Elisa and Marcela

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Elisa and Marcela on their wedding day | José Sellier | 18306

A new film is being made about Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Marcela Gracia Ibeas who married in 1901 – the only known same-sex marriage in the history of the Spanish Catholic Church.

The historian Narciso de Gabriel, who wrote a book about the couple, says the pair were posted to village schools just a few miles apart in rural Galicia, close enough for Elisa to walk to Marcela’s house every evening after classes.

Posing in short hair and a morning suit as “Mario”, Elisa was duly baptised and married to Marcela.

Mr De Gabriel told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in 2011 that the “wedding still stands as legal” in A Coruña’s civil register.

They didn’t get away with it. They spent the rest of their lives on the run from persecution across two continents.

Their story is to be made into a film by Isabel Coixet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43057841

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Australia gay marriage postal vote

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Uncredited photographer | Undated | Getty Images | 17166gh.jpg

In 2017, the Australian government authorised a national voluntary survey to determine the level of support for legalising same-sex marriage. The survey was held via the postal service between 12 September and 7 November 2017. The survey asked the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

A number of pressure groups, some personalities, and some of the media including “The Age”, campaigned vigorously first to stop the survey going ahead, and then to try to persuade people to reject gay marriage.

There were two legal challenges in the Australian High Court about the survey.

Shelley Argent, of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Felicity Marlowe, of Rainbow Families) and independent MP Andrew Wilkie went to the High Court on 9 August 2017 to seek a temporary injunction. The survey was also challenged in the High Court by Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice. The High Court found that the survey was lawful.

A 17-year-old boy who was excluded from voting challenged that with the Australian Human Rights Commission. About 50,000 Australians aged 16 and 17 were registered on the electoral roll to vote. The boy dropped his complaint on 22 September after legal advice.

The survey returned 7,817,247 (61.6%) “Yes” responses and 4,873,987 (38.4%) “No” responses. An additional 36,686 (0.3%) responses were unclear and the total turnout was 12,727,920 (79.5%).

The Liberal–National Coalition government had pledged to facilitate a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the Parliament in the event of a “Yes” outcome.

Many same-sex marriage proponents were critical of the postal survey, viewing it as a costly delay and legally redundant to holding a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in the parliament.

As with the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a rush of people registering to vote; by 24 August 2017, the closing date for new registrations, 98,000 new voters had added themselves to the roll. Survey forms were mailed out during two weeks commencing 12 September 2017. They were required to be returned for counting by 27 October 2017.

The Australian Parliament both passed the gay marriage law on 7 December 2017.

https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/

Updated 8 December 2017

A day in May

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Easons | 16215gh

Veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird has just published his new book “A day in May” about the historic referendum last year in the Republic of Ireland which paved the way for gay marriage.

The book chronicles the lead-up to the historic Marriage Equality referendum last May.

The book includes 50 powerful interviews with members of the LGBT community in Ireland and their family and friends, which was inspired by his involvement chairing the ‘Yes Campaign’ in last year’s referendum.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/charlie-bird-labels-himself-one-of-the-most-heterosexual-men-in-the-world-ahead-of-marriage-next-week-34692560.html

http://www.easons.com/p-4254000-day-in-may.aspx

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Gay Marriage in the UK

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How to Man Up | 14018

Gay Marriage in England, Scotland and Wales

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 became law on 17 July 2013. The Act permitted same sex marriages in England and Wales commencing from 29 March 2014. Couples wishing to be among the first to marry had to give formal notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.

The Act introduced the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, and contained measures about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, for permitting marriages according to the usages of belief organisations to be solemnized on the authority of certificates of a superintendent registrar, for the review of civil partnership, and for the review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes.

A marriage between two people of the same sex became legal, but religious organisations were not compelled to perform them. There were guidelines by which the religious opt-out will be enforced and enabled. Same sex marriages could be conducted in religious buildings and the Act states how they should be performed and registered.

For members of the Church of England, that means that you will not be able to get married in Church, you will have to get married somewhere else, and then go and see your Vicar to have your union blessed informally by him. He is required to discuss aspects of the Church’s teachings about marriage with you.

Same sex marriages are allowed in other religions and in Chapels in the Armed Forces. Deathbed same sex marriages are also legalised. Marriages of same sex couples in Churches in Wales are legalised.

Couples who have already had a civil partnership ceremony would be able to convert their civil partnership into a full marriage from 10 December, 2014. To convert a civil partnership into marriage, a couple will have to attend a registry office and sign a declaration that they wish to be married in front of a registrar. A set of Statutory Instruments to enable this is being drawn up between a number of Government Departments.

Persons who have had a gender change can take part in same sex marriages.

The Foreign Marriage Act of 1862 was repealed.

15,098 gay couples have legally married since gay marriage became legal on 29 March 2014.

7,366 were new marriages and 7,732 were conversions from civil partnerships to marriages.

The number of couples opting for civil partnerships fell by 70% between 2013 and 2014. The most popular month in which to get married was August 2014 with 844 marriages.

55% of marriages were between female couples and 45% were between male couples.

Gay Marriage became legal in Scotland on 16 December 2014.

The Jersey Assembly voted in September 2015 to introduce gay marriage on the island from 2017.

