in NORTH AMERICA
Updated 24 April 2014
Same-sex sexual activity is legal, but there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
On 20 July 2005 the Canadian Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act, defining marriage nationwide as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."
Canada does not have a residency requirement for marriage; consequently, many foreign couples have gone to Canada to marry, regardless of whether that marriage will be recognized in their home country. In fact, in some cases, a Canadian marriage has provided the basis for a challenge to the laws of another country.
As of 11 November 2004 the Canadian federal government's immigration department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), considers same-sex marriages performed in Canada valid for the purposes of sponsoring a spouse to immigrate. Canadian immigration authorities previously considered long-term, same-sex relationships to be equivalent to similar heterosexual relationships as grounds for sponsorship.
After a Cherokee lesbian couple applied for a marriage license, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council unanimously approved a Constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The couple appealed to the judicial court on grounds that their union predated the amendment, and on 22 December 2005 the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation dismissed an injunction against the lesbian couple filed by members of the Tribal Council to stop the marriage. As of this time same-sex marriages remain illegal within the Cherokee Nation.
In 2008, the Native American Coquille Nation passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage; it is believed to be the first tribal nation to do so. Although Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit such marriages, the Coquille are not bound by the Oregon Constitution, because they are a federally recognized sovereign nation. COQUILLE TRIBAL REGULATION Chapter 741 Marriage and Domestic Partnership Regulation
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
On 15 March 2013 a statute was signed into law recognizing same-sex marriages on the tribe's reservation - the tribe is a federally recognized Native American nation in Michigan.
On 9 November 2006 Mexico City's unicameral Legislative Assembly passed and approved a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions, under the name Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (Law for Co-existence Partnerships), which became effective on 16 March 2007. The law recognizes property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples. On 11 January 2007 the northern state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, passed a similar bill under the name Pacto Civil de Solidaridad (Civil Pact of Solidarity). Unlike Mexico City's law, once same-sex couples have registered in Coahuila, the state protects their rights no matter where they live in the country. Twenty days after the law passed, the country's first same-sex civil union took place in Saltillo, Coahuila. As of January 2012 same-sex marriages are possible in the region of Mexico known as Quintana Roo (Cancun), "thanks to a legal gap in the Civil Code," which speaks only to "people interested in getting married" without specifying their gender.
On 21 December 2009, Mexico City's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples. The law was enacted and became effective in March 2010. In January 2010, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, a same-sex marriage bill was proposed. In southeastern Tabasco, the state's largest political parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have announced their support for same-sex marriage in the 2010 agenda. In the western state of Michoacán, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has announced it will propose bills concerning civil unions, same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in 2010. In neighboring Colima, Governor Mario Anguiano Moreno has agreed to discuss the legalization of civil unions and adoption by same-sex couples.
On 7 August 2012 the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that while not every state must grant same-sex marriages, they must all recognize those performed where they are legal. Same-sex marriages are legally granted in Mexico City and Quintana Roo. In addition, same-sex couples have been able to marry in individual cases in Chihuahua, Colima, State of Mexico, Yucatán, Oaxaca and Guanajuato. Same-sex civil unions are legally performed in Mexico City and in the states of Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, and Campeche.
On 22 April 2014 the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (La Primera Sala de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion) declared Article 143 of the Civil Code of Oaxaca to be unconstitutional. Article 143 defines marriage as “a contract between one man and one woman” that seeks to “perpetuate the species.” Although Article 143 can no longer be used to deny a couple a marriage license, same-sex unions still have not been legalized, so the impact of this decison remains to be seen.
On 01 August 2011 the Squamish Tribal Council formally changed its ordinances to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
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