Map shows Europe still divided over equal marriage

Equal marriage is still constitutionally banned in many Eastern European countries.

A map recently uploaded to Imgur shows the progress of equal marriage through Europe from 1989 to the present day and beyond.

In 1989, only Denmark recognised same-sex couples in civil partnerships. Throughout the 1990s, many Eastern European countries passed constitutional amendments banning the recognition of same-sex partnership. Bans in countries like Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia are still in place today.



As of 2015, same sex marriage is recognised in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Denmark.

Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and Greece all give couples access to civil partnerships – but not marriage.

The completed map shows a stark contrast between Western Europe, where the majority of countries have adopted equal marriage, and Eastern Europe – where bans are still in place.

The map includes equal marriage laws that have yet to come into effect – such as Estonia later this year Finland in 2017.

Gay marriage is a matter for Stormont





16:52Tuesday 01 December 2015

Same Sex MarriageSame-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is for Stormont to decide on, the Attorney General told a court today.

John Larkin QC described it as an issue of “pure social policy” that should be left with the devolved administration.

His assessment came in proceedings brought by a gay couple whose marriage has no legal recognition in their native Northern Ireland.

The two men claim that being limited to civil partnership status within the region amounts to unlawful discrimination.

They are seeking a landmark declaration that their marriage remains fully constituted throughout the UK.

Granted anonymity in the case, the petitioner ‘X’ and his husband wed in London last year.

But under current laws they can only be classified as civil partners in Northern Ireland.

Legislation passed in the rest of the the UK and the Irish Republic allows same-sex couples to marry.
Last month Stormont voted in favour of the same change in law for the first time.

However, the Democratic Unionists blocked it by deploying a mechanism requiring the proposal to achieve a cross-community majority.

The petition, backed by gay rights group The Rainbow Project, has been taken against the Northern Ireland Assembly and the UK Government.

In first case of its kind counsel for X and his husband claimed their marriage has been “demeaned, devalued and undermined” by the situation.
The ban breaches rights to privacy and family life, religious freedom and entitlement to marry under the European Convention on Human Rights, it was contended.

X and his husband were able to wed in England following the introduction of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013.

As the case resumed at the High Court today, Mr Justice O’Hara asked if the same same legal position should apply throughout the UK.

The Attorney General replied: “No, it’s a matter of pure social policy … being a transferred matter it’s for the devolved administration and the Executive.”

Mr Larkin insisted that the 2013 Act was clear, irrespective of how long a couple spend married in the rest of the UK.
He added: “It doesn’t matter, this is a general provision under which every same-sex marriage is for the purpose of the law in Northern Ireland treated as a civil partnership.”

The case continues.

Read more:

Same-sex marriages in Ireland can go ahead from Monday



The final stage in passing the legislation was signed into law yesterday evening in Dublin


Same-sex marriages in Ireland can go ahead from Monday
Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD and Tánaiste Joan Burton TD

The Queen of Ireland: Gay rights movie released in Northern Ireland is sheer bliss

A charismatic drag queen is the star of this documentary about the Republic’s gay marriage referendum, writes Andrew Johnston

The Queen of Ireland couldn’t have timed its Northern Ireland release better. The documentary about marriage equality in the Republic of Ireland arrives in the same week the DUP scuppered a majority Assembly vote to allow same-sex weddings in the north.

  After watching this deeply affecting film, the anger, sadness and frustration felt by many at the party’s underhand use of a petition of concern will be intensified. Director Conor Horgan’s beautifully shot and edited movie follows Panti Bliss, the drag queen alter-ego of Co Mayo-born performer and activist Rory O’Neill, who somewhat inadvertently became the LGBT movement’s figurehead in the run-up to May’s marriage rights referendum. In her towering heels and extravagant, blonde wig, she is an imposing presence, yet O’Neill’s larger-than-life character is as persuasive as she is visually arresting. In his own words, Panti is a “giant cartoon woman”, but she is also an eloquent and incisive commentator, who counts the likes of Stephen Fry and Madonna among her legion of fans, and in 2014, received an Irish Person of the Year Award.

