Spainâs Justice Ministry ruled Aug. 8 that foreign same-sex couples who live there can get married there. âA marriage celebrated between a Spaniard and a foreigner, or between foreigners of the same sex resident in Spain, will be valid as a result of applying Spanish material law, even if the foreignerâs national legislation does not permit or recognize the validity of such marriages,â the government declared.
The law is similar in two of the other three nations that allow same-sex marriage: the Netherlands and Belgium. In the fourth, Canada, even visitors can get married, buying a license and tying the knot the same dayâexcept in Quebec, which has a brief waiting period.Hundreds of U.S. same-sex couples have crossed the border to marry in Canada since Ontario became the first province to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003. Same-sex marriage became legal everywhere in Canada in July.
Brit Lesbians Sue For Marriage Recognition
Two British lesbians who got married in Canada have sued the United Kingdom government for recognition of their marriage, The Independent newspaper reported.
Celia Kitzinger, 48, and Sue Wilkinson, 51, lodged their petition at the High Court on Aug. 12 and promised to appeal all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. Beginning in December, British gay couples will be able to enter into civil partnerships that grant all the rights and obligations of marriage, but Kitzinger and Wilkinson say thatâs not good enough. âOur relationship is not a civil partnership, it is a marriage,â Kitzinger, a sociology professor at York University, told the newspaper. âAny different-sex couple who did what we did would have had their marriage recognized. I feel insulted about being treated differently than a heterosexual couple.
âMarriage is the golden seal of a relationship,â she added. âA civil partnership is not imbued with those same symbols.â The couple got married in Vancouver in 2003. Some Canadian provinces began allowing same-sex marriage more than two years ago, and Parliament legalized it nationwide in July.According to The Independent, a marriage that takes place overseas is recognized in Britain if it is recognized by the country in which it took place and nothing in that countryâs law restricted either personâs freedom to marry. Kitzinger and Wilkinsonâs marriage seems to meet those requirements.
Large Turnouts At ReykjavĂk And Brighton Prides
Approximately 50,000 people participated in the gay pride parade and festivities in ReykjavĂk, Iceland, Aug. 6, the Iceland Review reported. Rally speakers included Minister of Social Affairs Ărni MagnĂșsson who expressed unqualified support for same-sex marriage, adoption and assisted reproduction. Iceland has offered same-sex registered partnership since 1996.The turnout amounted to one-sixth of the islandâs population, which totals 296,737.
A record 120,000 people turned out for the gay pride parade and party in the British gay resort town of Brighton Aug. 6, Sussex Police told the BBC.
Twenty officers in uniform led the 2.5-mile march from the seafront to Preston Parkâand the Gay Police Association flag flew outside the Brighton police station. The BBC said there were twice as many floats as last year.
Married Aussie MP To Quit After Gay-Sex Revelations
A Liberal member of the Parliament of the state of South Australia will not run for office again after it was revealed he had an affair with a 24-year-old man that included sex in the MPâs office. Announcing his decision, MP Mark Brindal, 57, who is married to a woman, also threatened to reveal other MPsâ secrets. âIf my personal life has been fair game, I really donât see why anybody elseâs shouldnât be,â he told the Australian Associated Press. âThe House [of Assembly] had better watch its hypocrisy in the months ahead. If I get one hint of hypocrisy from anyone in that place in the next seven months ... I might just tell the truth about other things.â
The affair came to light after Brindal told police he was being blackmailed. Despite its name, the Liberal Party of Australia falls right of center on the political spectrum.
Latvian Prime Minister Moderates Antigay Position
In a letter to an activist who complained to him, Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has moderated the antigay views he expressed prior to Latviaâs first gay pride parade on July 23. Kalvitis had denounced the march as âa parade of sexual minorities [taking] place in the middle of our capital city next to the Cathedral. ... This is not acceptable,â he said. âLatvia is a state based on Christian values.â Now, in a letter to Swedish activist Oscar Swartz, Kalvitis says he was just trying to protect gays.
âI must express my regret about the unhealthy stir that was created following my interview with the LNT TV programme 900 seconds,â Kalvitis wrote.
âThere were attempts to link my statements with expressions of homophobic views and hate in the society. This is not true. The concerns I expressed in the interview on possible increase of friction within the society and attempts of some extremist elements to use this parade for stirring conflicts were largely grounded. The information I had about planned illegal activities was alarming enough.â
Kalvitis also said Riga City Executive Director Eriks Skapars âacted hastilyâ when he canceled the paradeâs permit three days before the eventâa decision that was quickly overturned by a court. âI hope that in the future in such situations the necessary compromise will be found by choosing appropriate time and place beforehand,â he said.
Kalvitis assured Swartz that âLatvia is a democratic country that wishes and is able to ensure human rights of every person living here. [T]he Government of Latvia is clearly against discrimination of any kind,â he said. âIt is worth noting that not long before the parade the Cabinet of Ministers adopted decisions preventing discrimination of sexual minorities in [the] labour market.â
The parade by about 150 marchers was completely trashed by around 1,000 antigay protesters who hurled insults, bottles and rotten eggs; blocked the streets; and forced the procession to be rerouted. They chanted âNo sodomyâ and âGays fuck the nation.â In the end, police formed a human chain around the marchers to keep them safe.