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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
International News - Rex Wockner
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Argentina performs 2,700 same-sex marriages in first year
Some 2,700 same-sex couples have tied the knot in Argentina since same-sex marriage became legal a year ago.

According to the Argentina LGBT Federation (FALGBT), that amounts to about one percent of the nation's Gay/Lesbian population.

Male couples have outnumbered female couples by about 20 percent.

'A year after the approval of the law, around 3,000 couples have married across the nation without incident, which shattered the fallacious argument, put forth by sectors that opposed the law, concerning problems, disorders and complications,' said FALGBT President Esteban Paulón.

'The national dimension of the marriages speaks also of the profound reparation that this law has brought for a historically excluded and discriminated-against group,' he said. 'Our families today have the same rights, and we are exercising them.'

Meanwhile, a same-sex-marriage bill is set for consideration in the parliament of next-door Uruguay, the South American nation that, in many ways, is most similar to Argentina.

Same-sex marriage also is legal in 11 other countries - Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Mexico (where same-sex marriages are allowed only in the capital city but are recognized nationwide), and the United States, where same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

In addition, same-sex marriages from elsewhere are recognized as marriages in the U.S. states of Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed).

Australia continues to block overseas Gay marriages
Australia is continuing to prevent its citizens from entering into a same-sex marriage abroad, the group Australian Marriage Equality said July 8.

Specifically, Australia refuses to issue a 'certificate of non-impediment to marriage' to any same-sex couple. The document is needed abroad to prove that the individuals are not already married in Australia.

AME said Prime Minister Julia Gillard defended the policy as recently as June 14.

AME National Convener Alex Greenwich called it 'petty and mean-spirited.'

'The Gillard government's policy of not allowing same-sex marriages in Australia forces same-sex couples to go overseas if they want to marry, but when they apply to marry in another country Julia Gillard is there saying 'no' as well,' Greenwich said.

'This means some couples miss out on entitlements and protections they can only receive overseas if they are married in a country that would otherwise recognize their commitment, and it causes endless hassles for couples who have planned their wedding only to find it can't go ahead,' he said.

Lithuania reverses course on Gay information ban
Lithuania's Parliament has banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in advertising.

The move was a turnaround from earlier drafts of the same bill, which banned homosexual topics in advertising.

The new language says that 'advertising and audiovisual commercial communications must not publish information that humiliates human dignity, discriminating or encouraging discrimination based on ... sexual orientation.'

The Lithuanian Gay League credited MP Valentinas Stundys and Deputy Speaker Algis Caplikas with engineering the about-face.

The European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights applauded the development.

'This is a powerful message sent by Lithuania's legislature, both to its people and to the rest of the EU,' said Intergroup Co-President Ulrike Lunacek. 'However, we remain concerned that the Law on the Protection of Minors from the Detrimental Effects of Public Information is still in place, and that a ban of gender reassignment surgery was recently proposed.'

The 'detrimental effects' law, which took effect in March 2010, bans information that promotes sexual relationships, 'denigrates family values,' or encourages a non-heterosexual concept of marriage and family.

Such information is prohibited when it could be accessed by a minor, such as in magazines and libraries and on the internet.

Amnesty International said the law promotes censorship and 'is an anachronism in the European Union.' It also appears to be in conflict with the new advertising law.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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