Her creator’s life has certainly been an eventful one. The Queen of Ireland takes us from O’Neill’s childhood in the small town of Ballinrobe, where he was, as he puts it, “the local gay”, through the perhaps inevitable art college years, to the development of his stage persona during hedonistic adventures in London and Tokyo. Eventually, O’Neill comes home to a relatively more progressive Ireland and embarks on a campaigning trail that ultimately leads to the Republic becoming the first country to approve same-sex marriage through a public vote. The Queen of Ireland isn’t just powerful because of the emotive subject matter; it has a rich dramatic arc, too. There is tragedy when O’Neill suffers a serious health setback, and when he invokes costly legal proceedings with contentious remarks made on RTE’s Saturday Night Show, a row that is dubbed “Pantigate”. But there is triumph when he returns to Ballinrobe to perform to a sold-out crowd in a marquee in a car park near his family home, and later, when the ‘Yes’ result is returned in the referendum. As a stand-up, Panti is smart and hilarious, albeit one you might not take your mother to see (and indeed, O’Neill tones down the swearing and explicit sexual references for the homecoming gig, attended by his elderly parents). Panti’s abrasive one-liners earn The Queen of Ireland its 15 certificate, but behind the facade, O’Neill reveals a complex personality. He is as humble and kind as his self-described “court jester” drag act is outrageous. It may be Horgan’s film, but it’s O’Neill and Panti’s show, and as narrator, the cross-dressing star steers the narrative to its startling denouement – Ireland’s legalising of gay marriage. To see same-sex partners celebrating in streets where 22 years previously homosexuality had been punishable by prison delivers an emotional punch on a par with any feel-good flick. If you’d pitched this tale to a Hollywood producer in the early Nineties, you might well have been laughed out of the room. The realities of being a gay man or woman in Ireland in the Seventies and Eighties are well covered through extensive interviews and newsreel footage, and it’s heartening to see how far Irish society has come, though for audiences in the north, it will be dispiriting to be reminded how far we are lagging behind. The Queen of Ireland deserves to be seen by everyone, be they gay, straight, male, female, young or old. In fact, this important piece of work should be shown in schools – and maybe even in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

DUP tell Elton John to back off as he wades into gay marriage row in Northern Ireland

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By Claire McNeilly


Jeffrey Donaldson was speaking after the pop superstar said it was time for local politicians to “enter the 21st century” in relation to same-sex marriage.

The Rocket Man singer also said that legislation would “sail in” if put to a public vote. But Mr Donaldson hit back and said it was up to the Executive to decide what was best for Ulster.

“Elton John is entitled to his opinion, but the reality is that we have a mandate to govern and we have to make decisions based on what we believe is best for Northern Ireland,” he added.

“The devolution settlement respects that degree of autonomy and therefore these matters should be decided at Stormont, not elsewhere.”

Northern Ireland politicians voted on same-sex marriage for the fifth time on Monday, with a majority of MLAs voting in favour for the first time.

But there will be no change in the law after the DUP used a controversial petition of concern to scupper the move.

Speaking during the debate, Paul Givan, the DUP chair of the Justice Committee, categorically ruled out same-sex marriage.

He said: “For as long as our party has the ability to control things on the Executive, there will not be legislation.”

It means that Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK not to have legislated for same-sex marriage.

Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

When asked about the issue yesterday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Elton said: “If it can be voted for in southern Ireland by two to one, it’s not the public vote, it’s by the politicians – and the politicians need to get their act together and enter the 21st century.”

“I’m sure if there was a vote for the public, it would sail in, as it would in Australia.”

Upon confirming he would perform a gig here, Sir Elton added: “I’m not a politician, but I will speak out for rights as and when I can, and I’ll speak about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as I’m an elderly gay citizen.”

John O’Doherty from the Rainbow Project, a LGBT support organisation, welcomed the veteran singer’s intervention, adding that the issue had received “international attention”.

“Poll after poll has shown that the majority of people in Northern Ireland support the introduction of equal marriage,” Mr O’Doherty said.

“The majority of our Assembly members have voted in support of equal marriage but, unfortunately, the leadership doesn’t exist within Stormont to achieve it at this time.”

The Alliance Party’s Trevor Lunn – who was once opposed to same-sex marriage but has since been persuaded that it is an equality and not a faith issue – said he agreed with Sir Elton that people were in favour.

“The opinion polls indicate that the public in Northern Ireland is ready for this,” he added.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, said Sir Elton was “absolutely right that most people in Northern Ireland back same-sex marriage”.

