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Sexton’s Miscellany: Same Sex Marriage Around The World

Same-sex marriage is very topical at the moment. Barack Obama recently came out in favour of it, and our own Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore called it “the civil rights issue of this generation.” While the civil partnership laws mean that Ireland is ahead of much of the world in recognising the rights of the LGBT couples, campaigners for full civil marriage believe our two-tier system is inherently unequal, and considering that the protections offered by marriage and civil unions differ, it is hard to argue with that. Only 11 countries have legislated for full civil marriage. These are:

1. The Netherlands

2. Belgium

3. Spain

4. Portugal

5. Norway

6. Sweden

7. Denmark

8. Iceland

9. Canada

10. Argentina

11. South Africa

Gay and lesbian marriage is legal in Mexico but bizarrely, couples can only tie the knot in Mexico City, although the marriage is recognised across the entire country. Six US states recognise gay marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, as does the District of Columbia. Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Argentina have overwhelming Catholic populations, just like Ireland, and if they can do it, why can’t we?