Gay marriage: Europe split in two

2018-10-04 22:00
Scott D'Amico, left, and Brad Harker celebrate after the same sex marriage vote result announcement in Queens Park,  Australia. (Photo: File - David Clark, AP)

Scott D'Amico, left, and Brad Harker celebrate after the same sex marriage vote result announcement in Queens Park, Australia. (Photo: File - David Clark, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The referendum in Romania this weekend that could see the conservative country ban gay marriage underlines the largely East-West split in Europe over same-sex unions.

Western Europe: pioneers

In 2001 The Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony.

Fifteen European countries have followed: Belgium, Britain (but not Northern Ireland, which only accepts civil partnerships), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, with Austria due to join next year.

In several of these countries, gay marriage had been preceded by civil partnerships, which come with fewer rights, Denmark being the pioneer in 1989.

Some European countries still only allow such partnerships, rather than marriage, including Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland.

Slovenians also allow civil partnerships but in 2015 rejected in a referendum a proposal to legalise gay marriage.

Bans in the east

In June 2018 the Czech government backed draft legislation that would make the country the first post-communist member of the European Union to legalise same-sex marriage.

But most Eastern European countries allow neither gay partnerships nor marriages, including Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

In 2014 Estonia became the first former Soviet republic to authorise same-sex civil unions.

In Russia homosexuality was considered a crime up to 1993 and a mental illness until 1999. Now legal, a 2013 law however punishes the promotion of homosexuality among minors.

West opens to gay adoption

Western Europe also leads the way on the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children, whether within marriage or civil partnerships.

This is allowed in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Malta and The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Other countries, like Finland and Slovenia, allow gay people to adopt their partner's children.

Medically Assisted Procreation (MAP) is allowed for lesbian couples in Austria, Belgium, Britain, The Netherlands, Spain and the Nordic countries. France is examining whether to make such a move.

Most European countries however ban surrogacy although the use of surrogate mothers is allowed - as long as they are not paid - in Belgium, Britain and The Netherlands. In an exception, Greece in 2014 authorised paid surrogacy.

Further afield, homosexual couples can also marry in Canada since 2005 and in the United States since 2015, as well as in four Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

South Africa in 2006 became the sole African nation to allow gay marriage.

Read more on:    gay marriages  |  lgbt  |  homosexuality

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.