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Gay Marriage & Civil Unions – Year to Date, and the Road Ahead.

I thought it might be good to remind people of how well LGBs are doing in gaining recognition of same-sex relationships – here’s a quick round-up of events over the last twelve months and likely moves over the next twelve (in no particular order):

The Nepalese Supreme Court ordered the new republic’s Maoist-led government to legalise gay marriage or equal-to-marriage civil unions.

The Connecticut Supreme Court legalised gay marriage, and the citizens of Connecticut rejected a constitutional convention which could have eliminated the change.

The States of Jersey is set to begin debating a civil partnership law this year, having been considering it since at least 2006. If legalised, Guernsey and Gibraltar will be the only remaining European parts of the UK not to provide any recognition of same-sex unions (While Mann has no native law, the Manx government does recognise British Civil Partnerships). In addition, Glasgow’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Network has begun lobbying the Scottish Parliament to legalise gay marriage. Holyrood has a strong track-record on LGBT rights and frequently takes an independent view from Westminster, so there’s a good chance of Scotland becoming the first part of the UK to provide full marriage equality.

The Portuguese legislature rejected a bill that would have legalised gay marriage, however a case pending at Portugal’s Constitutional Court could rule that the gay marriage ban contravenes constitutional protections on the basis of gender and sexuality.

(more after the fold)The Californian Supreme Court struck down the Californian law banning gay marriage last May, setting the stage for the now-infamous Prop. 8 fight and the current Supreme Court case.

Norway upgraded from registered partnerships to gay marriage two weeks ago, the same day that Uruguay and New Hampshire celebrated a year of Civil Unions, and Oregon a year of Domestic Partnerships.

Maryland legalised limited domestic partnership rights.

Argentina provided same-sex partners the right to claim their deceased partners’ pensions.

Barack Obama, the most pro-gay president in a decade, was elected along with a Democrat-dominated Congress, setting the stage for the possible legalisation of a US-wide civil union law at some point in the next few years.

Equador came close to being the first South American country to legalise gay marriage; it is likely that Equador will include civil unions in the country’s constitution, which is currently being rewritten.

Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Iowa will all be considering the legalisation of gay marriage, either through Courts or state legislatures. New York’s incoming Senate President refused to be bullied by the “Gang of Three” over the gay marriage issue, while New Jersey’s governor has said that he wants legalising gay marriage to be a priority for the Garden State’s legislature.

The Irish government began debating a Civil Partnerships bill, but missed its own March 31st deadline by when the bill should have been introduced. Civil Partnerships are expected to be legalised in ROI by mid-2009.

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