He added: “Politicians who continue to block progress must wake up and realise the damage they are causing to gay people in Northern Ireland, as well as to our international reputation.”

On Monday next week, a court case will being brought by two residents of Northern Ireland who have been lawfully married in England but whose marriage is only recognised as a civil partnership here.

Then, in December, a second case will seek to overturn the ban on gay couples getting married here.

Almost two thirds of NI people 'comfortable with same-sex marriage', survey suggests


Northern Ireland assembly votes to legalise same-sex marriage

Historic vote will not trigger change in law, however, as Democratic Unionists use parliamentary veto to block motion

Michael McCartan and Malachai O’Hara
Northern Ireland’s assembly have voted in favour of marriage equality: Michael McCartan, left, and Malachai O’Hara, who had pledged to invite assembly members to their wedding. Photograph: Amnesty International/PA

Northern Ireland’s assembly voted narrowly in favour of gay marriage equality but the largest party in the devolved parliament, the Democratic Unionists, have since vetoed any change in the law.

Four independent unionist assembly members joined nationalists and others with 53 votes in favour of same sex marriage – just one vote ahead of the main unionist parties who oppose any reform.

But the motion in the regional parliament fell after the DUP used a “petition of concern” to argue that the law change that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Northern Ireland did not command sufficient cross-community support.

Under the complex rules of power sharing in the region, parties from either the unionist or nationalist community can use this mechanism if they feel there is not enough backing from Protestants or Catholics for particular legislation. It was designed to ensure no one community dominated the other following the 1998 Belfast agreement.

Amnesty International said on Monday it was ironic that a mechanism established to ensure the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland had been used to deny a fundamental right to the LGBT minority in the province.

The DUP veto means that Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK where gay couples cannot get married legally. The party is heavily influenced by the socially conservative Evangelical Christian community, particularly the Free Presbyterian church, which was founded by the late DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley.

In an often fractious debate inside the Stormont assembly, there were a number of trenchant attacks on the notion of gay marriage equality from the unionist benches.

Jim Allister, leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice, said same-sex couples getting married was a “perverse definition” of marriage. Allister said the gay marriage equality campaign was a “worked-up phoney demand for rights”.

The latest attempt to legislate for gay marriage was introduced in a joint SDLP-Sinn Féin motion to the house. Sinn Féin’s Daithí McKay noted that the three Ulster counties in the Republic of Ireland “all said yes to marriage equality” in the recent referendum there. He said recent opinion polls showed 68% of people in Northern Ireland were in favour of a change to the law.

Among those assembly members who changed their mind to vote in favour of same-sex marriage this time around was the Alliance party’s Trevor Lunn.

He told the parliament that he had been “on a journey” and had listened to his LGBT constituents and their families, and was now persuaded voting yes was the right thing to do.

Before Monday’s vote, gay couples handed out invitations to the weddings they were planning to have if the legislation had passed through without any veto.

At least three LGBT couples are planning legal action to challenge the same-sex marriage ban, pledging to take the fight to the European court of human rights if necessary.

Dr Richard O’Leary, of the Faith in Marriage Equality group, said Northern Ireland’s image as a backward society had been reinforced by the continued ban on equal marriage. “As a vulnerable, peripheral region fighting for its economic life in the teeth of a global depression, the message we risk sending out about Northern Ireland is that it is a region stuck in the past, out of touch with the cutting edge of global society,” he said.

“We should be honest – our history and the religious roots of our communal divisions mean we already suffer from a serious image problem. It is entirely possible that within a few years, Northern Ireland could find itself the last significant jurisdiction in western Europe where same-sex marriage remains prohibited and on the ‘wrong side of history’.”.

In the four previous votes attempting to bring in gay marriage reform, there have been narrow majorities against change. In April, the margin was only two votes against.

  • This article was corrected on 2 November. We originally referred incorrectly to Alliance Party assembly member Trevor Lunn as Stephen Lunn. That has been changed

Mike Nesbitt still opposes same-sex marriage despite 'wrong side of history' remark

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Mike Nesbitt
Image caption:  In his speech to the Ulster Unionist Party’s conference on Saturday, Mike Nesbitt warned members who oppose same-sex marriage they would be “on the wrong side of history”

The UUP leader has said he will still vote against same-sex marriage, despite saying that UUP members who oppose it will be “on the wrong side of history”.

