The US Supreme Court isn't the be all and end all when it comes to marriage equality news. In fact, in the run up to the oral arguments that took place last week and since much has happened in the global arena of same-sex marriage that you might have missed in the tidal wave of SCOTUS Perry and Golinski coverage. Let's bring you up to date.
In December, 2012, the Mexican Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that denial of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. (As it turns out, it will take five decisions in five separate cases to establish this as precedent; three decisions have thus far been rendered.) In this case the Mexican Supreme Court cited the US Supreme Court's decision in Loving v Virginia and Brown v Board of Education, an ironic twist captured by our own Scott Wooledge in an image he created for United for Marriage (right).
As a result of this ruling a same-sex couple was able to wed in Oaxaca, but each case must, it seems, be appealed separately. (Although of questionable legality, another couple has married in Colima). It's unclear how long it will take before marriage equality applies across the nation, but it seems inevitable.
More progress across the globe below the squiggle of fate.
Marriage equality is all but a done deal. The bill in Parliament has gone through the "committee" stage and needs only an almost guaranteed majority vote on its "third reading" for it to become law. (It passed its "second reading" 77-44). New Zealand is a leading candidate to become the next nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Uruguay Senate will take up marriage equality when it recovenes in April. The lower house passed the measure in December, 2012 and its passage in the Senate is quite likely. Uruguay is the another leading candidate to become the next nation to legalize same-sex marriage. With New Zealand that would bring the total to thirteen nation-states, including Argentina, Uruguay's neighbor.
The French Senate should take up its own marriage equality bill in April. It has already passed the lower house. Huge demonstrations, both pro and con, have taken place in France in these last few months. In an interesting twist, anti-marriage-equality protesters are said to wear pink.
France is also in the runnning to become the next nation to enact marriage equality. With its population of 65,000,000, France would become the most populous nation on the planet with nationally applicable same-sex marriage.
The Finnish Parliament rejected a same-sex marriage bill in committee by a single vote, 9-8, but advocates have started an end run around that process. By gathering enough signatures, the Finnish people can at least force their Parliament to consider the bill, but whether the committee that voted in down in the first place can be bypassed is an open question. More than enough signatures (some 150,000, with 50,000 required) have already been gathered, although the petition is not likely to be submitted until this fall.
The latest polling in Finland by YouGov shows 57% support marriage equality and only 32% against it, while another recent poll recorded 58% in favor.
England and Wales:
A bill in the UK parliament to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales (but not Scotland or Northern Ireland) passed overwhelmingly (400-175) a couple of months ago. Since then the bill has passed the "committee stage" but a third and final reading date has not been announced. The bill still has to pass the House of Lords, where its fate has been questioned.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Cameron government is taking all sorts of flak from its right wing over the bill. But since both other major parties (Labour and the Liberal Democrats) support the measure, it's hard to see what benefit there can be to the Conservative right wing in causing a serious split in the party; but some have suggested this might well happen.
In an interesting development, groups in Northern Ireland have vowed to initiate a lawsuit claiming a violation of the European equivalent of "equal protection" should marriage equality become law in England and Wales but not Northern Ireland, and experts concede that it would have an excellent chance of success.
Once on what seemed to be a fast track to legalize same-sex marriage, things have slowed down considerably. The Government has just finished a "consultation" with Scotland's citizens; over 77,000 responses were received by March 20th, 2013. The results have not yet been announced.
Recently, a galaxy-wide tempest has erupted with respect to the proposed legislation over whether Jedi Knights would be allowed to marry in Scotland.
The bill to approve of same-sex marriage has been approved by the Legal Committee of Luxembourg's Parliament. There is hope for a full vote of Parliament before the summer holidays. Controversy over adoption rights is still a problem. ((Thanks, Google translate!))
Luxembourg has been attempting to pass marriage equality legislation since July, 2009, so it would be unwise to make any prediction as to when Luxembourg will make it law, although it seems inevitable.
Sometimes it seems that "Abandon Hope, Ye Gays Who Live Here" should be Australia's slogan. Prime Minister Julia Guillard remains stubbornly opposed to gay marriage despite overwhelming support from Labor party members and majority support from Labor MPs. Opposition leader Tony Abbott, despite both of his daughters speaking out for marriage equality and his acceptance of his lesbian sister, continues to hold down his party's line in opposition. Regardless of which party wins the election this fall, and whether Guillard remains Prime Minster or Abbott replaces her, there doesn't seem to be much hope for national legislation despite indications of overwhelming popular support from polls.
However, Australian states are once again beginning to push same-sex marriage legislation. In Tasmania, despite being defeated narrowly last year, a bill has been re-introduced. New South Wales legislators have also drafted marriage equality legislation.
Coupled with the UK and New Zealand legalizing same-sex marriage, all it might take to catalyze Australia's government into agreement with it's people's wishes is for one state to enact marriage equality legislation. Or not.
Hahhaha. Just kidding. Check back here in 2113.
2013 could see marriage equality spread to four more countries (New Zealand, Uruguay, France, and England/Wales), and possibly additional ones (Finland, Luxembourg, Scotland and Mexico). This would be an unprecedented expansion - in 2010 three countries, Iceland, Portugal and Argentina, made same-sex marriage legal, the most in a single year to date.
After the oral arguments in Perry v Hollingsworth (Prop 8), there is no expectation that the US Supreme Court will declare unconstitutional bans on marriage equality across the United States. But if the Defense of Marriage Act is declared unconstitutional, at some point in the not-too-distant future I fully expect we will be able to add the United States to the growing list of countries with same-sex marriage.