BY ROB SALERNO - Denmark's prime minister has announced plans to legalize gay marriage later this year, which will make it the 11th country in the world to allow gay-marriage nationwide.
In 1989, Denmark was the first country to allow same-sex unions, but until recently it's been reluctant to discuss full marriage rights. Denmark is the last of the Nordic countries to allow same-sex marriage. The proposed legislation even allows gays to be married within the Church of Denmark, as long as a willing priest can be found (although no priest will be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage).
Above, Denmark's most famous gay man mourns a fellow of most excellent fancy who had bore him on his back at least a thousand times. Sadly, neither man lived to see marriage equality in Denmark.
A few years ago, Xtra spoke to Axel Axgil, one half of the first gay couple in the world to enter into a civil union.
In other gay marriage news, the US will be chock full of gay marriage referenda this November. Maine voters will be asked to legalize same-sex marriage, reversing a 2009 referendum that banned it. Meanwhile, marriage opponents in Washington and Maryland are trying to collect enough signatures to force referenda to repeal those states' recently passed same-sex marriage laws. North Carolina has a constitutional amendement to ban gay marriage on its May 8 primary ballot, and Minnesota is pushing a constitutional ban in November.
And in the UK, the government has begun public consultations with a view to passing gay marriage by 2015.
Standard US marriage equality boilerplate:
In June, Washington will join New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachussetts, Iowa and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage. The status of gay marriage in California is currently the subject of appeals to the unconstitutionality of the state's anti-gay-marriage referendum, Prop 8, which will likely end with a decision by the US Supreme Court. Lawmakers are also debating the issue in Illinois. Of course, none of these marriages convey the full benefits of marriage because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from recognizing gay marriages and allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Ten countries already allow full marriage equality nationwide: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Brazil allows same-sex marriages in theory, through roundabout rulings of its state and federal Supreme Courts, but they've been performed only in some states. Mexico recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City only.
Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere only. There are ongoing debates about allowing same-sex marriage in Australia, Finland and Uruguay. France's Socialist Party is expected to campaign on the issue in national elections this year.