2015: Same-Sex Marriage Recap
It’s hard to believe that we’re about to shut the door on 2015. This year has been something of a mixed-bag for same-sex couples and their allies. Of course, there have been the big victories in the Republic of Ireland and the USA, but there has been disappointment, too: the lack of progress in Northern Ireland and the repulsive rhetoric coming from the far-right for example.
We thought it would be a good idea to take stock of some of the events and occasions that we’ve reported over the past year. This certainly isn’t exhaustive, but here are the things that meant something to us in 2015.
At midnight on December 31st, same-sex marriage became legal in Scotland. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was on hand to act as witness at one of the country’s first ceremonies.
Florida became the 36th US state to say yes to gay marriage after a judicial bar preventing same-sex marriages expired.
Two men, married in England, took their fight to the High Court in Belfast for the right to have their marriage recognised in Northern Ireland. The judge hearing the case is set to give his verdict after Christmas 2015.
Vietnam lifted its ban on gay marriage. Whilst not the same as legalising it, it was welcomed by LGBTI campaigners in the country.
Stephen Fry married his fiancée, Eliot Spencer.
In March the notice period for marriage changed from 14 to 28 days because of an increase in fraudulent marriages.
From April, spouses and civil partners were able to transfer a portion of their tax-free allocation to a partner on a basic tax rate.
Ecuador approved same-sex civil unions. The motion passed through parliament with an 89-1 majority.
Cyprus approved civil partnerships in May. It then passed through Parliament in November 2015.
One of the biggest gay news stories of the year came when the Republic of Ireland said yes to same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by public vote.
The small island of Pitcairn legalised gay marriage in early 2015, but the rest of the world only heard about it in June. The island only has 48 inhabitants and no gay people (at the moment).
In June, the US Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and therefore unlawful. Same-sex marriage then became legal in every state. It was a fantastic day for many human beings, but a pretty shitty day for religious hypocrites and right-wing nutjobs.
A week later, the Episcopical church in the US voted to allow same-sex weddings on its premises (albeit with some caveats).
Taiwan announced it was drafting a same-sex partnership law. Previously, the government had suggested it would only do this when the country was “ready”, but with public support at 68% the announcement came sooner than expected.
Malta overtook the UK at the top of LGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map of Gay Rights in October. The index is designed to show the percentage of inclusive and positive LGBTI laws in each country. Malta took first place with a score of 89%.
The Office of National Statistics released its figures for same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. The numbers revealed that between March 29th 2014 and June 30th 2015 there were 15,038 same-sex couples married in the UK. The same report showed a decline in civil partnerships.
In November, the first same-sex couples in Ireland got married.
It's announced that the verdict in a judicial review of Northern Ireland's same-sex marriage ban will be returned after Christmas 2015.
The fee-waiver period for civil partnership conversions ended in England, Wales and Scotland in December. The fee is now £45 to convert to marriage regardless of when the civil partnership took place.
In December, Guernsey announced it would legalise same-sex marriage. We’re likely to see the first ceremonies in 2017 if everything goes to plan.
That's a small slice of 2015. Anything you think that should have been on here? Drop us a message in the comments.