Scottish Government – Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill
The Same Sex Marriage Act 2013 [pdf]
Directgov, No Date: Marriages and civil partnerships in the UK
Deed Poll Service, No Date: A couple’s name change rights and options upon a civil partnership
Gov UK, No Date: Civil partnerships review terms of reference and timetable
Government of Scotland, No Date: Scottish Government Review of Civil Partnership
Science Daily, 13 July 2010: How sexual agreements affect HIV risk, relationship satisfaction
The Law Commission, 6 Feb 2012: Clarifying the law on financial provision for couples when relationships end
BBC News, 12 Dec 2012: Gay marriage: Draft bill launched in Scotland
Gay History, 17 July 2013: Gay Marriage, England and WalesGuardian, 5 Nov 2013: Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage
BBC News, 10 Dec 2013: Same-sex weddings to begin in March
Pink News, 24 Jan 2014: UK Government launches consultation into future of civil partnerships
BBC, 4 Feb 2014: Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill is passedDaily Telegraph, 15 Feb 2014: Church offers prayers after same sex weddings but bans gay priests from marrying
Guardian, 26 June 2014: Civil partnerships can be converted to marriages from December 2014
BBC, 16 December 2014: Gay marriage becomes legal in Scotland
BBC News, 19 October 2015 – Gay marriage statistics

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The Review of Civil Partnerships

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How to Man Up | 14018

The UK Government decided to review the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of same sex marriage legislation.

The Civil Partnership Act was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November 2004. It enabled single sex couples to officially register their partnerships and themselves as civil partners, bringing them certain legal rights and responsibilities on a par with married couples. Civil Partnership registration services became available throughout the UK (except the Isle of Man) on 21 December 2005. The Isle of Man civil partnership act came into effect on 6 April 2011.

In 2011, 6,795 couples had UK civil partnership ceremonies, an increase of 6.4% since 2010. Dissolutions were up by a quarter. In 2004 the Labour government estimated that between 11,000 and 22,000 people would be likely to take-up civil partnerships by 2010; by the end of last year, it was actually 106,834. Lesbian couples are more likely than male gay couples to dissolve their partnerships. 2.2 per cent of gay male civil partnerships had ended in dissolution, compared to 4.6 per cent of lesbian partnerships. There were 672 dissolutions in 2011, up from 522 in 2010. Male couples on average formed civil partnerships at the age of just over 40, while lesbian women were typically 38 years old.

The review was intended to

look at the functioning and operation of the 2004 Act in England and Wales, decide what the future of the Act should be, assess the need and demand for civil partnerships after marriage becomes available for same sex couples, consider whether Civil Partnerships should be made available to all couples, do risk assesments and cost/benefit assessments, and make recommendations.

The results of the review were published in June 2014.

Over 10,000 people took part in the consultation. Less than a third of respondents supported abolition of civil partnership. The majority were against closing civil partnership to new couples. Over three-quarters were against opening up civil partnership to opposite sex couples.

As there was a lack of consensus on the way forward, the Government decided not to make any further changes. Gay couples now have the choice of a civil partnership or a marriage, but straight people do not have the option to opt for a civil partnership.

The results of the review of civil partnerships, June 2014

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Adoption: the secret way of getting married for gay men

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Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle | NPR | 15399

The New York Times have been delving into the history of gay men who could not marry, so one partner adopted the other partner, instead.

Adult adoption by gays and lesbians has only been quietly discussed, both in or outside the gay community, for fairly obvious reasons; there isn’t an easy way to tell your friends and family that the man or woman with whom you share a bed is, legally, your son or father, or your daughter or mother. Consequently, there are no reliable data — or even flimsy data — as to the number of such adoptions, and experts in the field are unwilling to hazard a guess. The practice seems to have taken hold amid the tumult of the 1970s and 1980s, during rampant discrimination and the onset of the AIDS crisis.

Some famous people got round the lack of an option to get married by one adopting the other, it seems. Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle, pictured, used the legal dodge to protect their interests.

Naegle and Rustin were attracted to each other immediately — they kissed for the first time that day — and became a couple thereafter. During their 10 years together, marriage was not discussed; it simply wasn’t imaginable. .. Rustin wanted to ensure that Naegle — who, at 37 years his junior, would surely outlive him — would inherit his estate, he availed himself of the least-bad option: adoption… Naegle recalled the adoption process: First, his biological mother had to legally disown him. Then a social worker was dispatched to the Rustin-Naegle home in Manhattan to determine if it was fit for a child. “She was apprised of the situation and knew exactly what was happening,” Naegle told me. “Her concern, of course, was that he wasn’t some dotty old man that I was trying to take advantage of, and that I wasn’t some naive young kid that was being preyed upon by an older man.”

The adoption proved a shrewd decision. Naegle, as next of kin, had visiting privileges when Rustin was hospitalized for a perforated appendix and peritonitis and was eventually executor of the will. Despite the oddness of the arrangement, it was, all things considered, legally seamless.

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/28/418187875/long-before-same-sex-marriage-adopted-son-could-mean-life-partner (Audio report NPR)

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Gay Marriage legal in the whole US – Supreme Court ruling 26 June 2015

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Jim Bourg/Reuters | 15157

On 26 June 2015 the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 that individual state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, and that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires all 50 states to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

The first legal gay marriages in the US were conducted in Massachusetts in 2004. By the time of the decision, 36 states and Washington DC were allowing same sex marriages.

The case was known as Obergefell versus Hodges.

The US became the 21st nation in the world to recognise same sex marriage throughout the country.

The author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote:

The Court now holds that same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/26/gay-marriage-legal-supreme-court

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