Agence France Presse has a piece up on the state of same-sex marriage around the world. It’s good to check in to see how ass-backwards the U.S. is on the matter. The country is clearly on the wrong side of history, and the matter won’t be settled for some time as the holy warriors keep up the drumbeat. A summary:

Marriage equality
* The Netherlands (April 2001)
* Belgium (January 2003)
* Canada (June 2005)
* Spain (July 2005).
* South Africa (2005-06): Its Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages on Thursday and ordered parliament to change “intolerant” laws within a year.
* This month Britain becomes the fifth country to allow gay ‘marriages’ or unions that approximate rights of heterosexual marriages. However, the Church of England has refused to celebrate same-sex unions, even though the gay marriage law comes into effect on Monday.
* Massachusetts (2004)
* California: Its senate approved marriage equality this year, but it was vetoed by the Governator.

Something less than marriage

* Denmark: was the first country to allow “registered partnerships” or civil unions followed by the other main Nordic nations.
* France recognizes a union between any two adults, whether man or woman, in a Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS).
* Portugal : has had a similar measure on the books since 2001, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said his government will not consider gay marriage.

In the United States:
* Vermont and Connecticut recognize same-sex civil unions, while Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and California allow couples living together the same rights as married couples.

No way, no how

* Australia: Its conservative government passed legislation last year that defined marriage as “a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.”

* India: homosexuality is an offense punishable by up to life in prison, and there is no discussion of the issue. Same-sex marriages are prohibited in China and Russia.

* Japan: no gay marriages and prohibits child adoption by gays and lesbians; some inheritance and other family rights are permitted.

* In Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is simply out of the question.

And forget many of the other developing nations in the world — you can be put to death or imprisoned for being openly gay — or even perceived as gay.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding