Here comes Scotland

I spent yesterday packing all my worldly possessions into the basement of my long-suffering parents to prepare for my reporting trip around the world, so I missed the news that Scotland was poised to vote to legalize gay marriage. This from the BBC:

Scotland could become the first part of the UK to introduce gay marriage after the SNP government announced plans to make the change.

Ministers confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue, indicating the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships – we believe that this is the right thing to do.

This provoked a strong backlash from the new Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who said he could imagine someday being imprisoned for opposing same-sex marriage.

“I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out,” he said in a TV interview reported on by the Catholic News Agency.

The BBC brings us more of the reactions from Scottish leaders on the decision.


Marriage Symposium in Rio tomorrow

If it wasn’t bad enough that I still have a month to go before we fly to Rio de Janeiro, the city will host an international seminar on marriage rights tomorrow. Here’s a blurb from the program, (somewhat amusingly) translated from Portuguese with help from Google.

The Federal Court of the 2nd Region, the Federal Justice Cultural Center (CCJF), the Consulates General of the United States and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro and the office of Rep. Jean Wyllys (PSOL-RJ) boost on Friday, 13 July, from 9am, the international seminar “equal civil marriage, equal rights with the same names,” the headquarters of CCJF in Cinelandia.

Among the highlights of the program of the seminar will be Magna Lecture “Equal Marriage: a question of law”, which will be delivered by Minister Eugenio Raul Zaffaroni of the Supreme Court of Argentina. Zaffaroni is one of the most renowned lawyers in the world with over 20 law books published in Argentina and many others published elsewhere. Current vice president of the International Association of Penal Law and professor at the University of Buenos Aires, he is an honorary doctor of UERJ, Catholic University of Brasilia and dozens of universities from different countries. His theories are widely distributed in Brazil and has published several books in Portuguese, including those who had co-authored with Joseph Henry Pierangeli and Nilo Batista. Zaffaroni was also conventional federal constituency in 1994 and chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution of Buenos Aires in 1996 and currently chairs the committee responsible for the reform of the Argentine Criminal Code. During the political and social process that led to the legalization of civil marriage between same sex in the country, he wrote the sentence that could have been issued by the Supreme Court, declaring unconstitutional the prohibition of marriage to homosexuals, if Congress had not approved before the new law in 2010. The draft decision of the Minister was published in a book published in Argentina.

After the lecture Magna Zaffaroni, the seminar will continue with the panel “Equal Marriage: multidisciplinary perspectives”, in the presence of U.S. Dagmar Herzog, professor of history at the Center for Graduate Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY) . Also participating as speakers the coordinator of the Special Coordinator of the Sexual Diversity Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Tufvesson; Prof. Dr. Socrates Nolasco (UFRJ), the / the judges / the federal Liliane Roriz Calmon and Guilherme da Gama, the federal judge Fernanda Duarte, and journalist Christina Grillo, the Folha de Sao Paulo.

The opening event will be made by the federal judge federal Helen Swan, chairman of the Federal Court of the 2nd Region, by Consul Alfred Boll, director of the section of political and economic issues of the American Consulate, the Consul General of Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Bertoldi, and by Rep. Jean Wyllys.

Wyllys is author and prime mover of a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks the legalization of civil marriage between same sex in Brazil.

Want to have a destination wedding in Argentina?

Sorry, you won’t be the first.

Last week, the first pair of foreigners took advantage of Argentina’s same-sex marriage law. According to, a Colombian couple named José and Oswaldo made use of new rules that “permit tourists to access this option.”

And you’ll need to pick your location carefully, it sounds like–not all localities have opened their city halls to vacationers. Santa Fe, Tierra del Fuego, and Buenos Aires province were the first, followed by Rosario and La Plata.

Uruguay–2nd Latin American country to legalize gay marriage?

I guess we’re stopping in Uruguay!

We were going to pass through there on our trip from Rio to Buenos Aires. But now it has an interest al it’s own: Uruguay is poised to become the second Latin American country to grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples.

A commission of the House of Deputies began work on the bill this week, but it was introduced about a month ago with support of a majority of the members of parliament, and it’s backed by the ruling party, the Frente Amplio.

“The proposal has the endorsement and general support” of the FA bloc, said its sponsor, Sebastián Sabini at the time was introduced, according to a report by Agencia EFE, promising to “put an end to the situation of discrimination on the part of the Uruguayan state.

The House takes up the bill just a month after a court ruled that gay marriages performed abroad (like in the neighboring country of Argentina) must be recognized in Uruguay. But that would only entitle couples to the domestic partnership rights Uruguay has had on the books since 2007, which requires cohabitation of five years before a couple can register.

It looks like the law has a good chance of passage–a majority of parliament had signed onto the bill when it was introduced.