by same sex couples, which was also part of the bill, unlike in the US where such adoptions have not created as much controversy as marriage.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize such marriages, taking this step in 2001. Since then Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, France, and New Zealand have joined it. The UK is likely to join this group within the year.

In three countries (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), it is legal in some regions. In the US, the size of the region is increasing with Rhode Island moving to legalize as well. The lower house has already passed the measure and the senate is expected to follow suit soon. Interestingly, all the Republicans in the senate have said they will vote in favor of the bill and the Independent governor, former Republican Lincoln Chafee, has said he will sign the measure. Rhode Island was the lone holdout in New England on this issue. Delaware will likely be next in line.

Here is a speech by a New Zealand member of parliament during their debate, having fun with the scary arguments thrown around by same-sex marriage opponents.


  1. says

    Try as hard as you can, New Zealanders, but I’ve already done more to destroy traditional marriage than you can in your wildest dreams!!! Muuaaahahahaahhaaaa!

    (Being married and divorced twice, i can say that)

  2. Scr... Archivist says

    slc1 @1,

    While the news from Nevada is encouraging, it won’t be next in line.

    Its landmark vote was indeed the first by any chamber of a state legislature to overturn a marriage amendment. I think you’ll start seeing that happen more often over the next ten to twenty years.

    However, the other Nevada chamber also has to pass the repeal, and then it has to be approved again by the next legislature which will be seated in 2015, and then it must also be passed by referendum the following year. We’re looking at 2016 at the earliest, but this is a start.

  3. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    The speed at which this change is now happening internationally is remarkable, and hopeful.

  4. twosheds1 says

    I read that a rainbow appeared soon after NZ’s vote. Do you suppose any Christian opponents of same-sex marriage took that as a sign that God approved? I doubt it.

  5. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Matt G:

    There will be a number of states still barring same-legal-sex marriage when SCOTUS finally declares gender-based discrimination in marriage illegal. Some of those states will be shamed into changing their constitutions/laws but other states will deliberately choose not to as a statement of anti-principle, and then slowly forget about it over time as the issue becomes non-. Then, a hundred or a hundred fifty years from now we’ll see which state is actually the last to change. Oregon only got rid of a constitutional provision (legally unenforceable) in 2000 or 2002 that barred freed slaves or their descendants from entering Oregon, residing there, or owning property there. Yeah.

  6. slc1 says

    Actually, unless there is a SCOTUS decision overturning state laws against same sex marriage, I doubt that Southern states like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, or Texas will ever approve same sex marriage. In fact, it is likely that none of the deep red states will ever approve same sex marriage.


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