Mike Nesbitt made the history remark at his party’s annual conference.

He told Monday’s BBC’s Nolan Show his view has not changed. He said he was “warning” his party same-sex marriage was likely to be introduced regardless.

He said he believed marriage should be “between a man and a woman” but added the issue gives him “sleepless nights”.

‘Prepare yourselves’

“I am against same sex marriage, but I am challenging myself always on these issues,” Mr Nesbitt told the programme.

He said as a mental health campaigner, suicide statistics within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community gave him “pause” for thought about his own attitude to same-sex marriage.

Northern Ireland is currently the only place in the UK and Ireland that has not legalised same-sex marriage. Stormont MLAs have rejected it four times.

Mr Nesbitt repeated that the UUP has not changed its policy of allowing its members to vote according to their consciences on the issue and said that position would not change while he remained as party leader.

However, he said he believed same-sex marriage could be introduced “through the courts”.

“I was just warning our conference that I think that the argument will be lost.

“For those who cannot bring themselves to support same-sex marriage, I think we will be on the wrong side of history and I’m just laying it down as a warning – prepare yourselves,” Mr Nesbitt said.

‘New generation’

He also told the programme that his own children did not understand why he had “an issue with same-sex marriage”.

He said surveys had suggested that the majority of people in Northern Ireland, especially younger people, were in favour of allowing gay couples to marry.

During his speech at the UUP conference on Saturday, Mr Nesbitt said: “Some of us support same-sex marriages, some of us don’t and I think it’s part of the beauty of the Ulster Unionist Party that we respect each others’ positions.

“I’m not going to labour the point today, but to those of us who cannot bring ourselves to support a change in the law, I say this – be aware, we are on the wrong side of history.

“There is a new generation and they simply do not understand why there is a problem.”

Same Sex Marriage


Last week we published the wedding of two Spanish policemen in full uniform with full honour guard.  You have to admit that they did look very handsome and happy at their wedding.

Today we carry on the theme, but publishing information on the Spanish Conservative ruling party whose leaders attended the same-sex marriage of their deputy secretary-general, giving tacit approval to a law they once bitterly opposed.

Life is changing all over the world, and when our local politicians in Northern Ireland resolve their differences, bigotry and stupidity maybe we to will move forward.


LGBT_flag_map_of_SpainSpain’s conservative ruling party leaders attend gay wedding

MADRID (AP) — The top brass of Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have attended the same-sex marriage of their deputy secretary-general, giving tacit approval to a law they once bitterly opposed.

Javier Maroto exchanged vows with Josema Rodriguez late Friday at a ceremony in the northern city of Vitoria attended by Rajoy, secretary-general Maria Dolores Cospedal and other party dignitaries, the party said in a statement.

“In Spain, the right to marriage is for everyone and we all share that message today,” Maroto said afterward.

“Parties evolve,” he added. “Now my party and the government join in backing that right.”

Maroto and Rodriguez have been partners in a same-sex relationship for 19 years. Apart from being a senior leader in the Popular Party, Maroto is a former mayor of Vitoria.

Parliament legalized gay marriage in 2005 under a Socialist government, angering conservatives in once-staunchly Roman Catholic Spain. The Popular Party then challenged the law but Spain’s Constitutional Court — the highest in the land — upheld its legality.

Now, a decade after voicing strong opposition to gay marriage, photographs at the ceremony that ended early Saturday showed Rajoy with other party leaders smiling broadly as they posed beside the two grooms

Ireland approves gay marriage law

UTV (Ulster Television) has reported that Human rights activists believe NI has been  ‘left behind’ as Ireland approves gay marriage law

This law follows the historic referendum in May which saw Ireland become the first country to legalise gay marriage by popular vote, with 62% of people voting Yes.

In reality what this means is that N Ireland remains the only part of Great Britain and Ireland which does not have equality on same-sex marriage.

Now we all realise that with our MLA’s being unable to agree on the budget, and with the current political disagreement over whether the IRA are still active and in some way part of Sinn Féin it is unrealistic to suppose that this inequality will get resolved soon.  But, in the light of previous voting patterns at Stormont we as a community should not hold our breath for it would appear that the Unionist parties will continue to vote along their bias line, that SDLP will walk away and abstain even though the party line is supposed to be in favour, and Sinn Féin will say yes and make loud noise but not really get anywhere


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Further readidng: